Scuba Diving Thailand
Thailand is a country located in Southeast Asia, 14 degrees north of the equator. The country has more than 2,000 kilometres of coastline and hundreds of offshore islands, along the Gulf of Thailand to the south and along the Andaman Sea to the west. The climate in Thailand is tropical and the waters are warm year round. The weather is ruled by the monsoons. From the middle of May until September there is a rainy, cloudy and warm season due to a southwest monsoon. November to the middle of March is characterised by a northeast monsoon providing a dryer and cooler climate. The currency used in Thailand is called Baht, Bangkok is the name of the capital and Thai is the official language. Thailand suffered from the Tsunami catastrophe in December 2004, but the tourist industry has rapidly recovered and some coastal areas were actually hardly affected at all. The Thai Government urges tourists to return, since tourism is very important for a sustainable Thai economy and returning tourists are needed to provide jobs for the locals.
Scuba diving in Thailand is concentrated around the tourist centres of Koh Samui and Phuket, but the rest of the coasts are also worth exploring since there are a lot of great scuba diving sites outside the main tourist areas. The visibility in the Thailand waters is generally good, but some dive sites are subject to seasonal variations. Some scuba diving sites offer only seasonal diving, since the monsoon can affect the water patterns and make it unsafe for diving boats to venture into certain areas.
The East Coast, i.e. the Gulf of Thailand, is dived year round but the South East monsoon can make the seas rough and visibility unpredictable during November and December. The waters here are shallower than on the East Coast and there are more dive sites located closer to shore. The most popular scuba diving months are February to the end of October, since this period offers the best visibility. Koh Samui and Koh Tao are two of the most visited islands and the best scuba diving sites here are found close to shore. Excellent scuba diving sites are also to be found across the Isthmus of Kra off the West Coast. Scuba divers in the Kra area are usually staying at Liveaboard dive boats.
The West Coast of Thailand includes Mergui, Burma Banks, Hin Daeng, Surin and Similans. The most popular scuba diving season in this area is from October to May, and the first part of the season usually provides better underwater visibility. The later part is popular because scuba divers are able to spot more pelagic fish. Thailand’s coast towards the Andaman Sea is about 750 kilometres long and stretches from the Malaysian border in the south to the Margui Archipelago at the Burmese border in northern Thailand. The scuba diving sector in this area is still just budding, despite the presence of more than 80 recognized scuba diving sites and supreme scuba diving conditions.
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