Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get to Phuket?
Phuket, Thailand has an international airport with direct flights to/from Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Hong Kong and many other Asian cities. Between November and April there are charter flights from many European cities as well. Some international flights arrive via Bangkok. Thai Airways and many other airlines offer direct flights from Bangkok – about 20 per day. There are also flights from Koh Samui, Chiang Mai and other towns in Thailand. Buses in Thailand are pretty good and there are regular services to Phuket from all major towns. Please note that there are no train lines anywhere near Phuket.
Do I need a Visa for Thailand?
Visitors from most Western Countries including Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand are granted a 30 day stay on arrival. Other nationals are required to produce a tourist visa and should contact a local Thai consulate for details. Visa regulations for long stay visitors change regularly. For more detailed visa information try the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs web site.
Transportation from the airport?
Phuket International Airport is located about 45 minutes – 1 hour North of the major Beach centres (Karon, Kata, Patong and Kamala). There is a shared minibus service operating for about 180 Baht per person or a private taxi for about 1000 Baht per car. Your hotel may also have a transfer service, though hotels do normally charge a premium. On request, Sunrise Divers can arrange a private taxi from the airport to our office or your hotel for 1200 Baht (max 3 people), or if you have a group we can arrange a minibus for 2000 Baht. From the airport to Karon beach normally takes at least 1 hour.
Where is Sunrise Divers?
Our dive shop / booking office is located at Karon Plaza, a quiet square just a few minutes walk to Karon Beach, and also not far from Kata beach. You can find us very easily on Google Maps. Our high season opening hours are from 9am to 6pm (almost) every day. From May – October, we open shorter hours, about 10am – 4pm and will close on weekends.
How do I contact Sunrise Divers?
The best way to contact us is by email at [email protected] – we check incoming mail regularly and promise to respond as quickly as possible. To check availability for any Thai liveaboards, you can use our quick enquiry form or click the enquiry button on any liveaboard schedule. You can also telephone our hotline during normal working hours, just remember that Thailand time is GMT + 7 hours. If you must send us anything by post, please use the address at the bottom of the page.
Where can I change money?
Thailand’s currency is the Thai Baht and can be exchanged on arrival at Phuket airport. The current exchange rate towards the US$ is approx. 34 Baht, rate to the Euro 38 Baht, but can change quickly. Banks, currency exchanges, ATM machines and major hotels provide currency exchange services at Phuket’s major beach centers. Credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in Thailand. You can pay with credit card to book with us online or at our shop. There are multiple ATMs and banks within a few minutes of our shop.
Where can I stay in Phuket?
If you are diving during the day and coming back to Phuket for your night’s entertainment and rest, there are many different types of accommodation to choose from, ranging from basic fan bungalows and guesthouses for 500-800 Baht (approx. US$ 12-15), through air-con guesthouse/hotels for 900-1,500 Baht (US$20-40) up to resort hotels for 5,000+ (US$ 150+). Prices can change dramatically with the season.
What about the weather?
From November to April is Phuket’s dry season and Sunrise Divers runs a full program of liveaboards, PADI courses and day trips. You can expect an average water temperature of 29C/85F, sunny weather and calm seas during most of this time. In the “low” season, May – October, we run a full program of PADI Courses and Daytrips, and there are occasional liveaboards.
There are many sunny days in the “low” season and showers can last a day or two, but normally little more than 2-3 hours. Expect temperatures like in the dry season, but occasional rough seas during this time. Hey, it’s the weather, we can’t predict exactly. You can get rainy days in high season too!
Should I worry about my health?
You should take the normal precautions, like on any other journey. Malaria prophylaxis is not necessary. Phuket has 3 excellent International hospitals and 3 recompression chambers in case you should need medical help. We are a member of the SSS Recompression Chamber Network who operate a chamber at Phuket International Hospital.
If you are thinking of diving during your stay in Thailand, check that your travel insurance covers scuba diving. We also highly recommend that every diver has travel and cancellation insurance. We recommend DAN or Dive Assure for diving insurance. Or you can make a payment when booking of 250 Baht per day to cover you for the number of days you dive when booking with us.
How long do I need to wait before flying after diving?
Latest recommendation is that you wait at least 18 hours before boarding a commercial flight if you have been making multiple dives or multiple days of diving. Read more here:
What is a liveaboard?
Many divers have only every done day trips or shore dives, so a liveaboard might seem daunting. 4 days on a boat? 4 dives per day? Sleeping on a boat? Yes! Liveaboard life is the best way to dive! Dive, eat, sleep! And you get to meet a bunch of other divers and spend time with them and get to the best dive sites that you cannot reach on day trips. More information – read What is Liveaboard Diving?
Where can I leave excess luggage when I go on a liveaboard?
We are happy to look after luggage or valuables for you, or you can ask at your hotel. You don’t need to carry too much on a liveaboard – cabins are not the same size as a hotel room! We are also happy to look after your diving equipment if you are travelling after your Phuket scuba diving trip. We can also arrange for equipment service.
