Thailand

TIPS FOR THAILAND AND PHUKET

THAILAND FOR DIVERS

Thailand is one of the easiest countries to visit when it comes to diving. The Andaman Sea on the west coast is warm and famous worldwide for some of its dive sites. In the best spots you can see Manta rays or Whale sharks circling beautiful soft corral pinnacles. Turtles and leopard sharks are a familiar sight also.

The beautiful island of Phuket is right in the middle of the west coast and surely the best place to start your diving adventures as you can cover all the dive sites from here. Daytrips destinations are found south and liveaboards depart to all directions. Several big scuba warehouses sell top notch equipment and you can even get a tailor made wetsuit.

Best known liveaboard destinations are the Similan & Surin islands northwest from Phuket. Also in the South there is a fantastic liveaboard route going all the way to Hin Daeng. Also the magnificent Myanmar trips can be joined from Phuket. 

Best time to dive is from November to April. During summertime the monsoon winds stop the diving.

There are direct flights to Phuket from all over Europe and several daily flights to Thailand's capitol Bangkok. Phuket is also connected to the mainland by a bridge enabling bus connections to all mayor cities in the country.

For EU and US citizens no visa is required, you will be given a 30 day arrival stamp at the airport. After this you have to either apply for a 30 days extension in the Phuket Immigration office or leave the country. Beforehand you can also apply for 2-3 month tourist visas in your home country's Thai consulate. If you have any questions about this please contact us, we would be glad to help.

WATERS OF THAILAND

Seawater temperature in Thai waters stays between 27 – 30 celsius and a 3mm shorty wetsuit will be enough to keep you warm. You can also dive in just shorts and a rash guard. Visibility underwater varies from dive site to another, the more faraway they are from the mainland the more clear it is. Specially in the Similans we can reach 40 meter visibility, whereas sometimes by the beach visibility drops below 10 meters. In Myanmar water temperatures sometimes drop down to 25 celsius and then we recommend using 5mm suit and a hood.

Many dive sites are affected by currents due to the tide. On low tide and high tide the current is basically non-existing and this is the time when we aim to dive. There is no need to fight the current, we like to relax and drift along enjoying the scenery.

There are no directly dangerous fish here that might straight up attack you unless you harass them. For example there is no need to be afraid of sharks or octopus. Small damselfish might come and bite you if you go too close to their nesting place, but this does not hurt at all. Triggerfish can harm you with punches and bites, but only if you swim over them during their nesting season. Scorpion fish and lionfish have painful poisoned spines. Sea urchins also have spines but they are not poisonous, will hurt for 5 minutes though. Some of the coral like Fire coral can also burn you. One of the most important rules in diving in Thailand is not to touch anything underwater.

All the dives we conduct are non-decompression dives and we go by standard safety rules set by PADI and diving computer companies. Maximum time per dive is around 60 minutes / 50 bar and maximum depth is up to the diver's certification level.

CELEBRATIONS IN THAILAND

FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

Loi Krathong or Festival of Light is beautiful celebration in November to welcome the new winds. Monsoon season ends and it starts to get more sunny. Winds slow down and the seas get calmer. Locals gather in the evening time by the beaches and piers to send out flying lanterns to the skies and floating candles to the sea as a gift to the gods. It is a spectacular sight that should not be missed. In Phuket the biggest happening is by the piers in Chalong and Phuket Town. On many years street kitchens open up for this day and local bands come out and play free gigs.

CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR

Christmas does not really effect Thailand, it is only celebrated in expat restaurants and resorts. One can find a special Christmas menu either Scandinavian style on the 24th or English style on the 25th depending on where the owners are from.

New Year's Eve is a big party everywhere, especially in Patong where they fire hundreds of fireworks and dance all night. A good place to see all the fireworks starting 11 PM is the Big Buddha hill. Or by the beaches if you want to get real close.

SONGKRAN

Biggest festival of the year is the Thai New Year or water festival Songkran. The hot season ends and rainy season starts. Locals and tourists celebrate this with the biggest water war on the planet! Water guns are sold everywhere and people bring buckets to the street so that they can make everyone wet! Beware some put ice in their buckets! This is one of the must-do parties in the world and we hope to see you join us in Chalong for this massive fiesta!

WHAT TO DO IN PHUKET

WEEKEND MARKET

Every weekend a huge market is help near Central Festival mall right in the middle of Phuket's busiest area. Although mostly visited by locals, travelers fit in well (tall people might have problems). You can find a hundred different kinds of food even if some of it looks like you are not meant to eat it. Be brave and test everything you find! Also they have the islands best Mojitos, second hand clothes where you can also leave your oldies and endless maze of small shops. Remember to bargain! Open every Saturday and Sunday 17 - 22.

ACTIVITIES

One can also find all kinds of activities for the non-diver too. There's kayaking, supping, karting, paintball, kitesurfing, horse riding, bungee, jungle treks, culture, temples, malls, spas and the list goes on! If you have the energy to do it all you won't get bored!

WHERE TO STAY

Phuket is a huge island with many different areas, mainly divided into different beaches. Most often people take a hotel in these well built areas: Kata, Karon, Patong tai Chalong. From here we also pick you up for free for every trip.

KATA & KARON & PATONG

Kata and Karon are quite similar, two family-friendly beaches with many hotels, restaurants and services. The beaches are really long and great for swimming. Patong on the other hand is the most famous and infamous of all the areas. Here people come to party party through the night. Patong also has a couple of big shopping malls.

CHALONG

Chalong Bay is the place for diver. Biggest equipment stores are here and the pier where all the daytrips depart. In our opinion the best bars and saunas are also here. If you wish to stay in Chalong or need a discount coupon for one of the big stores please contact us!

PHUKET TOWN

The only town or city on the island is very local, almost no tourists stay here. There is an old town in the centrum with colonial style buildings, many shopping areas (Phuket Plaza and Robinson), the bus station and cheap backpacker hostels.

OTHER BEACHES

Kamala, Surin, Laguna, Bang Tao, Nai Yang and Mai Khao are up north and quite far away from anywhere. They mostly have resorts. Unfortunately if you stay here and wish to join a daytrip or a course we will have to add a little transportation fee to the price. Coming to the pier may take an hour.