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In this page you will find more detailed information about scuba diving in Phuket.
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Scuba diving in Phuket is everywhere! You will find dozens of dive centres ready to take you everywhere you want! Diving around Phuket is good but the main force of Phuket is that you can dive the best sites all round the Andaman Sea like around Koh Phi Phi, Ko Lanta.
You can for example go to Hin Daeng and Hin Muang dive sites. They are both listed among the best dive spots in Thailand and in the world. Hin Daeng is famous for its fantastic marine life on a steep wall and Hin Muang for the superb violet coral.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vinodmurali/4456133241/
Both sites are among the best places in the world for Whale Shark sightings You can expect to spot grey reef sharks, leopard sharks and large schools of pelagic!
Two interesting local dive sites are Racha Noi and Racha Yai where Manta rays and turtles are often spotted but current can be strong and these spots are better suitable for experienced divers.
You can also go diving to the world famous dive site of Richelieu Rock on a day trip, where whales sharks are quite often spotted.
Where to stay?
I usually use this website to book in advance my hotels in Phuket as they usually have the lowest rates I find. I like it because it's free to cancel and change the dates.
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Best time to dive in Phuket
Climate is tropical on Phuket Island and the weather is mostly hot and humid all year round. There are 2 seasons:
- The rainy season runs from May to December. From June to October, there is heavy rainfall but rainy days are rare and it is mostly a cooling 2 hour downpour at the end of the day.
- The dry and hot season runs from January to April is the best time to visit Phuket. Even if it is the dry season, there still can be rain.
The high tourist season runs from November to April with a peak in December and January. It is best to avoid this period as accommodation is often full and prices tend to increase sharply!
Moreover, the main dive sites can be crowded during this season and it can even get crowded underwater! So better to book in advance if you are travelling during this period. Liveaboards are also often fully booked.
The air temperature ranges from 25°C to 32°C and water temperature is around 29°C all year round.
It is possible to dive all year round. However, the best diving period is from November to April when visibility is very good. If you prefer it to be quieter, consider coming after January to avoid the tourist crowds. From April to October, the sea can be choppy and visibility is often reduced.
Liveaboards are running all year round but the main season is between October and May if you want to go diving the magnificent archipelagos of Similans and Surin.
Top liveaboards in Phuket according to divers reviews
Phuket is a very popular place to pass the Padi Open Water course and take scuba diving lessons. As there are so many dive operators, prices are quite low. Although, always visit several dive centres and ask questions before choosing as they do not all have the same standards. It is sometimes better to spend more money for better service and safety.
Scuba Diving conditions
With so many dive sites, you will find all kind of conditions.
- Visibility can range from poor to outstanding depending on the location and the season. Visibility is reduced by 30% during the monsoon season. It can also be reduced by the high density of plankton in the water but that’s what attracts Manta Rays and Whale Sharks
- Current is not generally an issue but some dive sites have strong currents and are reserved only for experienced divers.
- Water temperature ranges from 27°C to 31°C and you won’t need any full wet suit.
Note: Don’t expect to be alone underwater! The most popular dive spots are often very crowded during high season…
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nlann/2036973794/
Snorkelling in Phuket
You can find good snorkelling spots around Phuket. It is possible to arrange snorkelling tours to take you to the best places around the islands.
A popular spot is Coral Island where the reef is superb and very close to the Banana Bay and long beach. Snorkelling gears can be rented on some beaches but it is better to bring your own equipment if you can.
You can easily spot good reef life in shallow and clear water. However, swimmers should be careful, from May to October when the undertow can be strong and dangerous. The best time of the year runs from November to April when the conditions are excellent.
If you are planning an upcoming dive trip or travelling to Phuket, it is a really good idea to invest in travel insurance for scuba diving, because you never know what could happen and when you might need it (because accidents do happen!). I recommend this diving insurance as they offer worldwide coverage and focus on providing scuba divers a quality insurance and medical assistance service.
You can spot just about everything you’ve dreamed of seeing in the Andaman Sea. The big stars are the Manta rays, whale sharks and various species of reef sharks. Leopard sharks and turtles are also common. You will spot large schools of pelagic fishes and giant trevallies patrolling the area.
Macro life is also interesting and provides some good opportunities for underwater photographers.
Coral is very colourful and shallow coral gardens will make your safety stops more than enjoyable!
Now that you know all about the underwater world, you might want to start planning your scuba holiday! Check out our Phuket Travel Review for information about how to get there, activities and excursions, where to stay, and more.