October 2012
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How is diving done in Thailand?

Scuba diving in Thailand is very popular.
• Thailand has some reefs and a number of shipwrecks.
• The undersea visibility in some places of Thailand is up to 30 meters.
• They have coral gardens, undersea rock formations, hard and soft corals, whale sharks, silvertip sharks, manta rays and shipwrecks.
• In reality, visibility is often less. Visibility depends on a number of unpredictable factors like winds, tides, currents, runoff from rain, proximity to cities, water temperature, underwater activities and more.

History of Scuba Diving

• Diving began in Thailand in 1962.
• The Thailand Sub Aqua Club was founded by two Thais and an Englishman.
• The club was very active and the Minister of Tourism became their patron.
• The first ever professional dive center was opened in Pattaya in 1975.
• The sport had become well established by then.
• The Thailand Sun Aqua Club had its own premises in Pattaya.
• The popularity of diving among Thais and foreigners increased.
• After Pattaya, the next destination to see divers was Phuket.
• Dive in the Similan Islands and the rest of the Andaman Sea after Pattaya.
• The Similan islands have been ranked as one of the top ten diving sites in the world.
• Today, diving is popular all over the Andaman Sea, including Tarutao and the Surin islands.
• Ko Tao (Turtle Island) has emerged as the biggest diving destination in Thailand with over twenty major centers located on the island.
• You can dive in Thailand all year round.
• The best conditions exist from November to April.
• Late May to October brings monsoon winds and surface swells upto the Andaman Sea.
• Richelieu Rock and Hin Daeng are inaccessible and reduces the visibility to 30% at the open dive sites during this time.
• October sees heavy rains in the Andaman Sea.
• The Phuket live-a-board season runs from early October to mid May.
• There are a limited number of live-a-boards to Similan Islands and Phi Phi Islands all year round.
• For the Gulf of Thailand, the best months are May to August, when the Andaman Sea has its low season.

Basics of Reefs

They are great for:
• Small animals
• Underwater photography
• Diving value-for-money
• Advanced divers
• Beginner divers
• Snorkeling
• Non-diving activities

They are not so Great for:
• Depth: 5 – >40m
• Visibility: 5 – 40m
• Currents: Can be strong
• Surface Conditions: Can be rough
• Water Temperature: 26 – 31°C

Types of Diving in Thailand

• Snorkelling
• Free diving
• Scuba diving
• Eco diving
• Wreck diving
• Night diving
• Rescue diving
• Cave Diving
• Diving with disabilities
• Technical Diving
• Re-breather Diving
– All of the above types of diving can be experienced in Thailand at all major diving sites.
– Wreck diving can be found at The Similans, Ko Phi Phi Pattaya and Koh Tao.
– Of all the types of diving available in Thailand, snorkeling and scuba diving are the most popular.

What are different dive sites?

Andaman Sea
– Northern Region
• Similan Islands
• Richelieu Rock
• Koh Bon
• Koh Tachai
• Surin Islands
• Burma
• Khao Lak

– Central Region
• Phuket
• Krabi – Ao Nang
• Phi Phi Islands

– Southern Region
• Hin Daeng
• Hin Muang
• Koh Ha
• Koh Tarutao
• Koh Rok

– Gulf of Thailand
• Koh Samui
• Koh Tao

Diving Courses and Types

There are four diving companies operating in Thailand offering diving certification. They are:
• PADI – The Professional Association of Diving Instructors
• NAUI – The National Association of Underwater Instructors
• SSI – Scuba Schools International
• BSAC – The British Sub-Aqua Club
• TDI – Technical Diving International
– Of all the above companies, PADI is certainly the most famous.
– PADI, NAUI and SSI offers diving instructions at every major diving area in Thailand.

Best time to visit / climate

• Thailand is largely tropical.
• It’s hot and humid all year around with temperatures in the 28-35°C range (82-95°F).
• From November to the end of February, it doesn’t rain much and temperatures are at their lowest.
• From March to June, Thailand swelters in temperatures as high as 40°C (104°F).
• From July to October, although it only really gets underway in September, tropical monsoons hit most of the country.

Location on Google Maps

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How to get there?

1. By Plane
• The main international airports in Thailand are at Bangkok and Phuket.
• Both are well-served by intercontinental flights.
• Practically every airline that flies to Asia also flies into Bangkok.
• International airports are also located at Hat Yai, Krabi, Koh Samui and Chiang Mai.
• Kuala Lumpur and Singapore make excellent places to catch flights into these smaller Thai cities.
• The national carrier is the well-regarded THAI Airways with Bangkok Airways filling in some gaps in the nearby region.
• Bangkok Airways offers free internet access while you wait for boarding to start at your gate.
• Chartered flights from and to Thailand from international destinations are operated by Hi Flying group.
• They fly to Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui and Udon Thani.

2. By Road
• Cambodia – six international border crossings.
• The highway from Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor via Poipet to Aranyaprathet
• Laos – the busiest border crossing is at the Friendship Bridge across the Mekong between Nong Khai and the Lao capital Vientiane.
• It’s also possible to cross the Mekong at Chiang Khong / Huay Xai, Nakhon Phanom /Tha Khaek, Mukdahan / Savannakhet, and elsewhere.
• Vientiane / Udon Thani.
• A bus service runs from the Morning Market bus station in Vientiane to the bus station in Udon Thani.
• The cost is 80 Baht or 22,000 Kip and the journey takes two hours.
• The Udon Thani airport is 30 minutes by Tuk Tuk from the bus station and is served by Thai Airways, Nok Air and Air Asia.
Malaysia and Singapore driving is entirely possible.
• Main crossings between Thailand and Malaysia are Padang Besar (Padang Besar) and Sadao (Bukit Kayu Hitam) in Songkhla province, Betong in Yala province, and Sungai Kolok in Narathiwat province.
• There are regular buses from Singapore to the southern hub of Hat Yai.

3. By Train
Thailand’s sole international train service links to Butterworth (near Penang) and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, continuing all the way to Singapore.

4. By Ferry
• It is possible now to travel by ferries in high season (Nov-May) from Phuket and island hop your way down the coast all the way to Indonesia.
• This can now be done without ever touching the mainland, Phuket (Thailand) to Padang (Indonesia).
Islands en route:
– Ko Phi Phi
– Ko Lanta
– Ko Ngai
– Ko Mook
– Ko Bulon
– Ko Lipe
– Langkawi
– Penang

Some Travel Books about Thailand

Lonely Planet Discover Thailand Thailand PhotoMazing Thailand

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at wikitravel.org
Hotels at tourismthailand.org
Hotels at gothailand.com

Blogs / Sites about Thailand – How diving is done in Thailand?

Blogs at wikipedia.org
Blogs at travelfish.org
Blogs at divetheworldthailand.com
Blogs and reviews at padi.com

Images and photos of Thailand – How diving is done in Thailand?

Images at google.com
Images at phiphi-scuba.com
Images at santanaphuket.com
Images at travel.nationalgeographic.com

Videos of Thailand – How diving is done in Thailand?

Diving Elephant Head Rock, Similan Islands, Thailand from Remy Sautaux on Vimeo.

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