An interview with Niphon Phongsuwan,
Project Leader, Green Fins Project
Phuket Marine Biological Center, Phuket, Thailand

Thailand welcomes over 550,0001 dive tourists each year and is home to over 80,000 certified divers of its own. Dive tourism in Thailand has increased by more than twenty-fold from 25,000 divers2 in 1985.

Thailand joins The Philippines in being actively engaged with Green Fins.

Coral reefs are an important resource in Southeast Asia, contributing to the economic incomes of the coastal population and the growing dive tourism industry in this region. The East Asian Seas region contains one of the greatest concentrations of coral reefs in the world. The area is so rich in biodiversity that more coral and reef fish species can be found here than anywhere else. The coral reefs of the region can be regarded as a classic example of a rich and diverse ecosystem.

Map of global coral diversity from the World Resources Institute Please click to expand

The main reason the participating countries were selected is recognition of the importance of the Indo-Pacific in terms of their contribution to global marine biodiversity. As this inevitably makes countries in the region popular dive sites, there is the risk that they will be adversely impacted by dive tourism if conservation measures are not introduced pro-actively.

To promote the protection and preservation of the marine environment, a new project called Green Fins is being rolled out in Thailand. An initiative of the Coordinating Body of the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA), United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), the Green Fins mission is “to protect and conserve coral reefs by establishing and implementing environmentally friendly guidelines to promote a sustainable diving tourism industry”.

With decades of sustained growth in Thailand’s economic and tourism development, the impact of human activity on coral reefs is apparent. In the past, human impact on Thailand’s coral reefs were primarily from unsustainable practices such as dynamite and poison fishing. While these factors have not disappeared altogether, the environmental impact from dive tourism is potentially of more significance now. For example, the island of Koh Tao, a diving Mecca off the coast of Chumphon Province and Thailand’s most popular diving destination for all dive beginners, accounts for approximately 30 per cent of all dive certificates issued around the world. With the large numbers of divers visiting this island and other diving hotspots, inexperienced divers, reef-walking snorkellers and underwater photographers, as well as dive boat anchors, cause direct physical damage to coral.

Images © Phuket Marine Biological Center, Phuket, Thailand

Human-induced climate change is also leading to changes in temperature and sea level which in turn are causing changes in reef communities, such as bleaching and disease. This makes it all the more important to reduce the impact people have on this fragile ecosystem.

While climate change is inevitable, minimizing the impact from tourism-related activities can be more easily achieved.

Divers visiting Thailand can help save coral reefs by choosing to dive with companies that abide by the Green Fins Code of Conduct. In so doing they help promote environmentally-friendly businesses. Divers can learn about Reef Watch/Reef Check and volunteer to collect data. They may also participate in special activities such as reef clean-ups and the installation of mooring buoys.

Individuals and organizations will in future be able to join a Green Fins Club. This will promote interest in the conservation of reefs.

Funding support from the private sector will help fund activities and monitoring of the programme. Ultimately the success of the programme will depend on the extent to which it can be sustained.

Green Fins can eventually become a part of official Thailand Government marine conservation programmes, and so be supported through annual budgets and sustained through forward planning.

Source Reference Read more!
Source Photo :
Images © Phuket Marine Biological Center, Phuket, Thailand

1 Tourism Authority of Thailand
2 Department of Marine and Coastal Resources

Koh Phuket is the largest dive centre in Thailand and the main base for liveaboards heading for destinations in the Andaman Sea. There are a few good dive sites around the immediate coastline of Phuket Island itself, since the marine life and visibility have been heavily affected by offshore tin-dredging operations.

Conditions improve considerably around the outcrops, islets and islands off the south of Phuket; the currents here carry away algae and silt and the corals have more chance of flourishing. The reefs are generally in a healthy condition with good hard corals as well as colorful soft corals.

Marine life is plentiful, with visits from large pelagics adding spice to the diving. Some sites are quite deep with ripping currents often present, but there are plenty of other locations suitable for all levels of both recreational and technical divers.

Dive facilities
Scuba diving here is big business. The larger centres cater for divers from all over the world; course and dive trips are generally supervised by multi-lingual staff, but English remains the main language. Several larger centres provide a transfer service to and from Phuket International Airport.

Source Reference : Pocket guide dive thailand

Thailand is not a “dive your brains out, get the T-shirt and go home” kind of destination. In fact, the diving, as satisfying as it is, is only one facet of this amazing country. The best way to experience it is to allow some time for land tours once you’ve logged your dives.

