Richelieu Rock is one of the top dive sites in the Similan Islands and is famous for its abundance of marine life. You may also have the chance of seeing mantas and whale sharks here so keep your eyes peeled.
Louisa, Original Diver
Offering by far the best diving in Thailand, backed up by some of the most stunning resorts, the waters to the west of Phuket are still a divers paradise despite the crowds.
Why we think you’ll love it
- Home to the best diving in Thailand around the Similan Islands.
- Possibility of encounters with big fish including whale sharks and mantas.
- Beautiful, pristine white sandy beaches and supremely luxurious hotels.
From the gallery
Our Guide to Western Thailand Diving Holidays
There is varied diving around the waters of Phuket but the very best diving is to be had around the Similan Islands which lie a 70-minute speedboat journey from the Thai coast and Phuket. The islands are only open for diving between November and May and it is possible to dive by liveaboard or daily diving by speedboat from the shore (slow boats take about 3 hours).
The Similan Islands offer two different kinds of diving. The eastern side consists of gently sloping coral reefs with sandy patches and the occasional boulder in between. The west side is known for its huge underwater granite boulders with numerous swim-throughs.
Perhaps the most famous of the dive sites off this coast of Thailand, which is often bucketed together with the Similan Islands despite actually being part of the Surin National Park, further to the north, is Richelieu Rock, famous for its incomparable variety and abundance of marine life. Whale shark sightings are not uncommon here as are mantas and other large pelagics.
When you are not in the water, the area around Phuket offers stunning accommodation which makes the time you are not diving a real pleasure. The Original Diving team has made several visits to the area to bring you the very best it has to offer.