Scuba diving in Phuket is a real treat with the warm, tropical waters and the myriad of rainbow coloured fish that swim through it at all hours of the day. It is a beautiful dive site that could not be more diverse, as the different types of coral and the changing underground topography in the various locations, something that should not be missed by any serious diver. There is something for all levels of experience, as the waters of Phuket can accommodate everyone from those who are just beginning their diving careers to those who have quite a few dives under their belt.
Diving Map of Phuket
While there are many resorts and hotels to accommodate your holiday needs, Phuket is a firm favourite with the younger crowd, as it offers a lot of interesting dive options as well as an active night life. The other good thing about diving in Phuket is that you can access a majority of the dive sites in the region with ease from its centralised location in nothing more than a day trip. Plus, there are plenty of adventure filled dives just waiting for you here; from exploring a wreck to swimming at Shark Point, or trying to catch a glimpse of a whale at Racha Noi South Point.
A Wreck to Explore in Phuket
In May 1997, the passenger ferry “The King Cruiser” sank after striking the Anemone Reef after veering off course. This wreck then created the first artificial reef found in Phuket. When you dive to the wreckage you will not be disappointed, as it is eighty five meters long and allows the ability to have a comprehensive swim through the ferry. The engine room and the deck on which the cars were held offer an interesting dive for supervised beginnings and some intermediate divers. However, the more advanced divers can enter into the ship’s passenger section which has an eerie feel to it as the tables and chairs that were onboard when the ship sank are still in place, making this area seem like an underwater ghost town. If you want to see something spectacular then you should check out the captain’s cabin and the wheel house as these areas have become hot spots for a large collection of marine life that has flourished in these two rooms.
Best Time of Year to Dive in Phuket
The warmer waters surrounding Phuket work to make it a good dive site for a great many reasons and people dive in this area all year long. November to April probably works to offer the best conditions for diving. The months between May and October can be difficult for diving because this time of the year is tied in with the monsoon season. However, dive sites are not generally closed unless the weather is horrible, so if you want to take a chance and try to miss the height of the tourist season, then these months could offer a good dive experience as well.
Notable Diving Locations in Phuket
A popular diving destination is Shark Point, an area that has been made into a sanctuary for marine life and works to help keep the sharks, which are so predominate in the area, from being killed or hunted for sport. One of the main reasons that it draws so many people is because of the large number of Leopard Sharks that keep to that area, offering divers a spectacular experience. The reef is also something to behold and it even breaches the water’s surface in at least three different places. If you are not an experienced diver you will need to make sure that you go with a guided group because of the stronger currents that can sometimes run through the area and which can cause problems with a dive, especially if you are not used to dealing with the problems that strong currents can cause.
Anemone Reef is also a prevalent dive spot in Phuket, and its name comes from the fact that it is a giant underwater rock that has become covered over the years with spectacularly colored anemone that completely covers its surface. While you are diving you are also guaranteed to see a number of clownfish and anemone fish that use the soft tentacles of the anemone for protection from other predators. Their colours provide a spectacular assortment of beauty that will surely appeal to any diver.
Flower Island, or Koh Dok, offers divers the chance to see some underwater gems, from which the island gets its name. The rainbow coral that covers the limestone rock walls of the small inlet when you make your underwater descent is a welcome treasure. Besides this, there are some great caverns which offer divers interesting exploration opportunities; they are perfect for novice divers who are looking to work on their penetration techniques. It’s a good site for experienced divers as well as it gives them the chance to look through all of the smaller items on the wall as well as the tiger tail seahorses that populate the area.
A new dive site that has piqued the interest of many is the Siam Bay Statue site. In 2006 the government of Thailand asked for a series of underwater statues to be built in order to create an interesting artificial reef, to help after the 2004 tsunami. Some of the statues include elephants and large oysters, making this a new and exciting dive location. In fact, the ability to swim around the underwater animals and through a giant temple gate is something that is so surreal it is almost unnerving, akin to diving through a submerged city that has long since been forgotten by civilization.
Racha Noi is an island that has a lot of hard coral surrounding its granite boulders. This site gives divers the best opportunity to see whales and manta rays and many experienced divers enjoy diving here. After you descend to approximately twenty meters there is a large underwater rock formation here that is surrounded on all sides by deep waters. This gives you the effect of standing in the middle of a rock oasis with seas that fade away and large schools of fish that swim all around you.
Types of Marine Life in Phuket
Diving in Phuket offers a wonderful chance to see a great variety of marine life, and this makes the dive so much more intoxicating. Underwater life you might see on a dive here include anemone fish, tuna, clownfish, barracuda, leopard sharks, bat fish, moray eels, whales, turtles, sting rays, mantas, jacks, starfish, anemone, sea whips, lobster, snappers, the ghost pipefish, and many others.
Ghost Pipefish, Phuket
Phuket Diving Fact Sheet
Average Air Temperature: 29°C – 37°C
Average Water Temperature: 26°C – 31°C
Recommended Exposure Protection: You can swim in skin, but at least a 3mm suit is recommended in the summer to a 5mm suit in the winter.
Average Visibility: Visibility can vary depending on the time of year in which you dive and the area where you are diving and it can vary anywhere between five and forty meters. However, visibility is often reduced during the months of the monsoon season.
Coldest Times: November to March
Hottest Times: May to October
Best Times to Dive: The best time to dive in Phuket is during the winter months from November to April. The visibility is best during this time of year and you are more likely to see whale sharks between February and April.
Worst Times to Dive: The Monsoon season in Thailand lasts from the end of May to the middle of October and this can cause problems with diving conditions, so it’s probably best not to go during these times. However, the experience of diving during the reduced diving traffic could be worth the gamble as dives are unlikely to be cancelled due to weather conditions.
Diving in Phuket Video