A visit to a Buddhist temple will serve as an introduction to Thai culture, even for those who aren’t into architecture, history or religious icons. Guided tours are not necessary, but can be very informative. Be sure to observe local customs when inside temples. The elephant is the national symbol of Thailand. Elephants have played an important part in the country’s history, once carrying soldiers into battle to protect the kingdom.

Until the late 1980s they were vital to the logging industry, but now that the government has outlawed logging, most elephants are used in tourism. I found Phuket’s rain forest jungle to be especially exciting when viewed from atop an elephant’s back.

In addition to elephant trekking, there are several elephant parks throughout the country that offer shows and tours.

Many travelers to Thailand arrive in Bangkok, head south to Phuket, fall in love with the diving and beautiful beaches and never want to leave. Patong Beach is the place for watersports such as sea kayaking, snorkeling and parasailing, and is a top people-watching spot. Just a few blocks from the beach is a huge selection of restaurants featuring Thai and international cuisine and every manner of raucous nightlife. (Bangla Road, with more than 100 “go-go” bars, whose action spills onto the street, is not the place for those who blush easily.)

You could indeed spend an entire vacation along the peninsula, but the northern province, particularly the city of Chiang Mai, holds treasures of a different kind. Founded in the late 1200s, the city is regarded by Thai people as a national Shangri-La thanks to its historic temples, arts and crafts centers and lush landscape. A trip along the northern route reveals beautiful golf courses, an orchid and butterfly farm, waterfalls, elephant camps and numerous arts and crafts centers. Many of the souvenir items sold elsewhere in the country — pottery, silverware, decoratively painted umbrellas, lacquerware and woodcarvings — are crafted in art complexes around Chiang Mai. Fine silk garments and tailored clothes also make most visitors’ shopping lists.

When the touring and shopping is done, it’s time for a Thai massage. Dating back centuries, traditional Thai massage is a clothes-on style of massage that is reputed to be an effective cure for many ailments. The Wat Pho temple in Bangkok houses stone slabs and figures that depict various massage postures. Thai massage services can be found in every city, in most hotels and even under brightly colored umbrellas along Patong beach.

A variety of accommodations are available in every region, to suit every taste and budget. Vacationers can “go native” in a thatched roof hut or live it up in a glamorous high-rise hotel. With a favorable exchange rate, many travelers find that they can afford to upgrade to more luxurious hotels than they could otherwise afford at home.

With its vast natural beauty, rich cultural history and smiling people, Thailand’s exotic menu is a real palate- pleaser, no matter what your taste. I hope to go back for seconds.

source Reference : Dive Training Magazine
source Photo :
h.neu's photos

ROYAL Phuket Marina's phase 2 development was officially launched at a round breaking ceremony, late last month, attended by island's governor, Narin Kalayanmit, and the marina's owner and developer, Gulu Lalvani. Located on the sheltered east coast of the island, the marina's phase two features an Aquamininum condo with private internal yacht berths incorporated into the design and a collection of 8 Royal Villas, which will open on to views of the marina.

The entire US$ 150 million Royal Phuket Marina project is due for completion in 2010. Phase 2 involves an extension to the marina itself with a new 'inner-marina' exclusively for the use of private marina residents, operated by a lock system allowing easy access.

The outer marina is already open for commercial use, comprising 85 wet berths and 40 dry berths.

Phase one has 66 condominiums and penthouses. Gulu Lalvani made his fortune in the telecoms business providing digital cordless phones from a base in the UK. He became a resident of Phuket 10 years ago and has spent his time developing the island first international standard marina.

The marina is double the size of any other yachting haven in Phuket, with 350 berths for yachts up to 30 metres long. It claims to be the only facility with a non tidal boat lock, deep water basin and private moorings on the doorstep of residences.

More information at

Family name : Rhincodotidae (called Rhinodontes before 1984)
Order name : Orectoloboformes
Common name : Whale shark
Scientific name : Rhincodon typus

The whale shark, Rhincodon typus, is a slow filter feeding shark that is the largest living fish species. The shark is found in tropical and warm oceans and lives in the open sea. The species is believed to have originated about 60 million years ago.

The whale shark is a the biggest shark and the biggest fish. It is NOT a whale. It has a huge mouth which can be up to 4 feet (1.4 m) wide. Its mouth is at the very front of its head (not on the underside of the head like in most sharks). It has a wide, flat head, a rounded snout, small eyes, 5 very large gill slits, 2 dorsal fins (on its back) and 2 pectoral fins (on its sides). The spiracle (a vestigial first gill slit used for breathing when the shark is resting on the sea floor) is located just behind the shark's eye. Its tail has a top fin much larger than the lower fin.

