Phuket Island Thailand Diving Sites

Racha Island Dive Sites

Lion Fish at Racha Island
Lion Fish at Racha Island

Racha Island Diving Sites – Koh Raya Yai Island

Racha Yai Island is about one and a half hours south of Phuket by dive boat, it boasts all year round sheltered diving and is good for all levels of diver from novice to very experienced.

Phuket Day Diving Schedule

On the west coast is Batok Bay (known to many as Bungalow Bay), a large open bay with rocky reef on the south and north sides, in the centre of the bay are some hard coral beds which are full of macro life.

On the North of the Island is Siam Bay, here there is a long shallow reef stretching across the bay and if you head out from the bay a little way off the bottom of the reef at about 20 metres you’ll find a number of submerged statues including 2 life size elephants.

The East Coast is where the best of the diving is. There are a number of dive spots stretching across Ter, Lha and Konkare Bays. There are 4 small wrecks to dive ranging from 18 to 30 metres, a number of long sloping reefs and shallow bays full of coral bommies and hard coral beds. Here you’ll see huge shoals of snapper and fussillier and maybe even some small barracuda, reef fish are everywhere and keep a special eye out for the Titan Trigger Fish. Octopus, Cuttle Fish and Turtles are regularly spotted here

Koh Racha Noi Diving Sites

Racha Noi is the smaller of the two Racha islands and is a further 50 minutes by dive boat away from its bigger sister island, Racha Yai. It also has much deeper areas, and divers can easily forget their depth, so a regular check of depth gauges is recommended here.

Racha Noi is much more rugged and uncivilised, there are no resorts here and not many places to actually get on land, the Island is much more dramatic than its sister Racha Yai.

The area is well-known, yet it is a quite spot, a favourite for private yachts, it’s a secluded area with no day trippers, just the occasional dive boat. Several dive boats come out throughout the year, but on occasion the crossing can be a little rough in the wet season.

Sailfish can be seen jumping clear of the water at certain times of year, and Whales have also been spotted in the area. Racha Noi is the last stop off point before the Andaman Sea gets deep again, after its land fall with Phuket, thus bringing in all the large pelagic fishes Including, Manta Rays, Whale sharks, Big Tuna, Barracuda, Trevally’s,  Black Tip and Grey and White Tip Reef Sharks.

There are several dive sites on Racha Noi, including:

North Point, The northern tip of the island offers an opportunity for great diving along a large submerged pinnacle and it is more than possible to see larger marine life like Reef Sharks and Marbled Stingrays there.

Racha Noi South Tip is an exceptional dive with huge boulders and strong currents, large pelagic fish spotted there frequently.

Banana Bay offers the easier dive site option with gentle a sloping reef and a variety hard corals and reef fishes to find and enjoy.

Marita’s Reef (named after a local diver) is on the south west side of the island, with beautiful coral head bomby’s to explore. Further south from Marita’s is a small wooden fishing boat ready to explore, but be wary of currents in this area.

Phuket Island Thailand Diving Sites

Banana Bay – Raya Noi Island

Lion Fish at Banana Bay - Raya Noi Island - Diving in Phuket Thailand
Lion Fish at Raya Noi Island

Raya Noi Island – One of the dive sites here at Racha Noi is called Banana Bay, it has great all year round visibility with never less than 20 meters. The very gentle sloping reefs make it an easy dive site for everyone, from beginner to experience divers alike. Banana Bay, sits half way down the Island on the east.

The area is covered in Stag horn Coral reef and several large boulders, the site slopes down into sand and disappears off into the blue. On the edges of this site 50/60 meters depth is possible, so it is also great for Technical Dive Training too.
There are loads fish including, Yellow Snapper and Fusiliers, Common and Spot Fin Lion Fish, Large variety of Moray Eels. Loads of species of Wrasse and Parrot Fish, Trumpet fish follow Groupers in order to conceal their hunting activities.

A very special part of this dive: it is possible to spot Garden Eels, these little creatures are by no means seen on every dive site. They bury themselves in the sand. They are usually seen within groups and these groups can be as small as just a few to a complete area covered in them, hence the name. They sit with their little heads swaying in the current waiting for small crustaceans and zoo plankton to pass them by and gobble up.

The Garden Eels are very timid creatures, but they are approachable, the diver must keep very low to the sand and keeping bubbles to a minimum, in order to get close to them. If disturbed they will just disappear down into the sand and not come out again till all the clear; they are the equivalent to an underwater Meerkat.

