Thailand has so much to offer visitors of all types. From the hustle, bustle and culture rich streets of Bangkok to the tranquil waters and picturesque beaches of the Similan Islands, Thailand is a fabulous holiday destination. What most people might not have known is that it is also one of the best scuba diving locations in the world – especially for those on a tight budget.
The recent political unrest has had an understandable impact on Thailand’s tourism numbers and the knock-on effect of this has meant cheaper flights and hotels for travelers who are willing to make the trip to Thailand’s exotic shores. The combination of cheaper holidays and a strengthening Euro/Dollar has meant that there isn’t a better time than now to visit Thailand and get yourself PADI or SSI certified while you are there.
With crystal clear, warm waters and an abundance of exotic marine life, including whale sharks, turtles and beautiful coral reefs, Thailand is a scuba diver’s paradise. You can often pay up to 500 Euros ($700) for the Open Water Diver course in Europe or America, which runs for about four days and is the most popular dive course in the world. In Thailand this same course can cost be as little as 180 Euros ($250) and with average sea temperatures of about 28c (80degrees)
Once you have your Open Water certification, you can go for more advanced qualifications or just go scuba diving for fun. Again, Thailand has some of the cheapest fun diving and liveaboards in the world. You can find fun dives around the island of Koh Tao for as little as 15 Euro per tank – but this is the most exploited diving in Thailand – so only good for a day or two. You can always check to see where the Best Diving In Thailand is.
Liveaboards can be found for all budgets and can last from two days to two weeks. Staying on a boat and diving each day is definitely a good way to expand your diving skills and get a wide variety of dives in during your holiday. A typical three day Similan liveabord trip in Thailand starts at around 300 Euros and will often include multiple destination dives, accommodation and diving equipment.
There are many different dive locations around mainland Thailand and its islands, such as Phuket, Koh Samui and Phi Phi. One of the most recognized is the Similan Islands National Park Diving, a group of small islands in the Phang Nga Province of southern Thailand – just offshore from Khao Lak. There are plenty of spectacular dive sites in this region, with sightings of whale sharks not uncommon. Visibility is around 30 to 40 meters in good weather conditions and the sheer abundance of marine life makes diving there something very special.
Holidays in Thailand are usually associated with relaxing on a beach or hunting a bargain in a busy Bangkok market, but learning to dive in Thailand is something that will make you holiday even more memorable. Scuba diving is a fun experience and will give you skills and memories that will last a lifetime and have a huge impact on where you will want to spend your holidays in the future.