The whale shark has distinctive light-yellow markings (random stripes and dots) on its very thick dark gray skin. Its skin is up to 4 inches (10 cm) thick. There are three prominent ridges running along each side of the shark's body.

This enormous shark is a filter feeder and sieves enormous amounts of plankton to eat through its gills as it swims.

Foods for the whale sharks
Whale shark live on plankton and nearby invisible tiny living creatures, floating in the sea water. Whale sharks swim and open their mouths for water and plankton to run and strain them from the sea through modified gill rakers and release water through the gill slits on the side of the body. Whale sharks are thus known as harmless fish - - not hazardous to neitherman nor fish school around them.

Whale Sharks In Thailand: Where To See Them
One of the great things of diving from Phuket is the possibility of whale sharks. These great creatures can be seen not only around Phuket and Phi Phi by day trip but also in the Similans islands and the southern dive sites of Hin Daeng and Hin Muang. In fact, these last two dive sites have probably given divers the greatest chance of whale shark encounters in recent times. Although they can be discovered all year round the most likely time to see one is during the months of February to April when plankton blooms tend to occur. However, bear in mind that, as with all wild creatures, nothing can be guaranteed. It is just a question of being in the right place at the right time. Just ask the Open Water student who recently saw one on only his third open water dive!

source Reference : &

Many divers may have unintentionally destroyed corals while diving.
Here are a few guidelines of how to avoid doing so.

• Use correct amount of weights to aid in your buoyancy.

• Control your fins; keep them away from the reefs and avoid kicking sand onto the corals

• Do not pick organic objects (dead or alive) from the sea. Likewise, please do not buy shells or other decorative products made from sea animals.

• Do not stand or rest on the stone-like corals. After all, they are living animals.

• Avoid having contacts with live corals. You can kill them with bare hands.

• Keep your gauge and octopus hoses close to yourself, and prevent angling to the reef.

• Secure your weight belt. Dropping of the weights can destroy the reef.

• Refrain from chasing or touching animals, especially manta rays and whale sharks. However, maintain a comfortable distant and enjoy watching them!

Coral Conservation Guide for Divers Similan islands 2007Coral Conservation Guide for Divers Similan islands 2007Coral Conservation Guide for Divers Similan islands 2007Coral Conservation Guide for Divers Similan islands 2007
source Reference : Tourism Authority of Thailand
source Photo :
Harava's photos

Quake felt in Bangkok many people called in the Nation's newsroom to check what happened.

Bangkok, Jakarta - The Indonesian government has called off a tsunami warning after an 8.0-magnitude earthquake jolted parts of Indonesia's Java and Sumatra islands on Wednesday evening.Officials at the Jakarta Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said they withdrew the warning because too much time had passed for a tsunami to reach shore.

A powerful earthquake jolted parts of Indonesia's Java and Sumatra islands on Wednesday evening, prompting Indonesian government authorities to issue a tsunami warning. The earthquake was triggered by the same fault that heavily shook the region and generated the tsunami in 2005

"This is very dangerous situation. We have to watch our coasts more closely. My department is on alert to monitor the situation, so that we could warn our people before it happens," Suparuek Tansrirattanawong, chief othe department said.

The quake, measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale, took place at about 6:10 pm (1110 GMT), shaking Jakarta, West Java's Banten province, parts of South and West Sumatra, said Fauzi, an official at Jakarta's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency.

"We have issued a warning that the quake could potentially trigger a tsunami," Fauzi told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. In Bangkok, a resident of Sukhumvit 103 meanwhile said that the water in her swimming pool flown in the same manner as the last tsunami and it lasted some five minutes.

She then checked the local news if there was any report of earthquake somewhere.Piyarat Chuenprasaeng, a call center staff of AIS who works on the 31st floor of the 42-floor Phaholyothin Place, said staff on the floor were frightened by the tremor.

Dpa reported that the quake took place about 159 kilometres south-west of the South Sumatran province of Bengkulu and was about 10 kilometres beneath the seabed.

No immediate casualties or injuries were reported.Indonesia is located along the Pacific volcanic belt known as the "Ring of Fire," where earthquakes and volcanoes are common.

