Phuket Liveaboard Diving

Location: Thailand Thailand

Phuket is a world-famous resort island in the south of Thailand. Visitors can take part in many activities, many of which involve the sea. Scuba diving in Phuket is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands tourists each year, and it’s possible to dive in Phuket all year round. It is generally agreed that the best diving in Thailand is on the country’s west coast, just north and east of Phuket. Therefore, with an international airport and millions of tourists arriving each year, Phuket has a well-established scuba diving industry.

Phuket
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What’s the diving in Phuket like?

All year round, there are dive boats around Phuket, most of which are based in the south of the island. From November to May the diving conditions are better due to better and more predictable weather. From June to October, the diving is still good, but the weather and waves can be less pleasant or unpredictable, or both. Water temperatures almost never drop below 26°C, so a 3mm wetsuit is usually adequate. Marine life is varied, healthy and abundant at most dive sites.

Dive Sites in Phuket

Shark Point Phuket is probably the best-known Phuket local dive site. It is just a few hundred metres away from Anemone Reef & King Cruiser Wreck. These three dive sites are between Phuket and Koh Phi Phi, and diving boats come from both islands throughout the high season. The dive site is large and consists of three main pinnacles. As its name would suggest, sharks are often seen there, but nowadays far less than before. Zebra/Leopard Sharks are easily disturbed by divers. And because they're nocturnal bottom dwellers, they try to rest on the sea bed in the day. Divers who get too close cause the sharks to swim away. If there are 100 divers per day, then the sharks have normally disappeared by mid-morning.

 

This is a very popular dive site from Phuket, Phi Phi and Koh Lanta. Some diving liveaboards also visit the King Cruiser as part of a short diving cruise. Although Open Water divers can dive at MS King Cruiser, it’s better to have Advanced certification or at least the 30m Adventure Deep dive. The structure is deteriorating, and it is no longer safe to penetrate the wreck because of potential collapse. Marine life is abundant and diverse, and growing all the time. This dive site gets very busy during the high season, and if visibility is reduced or you don't pay attention, it's easy to lose your buddy or dive guide. This will result in your whole group having to abort the dive.

 

Located between Phuket and Koh Phi Phi, Anemone Reef is one of the best dive sites in the area. It's a large and colourful undersea mount that is covered in hard & soft corals, and sea fans. In among these are thousands of fish, invertebrates and marine reptiles which include turtles and sea snakes. The reef almost reaches the surface and descends down to a sandy seabed around 25 metres deep. Its name is from the hundreds of sea anemones covering the mount, and of course in each is a family of anemonefish. This dive site gets busy in the day time, because of its location and the marine life that covers it. Therefore, if you can dive it from a liveaboard boat in the early morning or at sunset you will probably have the place to yourselves.

 

Koh Doc Mai is a small uninhabited island located nearly half way from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi. It's a great dive site, but one that's often overlooked because of the 'big name' dive sites in the area. However, Koh Doc Mai has plenty to offer all levels of scuba diver. This includes a diverse variety of healthy marine life in all shapes, sizes and colours. Getting there is easy and the scuba diving is excellent all year round.

 

Directly south of Phuket Island are the Racha Islands, which have some good dive sites. On the west coast of Phuket, which is where most tourist beaches are, there is not much diving other than some half-day trips on local longtail boats.

How long are Phuket diving trips?

Most diving from Phuket is done on day trips, which have 2 or 3 dives. These are very popular, but the boats are often very busy. To best enjoy diving around Phuket, joining a short diving cruise enables you to relax and have better diving at the same locations, plus some other dive sites. Phuket liveaboard diving trips normally depart from Chalong or Patong.

Why is Phuket liveaboard diving better than day trips?

A typical Phuket liveaboard diving boatPhuket liveaboard diving may look more expensive than day trip diving, but after you calculate the accommodation and 3+ meals per day, and the extra dives, it’s actually excellent value. But the price isn’t the only reason why diving Phuket from a liveaboard boat is better than joining day trips. Phuket day trips are normally on ‘shared boats.’ These boats are large and some can take 50 divers. The owners of the boats normally can’t find 50 of their own customers every day, and the island has dozens of dive centres - many of whom don’t have boats. Therefore, Phuket day trip diving boats are nearly always full of customers and staff from several companies. The organisation can be bad, especially with all the dive staff trying to get into and out of the water first, either to give their customers the best experience or for other selfish reasons. Phuket liveaboard diving trips are far more relaxed, and rarely full at all. Every diving guest on each trip is part of the same group that joins the trip at the start and continues to the end. Divers do not join late or leave early. Even if some guests are booked by agents, the ‘dive staff team’ on Phuket liveaboard diving boats work as one and do an excellent job. To enjoy the best diving in Phuket, contact us to help you find a short diving cruise.


Conditions at Phuket

Depths
5 - 50 metres
16.4 - 164 ft
Temperature
26 - 29 °C
78.8 - 84.2 °F
Currents
Weak - very strong
Visibility
5 - 30 metres
16.4 - 98.4 ft
Surface
Generally calm during high season

When to dive at Phuket

Best Times: November to April

You can dive all year round in Phuket, but from May to October the Indian Ocean monsoon winds can cause some high and unpredictable waves, plus plenty of rain. November to April are the 'high season' and December to March the best months for sea & weather conditions.

Type of dive site

Coral reef, Wreck Diving, Swim-through, Snorkeling

Phuket is a large island, surrounded by more than a dozen dive sites. Most dive sites are coral reefs, but there is at least one wreck.


Where is Phuket?

Phuket is Thailand's largest island and most-popular tourist resort. It's located in the south of the country on the west coast, in the Andaman Sea.


How to get to Phuket

Getting to Phuket is very easy unless you can only travel by train. There's an airport that has both domestic and international terminals. There's a road bridge linking the island to the mainland, and of course, there are several piers for boats.

Who can dive at Phuket

All levels.

Many people learn to dive around Phuket, as well as those who join 'Discover Scuba Diving' introduction dives. Also, for certified, experienced and professional divers, there are plenty of more exciting dive sites.


What marine life can you see at Phuket?

There's a very wide range of marine life to be found around Phuket. Some of the larger and more-exciting species only come occasionally, and some of the shy species are rarely seen at the busier Phuket dive sites.

You can also see
Click marine life images/links for more details!

Summary of Phuket

Phuket is Thailand's largest island and the most popular tourist destination for international visitors. There are more than ten dive sites around Phuket, all reachable by day trip diving boat. Some are just a few hundred metres from the shore. The best and therefore most-popular dive sites can become very busy during the high season, but many are large enough to accommodate plenty of divers. Diving is possible all year round, and the water is always warm and usually very clear. The corals away from the shore are generally healthy and have plenty of marine life.


Liveaboard Dive Boats That Visit Phuket

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