In most places around the world, diving is accessible to all levels and experiences. However, one specific dive site may require some special skills. Diving in Phuket, you will find a number of dive sites for beginners.
What makes a dive site suitable for beginners ?
In general, a dive site for beginners has the following features :
- Shallow depths
- Little current
- Buoy line
Indeed, for an introductory dive, the maximum depth (depending on the scuba diving organization) is usually 12m. Open Water students taking their first scuba diving out in the sea are also limited to a similar depth. Later on, for their next training dives, they may reach 18m depth.
Current is both an annoyance and a great source of surprise. By bringing nutrient and plankton to a dive site, the current attracts many wildlife the scuba divers love ! However, for beginners, the current makes it more difficult to control their buoyancy (how they float) and can turn a pleasant dive into quite a workout !
Finally, a buoy line is the last criterion. Buoy lines make it very easy to descend into the Big Blue and to control your depth as you can hold on to the line. Non-anchored dive sites are usually reserved for advanced divers, although as an Open Water student, you will be taught how to proceed for a free descent.
Top dive sites for beginners in Phuket
Koh Racha Yai
South of Phuket, Koh Racha Yai is the biggest of twin tropical islands. On the northern tips, you will find dive sites gradually dropping to a depth of 40 feet onto a sandy seabed. Current is mild to moderate and visibility can reach 25m.
Diving over boulders and gardens of hard corals, Racha Yai is home to schools of both small & large tropical fish such blue line and yellow tail snappers. On the reef, you will spot cuttlefish, moray eels and octopus. As for larger encounters, you may dive with turtles and stingrays.
Koh Phi Phi island
Bida Nok & Bida Nai are the most renowned dive sites of Koh Phi Phi. With an average visibility of 15m, at times exceeding 20m, these shallow limestone dive sites are ideal for beginners. This being said, the current varies according to the tide, from little to strong.
Looking into the crevices of the reef, in between anemones,sea fans and bubble corals, you may find shrimps, nudibranches, harlequin ghost pipe fish and a lot more macro life. On the sandy bottom, you may spot leopard sharks or stingrays.