Raya Noi Island has another great dive site called “South Point“, located on southern Tip of the Island.

Phuket Island Thailand Diving Sites

Racha Noi – South Tip

Barracudas at Racha Noi South Point
Barracudas at South Point

Racha Noi South Tip is a completely different animal entirely to any other Phuket diving site. It can be calm and placid and then again on the other hand, it can rip your regulator out of your mouth, in currents that are hard to find anywhere else in the Andaman Sea. If this dive site is to be dived, then care should be taken. The currents come from both sides of the Island and can cause a down ward effect, forcing the diver down when otherwise they may want to ascend.

Phuket Day Diving Schedule

It may be wise to make a negative entry if diving into this site from the open seas and quickly descend taking cover form the boulders is wise. However it is not always strong currents here, but it is better to be prepared just in case.

It is wiser to enter this dive site from the safety of the islands wall, rather than going jumping straight into the middle of the site, this has been known to cause problems as divers can become separated from the dive group having differing experience and descent rates.

Descending down the wall on the west side is favourable, and then following the contour of the land out, there are several boulders to explore. There is not so much coral in this area, as coral has difficulty clinging to granite boulders that are subject to currents, much is the same on the west dive sites of the Similan Islands. In fact many comparisons can be made between the two areas

Racha Noi South Tip itself is a formation of huge boulders, which drop to the depth here of 50 meters and beyond, so it is wise to keep an eye on computer depth gauges here too. The boulders start at about 12 meters and drop dramatically down to the deep.

This area is fantastic for the large fish that visit the area, Manta Rays and Whale sharks visit here, as the site is a deep drop, they love to swim up from the depths up towards the surface, sifting through the plankton that’s congregates there.  The current here definitely attracts the bigger boys.

Huge Barracuda, Giant Trevally, Tunas and hunting Jacks fly through the water here using the speed of the current to propel themselves as they stalk prey. For the diver just hovering around top of the boulders is well worth it as the show these fellows put on, is quite spectacular.

Anything and everything can show up here at Racha Noi South Point, so be ready. Huge schools of black Fin Barracuda also Yellow Fin over meter long can be seen dashing headlong into schools of scattering fish.

The visibility here changes frequently, but is generally very good, but depends on sea conditions 40 meters is not uncommon, but it can drop down top 10 meters.
Other marine life includes: White and Black Tip Reef Sharks, Leopard Sharks, Marbled and the Odd Eagle Ray, Titan Trigger Fish. Smaller schools of Barracuda and juvenile Trevallies, blue ringed angel fish and Emperors, Moorish idols, Schooling Banner Fish, Wrasses, Parrot Fish, to name a few.

Phuket Island Thailand Diving Sites

Anemone Reef – Phuket Scuba Diving Site

Anemone Fish at Anemone Reef, a Phuket Scuba Diving Site
Anemone Fish at Phuket Anemone Reef

Anemone Reef is the least dived Phuket Scuba Diving Site out of the three sites of King Cruiser and Shark Point, which is great because it means very few boats dive it so there is always lots of room on this site. The site itself is not very big, though it is absolutely stunning. It is without doubt one of the most special dive sites in the whole of Thailand.

  • Max depth:  26m/88ft
  • Level of difficulty: Open water upwards.
  • Visibility: 5/20m 16/66ft.
  • Current: Weak to strong.
  • Special features: Just off the main dive site there are a few small boulders to explore
  • Quick tip: starting at your maximum depth, spiralling around the main pinnacle as you ascend, will give you the best possible dive here.
  • Recommended season:  All year round

Anemone reef is only 6 metre below the surface. There is and it is advisable to use the buoy line attached to the rock, making descent and ascent much easier to control for the less experienced divers.

Anemone Reef got its name from the hundreds and hundreds of Anemones which cover half of this rock called, as many of these wonderfully coloured creatures have made this reef their home. There are Pink ones, purple ones, greens and blue anemones can all be seen swaying like flowers in a summer meadow, all with the movement of the tide. This remarkable garden of colour will leave you in wonder and makes for a truly inspiring dive.

When there is a small swelling current which causes the Anemones to wave in the water. The whole reef looks like it is actually moving. Anemone Reef holds a special place in many divers’ hearts, even mine too, it is the first place I ever saw a Leopard Shark, quite a big one too over two metres at least.

