Scuba Diving in Phuket – Day Trip Dive Sites
Phuket has an impressive variety of day trip diving available, and the marine life is truly outstanding. There are dive sites for all levels of diver and to suit all tastes from easy shallow reef dives to wreck and wall dives. Racha Yai is perfect for training or gentle drift dives, while Racha Noi further south has some dive sites with deeper waters and currents – it’s not uncommon to find Manta rays there. Shark Point & Anemone Reef offer colourful soft corals and leopard sharks. The King Cruiser Wreck adds spice to our menu, while Phi Phi is within reach of a day trip, and can also be dived on a short liveaboard. Here’s an overview of the best scuba diving sites around Phuket.
Koh Racha Yai
Racha Yai, about 90 minutes by day trip boat South of Phuket is a beautiful tropical island with plenty of hard coral reefs, colourful shallow water coral gardens, and a great opportunity for some enjoyable and easy drift diving. There are several excellent dive sites suitable for the beginner and for snorkeling, with depths from 2 – 20m, and even a couple of small wrecks making this island a favourite destination for everyone. Plenty of life here including lionfish, scorpionfish, barracuda, damselfish, puffers, triggerfish, moray eels and more. There are several dive sites around the island which allow year round diving as you can always dive on the sheltered side on a windy day.
More Information – See Racha Yai Island
Koh Racha Noi
Racha Noi, another 45 minutes South of Koh Racha Yai, offers some truly spectacular dive sites with giant underwater boulders, great visibility and scenery almost like the Similan Islands. Currents here can be strong, and some of the dives are recommended for advanced divers only. There is deep water around the island, so you often see large pelagic visitors such as barracudas, eagle rays, marbled stingrays and there is a chance of encounters with manta rays. But there are also shallow areas and sheltered bays, so the island is suitable for all levels of diver.
More Information – See Racha Noi Island
Shark Point (Hin Musang), a small rock outcropping about 2 hours East of Phuket, is a famous marine sanctuary due to its tremendous variety of marine life. Particular attractions you should look out for are the colourful soft corals, gorgonian corals and sea fans decorating the limestone pinnacle, the great range of tropical fish and the famous leopard sharks, often to be found resting on the sandy bottom. This site and the neighbouring Anemone Reef are also good for macro life. Many people’s favourite site for scuba diving in Phuket.
More Information – See Shark Point Dive Site
This submerged reef, located not far from Shark Point is similar in character and you will be amazed at the extensive fields of sea anemones covering the shallower areas of the reef. Harmless leopard sharks are also to be found together with some massive schools of smaller fish and some larger pelagics such as tuna, jacks and barracudas which come to hunt the small fish that try to seek shelter here.
More Information – See Anemone Reef Dive Site
King Cruiser Wreck
On May 4th 1997 King Cruiser, an 87m catamaran ferry, strayed off course and hit Anemone Reef ripping one of her twin hulls open. King Cruiser (aka the Thaitanic) sank within an hour, thankfully with no loss of life. Schools of snappers and yellowtail barracuda swarm over the wreck, sheltering from the (sometimes quite strong) currents. Lionfish, scorpionfish and porcupinefish are other commonly seen residents. With it’s multiple decks, great open passages and depths between 16 and 30 meters (50 to 100 feet) the King Cruiser used to be a fairly easy dive. In the last few years however the condition of the wreck has deteriorated and it has collapsed in places. There is now very little shelter from the currents in shallow parts and we recommend this site only for Advanced certified divers with recent diving experience.
More Information – see King Cruiser Wreck Dive Site
Koh Doc Mai
This small, jungle topped limestone island lies halfway between Shark Point and Phuket. It provides some of the best wall diving in the area with sea fans, soft corals and colourful sea life decorating its underwater cliffs. Look out for white eyed morays, nudibranchs and rarities such as seahorses and ghost pipefish. Depths from 5-25m make this a perfect multilevel dive. There are also several caverns on the East side – don’t go too far in without special training. Most often dived as a 3rd dive of a 3 dive day after the King Cruiser and Shark Point or Anemone Reef.
More Information – See Koh Doc Mai