GENERAL INFO THAILAND – Phuket – Koh Tao and Similans
General info Thailand. Most people don’t really need an intro anymore as it known by almost everyone. From idyllic, unspoiled beaches with turquoise seas and pure, white sands to bustling cities sporting exotic markets and a vibrant, colourful nightlife, it is easy to see why Thailand has become one of the most popular tourist destinations for the adventurous and young at heart.
Thailand its booming diving economy, has resulted in the opening of a number of expensive and luxurious international hotels, dive centers and liveaboards.
The size and geographical diversity of Thailand provides for a variety of diving activities. Recreational diving, Liveaboard Diving, Cave diving, Wreck diving and Technical diving courses in Thailand.
GENERAL INFO THAILAND
Whether it’s world class recreational diving in the Andaman Sea, cave diving in Khao Sok, golf at world-standard championship courses or exciting eco-adventures in tropical forests, Phuket is a place to redefine your limits.
Take an exhilarating speedboat trip to the surrounding islands of Phi Phi , or enjoy a serene cruise around mystical Phang Nga in the north of Phuket.
Or why not simply enjoy Phuket’s vibrant nightlife in Phuket town for the local night life, Surin for the stylish night life or good old Patong Beach? Total enjoyment! and unforgettable!
The best sightseeing places are the big Buddha at which you can have the best view over Chalong Bay, especially when you go there around 5pm, or you can drive your way up to one of the elephant trekking places like Koh Chang in Kata, Sunset cruises, snorkeling trips, quad bike trips, mountain bike trekking or even a class of Muay Thai Boxing.
There are some amazing restaurants like M&M in Rawai, coffee and books at The Book Cafe and many more.
The coastline of Phuket itself offers little for the experienced diver, although there are dive sites that can be (and are) used for training and are also a good option if bad weather prevents boats getting to the better sites.
These offshore sites are mostly to the south, and can be reached by relatively short boat rides of between one and two hours. They are all well worth the journey, but two in particular (Shark Point and Anemone Reef) stand out as being special in terms of the abundance of marine life.
Further south, the coastline at Krabi offers shallow fringing reefs around impressive limestone formations (ranging in size from underwater pillars to whole islands). Some of the best snorkelling sites in the country are to be found here.
GENERAL INFO THAILAND – PHI PHI and KOH LANTA
Offshore, the Phi Phi islands, with their palm-fringed beaches, have grown in popularity as a dive base for the last two decades. This is not surprising as the local waters experience great visibility complemented with a rich variety of corals and marine life; shallow fringing and patch reefs are an added attraction for snorkelers.
The most southerly established dive sites in the country are to the south of Koh Lanta. They feature pristine corals and spectacular fringing reefs in potentially excellent visibility. Here are some of the finest dive sites in the country, such as Hin Mouang, which features the deepest drop-off in Thailand, with depths in excess of 70m, and Hin Daeng, one of the few remaining dive sites where both manta rays and whale sharks are regularly met. Another dive destination in the Andaman Sea that is still in its infancy is Mu Koh Tarutao Marine National Park (just north of the Malaysian border), where dugongs have been seen.
GENERAL INFO THAILAND – KHAO SOK
Khao Sok national Park is one of the newer attractions for tourists in Thailand. It used to be a well-hidden place and only the Thai tourist would come here on their holidays. Slowly but gradually the foreign tourist gets the word and is now exploring this magnificent piece of nature.
The park has a total area of 738.74 square kilometers, which covers parts of the Khlong Yee and Khlong Pra Sang forests as well as portions of the Krai Son and the Khao Pung sub-districts in the district of Ban Ta Khun and the Khlong Sok and Panom sub districts in the province in Surat Thani, the ideal place when you are traveling through Thailand.
Within Khao Sok lies the largest artificial lake, the Chiao Lan (Ratchaprapha dam) with 165 square km, which is perfect for Cave Diving in Thailand for beginners and advanced cave divers. ATM 2016 no one is allowed to dive in the lake due to 2 deaths 2 years ago. When it reopens for divers is unknown.
