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MANATHAI KHAOLAK HOTEL & RESORT
MANATHAI KHAOLAK HOTEL & RESORT
MANATHAI KHAOLAK HOTEL & RESORT

Phuket’s Top 5 Dive Sites

Want to upgrade your skills or learn to dive? Phuket is the ideal place to do it; either study for your beginner PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certificate or up-skill with some challenging deep-water dives. Phuket is ranked as one of the top 10 diving destinations in the world. Diving day trips from Phuket to many surrounding islands and reefs operate throughout the year. Both beginners and experienced divers will be amazed at the array of spectacular underwater scenery on offer at wrecks and reefs that surround Phuket. There is no better activity for intrepid tourists who want to get out there and experience all that this tropical paradise has to offer. Today we are pleased to share with you our top five sites for diving close to Phuket.

1. KING CRUISER WRECK

It was a sad day for Anemone Reef back in 1997 when an 85-meter-long passenger ferry, King Cruiser, accidentally lost its way, became stuck and eventually sunk upon the shallow reef. But, from tragedy came a kind of delight for divers, as previously Phuket had lacked in a decent shipwreck for them to explore! Since then the unplanned addition to Anemone Reef has become one of the most popular dive sites in the area. This is one of our favored locations in the area as it is perfectly positioned at a depth of 12 and 30 meters, and therefore suitable for both beginner and advanced divers. The wreck is very slowly becoming encrusted with a variety of colorful coral and is home to a large range of crabs and fishes. Not to mention that its multiple decks provide plenty of nooks and crannies for intrepid divers to explore.

2. ANEMONE REEF

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Have you seen a rock swaying in the warm waters of the ocean? This is one of the main reasons to visit Anemone Reef, wherein a profusion of dancing sea anemones (a predatory invertebrate with no bones that looks like a flower) creates the illusion that Hin Jom (Underwater Rock) is a living, breathing thing. This mighty limestone edifice juts dramatically up from the seafloor for 30 meters before ending abruptly just below the water’s surface. Also, their very presence makes the water thereabouts extremely nutrient-rich, which in turn lures a large quantity and variety of fish. Finding this site is relatively easy, it’s located only one kilometer from Shark Park, a well-known diving reef. All in all, this highly unique and easy dive should be atop any diver’s to-do list when diving the waters of Phuket.

3. RICHELIEU ROCK DIVE SITE

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This site is most famous for one BIG thing: whale sharks! For this and other reasons, it’s widely considered one of the best places in Thailand. In reality, the chances of spotting this gentle giant are not high, but it still remains the best place to try in the Land of Smiles between February to May. Even if you don’t see any sharks, there is still the opportunity to spot an array of exotic sea life, such as barracuda, crabs, manta rays, nudibranchs, pipefishes, giant trevally, sea horses, tuna and shrimp. The dive site is huge, and you will need at least two dives to explore it properly. The waters here do suffer from reduced visibility due to the high concentration of plankton in the water (aka what attracts the whale sharks), this combined with a strong current means it’s more suitable for advanced open-water divers than intermediate or beginner divers.

4. KOH RACHA NOI

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Until like its sister neighbour to the north (Racha Yai), Racha Noi is reserved for the truly experienced diver as there are strong currents and great depths. There is, however, a high possibility of spotting manta rays and whale sharks here as they frequently visit the area. This is the little island that could, offering a wealth of diving opportunities all-around. At the northern end of the island, you will find a challenging multi-level dive along a large pinnacle. On the western side, there is a shipwreck made of wood with abundant reef fish thereabouts. And lastly, on the southern side, is a challenging drift dive along the top of a field of irregular rock formations. So for a little island she sure packs a punch and can certainly satisfy any diver’s multi-dive dream.

5. RACHA YAI WRECKS

If one wreck doesn’t quite float your boat, how about four! Clustered around bays 1 and 2 on the easterly side of Phuket is the area known as Racha Yai, a shipwreck-diving dream for enthusiasts. Marla’s Mystery is a barge wreck, deliberately sunk in the middle of Bays 1 and 2. Although it was destined for a shallow grave, it moved during descent and now finds itself at a depth of 34 meters. As prior permission is required to dive this one, it is perhaps the less frequented of all the wrecks in the group. Nearby is Harruby Liveaboard, lying between 14 and 20 meters. Regarding accessibility, condition, water conditions, visibility, and swim-through opportunities, this is the best wreck in the Bay. Although rapidly deteriorating, worth exploring is an old fishing boat lying to the east of the main wreck mentioned above. It lies at a slightly deeper depth of 24 meters. As the hull is in such bad repair, it’s forbidden to enter the ship, but it still makes for a great circumnavigation to take some eerie underwater photography. And last but not least, situated 21 meters to the north of Bay 1 is another old wreck that’s not in the best of health. However, what this old sailing boat wreck has going for it is an abundance of fish life, everything from snappers and barracudas to pipefish, rays, and eels.

If Phuket is now high up on your To-Do List, let us help you find the last piece of the puzzle – affordable, value-for-money accommodation. Manathai has great deals waiting for you.