Scuba Diving in Phuket – The Pearl of the Andaman


Located on the western coast of the Thailand Peninsula, with its shores on the warm waters of the Andaman Sea lies the beautiful island of Phuket. The largest island off the coast of Thailand, the island of Phuket covers an area of just over 300 square miles, and is connected to mainland Thailand via a bridge at the north of the island.

For the past 25 years, the island of Phuket has catered for a large number of tourists from all over the world, a large percentage of whom are scuba divers looking to dive on some Asia’s finest dive sites. Today, scuba diving in Phuket is big business, and the island has a large number of excellent dive centres offering a number of diving services ranging from leisure dives through to the most advanced courses.

The Racha Islands, located off the Southern tip of Thailand are one of Phuket’s best dive sites, and the two islands offer excellent diving in crystal clear waters as well as the opportunity for big animal encounters. In particular, the smaller island, Racha Noi, offers some breathtaking underwater scenery, and is renowned for both whale shark and manta ray encounters.

The dive sites off Ao Phang-Nga, including the famous Shark Point and King Cruiser Wrecks, are widely acknowledged as being the best dive sites in the Phuket region. The waters around in and around Ao Phang-Nga are notable for the profusion of marine life, offering divers access to a range of marine one pearl bank showflat life and coral which is unrivalled elsewhere in Phuket.

Phuket is also home to one of the worlds most developed liveaboard industries, with a large number of liveaboards offering diving in destinations such as the Similan Islands, the Mergui Archipelago and the Burma Banks. For scuba divers wishing to dive these more remote destinations, a Phuket liveaboard is the only realistic option for access. As such, the liveaboard industry in Phuket is a thriving and competitive business, with an increasing number of liveaboards operating from Phuket.

Further east lie the islands of Ko Phi Phi Don, and Ko Phi Phi Lae, a region characterised by the stunning topography of the amazing limestone cliffs. These islands are fringed with a number of hard coral gardens, as well as some excellent examples of soft corals, orange sea fans, sea whips and black coral.

Phuket is well deserving of its title as the ‘Pearl of the Andaman,’ and undoubtedly the region boasts some of Thailand’s best dive sites. As environmental issues such as marine conservation slowly work their way up Thailand’s political agenda, the future for scuba diving in Phuket looks a healthy one.

Mark Burns is a Director of Where On Earth, a website offering free travel information on South Africa  for backpackers, tourists and scuba divers alike.



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