Scuba Diving in Thailand by Johnathon Decker
Thailand is sandwiched between The Gulf of Thailand on its eastern coastline and the vast expanse of the Andaman Sea on its western coast. It is in these body of waters that scuba divers can explore the marine life of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean without having to cross continents.
The waters in Thailand have one of the richest and diverse marine life in the world because conditions here for coral growth is almost perfect with an average temperature of 28C all year round and fantastic underwater visibility.
Because of these almost ideal scuba diving conditions and attractions, the scuba diving industry in Thailand is thriving robustly with the proliferation of first class scuba diving facilities, services and diving schools.
When you throw in what the tourist industry has to offer in Thailand such as fantastic entertainment, a spread of accommodations, hotels and resorts for every budget and Thailand’s renowned delightful cuisines, you can be assured of an enjoyable scuba diving vacation.
The Gulf of Thailand has hundreds of islands on its 1,840km (1,143 miles) long coast. The gulf is a shallow bowl shaped body of water separated from the South China Sea by a pair of underwater ridges that extend from Vietnam on one side and Malaysia to the other.
The sea bed bottom here is mostly mud mixed with sand and shells. Corals are usually found around the fringes of the gulf islands. There are several rivers in the north bringing enough sediment and freshwater to inhibit coral growth until to the south or the eastern side of the Gulf of Thailand.
The underwater scenery in the gulf is perhaps not as visually appealing as those of the Andaman Sea as it has slightly less variety of marine life. Marine parks such as the Ang Thong Marine Park include spectacularly formed limestone islands with lush rainforest covering them and many of these islands are actually uninhabited.
World famous resorts of Pattaya, Phuket and Koh Samui offer excellent scuba diving facilities as well as other reacreations and entertaiment.
The Andaman Sea was already thriving thousands of years ago with Chinese, European, Thai and Indian trading vessels plying its waters. Today, the Andaman Sea is more of a playground for dive boats and sailing yachts rather than for trading vessels.
One of the better known playgrounds for divers in the Andaman and is often rated amongst the top scuba diving destinations in the world are the Similan Islands. Divers can explore Similan, the Surin Islands and the Mergui Archipelago in liveaboard diving cruises.
Thailand’s Andaman Sea stretches 870km (541 miles) from Tarutao National Park on the border of Malaysia to the Surin Islands on the border of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). It is part of the Indian Ocean and is separated from the Bay of Bengal by the Andaman-Nicobar Ridge. Quaint formations of granite outcrops can be senn in the Surin and Similan Islands.
Other island groups such as Koh Phi Phi are shaped by massive limestone and calcium carbonates since prehistoric time.
The only problem when you travel to Thailand for scuba diving is where to start your diving vacation since there are so many excellent dive spots to choose from and you will be spoilt for choice.