On December 26, 2004, a massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake, which triggered gigantic tidal waves, devastated thousands of homes and buildings along the coastline of northern Sumatra, leaving around 170,000 people dead or missing in Indonesia and thousands more dead and injured along the Indian Ocean coastline.

source Reference : The Nation/Dpa

Location : About 5km. northwest of Nang Yuan.
Depth : Average 20m. / Maximum 36m.

This is Koh Tao's most impressive site, and certainly one of the most popular. Divers revisiting the island always enquire as to when the earliest scheduled trip to Chumphon Pinnacles is!

taken while scuba diving at taken while scuba diving at taken while scuba diving at taken while scuba diving at The site consists of 4 interconnected underwater pinnacles which tower up form around 34m; the highest peaks are 16m. Below the surface. This is an ideal place to spot many pelagics. Large schools of great barracuda, big-eye jacks, tuna, mackerel, goldbody and giant trevally are all frequent visitor. Whale sharks, with accompanying striped than any other site in the Gulf.

Bulky Grey reef sharks are seen in the depths away from the base of the rocky structure.

Grey Reef Shark diving Chumporn Pinnacle

& whale shark

source Reference : PocketGuide DiveThailand
source Photo :
takau99's photos

Koh Dok Mai Reef Basics: Small islet and wall diving
Depth: 5 - 30m
Visibility: 5 - 20m
Currents: Usually strong
Surface Conditions: Calm
Water Temperature: 27 - 30°C
Experience Level: Intermediate
Diving Season: All year round
Distance: ~15 km east of Phuket (1 hour)
Access: Diving day tours from Phuket Thailand

The name means Flower Island in Thai and this diving site must be named for its underwater beauty because above the water there are no flowers, only a few trees and bushes. As soon as you descend however, the colourful flower-like coral covering the wall makes the name understandable.

Koh Dok Mai is a small limestone islet rising vertically out of the sea. The site is mainly a wall dive down to thirty metres, with a hard coral staghorn reef sloping to the west. On the east side of the island are a series of caverns and caves which are great for practising penetration techniques, and maybe search and recovery!

Koh Dok Mai is a favourite dive site for Phuket's diving pros because of the diversity of small stuff on the wall and it's famed for the resident yellow tiger-tail seahorses. Try spotting them hidden amongst the lacy gorgonian sea fans. They are in there somewhere ... honest! Whilst your dive guide is looking for them for you, he'll also be looking for ornate ghost pipefish and harlequin ghostpipefish. There's also a huge variety of invertebrates here, such as lobster, crabs, zigzag clams, pencil urchins, oysters, squid, and white-eyed moray eels. This is one of the top macro sites for scuba diving Phuket so if you're a photographer a macro lens is the best option here.
Bigger fish such as leopard sharks and grey reef sharks are occasionally seen here and Indonesian bamboo sharks are becoming a more common sight beneath coral heads following a recent breeding program by the Phuket Marine Biological Research Centre. Octopuses are also common on the walls and if you look up you can normally see crocodile long-toms swimming close to the surface.

If you ever come across a dive buddy who claims in their log book to have seen a yellow submarine at Koh Dok Mai, then it's not necessarily likely that they took too many hallucinogenic drugs in the 1960's. One Phuket tour operator here did take non-diving tourists down on submarine tours around the island to goggle at the marine life. Thankfully, they don't play the accompanying music to the passenger.

source Reference :
source Photo :

Spherediving's photos

In the country's easternmost province of Trat, the Mu Koh Chang Marine National Park comprises 52 islands scattered along the coastline close to the Kampuchean border. Estsblidhed in 1982, it covers just over 650 and is one of Thailand's least visited national parks. Koh Chang is the second largest island in Thailand, with a footprint covering

Blanketed in almost impenetrable virgin rain forest, the hilly interior rises to a peak at Khao Join Prasat, which climbs to reach 744m. as it dominates the centre of the island. Although wildlife is sparse, there are wild boars, hornbills, parrots and sunbirds, all of which can be seen in the forest.

Most of the island's inhabitants still make their living from fishing. Tourism has just started to make its mark, and nowadays many of the once-familiar small resorts of bungalows and bamboo huts are being replaced, or joined by, high-end hotels, resorts and spas.

The islands amenities mainly focus around the perimeter, particularly the larger beaches which are all easily accessed by road. Getting around the island is simple as there are plenty of pickup trucks and taxis, as well as minibus travelling to and from Trat airport. There are also tourist amenities and accommodation on the island of Koh Mak.

