Diving in Thailand

Thailand is one of the best diving destinations across the World. From the emerald waters of the Andaman Sea to the crystal blue seas that surround the island paradises in the Gulf, diving holidays in Thailand offer a variety of dive sites, diving conditions and the chance to discover a variety of underwater sea life.

If you’re new to diving, then you may want to learn to dive in Koh Tao, renown for its many diving schools, cheap prices and easy dives. Diving schools on Koh Phangan and Koh Samui offer daily trips across to Sail Rock, a dive site famous for its vertical chimneys and the seasonal whale shark sighting. Up north, the island of Ko Samet is a beautiful spot for diving within shallow waters and around the stunning coral reefs.

On the west coast of Thailand, you can dive in Phuket, the archipelago of Koh Phi Phi or explore Koh Lanta. Moving higher north across the country, keen divers can relish the opportunity to dive off the Similan Islands, situated just off the coast of Khao Lak.

Thailand is a true diver’s paradise. From the east to west coast, crystal blue waters welcome world-wide travelers, added to the fact that Thai people are warm and friendly (Thailand is after all called the Land of Smiles), food is cheap and traveling is safe, what’s not to love.

Exploring Thailand

From Khmer-inspired temples of Ayutthaya to the sandy beaches of the gulf islands, not to mention the vibrant energy of its capital, Thailand also offers a variety of landscapes to discover. Bordered by Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), the land of smiles is very easy to get to by bus or flight.

How to get to Thailand?

Thailand has many airports scattered across the country. However, to get anywhere, most flights stopover at Bangkok airport first. You may then fly off to Krabi or Phuket airports to dive around the archipelago of Koh Phi Phi.

Krabi is closest to Koh Lanta on the Andaman coast while Phuket airport would be a better destination to reach the coast of Khao Lak to dive in the Similan Islands.

The quickest way to reach islands in the Gulf is to land in Koh Samui airport and then take a boat to the neighboring islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.

Money and ATMs

Unlike other South-East Asian countries which may accept US Dollar or Euro, Thai Baht is the only used currency in Thailand. You can easily change your home currency into Thai Baht at one of the many foreign exchange counters. In most cases, there is no fixed commission but the exchange rate is usually not in your favor.

Traveler’s checks are accepted in most banks and foreign exchange counters, however most will charge a commission on each check. In all the major tourist places, there are ATMs available. Some take a fixed commission however some don’t. Travelers also need to be aware that your bank may charge commission as well.

Visa and Embassies in Thailand

Most countries can obtain a 30-day visa when arriving at Thailand’s international airports. You may find the complete list of countries on Thailand’s official immigration website.

When arriving via land border, you will only be granted a period of 15 days. If you wish to stay longer, you may apply beforehand for a 60-day visa to a Thai embassy. Find the Thai embassy or consulate closest to you on ThaiEmbassy.org

Health in Thailand

As a tropical country, your worst enemy in Thailand are the mosquitoes. Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes range from dengue to malaria. Needless to say, a strong mosquito-repellent is a must-have. Wearing long sleeves and pants, especially at dawn and dusk, is an easy, chemical-free way to protect yourself from these little annoyances.

Second to mosquitoes, most common annoyances are motorbike accidents. Do not venture past your driving abilities or drive under influence. Most high-standard hospitals are in the major cities (Bangkok, Koh Samui, Phuket). However, you will find clinics near you anywhere in the country. For minor issues, pharmacists are of good advices and can distribute most medications over-the-counter in Thailand.

Thailand Seasons

Best time to visit Thailand is from November to June, summer being the monsoon season for most of the country. However, note that the islands of the gulf such as Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao get most of their rain from November to February.

Temperatures are usually between 28°C (82°F) and 35°C (95°F), although you may encounter lower temperatures if you are hiking in the mountains of northern Thailand. Even though Thailand offers quite a flip-flop & short climate, do pack a sweater or two for air-conditioned bus/trains.