Scuba diving is Thailand’s most popular water sport and the country’s coast and islands have some of the most beautiful dive sites in the world. The water is clear, with plentiful marine life, and transport and accommodation readily available.
There is a high standard of training, too. All reputable dive shops are affiliated with PADI or other international dive bodies, and most hold courses in several languages.
With thousands of miles of coastline, hundreds of islands, dazzling marine life and breathtaking natural beauty, it is no wonder that most visitors to Thailand head for the sea for at least part of their stay.
At present, two of the most popular new activities in Thai waters are wreck diving, mostly in the Gulf of Thailand, and cave diving along the Andaman Sea coastline. The Gulf of Thailand has many pottery wrecks from sunken merchant vessels, some of which date as far back as 700 years.
At some recommended sites, the water is so clear that the underwater world of whale sharks, manta rays, marlin, flying fish, dolphins and coral reefs is visible from the surface. All over Thailand, you can expect modern amenities, international standard boats and professional facilities.
Diving is possible at all times of the year, although visibility changes according to the season. In the Andaman Sea, the best time is from October to April, and the Gulf of Thailand from May to September.
Pattaya dive sites
Pattaya is a diving paradise for both experienced and non-experienced divers. Koh Khrok is the nearest diving place where you can see the breath-taking coral reefs at the depth of 3 – 12 m. The current is suitable for drift diving. You may see sea turtles as well.
The “Pattaya Vessel” is the point where you can observe an ancient vessel at the depth of 26 m near “Phra Nang Rocks”. The vessel is covered with hump coral, disc coral, mushroom coral, staghorn coral, sponges and sea fans.
Koh Lan is another diving area where rare marine animals and beautiful sea slugs can be seen at the depth of 6-20 m. The current is not so swift.
Diving also can be done at Koh Phai where you can see beautiful fish, or you can visit the past by diving at the “HTMS Khram Wreck”, a World War II vessel which was sunk at a depth of 30m with 2 anchors. This vessel is the first man-made diving spot in Thailand.
Not far away, the coral and Neptune’s cup sponges are very abundant at Koh Mara Wichai. The sea water here is very clear. Various marine animals – red soldierfish, bluering angelfish, regal anglefish, longnose butterflyfish and pennant butterflyfish – can be seen at the depth of 5 – 20 m.
At a further distance from Pattaya is the diving spot at Koh Rin where coral reefs and rare marine animals can be observed. For example, hump coral, staghorn coral, table coral, mushroom coral, black coral, sea whips, colorful soft coral, sea fan, Neptune’s cup sponges, blue sponges, nudibranch, xeno crabs, sawblade shrimp, rabbit fish, squirrel fish, barracuda, sea turtles, and more.
Know Before You Go: The HTMS Khram Wreck dive site requires Advanced Open Water Diver.
Recommendation: Stay over on Koh Lan for at least 1 night.