The Andaman sea is one of the most diverse seas on planet earth, so it is a really popular destination for both scuba diving and snorkeling.
On a good day and with a bit of luck you can see some really varied marine creatures, such as harlequin shrimp, stone fish, lion fish, manta rays, whale and black tip sharks.
There are many reefs and islands to be explored on boat day trips or if you want to go further and extend your diving trip, live aboard boat trips are plentiful too.
The visibility and conditions when you dive are usually very good in Phuket. The clear blue waters are best from November to May and visibility is usually best at the start of the dry season, beginning in November, and it can be as clear as 40m or 130 ft.
Water temperatures range from between 26 to 29°C on the surface and at their highest during May and June. Scuba diving courses are very popular and there is something for everyone, whether you are a total beginner or an experienced diver wishing to upgrade your skills, Phuket is a great place to take diving courses.
However, if you just want to have fun and go for recreational dives, that is no problem either, it depends on what you want to accomplish on your trip.
On the day trips, there is a wealth of excellent dive spots in the waters just off Phuket and they are just a short boat journey away.
Some people hire their own equipment and charter a boat, or another option is to go on a regularly scheduled day trip or live aboard with a dive operator.
Day boats go out every day and they will pick you up early from your hotel, provide you with lunch, brief you on what to expect and they will take you to dive sites that are usually closer than some of the live aboards. These boats will then come back to the pier in the evening.
Live aboard vessels provide a much greater range of destinations by being self-contained and travelling overnight. Live aboard trips can range from two to ten days and travel to dive sites like Phi Phi, King Cruiser, anemone reef and places as far away as India’s Andaman Islands. Other favoured destinations are the renowned Similan Islands, the Surin Islands and the Burma Banks.
A particular favourite is Phi Phi island, which is also known for its stunning beaches, luxurious hotels/villas and fire dancers on the beach.
At Phi Phi, the waters are so blue and clear and on the surface you can see right through to the sea bed.
Snorkeling is amazing at this location as the visibility is so clear and scuba diving is also popular here.
The live aboard trips will usually take you over to Phi Phi from the main boat, on a speed boat. This means you can explore, go for a walk in the amazing surroundings or relax and watch the fire dancers on the beach.
The Similan Islands are only open for diving 6 months of every year, due to the fact it is a national wildlife park and conservation area. It takes days to get there on a boat (usually a four-day trip) but if you decide to go you will not be disappointed. Divers usually love to go to the Similan’s because they will see marine life that is rare on other dive sites. These can be anything from manta, eagle and shovelnose rays, hawksbill turtles, sea horses to octopus, parrotfish and scorpion fish. Divers that are particularly interested in their naturalist dive speciality go to the Similan’s.
Whatever you want to do, dive for fun, train as a diver or push your training onto the next level, there really is something for everyone.