Phuket dive sites
Phuket Island is the perfect base for scuba divers coming to Thailand. Located in the Andaman Sea just off Thailand’s west coast it is within range of the Similan Islands, Surin Islands, Richelieu Rock and Burma to the north plus Hin Daeng and Hin Muang to the south and Phi Phi to the east. Staying in Phuket allows divers to visit all these dive sites by day trip dive boat or by liveaboard. Phuket also has it’s own local dive sites like Shark Point, the King Cruiser wreck and the Racha Islands. The majority of diving is by boat with a limited number of shore diving options. Many of Phuket’s dive sites are equally suitable for snorkelers.
Phuket is a wonderful holiday destination with or without diving, attracting more tourists than any other Asian resort location. It boasts fabulous beaches, fun nightlife, fine restaurants and numerous shopping options. This gives Phuket a big advantage over many other Asian dive destinations where there is nothing to do when the diving has finished. In Phuket you can go elephant trekking, white water rafting, hire a jet ski or take a Thai cookery class. Or you can relax with a massage or a Singha beer in any number of watering holes.
You can stay in a budget guesthouse or a luxury resort. You can spend US$100 on dinner or eat a delicious meal from a street vendor for a dollar. The island is safe and has international standard hospitals. Phuket is just a 1.5 hour flight from Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and many budget airlines fly in to Phuket’s international airport.
There are scores dive centres on the island offering dive courses, day trip dives and liveaboard trips. Most shops operate under the PADI banner but there are a few SSI, CMAS and BSAC affiliated shops as well. You can buy, rent and service equipment on the island. There are three recompression chambers on Phuket. Despite recent fuel price increases Phuket diving is still great value compared to most other world dive destinations. Thai divemasters are friendly and professional and very good at finding the hard to spot critters.
The main Phuket diving season is November to the end of April when the high season sunny weather gives the best underwater conditions. The ideal months to dive are February to April. They are the peak months for whale shark sightings. The sea is flat at that time with no wind.
December to January can be windy producing some waves. The low season runs from May to October when tropic downpours are common but even in the rainy season it is still sunny most of the time. Showers are short and hard and often in the evening. October is the wettest month of the year. Seas can re rough in the low season and visibility can drop.
Nearly all liveaboard trips to the Similan Islands and Richelieu stop running during these months but day trips to local dive sites do still run daily. Some divers prefer the low season in Phuket when there are less divers on the boats and in the water.
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