Gulf of Thailand diving
Diving options in Thailand’s gulf (Ao Thai / อ่าวไทย) are many.
On the mainland Pattaya has many dive sites accessible by day trip dive boat, the wreck dives are particularly popular with recreational divers as well as tech divers.
Further south there are a few dive sites just offshore from Chumphon Town. These dive sites should not be confused with Chumphon Pinnacle which is probably the Gulf of Thailand’s best dive site and is reached from Koh Tao.
Koh Tao is Asia’s diving school where PADI certifications are churned out to backpackers at quite a speed although prices on the island are steadily rising and backpackers may soon be priced out.
Koh Samui dive centres rarely dive around Koh Samui where the water is not clear, they prefer to journey to Koh Tao or Koh Phangan.
In Thailand’s east, 8km offshore from Trat Town, Koh Chang is Thailand’s third largest island (after Phuket and Samui) and is part of the Mu Ko Chang National Park that includes 40 islands and is mostly a marine reserve. The waters around these islands tend to be a bit clearer than other parts of the gulf. The Koh Chang diving season is November to April. This still undeveloped island could take over from Koh Tao as the new mecca for Thailand backpacking divers.