Phuket is sometimes known as the center of diving in Thailand, and is listed as one of the top diving vacation destinations. You can access a number of dive sites from Phuket, all being suitable of a wide range of diving abilities
Rocky reefs and forest of corals make Racha Yai a colorful and lively dive site to explore. For wreck diving in Phuket, head to Ter Bay dive site which is home to a 25-meter deep shipwreck.
Most experienced divers will visit Racha Noi for deep diving in Phuket. With its strong currents, it is also a perfect spot to experience drift diving.
From Phuket, you also can gain access to further dive sites near the Koh Phi Phi archipelago or a diving day-trip to the Similan Islands off the Koh Lak coastline.
Phuket Diving schools
As a major diving destination, there are a large selection of diving schools in Phuket. From small backpacker-oriented dive centers and luxury dive schools, right through to family-oriented dive centers, you will find one that caters to your needs.
Most offer PADI diving certifications or similar diving organizations. From the first level Open Water Diver to professional training (Divemaster and Instructor), dive safaris in the Similian Island, there are many options to choose from. If you are new to scuba diving, the warm waters of Phuket are an excellent spot to try an introductory dive in Thailand.
How to get to Phuket
As a major tourist destination of the Andaman Sea, Phuket offers everything you may wish for. On this 48 km-long island, Thai and western cultures co-exist providing a large array of choices from quiet beaches, night long beach parties, through to local Thai restaurants and western fast food chains.
As one of Thailand’s best diving destinations, Phuket is the place to discover scuba diving or sail away on a dive safari around the Similan islands.
Most tourists arrive directly at Phuket International Airport, most likely from a stopover in one of Asia’s airports (Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok or Singapore to name a few).
Local low-cost airlines such as Air Asia and Nok Air offer cheap domestic flights from Bangkok to Phuket. Flight tickets to Phuket may cost between 1000THB and 2000THB.
From Bangkok, you may take a 13-hour night bus all the way to Phuket. Bus tickets may cost between 700THB and 1000THB. If opting for the train instead (about 700THB one-way), be aware that you will need to stop in Surat Thani and hop onto a minivan for a 6-hour ride to Phuket.
Accommodation in Phuket
The prices and quality of the accommodation vary greatly depending on the district you wish to reside. Hotels in Phuket Town offer the cheapest rates, but are not directly on the beach. Hotels on Patong beach tend to cater most to the backpackers tribe, with room rates starting from 400THB (10 Euros) upwards.
Guesthouses and budget hotels dotted elsewhere in Phuket start at 800THB (15 Euros), whereas proper hotels and resorts usually start around 3000THB (80 Euros).
If you are planning on staying over a week, you may want to consider renting a villa in Phuket.
In all cases, you will obtain better rates when booking during the low-season.
Cost of living in Phuket
LIke most things, prices will be slightly higher than on the mainland. A cheap meal costs around 40THB-100THB. Mid-range restaurants serving western food will generally charge 200-300THB for a meal. Local beers (Chang & Singha) usually cost about 50THB a bottle.
Songthaew mini buses are usually the cheapest way to get around Phuket, with a fixed rate of 30THB to head to the beach. Motorbike taxis are faster and cost 50THB in town, but up to 150THB in the beach areas. Tuk-tuk are the most expensive, and the price depends on your bargaining skills. Expect to pay about 300THB for a ride to the beach.
Others activities in Phuket
The majority of activities in Phuket revolve around the sea. From scuba diving and kite-surfing, through jet-skiing. You can rent a jet-ski from vendors directly on the beach or hop on a boat for a day-trip snorkeling in the Andaman Sea.
However, if sunbathing and sipping on cocktails is not your thing, you may try bike riding through the island or for the more adrenaline inclined traveler, trying out Muay Thai, the national martial art maybe more your thing.