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Scuba Diving In Surat Thani

 


 

Discover the amazing underwater world of the tropical seas! Scuba diving in Surat Thani (Thailand) is held all year round within the Gulf of Thailand. It offers sites for everyone: snorkels, students wishing to learn scuba diving with certified instructors and experienced divers. With options of shore diving, half day diving from a boat, day boat diving, live aboard diving and private charters Thailand's dive industry offers everything from budget to luxury diving.

 

Scuba diving in Surat Thani

 

Scuba Diving In Surat Thani: General Information

Thailand is a wonderful place for diving. This is due to its geographical position and developed tourist infrastructure and of course the climatic conditions. The Kingdom of Thailand is washed by waters of two oceans, the Pacific ocean - South-Western coast and Indian ocean - South-Eastern coast. If the South West Coast of Thailand has a clearly expressed seasonality (the monsoon season from May to November), in the Gulf of Thailand you can dive all year round. Storm season is considered the second half of November. All other months of the year on the islands of Koh Tao and Koh Samui can be quite easy to dive.

Thailand offers to the experienced divers trips to sunken ships and submarines, diving in freshwater caves in the national park of Khao Sok in Krabi province. Also there are regularly held technical safari diving to sunken ships and planes where depth can reach 90 meters.
Diving in Thailand is very successfully combined with land and sea excursions. If you are in Thailand with friends or relatives who do not dive, then they will also have a lot of ways to stay active and happy! On the coastline snorkeling is very common (especially the islands of Koh Tao, Phi Phi, Koh Lipe), fishing, kite surfing, excursions to marine parks.


As you see - Thailand has plenty to offer for scubadivers with all skill levels and snorkelers. Many suitable for scuba diving in Surat Thani islands are located in the Gulf of Thailand, including the tourist islands Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, as well as the Koh Ang Thong marine national park. That's why in our dive sites review we will narrow description to one area - Surat Thani province.

The islands Koh Samui and Koh Phangan are connected with the mainland by ferries, which mostly start at Don Sak, while the ferries to Koh Tao start at Surat Thani or Koh Samui.

 

Scuba Diving In Surat Thani: Diving Conditions

Gulf of Thailand is a gigantic shallow depression just south of Cambodia. It is roughly 60 m deep with a maximum of 85m. The area boasts 112 islands with countless fringing reefs. The reefs are not as varied as those of the Andaman Sea, but the marine life is still prolific. Nearly any time of the year except November is good weather for scuba diving in Surat Thani area and on the Eastern side of the Gulf of Thailand, where visibility can exceed 40 m. Average visibility is up to 30 m. In November visibility is reduced and the seas are choppy, but diving can still be good by the standards of many other destinations.

But still between May/June until September/October this is the busiest area for diving. Though again through out the year it is possible to dive this area.
It is possible and perfectly comfortable to swim and dive without a wetsuit year round. However, as with most diving, a wetsuit is recommended to help reduce risk of cuts or injury.

As a summary for scuba diving in Surat Thani area and its islands we may conclude the following (it is mostly correct for scuba diving in Andaman sea dive sites as well):

  1. Depth: Depths vary from site to site, but typically don't exceed 36 metres/120 feet;
  2. Visibility: It is generally good throughout the country and averages around 30 metres/100 feet;
  3. Currents: While they can vary, they are usually mild;
  4. Water Temperature: 28-30° C/82-86° F year-round;
  5. Dive Season: The diving is typically good all year, but the Gulf of Thailand is at its peak from May through September while the best diving is from October through April in the Andaman Sea;
  6. Weather: Its tropical Southeast Asia location ensures that Thailand has hot and humid climate year-round. The country is warm and wet during the May to September monsoon, then dries out from November to mid-March. Air temperatures range from 30–35°C/85-95°F;
  7. Acess: You can only reach many of Thailand's best dive sites by boat;
  8. Skill Level: With warm water, clear visibility and relatively shallow depths, the diving here is suitable for all skill levels. This varies with the specific dive site, you need to check with local dive operators;
  9. Scuba Gear: Most dive centers and resorts provide gear rentals, but it’s always good to pack as much of your own gear as possible;
  10. Featured Creatures: Typical Indo-Pacific reef fish and critters are well represented and there's a good chance you will see morays, puffers, triggers and Moorish idols, as well as mantas, leopard sharks and possibly whale sharks