Diving around Koh Chang
The diving here still has an exciting exploratory fell to it. As it's spread over a large area, the sites are uncrowded. Mu Koh Chang Marine National Park has large selection of healthy fringing reefs, pinnacles and walls, as well as several very enjoyable snorkeling sites. In general, visibility averages around 10m. although it can be in excess of 20m., especially at the sites further south. Marine life is also more prolific in these areas. There plenty of colorful reef-dwellers, form minute invertebrates up to giants clams. The waters also attract many large pelagics, rays and - quite regularly - ehale sharks.

source Reference : DIVE SITE Thailand

PHUKET: Yacht Crews Ltd of Thailand (YCL) will host 10 international superyacht brokers from around the world on a fact-finding visit to Phuket, the Gazette learned today from Khun Thidarat Pimson, Managing Director of YCL.

K. Thidarat has organized a four-day tour of the Phuket-Phi Phi-Krabi area aboard the motor yacht Taipan, a 172-foot superyacht managed by Emerald Yachts of Florida, USA. Emerald Yachts has donated use of the vessel to help in the government’s effort to promote Phuket as the yachting capital of Asia.

YCL, based at Yacht Haven marina, provides trained yacht crews to superyachts in Asia, Europe and the Caribbean.

“Phuket could become a major destination for superyachts, giving the local economy a great boost both in jobs and spending on supplies,” K. Thidarat said.

“If the new elected government can develop a more modern and effective visa program for foreign flagged crew, and if they can liberalize chartering regulations to be more in line with international standards, particularly those of Thailand’s major competitors like Malaysia and Singapore, then the Andaman region could begin to unlock the huge potential that is on offer in the superyacht charter industry,” she added.

The brokers will arrive here to start their tour on Sunday.

source Reference :

Richelieu Rock Reef Basics:

Richelieu Rock , Mu Koh Surin Great for: Large animals, small animals, underwater photography, dive value-for-money and advanced divers
Not so Great for:
Wrecks, beginner divers, snorkelling, non-diving activities
5 - 35m
15 - 35m
Can be strong
Surface Conditions:
Can be rough
Water Temperature:
26 - 29°C
Experience Level:
Intermediate - advanced
Number of dive sites:
Diving Season:
November to April
~200 km north of Phuket (10 hours), 80 km northwest of Khao Lak (4 hours, or 2 hours by speed boat)
Thailand liveaboards and Khao Lak diving day trips

Recommended length of stay:
2 days

Richelieu Rock This horseshoe shaped rock located near the Surin Islands in the Andaman Sea, is considered by many to be the best dive site in Thailand. Discovered by diving pioneer Jacques-Yves Cousteau with the aide of local fishermen, it now attracts divers from all over the world due to the sheer variety of marine life that can be seen here.

Richelieu Rock , Mu Koh Surin Richelieu Rock , Mu Koh Surin Richelieu Rock , Mu Koh Surin Richelieu Rock rates as one of the best places in the world to dive with whale sharks and is easily the best site in Thailand diving for this amazing activity. It's not the only Thailand dive destination where whale sharks are seen but Richelieu Rock certainly attracts more than its fair share. Schooling Chevron Barracuda, numerous types of Moray Eels, abundant LionFish and Scorpion Fish. 5 types of Anemone Fish, Juvenile Emperor Angel Fish, Sea Horses, Ornate Ghost PipeFish and Harlequin Shrimps can all be found. This site is also a prime location for sighting Whalesharks, occasional Manta Rays and ShovelNose Rays.

Oxycirrhites typus - Longnose Hawkfish (Richelieu Rock)Lysmata Amboinensis - White-banded cleaner shrimp (Richelieu Rock) Swimming with such a large animal, known to grow to fourteen metres in length, is a never to be forgotten experience for any diver. Sightings occur about 10% of the time. Some dive seasons see more visitors than others and generally February to April is the best time for a visit if your aim is to enjoy the exhilaration of swimming with these massive creatures onboard liveaboards in Thailand.

source Reference :
source Photo :

le congre's photos

takau99's photos

Family name: Myliobatidae, subfamily Mobulinae
Order name: Batoides
Common name: Mantaray
Scientific name: Manta Birostris (
Dondorff, 1798)

The Spanish word for blanket is 'manta' and aptly describes the unique spherical body shape of this animal. Also known as "devil ray" with graceful pectoral 'wings', manta rays are easily recognised by their paddle-like cephalic lobes projecting forward from the front of the head (actually extensions of the pectoral fins, supported by radial cartilages), and a very broad, rectangular terminal mouth.

