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People head to Phuket for sun, sand and sea. However, for many the prospect of diving in the tranquil sea is more exciting than simple relaxing on the beach. There is some great scuba diving in Phuket and the surrounding area. There are many options depending on whether you are looking for a single day of diving or multiple days upon a liveaboard.
If you want to know where are the best spots for diving in Phuket, then here are our recommendations.
Located in the Similan Islands, Elephant Head Rock is an incredible cave diving experience with plenty of swim-throughs, caves and arches to discover. Given its name because of the rock which resembles the head of an elephant, it has long been considered one of Thailand’s best dive sites. Play in the natural topography and you’ll enjoy spotting a variety of marine and tropical fish and other creatures, including coral sharks, barracuda and snapper.
The Similan Islands are a perfect place to spend a few days on a liveaboard and get some serious diving in.
Shark Point (Hin Musang), a small rock outcropping about 2 hours east of Phuket, is a popular marine sanctuary. Famous for its immense marine life diversity, highlights include vivid soft corals, gorgonian corals, and sea fans that decorate the calcareous plateau. As well as the wide variety of tropical fish and the famous leopard sharks seen on the sandy bottom, this spot and nearby Anemone Reef are perfect for macro life. This is ranked by many as the best scuba diving spot in Phuket.
On 4 May 1997, an 87-metre catamaran ferry, King Cruiser, strayed off course and struck Anemone Reef breaking open one of her twin hulls. In an hour, King Cruiser (aka the Thaitanic) sunk but luckily without any loss of life. Schools of snapper and yellowtail barracuda swarm over the wreck, sheltering against the currents. Frequently seen marine life include lionfish, scorpionfish and porcupinefish.
The King Cruiser used to be an easy dive with its numerous decks, wide-open passages and depths of 16 and 30 metres (50 and 100 feet). However, the wreck’s condition has worsened over the past few years and it has sunk over sections.
Koh Dok Mai is the limestone karst that springs out of the sea and gives your beach pictures a stunning backdrop. And if you thought it was breathtaking from a distance, just wait until you’re closer and underwater. There are a lot of stunning, vibrant corals on each side. The jagged nature of calcareous rock means you’re likely to run into a new species in any crevice you’re exploring.
It’s a small island and easy to navigate your way around. And as it doesn’t take long, it’s a quick, sweet and satisfying dive to include on a trip with other diving locations.
Racha Yai, about 90 minutes by boat south of Phuket, is a stunning tropical island. With lots of rough coral reefs and vibrant shallow-water coral gardens, there’s also a chance for fun and fast drift diving.
There are many excellent dive sites ideal for beginners and for snorkelling. With depths between 2–20 metres and a few small wrecks, this island is a dream destination for everyone. Here you can find lots of sealife from barracuda, lionfish, scorpionfish, damselfish, triggerfish, puffers, moray eels and more. Around the island, there are several dive sites that allow year-round exploring, as you can always dive on the sheltered side on a windy day.
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