It is possible to catch site of these graceful predators here. The site is not too far from the King Cruiser and Shark point dive sites, and many companies incorporate them into a one day dive trip, usually included also is Phuket Shark Point.

Marine life here: apart from the sighting of Leopard Sharks, it also possible to see; Bearded and raggy Scorpion Fish, Jacks -including Mackerel, Tuna and B;lue fin and Giant (on occasion) Trevallies which all love to hunt around here.

Great Barracuda can also be seen waiting for a bite to eat just off the reef, as well as their smaller cousins the Chevron Barracuda, Octopus, Spiny Lobster, a variety of Nudibranch and Morays.
Also it is another great place for the camera guy, as there are Pipefish and seahorses living here too.


Phuket Island Thailand Diving Sites

Scuba Diving Phuket Sites – Koh Doc Mai

Sea Horse at Koh Doc Mai - Scuba Diving Phuket Image by Adriano Trapani
Sea Horse at Koh Doc Mai

Scuba Diving Phuket Sites – Koh Doc Mai (Island of Flowers) is the small island with the sheer limestone walls; just over an hour from Chalong, Phuket. It is usually the first dive or last dive of the day. Particularly when boats visit the triangle area of sites which is Shark Point, King Cruiser and Anemone Reef.

The east side has the most light in the morning and the west in the afternoon, both sides offer differing dives, as the landscape underneath the surface is not the same on either side. On the east side, vertical walls drop down over twenty meters. Several large easily navigated caverns are there to explore and on the west, gentle sloping reefs with some relatively large boulders.

Scuba Diving Phuket Schedule

It is possible to make two dives here without worrying about seeing the same thing twice. If there is a current present, then a drift dive is another option. Depending on the moon cycle, this sight can offer very strong currents and on occasion the diver can almost fly down the dive site, very exciting.

So as to not get disorientated upon descent, the dive will begin facing the wall; it is easy to hit 20 metres on most parts of this sight, though there is a hole on the west side that drops to almost 40 meters.

The whole wall on the east side is covered with beautiful colourful soft corals in reds, greens, purples and blues, giving the Island its name of Flower Island. Large oyster shells and Zig Zag clams amongst other shell fish make it seem that the whole wall is moving.

Inside the many cracks hiding, it’s not too hard to find Moray eels of varying kinds. The most common being the Undulated, Fimbriated and White Eyed. Also Coral Banded Sea Snakes can be seen most dives searching the cracks of the wall for small pray.

There is a large variety of Scorpion Fish; Bearded; Raggy and Common Lion fish are common here, so watch hands on this sight please. Dropping down further, there are several caverns to explore, they are very large and light is present throughout the area. On the entrance to one of the caverns there is a couple of Tiger tail Seahorses living there.

Looking out into the blue, it is common to see Yellow Tail Barracuda, Blue Fin Trevally, and Silver jacks searching for a quick meal. Flute Mouths and Trumpet Fish sniff out the walls for snacks too. There is so much going on here it is easy to be distracted from one minute to the next as to where to look.

On the west side, there are quite a few boulders to explore, and if done carefully, it is possible to find where the Nurse Sharks sleeps there are quite a few on this side of the rock. If this site is dived early morning, there are a couple of resident Leopard Sharks to find. They are quite timid and easily disturbed, after a hectic night hunting they like peace and quiet in the morning.

Larger Moray Eels are on this side too, the Giant Morays like it here, as there are more areas for them to hang out. There is a huge variety of Nudibranch here too, also closer to the side of the wall, it is not too difficult to find Durban Dancing Shrimp and Box Shrimp -they will be quite happy to give you a manicure. Once these have been found, look more closely to the small cracks in the wall and it is possible to find the Jens Pipefish there too.

A torch is a good idea and maybe a small magnifying glass is useful too here, especially searching all the little nooks and crannies. Looking through the huge Gorgonian Sea fans and Ornate Ghost Pipe Fish can be found.

Marine life found on the Scuba Diving Phuket Site: Boxer shrimp, dancing shrimps, spiny lobster, several species of Nudibranch, stepping up the food chain you’ll also find Titan Triggerfish, Clown Triggers, Small Mackerel Tuna and Blue Fin Trevally. Watching the mackerel and trevallies feed on the small glass fish is a sight to see. If you’re early enough you could spot the couple of resident leopard sharks found sleeping here during the day.