GENERAL INFO THAILAND – The Similan Islands – Andaman Sea in Thailand
The Similan Islands have much to offer the visiting diver and snorkelers. There is a vast range of exhilarating sites of many different kinds, providing something for everyone, regardless of their qualification levels or experience.
Extending from Birma down past the west coast of Thailand to beyond the Malaysian border, the Andaman Sea forms part of the Indian Ocean. Many of the 155 islands in the Andaman Sea are uninhabited.
The weather on either side of the Kra Isthmus and diving conditions in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand are dominated by two opposing monsoons.
Similan Islands extends from Myanmar down past the west coast of Thailand to beyond the Malaysian border, the Andaman Sea forms part of the Indian Ocean. Many of the 155 islands in the Andaman Sea are uninhabited (apart from communities of Chao Ley sea gypsies), and are crowned by lush primary vegetation tumbling down to a shoreline punctuated by idyllic sandy beaches.
Most of the diving Similan islands is mostly organised from the popular holiday island destination of Phuket, with a variety of operators offering recreational and technical training, day trips, and liveaboard options, or from the little town north from Phuket, Khao Lak. The best time for diving is between October and May.
In general the Andaman Sea has more extensive coral reefs but similar visibility to the Gulf of Thailand, with most of the reefs around the offshore islands occurring on the east sides of the islands, due to the influence of the southwest monsoon; the west coasts tend to have rocky slopes descending to 10-30m in depth.
Towards the northern end of the Thai coastline, a series of granitic outcrops lie in deep, clear water with reefs descending to 25-30m and beyond in depth. Diving Similan Islands and Surin Islands, whose breathtaking underwater scenery and great diversity of marine life have gained them a considerable reputation in the diving community.
Given their proximity to Phuket, it is not surprising that these two island groups are among the countries most popular destinations for liveaboard trips.
Further to the north in Myanmar is the Mergui Archipelago, recently opened to foreigners, offering real wilderness diving over unusual underwater terrain, with the added attraction of shark encounters.
GENERAL INFO THAILAND – KOH TAO
Koh Tao lies in The Gulf The Gulf of Thailand coast, at 1,840km well over twice as long as the Andaman Sea coastline, follows a great parabola from the border with Malaysia on the south coast around to Cambodia and the southwest tip of Vietnam.
If you are looking for the best in the Gulf of Thailand than Diving Koh Tao is your best option. Sheer wall dives around submerged pinnacles, tunnels and archways carpeted with iridescent soft corals, pelagics (including sharks), and easy snorkelling from the beaches over impressive coral gardens are just some of the highlights of Diving Koh Tao.
Koh Phangan, 47km south of Koh Tao, is a Bohemian paradise. The fringing reefs around the island are of limited appeal, but two sites to the north Sail Rock and Samran Pinnacles are truly world-class, spectacular wall dives, acting as a magnet for many schools of pelagics. Koh Samui, further south, has a well-developed tourist infrastructure and some enjoyable dive sites on its fringing reefs. Visibility around Koh Samui is only slightly better than that around Koh Phangan, and most people use it as a convenient (and fun) base from which to dive sites to the north of Koh Phangan or around Diving Koh Tao.
Further to the south, the clear waters around Koh Losin, located above the Malaysian border, are occasionally dived from liveaboard excursions and are a great place for encountering manta rays, whale sharks and large schools of trevally. Working eastwards from Bangkok, Pattaya has a well developed dive industry for both recreational and technical divers. The better dive sites here are located around the Far Islands group, offering fringing reefs of hard and soft corals and a choice of four enjoyable wrecks. Pattayas dive sites also include the islands and islets off the small fishing village of Samaesan 17kms further south.
Thailands eastern most diving and snorkelling area covers the waters around and to the south of Koh Chang, in Trat province. This is an up and coming destination and one well worth visiting. Aside from a great diversity of dive sites including reefs, walls and pinnacles the associated marine life is as diverse as it is high and includes regular encounters with all sizes of marine life from minute invertebrates up to enormous whale sharks.