The manta ray, or giant manta (Manta birostris), is the largest of the rays, with the largest known specimen having been nearly 7.6 meters (25 ft) across its pectoral fins (or "wings") and weighed in at 3,000 kg (6,600 lb). Mantas vary in colour from black, grey-blue, to red-brown on the upper surface of their cartilage body, sometimes with white shoulder patches and blotches, and almost pure white on the lower surface of their pectoral fins and body disc. Their body patterns show individual variation and helps identify individuals. There are also regional differences in manta ray colour patterns. For example, specimens from the eastern Pacific often feature dusky to mostly black undersurfaces, while those from the western Pacific are typically snow white underneath.

Although it's difficult not to recognise an adult manta ray, juveniles are similar to mobula rays (of which there are nine species) that grow to three metres and share paddle-shaped cephalic lobes and gracefully curved pectoral wings. Mantas are now thought to be a single species, and mobulas are most readily distinguished by the position of the mouth - mantas have terminal mouths (located at the front of the head), whilst mobulas have sub-terminal mouths (located underneath the head, similar to many sharks).

Even though manta rays have up to 300 rows of small peg shaped teeth (the size of pin heads) only on the lower jaw, they really are gigantic filter-feeders, preying on planktonic crustaceans and small schooling bony fishes. The two fleshy lobes of cephalic fins are unrolled and held at a downward angle to create a funnel guiding prey into their enormous mouth. Feeding often occurs near or at the surface where plankton accumulates.

The mantaray are ovoviviparous with a usual litter size of two - each pup wrapped in a thin-shell that hatches inside the mother, later to be born alive. Birth occurs in relatively shallow water, where the young remain for several years before expanding their range further offshore. Like sharks and other rays, mantas are fertilized internally. Male manta rays have a pair of penis-like organs called claspers, along the inner part of their pelvic fins. During courtship, male chase the female, eventually one grasping the tip of one of her pectoral wings between his teeth, and pressing his belly against hers. Then, the male flexes one of his claspers and inserts it into her vent. Copulation lasts about 90 seconds. The fertilized eggs develop inside a mother manta's body for an unknown length of time that may exceed 12 months.

A newborn manta ray is about 125cm wide and growth is rapid, doubling in size during the first year of life. Males mature when they reach a size of about four metres, females at about five metres; it is unknown what age this is. Likewise, it is not known how long mantarays live, but best guesses are about 25 years.
Only large warm water sharks, such as the tiger shark are known to prey naturally upon manta rays.

Manta ray distribution is circum-tropical, around the globe, generally between 35 degrees north and south latitude, including South Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique to Somalia; in the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia to southern Japan; northern Australia, Micronesia, New Caledonia, Fiji, New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Hawaii; southern California to northern Peru, North Carolina to southern Brazil, the Azores, and Senegal to Liberia.

source Reference: &

The weather on either side of the Kra Isthmus and diving conditions in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand are dominated by two opposing monsoons, the northeast and southwest monsoons. The northeast monsoon sweeps across the Gulf of Thailand between mid October and mid December, bringing heavy rain and strong winds - some dive sites become inaccessible during this time as they suffer from strong currents and reduced visibility. It is during this period that many tourists switch, as if by magic, to the west coast.

Those that stay on in the Gulf during this short time will find themselves on nearly empty beaches, with the sun regularly appearing from behind the clouds. An anomaly is that the easternmost diving regions in Trat province remain sheltered during this period.

The Andaman Sea is sheltered from the worst effects of the northeast monsoon, and diving and snorkelling is at its best from November to April. Underwater visibility ranges from 5m. to 30m. or more during this period. From May to October the southwest monsoon strikes this region, bringing in its wake towering seas and strong currents and increased turbidity.

Diving seasons, ThailandDiving seasons, ThailandDiving seasons, ThailandDiving seasons, ThailandConversely, the dive sites in the Gulf of Thailand are at their best during this season, with only minimal winds and seas. Visibility can sometimes equal that of the Andaman Sea during this period. There are always dive sites on either side of the Isthmus that are sheltered enough to be dived whatever the weather so, if you find in the wrong place at the wrong time, don't despair!

Water temperatures in Thailand rang from 27°C to 31°C. A thin wetsuit or lycra suit is recommended, not simply for protection form exposure but also as a barrier to marine hazards such as stinging cells. Oceanic sites (such as the Similans or the Burma Banks) are subject to sudden cold currents or thermoclines which can chill the water by up to 10°C and, although these temperature dips are localized, most divers still prefer to don 3-4 mm. wetsuits for thermal protection.

source Reference : Pocket Guide DIVE Thailand

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