What is included in the Liveaboard prices you quote?
The prices as quoted on the individual boat pages are not all inclusive. If you have any doubts as to what you are paying for, please ask! We assure you there are no hidden costs waiting for you. Note that some prices may change due to exchange rate fluctuations between the Baht and US dollar or Euro. You pay the price quoted when you book even if the operator later increases the trip price. The exception to this is fuel surcharges which may be added or increased due to the ridiculous price of oil these days!
Can I rent diving equipment?
All our listed prices for liveaboards and day trips are quoted not including rental equipment, since many divers have their own dive gear. A full set of well maintained diving equipment (including BCD, regulator, shorty wet suit, mask, snorkel and full foot fins) can be rented from our office on Karon Beach at 500 Baht per day. Please let us know your sizes, or preferably, come to our shop where you can try the equipment before your trip. Suunto dive computers can also be rented at 250 Baht/day.
What type of tanks and valves are on the boats?
All boats carry 12 litre aluminium tanks with yoke type K-valves. If you have a DIN regulator, check with us – some boats can provide a DIN tank, or you can bring an adaptor, or rent/buy one here. We can provide 15 liter tanks on request, normally a small extra fee. Nitrox is available on almost all boats, price varies from boat to boat.
What thickness wet suit should I bring?
The water temperature varies during the year from 26-30 Celsius. It’s not cold. Most divers here use a 3mm suit, and our rental suits are mostly 3mm shorties, but we do also have some long suits. For some divers a lycra body suit may be enough, while a 5mm suit is also fine – just don’t get too hot in the sun.
Can I charge torches/camera batteries/phones on board a liveaboard?
All boats have plenty of electric outlets (220V) for charging camera and torch batteries. Note that dive lights are included in most trip prices, or are rented on board for a small fee but you are welcome to bring your own. Some boats may have underwater cameras for rent.
What plugs and sockets are used in Thailand?
There is some variety in plugs used in Thailand. Most common are 2 pins, with either round or flat pins. Some plugs are 3 round pins. You’ll probably need an adaptor. You can find a photo and more info on our blog : Thai Plugs.
I am booking as a single diver – do I have to share a cabin?
The short answer is Yes. All prices are based on shared cabins. If you want a private cabin for one person, you must pay a higher price. The exact charge varies from boat to boat, but is often not much less than double price. You can ask us for details if you want a private cabin for yourself. Also, if you are a single female diver, there is not always a guarantee that we can find another single female to share a cabin with you. This varies from boat to boat.
Can a non diver go on a Thai diving liveaboard?
Non divers/snorkelers can go on any liveaboard, but remember that these are dive boats and so will not always visit the best snorkeling spots. Price for a non diver is usually the diver price less 10%, but some boats have lower rates for non divers. Snorkeling opportunities may be limited, some of the best dive sites are in deep water with no shallow reefs.
I’ve lost/forgotten my certification card – can I still dive?
If you have a PADI certification, we can look up your details on the PADI web site. All we need is your name and birthday. If you contact the dive center where you were certified, they can help you obtain a new card before you travel. If you are not PADI certified, please contact the training agency that you used to request proof of certification. If you come here and have no certification card and no logbook, we reserve the right to not allow you to dive.
What else can I do in Phuket?
There are many options for day trips and adventure tours. You can take a canoe trip, snorkel tour, tour the spectacular Phang Nga Bay, try a Bungy Jump or Go Kart Racing, explore old Phuket Town, trek the jungles of Khao Sok, do some more diving, visit the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, have a sauna or Thai massage, play a round of golf, relax on the beach, rent a motorbike… Phuket can keep you busy and keep you coming back for more! Visit Jamie’s Phuket Blog for lots of ideas.
How’s the food in Phuket?
Few places in the world can provide the quality and variety of food available here in Phuket. You can choose between local Thai restaurants (Phuket is famous for its seafood) and all kinds of Western restaurants. Whatever you want to eat, you can certainly find it here in Phuket. If you have any special food needs (vegetarian or allergies) please let us know when booking a diving trip or liveaboard. Check out Phuket Restaurants for restaurant tips.
What languages do people speak in Phuket?
The Thai language is not easy to learn, but people always appreciate your effort if you learn a few simple phrases. Phuket is an international tourism destination and in hotels and restaurants the staff will speak (some) English, and in more up market hotels, there may be staff who are multilingual. For diving courses, we can provide instructors to suit your language – English, German, French, Swedish and others.
Can I dive if I can’t swim?
If you have no health issues and are happy to be in the water, we can book you for a 1 day “try dive” experience called Discover Scuba Diving. You don’t need to be a swimmer for this. But if you want a certification, you will have to make a swim test to get your PADI Open Water licence. More information – see Can a Non-Swimmer go Scuba Diving?
Any other Questions?
Please Contact us if you need any further information about Phuket scuba diving, liveaboards, dive courses, hotels, or life in general. We will answer you as soon as possible. We hope to see you in Thailand soon!