Scuba Diving Pattaya

Scuba Diving Pattaya: Everything You Need To Know

Formerly a quaint fishing village on Thailand’s eastern Gulf coast, Pattaya has had quite the glow up in recent decades. Nothing but a small fishing village as recently as the 1960s, Pattaya is now home to around 120,000 people, and its streets lined with high-rise condos, shopping malls, 24-hour bars, and resort hotels.

Best known for its stunning bay and postcard-worthy beaches, Pattaya is a resort that attracts many a visitor looking to let their hair down and get the perfect balance between party and relaxation. There’s a whole host of activities to get involved in and countless ways to unwind and explore.

Thanks to its location on Thailand’s eastern Gulf coast, it has a lot to offer scuba divers too! Scuba diving Pattaya offers warm, crystal clear blue waters and unrivalled amounts of species of tropical fish and other marine life. You’ll never get bored with discovering new vibrant soft coral and beautiful colored fish.

Scuba Diving Pattaya

What’s Good About Pattaya Diving?

As if the postcard-worthy beaches with soft white sand and lush green palm trees aren’t enough, Pattaya offers a range of fascinating dive sites ensuring you’ll get the most out of your Thailand vacation. Here are some of our favorite bits!

Value!

Southeast Asia is famous not only for its beautiful beaches and waters, but the incredible value for money you can get, and that definitely extends into their diving.

Many divers come here from other parts of Asia and Australia to complete their open water certification as it’s highly regarded as the best place to do so. Many backpackers and travelers opt to dive here too in order to save money.

Location

Being a city on the eastern Gulf coast, Pattaya lends itself as a great gateway to the best of Thailand’s Gulf coast diving.

Pattaya sits right on the edge of the action in the Gulf of Thailand and offers some incredible diving spectacles not to be missed on any trip to Southeast Asia.

Diverse Marine Life

If you’re a bit of a marine biology geek, or just like pretty colorful fish, you’ll fall in love beneath the surface of the crystal clear waters of Pattaya. The warm waters attract an abundance of beautiful, vibrant marine life that’s sure to please the eyes.

Pattaya Scuba Certification

Scuba Certification

In general, you aren’t required to be certified in order to scuba dive in Pattaya. In fact, there are many tour operators that cater to those of all levels of ability, no issue for a first-time diver. There are plenty of beginner-friendly and easily accessible dive sites to get your flippers wet for the first time.

Having said that, it’s always recommended to get scuba certified to give yourself the best, most enjoyable diving experience possible. While you’ll have a great time scuba diving Pattaya as a first-time diver, there’s a lot you can miss out on without the extra confidence and diving experience, such as the more challenging cave dives and wrecks.

In addition, becoming scuba certified will help you feel more comfortable and confident underwater. This leads to maximum enjoyment and safety from your diving experience and something worth considering.

Pattaya Scuba Diving Requirements

Scuba Diving Safety

Pattaya doesn’t have any specific laws or regulations with regards to diving. As always, tour operators state that you must be in good physical condition and have some swimming ability. Children must be at least 10 years old to scuba dive with a tour operator.

With that said, it’s always highly recommended to have a dive buddy when you’re out scuba diving in the waters of Pattaya, as it is anywhere else. This is particularly the case if you’re out diving without a tour operator or guide. In this situation, it’s also good practice to make use of diver down flags.

Best Sites for Scuba Diving Pattaya

Pattaya offers plenty in the way of relaxation, adventure, and entertainment, with many bucket list items available to tick off here. Diving is one of its best traits, too. Here are some of our favorite Pattaya dive sites.

Koh Rin

Vibrant Coral

The largest of the islets that form the Far Island group contains three main diving spots. All are alive with marine life, including rare hawksbill sea turtles, stingrays, sharks, giant pufferfish, and more. The three spots are Hin Ton Mai (South Rock), Hin Khoa (North Rock), and Koh Rin Bay.

Hin Ton Mai, for instance, is the least visited of the three and therefore a famous hang out for larger fish and a diverse range of sea life. You can see typical coral life down to a depth of 16 metres.

Hin Khao contains many rocky outcrops with hard coral, ideal hiding places for juvenile sharks, and eels. There’s lots of good diving and marine life like nudibranchs, razorfish, and pipefish lurking among the rocks.

The bay, too, is quite a jewel and less affected by currents than the other two sites.

If this sounds ideal to you, be sure to check out our recommended experience below!

Ko Sak

Pattaya Dive

Ko Sak is a small island that lies to the north of the much larger Ko Lan. The bay here is sheltered from the prevailing wind and blessed with calm, clear water for much of the year.

Several dive sites around the island are waiting to be explored, with the reef ranging in depth from three to 18 metres.

The reef is home to a decent amount of varied marine life, including hard and soft corals, which are an explosion of color at the right time of the day. You are also likely to spot bamboo sharks and giant groupers as well as nudibranch, moray eels, pufferfish, and seahorses. A large hawksbill turtle is also a frequent visitor to the area.

You may, if your eyesight is sharp, catch a glimpse of demon stinger stonefish in the sandier spots.

Check out our recommended experience below, this one is not to be missed on any diving trip to Pattaya.

Koh Manwichai

Turtle

Recommended for July and August and later from November to January, Koh Manwichai is a fascinating and diverse diving spot where you can see protected hawksbill and green sea turtles, sharks, and stingrays.

With good visibility of up to 30 metres and a maximum depth of 22 metres, it offers some of the Far Island group’s best diving experiences. The area is vast and intriguing, no matter the conditions.

Dive boats will usually moor first at a rocky outcrop to the northeast of the island. You can easily explore the reef, the Fingers dive site, or navigate to the nearby rock wall and drop off.

The Fingers is shallower, with the rock formations providing cover for groupers, morays, puffers, and bamboo sharks.

So long as there’s no severe surge, you can dive along the wall to a depth of 14 metres. This area is a known magnet for sea turtles, nudibranch, large groupers, and giant starry puffers.

Further on is the drop-off, which is a cruising zone for sharks.

Check out our recommended experience below for more details!

Best Time to go Diving in Pattaya

Regardless of the time of year you decide to visit Pattaya, you’ll have the opportunity to spot various marine life such as Sharks, Seahorses, and Rays.

What’s more, Pattaya truly is a tropical vacation destination and features great diving conditions year-round with consistent water temperatures hovering at around 83 – 87°F. The crystal clear waters will also treat you to brilliant visibility.

Diving aside, you may want to avoid the rainy season from October-December. The high season runs from January to April and offers beautiful weather with very little rain.

How Much Does Scuba Diving Cost in Pattaya?

If you’re looking at booking an experience through a tour company in Pattaya, you’ll find prices between $100-$200. The price includes gear rental so there are no extra fees.

In addition, a PADI Open Water Certification will set you back around $550, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Scuba Diving Gear in Pattaya

Scuba Gear

There are plenty of dive shops situated in the bustling city of Pattaya so renting equipment for your dives is an option.

It’s worth noting, you’re left with one less thing to think about when going with a guided tour operator as all equipment and gear are included.

However, buying your own gear might be ideal for you if you’re a more keen and experienced diver!

Be sure to check out our buyer’s guides if you’re looking for scuba gear. There you’ll find all of our top recommendations for a range of scuba gear, including masks, dive computers, and complete gear packages!

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