Scuba Diving Phuket

Scuba Diving Phuket: The Complete Diver’s Guide

Fine white sands and glistening seas border the thriving, atmospheric towns and buzzing nightlife available in Phuket. Known as one of the world’s finest beach destinations, Phuket really is one for the bucket list traveler.

Thailand’s largest island is full of attractions and activities to suit every visitor. Whether you’re looking to island-hop around the many surrounding tropical islands or indulge your senses in the eclectic dining options, there’s something to please everyone.

Let’s not forget, being one of the finest beach destinations in the world, some great scuba diving options come along with that! Scuba diving Phuket offers warm, crystal clear blue waters and unrivaled 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 Phuket

What’s Good About Phuket Diving?

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

Value!

Let’s not beat about the bush. It’s well-known in the diving world that Thailand offers some of the best and cheapest diving in the world. You simply can’t find value like this anywhere else.

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

Phuket sits in the Andaman Sea and is surrounded by many smaller tropical islands. This offers a universe of different underwater landscapes and topographies to discover and explore.

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 Phuket. The warm waters attract an abundance of beautiful, vibrant marine life that’s sure to please the eyes.

Phuket Scuba Certification

Scuba Certification

In general, you aren’t required to be certified in order to scuba dive on Phuket. 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 Phuket 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.

If you’re looking to get scuba certified during your trip to Phuket, there are many options for courses and dive schools to choose from. Check out our recommended PADI open water dive course package below for more details.

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.

Phuket Scuba Diving Requirements

Scuba Diving Safety

Phuket 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 Phuket, 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 Phuket

Phuket offers plenty in the way of a luxury beach destination and party island. A real bucket list destination among travelers. Diving is one of its best traits, too. Here are some of our favorite Phuket dive sites.

Sirinat National Park

Phuket Dive

The marine environment of the national park, established in 1981, is diverse and contains many of the most untouched coral reefs found in the Phuket region.

The reefs descend to a depth of four to seven metres. Among the species to be seen are soft corals, plate corals, tree corals, sea fans, and anemones.

A popular diving spot is off Koh Waeo island, where the water plays host to sea turtles, parrotfish, porcupine fish, barracuda, and Anemonefish made famous by the Nemo movies.

Also nearby is the incredible Stone Coral Garden, an aquatic playground for fish, and the Tin Mining Wreck that lies in 15 meters of water. The wreck provides fantastic photo opportunities for underwater photographers wishing to capture lionfish, batfish, flatheads, and blue-spotted rays.

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

Racha Noi

Phuket Manta

Along with Racha Yai below, Racha Noi was severely affected by coral bleaching a decade ago. Though both are recovering and some way from their former glory, Racha Noi is faring the better of the two.

That said, there are both excellent diving experiences. There is no shortage of dive boats heading to Racha Noi in the peak diving season between October and May. As it is an extra 40 minutes out, Racha Noi is less busy than Racha Yai. Often, Racha Noi has better visibility and can reach down to 30 meters or more.

The water tends to be colder here but offers the greatest chance of seeing manta rays on a Phuket dive center day trip. The sweet spot for rays is between January and April. However, their favorite hangout is the South Tip. But this is rarely dived due to the strong currents and the depth.

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

Racha Yai

Shipwreck

Being the closest to Phuket, Racha Yai is naturally the top diving spot as it takes less than 30 minutes to reach by speedboat from Chalong Bay.

The dive is popular with novice and beginner divers as there is plenty of marine life to see. The water is calm with good visibility, so it has broad appeal even for more experienced divers who haven’t got wet for a while.

Racha Yai is also the resting place of several small shipwrecks. The favorite among the small wrecks in the area is that of the Harruby, which came to grief on the island’s east side.

The price of its accessibility and wide appeal is that Racha Yai can become quite crowded during peak times.

The coral and resident marine creatures are best in the shallow waters. The island’s eastern side is where the calmest waters are found as it has the best visibility, which is typically around 20 meters or more.

Check out our recommended experience below for more details!

Best Time to go Diving in Phuket

Regardless of the time of year you decide to visit Phuket, you’ll have the opportunity to spot various marine life such as Whale Sharks, Seahorses, Manta’s, Dolphins, and Turtles.

What’s more, Phuket 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 Phuket?

If you’re looking at booking an experience through a tour company on Phuket, you’ll find prices between $100-$150. The price includes gear rental so there are no extra fees.

In addition, a PADI Open Water Certification will set you back around $400, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Scuba Diving Gear in Phuket

Scuba Gear

There are plenty of dive shops situated on the bustling party island of Phuket 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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