Scuba diving has evolved over the past twenty years. Once referred to as an ‘extreme sport’ it is now so acceptably easy that anyone from eight years old to healthy pensioners can dive in the sea. It has become so popular among the masses, that it’s arguably no longer even an adventure sport anymore. This news, for the majority, is good. Previously-blinkered members of the public are realizing that sharks are IN danger instead of being A danger. For increasing public interest and knowledge about the plight of all life in the sea, there’s no better way than to literally immerse them in it. Revenue is generated, both for local economies and those selling diving tours and equipment.
There are wonderful diving destinations all over the world, most of which are within the sub tropics. Here the corals are able to flourish and the sea temperature is far more comfortable for humans to spend an hour or more in. The Americas, Africa, Asia and Australasia all have popular holiday resort areas which thrive on the scuba diving industry. Although it’s more than possible to dive in Europe, the weather is generally more of an issue.
Taking into account the cost, logistics, and variety of other things to do for divers and their non-diving travel partners, Thailand is a fantastic choice to visit for scuba diving. Treks, shopping, being a beach bum, a sex tourist, or a general partygoer are all possible in Thailand for those who are visiting for just a couple of days or semi-permanently. With a well-experienced infrastructure but prices far less than in the west, scuba diving in Thailand is a well-oiled industry that is usually run by westerners – helping for preventative safety issues and customer understanding.
In addition, there is no shortage of places to choose from when wanting to dive in Thailand. The Gulf is home to the famous diving Mecca island of Koh Tao. Although most other islands in The Gulf offer diving, the best underwater spots are located around Koh Tao. Over on the other coast, the Andaman Sea laps the beaches of Phuket, Phi Phi, Khao Lak, and many other destinations which are growing in popularity. Arguably the best scuba diving in Thailand takes place at Richelieu Rock, not far from the Burmese border on Thailand’s west coast. However, just one isolated dive site, however good, needs to be supported with something else. Here is where the Similan Islands can help. This small archipelago of nine islands and some rocks is extremely popular among divers, but is large enough and far enough away from the hotels and bars to be completely remote and tropical. Although it’s possible to take part in your first ever scuba dive at the Similan Islands and learn to dive there, most of the visitors are already certified and/or experienced divers. This is mainly because it’s quite a trek out there, and not something people sign up for without reason. The most common way to dive out at the Similan Islands is by staying a few nights on a liveaboard diving boat. For liveaboard dive trips Similan Islands cruises, or dive safaris as they are known by some, are enjoyable and far more affordable than many people may first imagine.