Top 3 Scuba Diving Spots in Thailand for Backpackers
The best scuba diving spots in Thailand are reflective of its natural beauty. Thailand is a spiritual haven known for its ornate temples, ancient ruins and tropical sandy beaches. Head beyond the beach and you will find a whole world of marvelous marine life.
You cannot take a trip to Thailand and pass up the opportunity to explore the natural beauty and hidden world of the deep blue. There are dozens of different locations where you can scuba dive in Thailand, each with something different to offer with its own magnificent sights. As much as we’re sure you’d like to explore them all, here are three of the best spots for scuba diving during your trip to Thailand:
1. Similan Islands
This group of nine tiny islands is definitely one of our favourite spots, and we recommend taking a boat trip to marvel at the sights they have to offer. Set within the Mu Koh Similan National Park, the waters surrounding these islands are home to a wealth of marine life including batfish, triggerfish, barracudas and leopard sharks, as well as many others. There is visibility to depths of 20-40m in these waters, so they are perfect for more advanced divers. Once you’ve taken in all the water has to offer, you’ll surely want to stretch out on the beautiful sandy beaches lining the shores of these beautiful islands. Soak up the sun as you wind down for the day.
2. Surin Islands
The waters surrounding the Surin Islands are much shallower and therefore suitable for snorkelling and beginner divers. However, the shallow waters certainly do not compromise the sheer beauty that these five islands have to offer. With the shallows providing an array of coral havens you will be able to spot Napoleon wrasse, tomato clownfish, yellow-masked angelfish and the humphead parrotfish during your dive. You’ll also find yourself swimming among the many turtles that inhabit these islands. The Surin Islands are also a much quieter alternative to busier islands such as Koh Phi Phi Le. Following your dive, you may want to venture inland to the jungle. A short hike will take you through the habitats of pig-tailed macaques, flying lemur and monitor lizards.
In Koh Tao it’s diving season all year round, making it one of the most popular places for scuba diving in Thailand. In Koh Tao you will spot green sea turtles, yellow boxfish, and, if you’re lucky, magnificent whale sharks. The calm conditions of the waters make it a popular spot with beginners and, as a result, there are many different courses available in the area to prepare you for exploration. Finding a qualified instructor will give you the confidence and peace of mind to truly enjoy your dive. Kick back, relax, and take in the sublime underwater worlds that Thailand has to offer!
Scuba Diving Safety Tips
Below are a few important safety tips and reminders before going on a dive, courtesy of comparetravelinsurance.com:
- Don’t drink and dive: Drinking both before or after a dive can be dangerous. Alcohol diminishes your reaction time and also causes dehydration, one of the prime factors for decompression illness or ‘the bends’. If you must drink, try to stay below 0.05%.
- Take five after a flight: Diving within 12 hours of a flight is a highly discouraged practice, putting you at risk of the bends and a potential embolism. It’s best to give yourself a full day’s break from diving after you arrive at your destination and before you fly back home.
- Blocked nose, puffy eyes? Don’t dive: Suffering from a cold or flu can prevent you from equalizing properly, leading to pain, accumulation of fluid and bleeding into the ear cavity. When in doubt, take plenty of recovery time before you dive.
- Dental work and diving don’t mix: Trapped air in a filling can cause pain and even physical trauma while diving. Some type of dentistry, particularly temporary crowns or caps, could literally explode inside your mouth and cause excruciating pain and put you at risk of foreign body inhalation.
- Fast ascension could cause tension: A fast ascension could lead to the bends and a potential embolism. Stick to a safe ascension rate of nine metres per minute and use your depth gauge to make sure you’re not ascending faster than this rate.