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Scuba Diving in Thailand Featured

Diving in Pattaya

Scuba diving in Thailand is very popular. Thailand has some reefs and a number of shipwrecks. The number of divers coming to Thailand continues to increase year after year.

The under sea visibility in some places of Thailand is up to 30 metres with coral gardens, undersea rock formations, hard and soft corals, whale sharks, silvertip sharks, manta rays and shipwrecks.

In reality, visibility is often less depending on a number of unpredictable factors such as winds, tides, currents, runoff from rain, proximity to cities, water temperature, underwater activities and more.

History

Diving began in Thailand in 1962. The Thailand Sub Aqua Club was founded by two Thais and an Englishman who had just arrived[. The club was very active and the Minister of Tourism became their patron[. The first ever professional dive centre was opened in Pattaya in 1975 by which time the sport had become well established and the Thailand Sun Aqua Club had its own premises in Pattaya[. Shortly after the popularity of diving for both Thais and foreigners in Thailand increased.

After Pattaya, the next destination to see divers was Phuket and they were soon heading out to dive in the Similan Islands and the rest of the Andaman Sea[ The Similan islands have been ranked as one of the top ten diving sites in the world. Today, diving is popular all over the Andaman Sea, including Tarutao and the Surin islands.

Over on the other side of Thailand in the Gulf of Thailand, Ko Tao (Turtle Island) has recently emerged as the biggest diving destination in Thailand with over twenty major centres located on the island[.

Diving in Thailand statistics

Statistics show that over 200,000 dive tourists visit Thailand a year. From 1999 to 2003 the Similans attained a fivefold increase in the number of visitors, which was just 10,000 increased to 50,000 and most of them were divers. The income grew in that time from 12,000USD to a staggering 500,000USD with foreign divers each spending an average of roughly 1,200USD.

Diving in Pattaya

Undoubtedly, the most popular destination in Pattaya for diving buffs is the Hardeep Wreck which was sunk by the allies in the Second World War. The wreck lies on its starboard side at a maximum depth of 26 m.

Ko Chang Marine National Park Ko Chang It is just one of a total 52 islands in the Marine National Park. Even though the area has previously been victim to man-made wrongs, there is still the chance to enjoy fringing reefs, marine life, a wreck, giant clams and snorkeling.
Hin Kuak Maa has a huge variety of solid and soft corals which are home to the likes of moray eels, blue spotted sting rays, sea turtles, starfish, stonefish and puffer fish.

Hin Luk Bath has turned into one of the most favored dive sites around with its boulder formations which appear from a sandy seabed 15 metres down The way they jut out allows a vast array of corals and barrel sponges. It is also possible to spot angel fish and barracuda.

Hin Rap South is an 18 metre rock pinnacle which can be dived by anyone of every level. It is covered with staghorn corals, barrel sponges and delicate corals. At 200 metres lies a group of rocks known as Blue Mountains which often glow from the sun.

Hin Run Tek with an average depth of 12 m, is a huge rock formation site with a diversity of colorful marine life such parrotfish, wrasse and angelfish.

Diving courses and types

There are four diving companies operating in Thailand offering diving certification, they are:

  • PADI - The Professional Association of Diving Instructors
  • NAUI - The National Association of Underwater Instructors
  • SSI – Scuba Schools International
  • BSAC - The British Sub-Aqua Club
  • TDI - Technical Diving International

Of all the above companies PADI is certainly the most famous. PADI, NAUI and SSI offer diving instruction at every major diving area in Thailand.

The BSAC - The British Sub-Aqua Club offers instruction throughout Thailand.

Out of the entire above diving course location, Ko Tao has turned into the major destination for taking a diving course in Thailand.

Out of all the courses offered in Thailand, the basic Scuba Diver course is the most common.

  • Types of diving in Thailand
  • Snorkelling
  • Free diving
  • Scuba diving
  • Eco diving
  • Wreck diving
  • Night diving
  • Rescue diving
  • Cave Diving
  • Diving with disabilities
  • Technical Diving
  • Rebreather Diving

All of the above types of diving can be experienced in Thailand at all major diving sites except wreck diving, which can be found at The Similans, Ko Phi Phi, Pattaya and Koh Tao.

Of all the types of diving available in Thailand snorkeling and scuba diving are the most popular. Since people are becoming more and more aware of man-made destruction of natural coral etc. the popularity of Eco-diving has been soaring over the past few years.

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