According information from PADI: Scuba Diving in Thailand

 

Scuba Diving In Surat Thani: Marine Flora & Fauna

Underwater flora and fauna of the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman sea impresses by its diversity. Koh Tao has many coral reefs. Usually, this solid coral different kinds of shapes and sizes. Marine life presents whale and reef sharks, whales, tropical fish of all kinds, sailfish, stingrays, barracudas, moray eels, turtles, etc. Near the coast of Andaman sea, especially in the spring time, we may meet manta rays, leopard sharks, lots of turtles, and huge barracudas with the length of two meters. Andaman Sea is dominated by variety of the soft corals.

The Koh Tao dive sites are home to masses of diverse Thailand marine life. Whether you want to dive with sharks, turtles, reef fish, stingrays, snakes and moral eels or even whale sharks, Koh Tao has it all. Plus, if your into underwater photography, there's lots of macro life including nudibranchs, seahorses and sea moths, pipefish and mantis shrimps.

 

Scuba Diving In Surat Thani: Scuba Diving Centres

Koh Tao Divers Silent Divers Scuba Junction The Dive Inn
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Just a few Dive Shops in Surat Thani (Thailand) (click on TripAdvisor icon to read divers' reviews)

 

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Scuba Diving In Surat Thani: The Best Scuba Diving Locations

With more than 1931 kilometres/1200 miles of coast, divers have two main choices: the Gulf of Thailand or the Andaman Sea. Take your pick from a bevy of dive profiles, too: fringing reefs, deep drop-offs, wrecks, walls, caverns, tunnels, pinnacles or open ocean seamounts. The most exciting sites for scuba diving in Surat Thani are located near the Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, and Koh Samui islands.

In our scuba diving Surat Thani dive sites review we mentioned just a few the most famous and visited dive spots, so don't be surprized if you don't find your dive site here!

 

Scuba diving in Surat Thani

Location of the islands with just a few dive sites for scuba diving in Surat Thani province

 

Koh Tao Dive Sites

Chumphon Pinnacle

Located approximately 7 minutes speedboat journey from the north end of Koh Tao, Chumphon Pinnacle is regarded as the best dive site around the island. The best time to visit this place is April through May. The site consists of four interconnected, underwater pinnacles, which start at 14m below the surface and drop down to the bottom at about 36m with water visibility 5-25 meters. Because of the depth of the dive site, Chumphon Pinnacle is suitable for advanced divers and divers that are comfortable in deep water, as there may be strong currents. Whale sharks are often seen at Chumphon Pinnacle as well as barracuda, schools of snapper, fusiliers, batfish, groupers and lots of pink anenome fish in the anenomes covering the top of the pinnacle.

Sail Rock

Approximately 45 minutes speedboat journey north from Koh Samui, between Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, Sail Rock is a pinnacle shaped like an iceberg that rises out of the water creating a fantastic wall dive. Sail Rock is stunning at depths of 5 metres and down to a maximum depth of 40 metres, so it is ideal for beginners and experienced divers alike. There are sometimes relatively strong currents on parts of the site, but the site is big enough for you to dive and avoid the current.

Sail Rock is famous for the vertical "Chimney", which begins at around 16 meters and opens at the top around 6 meters and is great fun to ascend through. Sail Rock is one of the main sites in the area for sightings of whale sharks, but if they aren't around there are always schools of barracuda, large schools of yellow fusiliers, many schooling trevally, giant morays, large groupers, batfish and a great variety of other fish.