Phuket Island Thailand Diving Sites

King Cruiser Wreck – Phuket Diving Sites

King Cruiser Wreck - Top Phuket Diving Site
King Cruiser Wreck Phuket

King Cruiser Wreck is 85 metres long, 20 metres wide twin hulled car ferry sank on 4th May 1997, about two thirds of the way from Phuket to Phi Phi Islands, when it struck the submerged pinnacle of Anemone Reef.

As well a taking a big chunk out of the reef the collision to a chunk out of one of the hulls causing it to take on water and eventually sink. Thankfully all of the 500+ passengers were evacuated with no casualties. Now it is a Top Phuket Diving Site.

There are many stories as to why the boat was so far of course but the insurance company paid up so the truth will probably never be known.

The boat initially sank on it’s side hitting the sand at 32 metres and then rolling onto its hulls, this impact caused one of the smoke stakes to fall off. A few years later the other smoke stack collapsed onto the deck. For many years divers swam through the empty car deck (there are no roads on Phi Phi so the car deck was only used for supplies) leaving their bubbles behind to get trapped in the superstructure.

Then in August of 2004 a storm along the coast of Thailand caused the wreck to collapse, a split developed along the centre of the main deck and the passenger lounges collapsed into one another, since then it has slowly continued to deteriorate. Nevertheless it is improving as a dive site as it is now a magnet to shoaling fish, huge groups of Snappers, fusiliers, Jacks and Barracuda use the wreck to hide from the current.
The back of the wreck still boasts its main feature – the toilets. There are large areas of soft corals on the back of the wreck as well as plenty of black corals in sheltered areas. With the highest point on the boat being at about 16 metres this is very much an advanced level dive.

Phuket Island Thailand Diving Sites

Shark Point Phuket – Diving Sites

Shark Point Phuket - Image by Adriano Trapani
Shark Point Phuket

Shark Point Phuket is approximately two hours sail from Chalong Pier and is instantly recognizable by its protruding main pinnacle, which looks like a miniature Lighthouse breaking the water’s surface.

  • Max depth: 28m/93ft
  • Level of difficulty: Open water upwards.
  • Visibility: 5/20m 16/66ft.
  • Current: weak to strong.
  • Special features: Can be strong currents excellent for drift dives. Numerous pinnacles to explore
  • Quick tip: Remember there is more than one pinnacle to explore of this large dive site

The visible part of the Pinnacle itself is quite small; divers are often deceived by the sheer size of the dive site underwater. There are a couple of other pinnacles just below the surface too; these other pinnacles are usually only reachable when the current is not too strong, otherwise it can be tricky to get there.

Shark Point Phuket is famous for its Leopard sharks, sometimes called Zebra Sharks due to their stripy patterns of skin in early life. Leopard Sharks are the most graceful of swimmers you may wish to see.

They have a very distinct tail fin this fin is almost as long as the main part of the fish again. When you approach the Shark, it is possible to get quite close to them, especially if they are sleeping on the bottom.

Move forward with care, you can sometimes get quite close, they will keep their eye on you all the time, do not worry they are not dangerous. If you get too close they will up and swim off.

They are best approached from the front or the side, so that the shark can see you all.  They are not to be approached from above! Get as low as possible, as fishes do not like us divers swimming over the top of them, it shows dominance.

Also you should find splattered about the sea floor several Blue Spotted Stingrays, there is always a few Great Barracuda and if you are really lucky you may see a school of smaller Chevron Barracuda hunt here as well.

There are also many kinds of scorpion fishes like the Bearded and Raggy Scorpion Fish; also I have seen here a Reef Stone Fish walking about the bottom. Lionfish, loads of different and colorful Wrasses and Parrot fish, Undulated, Fimbriated White Eyed and Giant Moray eels can also be found here.

It is a good site to find some Snake Eels and nine times out of ten you can spot Squid, Cuttlefish maybe even a Large Red Octopus, there are some great macro stuff here, like Tiger Tail Seahorses and several species of Pipefish including Jens Cleaner Pipefish and the Harlequin Ghost Pipefish.

The site is only a few minutes away from the King Cruiser and Anemone Reef dive sites, so usually a day dive trip will incorporate one of these sites into the days diving too, as well as Koh Doc Mai.

Suitable for most levels of divers, although the surface can become choppy quite quickly, there can also be some interesting currents at certain times of the year too.
Phuket Shark Point is great for fun diving, it also can be a great place to take a Dive Course too, like the Adventure and Advanced courses. Many dives from the Padi specialties list can be completed here too.