The best choice of & value Similan, Richelieu Rock and Surin dive trips
Scuba diving is very much an acquired taste. While there are those who say that they couldn’t live without it, there are also those who would never consider the idea of breathing under water and sharing space with creatures which they feel are likely to sting or bite. While the activity/sport is growing in popularity worldwide, there is still a large number of those who consider it to be unnatural, dangerous, and foolish. However, for those who do enjoy scuba diving, there is a wonderful choice of places around the world to jump in and explore reefs, wrecks, and the marine life which surround them. One of the most popular countries in the world for recreational PADI scuba diving is Thailand. The climate, infrastructure, and choice and variety of diving locations are among the best in the world.
Thailand has a sub-tropical climate, with three distinct seasons per year. While the rainy season (June-October) can make some diving locations off limits, this is really only due to surface waves making the boat journeys difficult and dangerous. In most of Thailand it is possible to dive all year round, especially in the winter (November-February). Summer may be unbearably hot on land, but under the surface of the Andaman Sea or Gulf of Thailand there is still plenty to see and enjoy.
The infrastructure of Thailand is excellent for a country which still has unexplored areas and inexpensive costs of living. While more developed countries may be easier to get around and get what you want, it must be understood that in places such as those there is nothing new to see and many of the wildlife has either disappeared or become too accustomed to human activity. Thailand, at present, has a perfect balance between good diving on healthy virgin reefs and the ability and convenience of enjoying it.
Finally, there is a wonderful selection of diving opportunities in Thailand. Some have never dived before and want something safe, shallow, warm and colourful. Others want to go deep, dive a wreck, or swim with a whale shark or manta ray. Thailand has something for everyone. While the number of divers in The Gulf may be higher than on the country’s west coast, this is mainly due to lower costs and a well-run and competitive set up on the island of Koh Tao. The west coast is home to Phuket, Koh Phi Phi and the fabulous Similans Islands. Local diving around Phuket and Koh Phi are wonderful, but not extreme. However the Similans dive sites offer a step up in healthy corals, exciting marine life, and challenging sea conditions. Although it’s possible to do a first dive and take part in a PADI course there, most of the dive sites are for more experienced and qualified scuba divers. Huge granite boulders tend to make up the Similan’s western shores and sloping coral reefs are more prevalent around the east.