 

Koh Phangan Dive Sites


Koh Yippon

One popular diving site closer to Samui is Koh Yippon, located in the far north of the Angthong Marine National Park, a picturesque rocky island covered in tropical trees. Once you peer underwater, you will find plenty of beautiful hard and soft corals, sea anemones and purple barrel sponges, all easy to spot in shallow waters, so this location is excellent to combine snorkeling and scuba diving.
While snorkelers are exploring the exciting small caves and crevices in shallow water, divers can enjoy big schools of fusiliers, large snappers or have a glance under the rocks and corals to find Kuhl's stingrays. There are also some big schools of small yellow-tailed barracuda and lots of blue-ringed angelfish.

As the maximum depth here is about 18m, Koh Yippon is the perfect dive site for inexperienced divers or beginners. One of the biggest advantages of this site is its shelter during the north-east monsoon season, so even if the sea might be a bit rough, Koh Yippon still offers calm areas to enjoy an unforgettable day of diving and snorkeling.

 

Koh Wao

Heading north west from Samui in the direction to the Ang Thong Marine Park, you will reach an island which, from a distance, resembles the shape of a sleeping dragon - Dragon Island (also known as Koh Wao). But it's not just the landscape above the surface that is a piece of natural art. In the shallow and protected bay there are lots of big stone coral boulders surrounded by many different kinds of pelagic reef fish. Diving along the reef to a maximum of 20 metres there is a good chance to see some big snappers, groupers, and a big school of yellow tailed barracuda is always around. Dragon Island is an excellent place for novice divers and people who haven't dived for a while, but even experienced divers will enjoy a relaxing time here in its calm waters with mild currents.

 

Haad Salad

There is a coral reef just 80 meters off the coast of Haad Salad. It offers some of the best diving and snorkeling opportunities in Koh Phangan. There are a few diving operations to choose from in the area. These include Blue Horizon Divers, The Dive Inn and Pirate Divers. For experienced divers Blue Horizon and Dive Inn offer nitrox diving.
There is a mixture of hard and soft corals at Haad Salad to see. Typical marine life in the area includes anglefish, butterfly fish and damsel fish.

There isn't a pier at Haad Salad so if you go on a boat trip it is likely to be from the neighboring beach of Chaloklum. Don't take boats from Haad Salad as they damage the corals as they cross over into the deeper ocean.

For those looking to learn scuba diving or to do a few fun dives Haad Salad is a good option as a base. The local dive shops have small groups, have loads of experience and offer good value for money.

 

Koh Samui Dive Sites

Chaweng Reef

Hard coral reef fringing the north half of Chaweng Beach. This reef is surprisingly lively boasting great diver sity of corals, sponges and anemones as well as the occasional sea fan. It is a nursery for juvenile fish of all types. Schools of young barracudas, jacks and snappers swim along the edge of the reef. Colorful fish such as butterflyfish, angelfish and parrotfish are plentiful. Box fish and pufferfish peek shyly from beneath coral heads. Sting rays and blue spotted rays hide themselves beneath the sand beside the reef.

 

Scuba diving in Surat Thani_Koh_Samui

 

It is the most relaxing dive possible with the best season from March through October and water temperature 28-32 degrees Centigrade. Also there is generally no current. There is no boat ride involved and can be accessed by walking directly off the beach at the southern end of the reef. The duration of the dive is determined only by the desire of the diver and his air supply. You may count average dive time easy from 60 to 90 minutes.
Because of the extremely shallow depth (max depth is 8 meters) the air can easily last over an hour and longer. The only drawback of this dive is the low visibility with its average 5 meters, but because there is plenty of time you will probably see more on this dive than on dives with better visibility.

Dive sites descriptions are based on materials from Asia Dive Site, DIVE INDEEP, Dive The World, The Dive Academy

 

Scuba diving in Surat Thani allows the divers discover all the beauty of underwater world of the tropical seas! The Gulf of Thailand has plenty to offer for everyone - whether you are an experienced or novice diver, or snorkeler. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your dive gear and go meet some whale sharks!

 

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