Travel Phuket

Tourist information for Phuket, Thailand

Diving & Snorkeling in Phuket

Travel Phuket

World-renowned diving and snorkeling sites surround Phuket, unveiling an unparalleled underwater playground. Clear topaz water, white sand, and abundant, curious marine life beckon diving enthusiasts from around the world.

Snorkeling

The most interesting snorkeling sites in Phuket tend to be along the west coast, as well as along the shores of the smaller outlying islands Racha Noi and Racha Yai, which have the greatest variety of marine life, and better visibility.

Snorkelers can rent snorkeling equipment from Phuket dive shops that recommend some excellent snorkel tour operators, like Offspray Leisure or Oi's Longtail.

Diving

For those wanting to use Phuket as their central headquarters, several sites are perfect for day trips. The following are some of the best dive sites around Phuket.

Anemone Reef

Just north of Shark Point, this unique dive site lives up to its name, and is completely covered in anemones. Visitors will delight in the parade of colorful tropical fish seeking shelter and food in and around the reef. The Thai name for this reef is Hin Jom, or Underwater Rock. The reef is a well-known ship hazard because it's completely submerged, dropping off sharply to a depth of 20 to 27 meters.

King Cruiser Wreck

The most recent addition to the Anemone Reef, the King Cruiser Wreck is a genuine, real-life shipwreck for divers to explore.

While on a routine crossing to the Phi Phi Islands in May 1997, the passenger ferry, King Cruiser, strayed off-course and hit Anemone Reef. It now rests at a depth between 12 and 30 meters, perfect for underwater explorers, and a protective home to various fish and crabs.

Koh Dok Mai

On the way to Shark Point from Phuket is the small, jungle-topped island of Koh Dok Mai. A chunk of limestone rising steeply out of the sea, three sides of the island are sheer rock face, with interesting and varied life occupying every crevice and nook. The west side of the island is a coral reef covered in marine life, underwater cliffs, and a much gentler slope. This site is known for the variety of tropical fish and Moray Eels that call it home.

Phi Phi Islands

Easily reached from Phuket, the Phi Phi Islands offer top-shelf, stunning views, both above and below the water. From the surface, gigantic emerald monoliths rise from the sea to heights over 500 meters.

Below, the soft limestone has created one of the most dramatic, fascinating diving experiences in the world, with underwater caves, overhangs and swim-throughs, as well as vertical walls plunging to over 25 meters. Soft coral and creatures cling to these walls, along with orange-colored fans, black coral, and long, stringy sea whips.

The Phi Phi Islands are a concentration of many remarkable dive sites in one area. Just off the southern tip of Ko Bida Nok (the smallest island) is one of the most popular sites, while in a shallow bay on the eastern side of the island, fields of stag horn and star corals, along with their colorful tenants, are visible.

Some of the most interesting and unique corals live exclusively in the waters around the Phi Phi Islands, most notably a one meter-high white coral bush resembling a Christmas tree, with ornaments.

Phuket West Coast

Phuket’s west coast provides some interesting, easy dive sites in shallower water of about 5 to 6 meters, ideal for beginners or training.

Patong Bay Freedom Beach, Paradise Beach, and Bangtao Beach near the airport are all easily reachable from shore, making them ideal for snorkeling as well.

Kata provides one of the best locations right off the beach in a narrow strait separating Ko Po, the small islet in the middle of the bay. Alternately, try the rocky point at the north end of the bay, where a coral reef barely breaks the surface at low tide, running parallel to the beach. Colorful reef fish and the occasional harmless Whitetip Reef Shark dart in and around the coral.

Racha Noi

Racha Noi offers experienced divers a more isolated and challenging location, with greater depths and stronger currents than its sister island, Rachai Yai.

A fantastic deep-dive location, Manta rays and whale sharks swim amongst the large underwater boulders. The northern tip of the island provides the opportunity for a multi-level dive along a large pinnacle, where it's common to see reef sharks and stingrays.

A large rock formation surrounded by deep water off the southern point sets the stage for some spectacular scenery. On the southwest side, divers will see various interesting reef fish swimming in and about a wooden shipwreck.

Note: Due to the potential for strong currents, many of the dive shops will only bring divers with advanced certification to this location.

Racha Yai

Diving here is excellent year-round, but visibility varies depending on the season. The north end of the island has two picturesque, small bays with deep, clear water and colorful coral. A gradual slope to the sandy seabed 40 feet below makes this a great location for diving or snorkelling.

The best diving at Racha Yai is off the east coast, where the current allows a drift dive along a rocky slope covered in hard coral. The area's nutrient-rich water brings large schools of tropical fish to the area.

Diving certification

For visitors who want to become certified divers or earn a more advanced certification, Phuket has a number of dive shops that offer PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) and NAUI (National Association of Underwater Instructors) courses. In addition to the basic open-water courses, specialty courses are available for Night Diving, Rescue Diving, and Underwater Photography, as well as courses up to Instructor level.