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Diving and tourist life

Discussion in 'Thailand' started by ian hanna, May 7, 2020.

  1. ian hanna

    ian hanna Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: wasilla, AK
    hi there!
    when travel opens back up, i want to finally go and visit Thailland and dive. I would like a place that has good diving options and maybe even shore diving but also have a good city life to go explore (AKA not really wanting the isolated dive resort thing right now).

    any good recommendations or if i should look more at the Philippines or Malaysia?

    thanks all!
  2. sskiver01

    sskiver01 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: California/Michigan
    I’m not an expert I dive Thailand every year except this year for the last 4 years still lots of spots I haven’t been. The only place I know that has boat and shore dives only Nov-May is Phuket it’s nice in my opinion it also has some city life not included the naughty street lol. I’m sure others may know better than I. I do know many say Indonesia Bali and lots of places in the Philippines are better, I don’t know I haven’t been. My wife is Thai so my vacations are in Thailand. It’s a great country in my opinion. Enjoy wherever you choose it’s awesome!
    Hank49 likes this.
  3. Hank49

    Hank49 Solo Diver

    I've lived and dived in the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand. If I had to choose....well, toss a coin.
    But Phuket does offer what you seem to be looking for.
    I did more free diving there. But there is a nice "city" life. Lots of restaurants, good food....
  4. Centrals

    Centrals Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives:
    Location: Hong Kong
    Shore dive with good city life?
    Is that possible in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand?
    Love to know the answer as well.
  5. Barmaglot

    Barmaglot Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Israel
    It depends on what you want from 'city life', and also what you mean by shore diving.
    • Phuket certainly has city life, up to and including shopping malls, but dive sites are at least a couple hours away - it's a fairly large island, so the taxi ride to pier can be fairly long, and then there's the boat ride to the dive sites.
    • Koh Tao has dozens of restaurants and bars, but no shopping to speak of. Dive sites are of middling quality, but most are 10-15 minutes away from the island, and you can stay a few minutes' walk away from the beach, with longtails shuttling divers back and forth to the dive boats.
    • Koh Lanta has has a decent strip of restaurants, bars and shops, and dive sites are much better than Koh Tao, but they're also 1-2 hours away from the island. Also, the island itself is fairly big, and some of the hotels/resorts are quite far away from anything.
    • Ao Nang is supposed to be quite similar to Lanta, but I haven't been there, so I can't relate a personal experience.
    • Koh Chang is similar in many ways to Lanta, but diving is not as good, and it's important to pick where to stay on the island, as it is quite big and spread out.
    • Pattaya has no shortage of city life, to put it mildly, but diving is of 'meh' quality, and takes a while to get to.
    • Puerto Galera has a large number of dive sites within a short boat ride from shore, and some that you can just wade out to, and it's quite well-developed with regard to restaurants and other facilities.
    • Moalboal (Cebu) and Bohol could also fit your criteria, but I only dived them from a liveaboard so I can't offer a personal opinion on the shore facilities. Likewise, Coron and Subic Bay are possible destinations if you like wreck diving.
    • I've read good things about Bali, but Indonesia is difficult to access with my passport, so I can't comment on that.
    • Malaysia is famous for Sipadan, but as far as I know, that's more of an 'isolated dive resort' type of place, and it's completely inaccessible with my passport, so I can't really comment on that either.
    • Something out of the left field - consider Red Sea. In Eilat, almost all diving is done from shore, and you don't need a guide (although you do need a buddy) and there's plenty of city life. Food and accommodation is quite expensive though.
    divinh likes this.
  6. stevenl

    stevenl Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Kata, Phuket, Thailand
    If Red Sea I would for quality of diving prefer Sharm, simply much better than Eilat.

    But yes, Phuket has all you're looking for, albeit limited shorediving, and shorediving only November-April, boat diving year round.
  7. BoundForElsewhere

    BoundForElsewhere Waiting for the zombies ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: NYC
    Saudi Arabia is also good for Red Sea Diving. Jeddah is very nice and access to shore and boat diving.
    stevenl likes this.
  8. Bubble Junky

    Bubble Junky Course Director

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: In paradise...
    Koh Lanta offers better variety of dive sites than Phuket, and shorter boat trips. Check out Hin Daeng/Hin Muang and Koh Ha. The dive centres also run trips to the Phi Phi dive sites...
  9. Pearlman

    Pearlman Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Bangalore
    Everything above. If you are a beginner - you wont mind the longish boat rides on modern steel hulled dive boats. They have an upper deck with food counter and soft drink, powder/filter coffee etc (yet to see one with a cappuccino machine) . I believe you are eager to combine travel experiences with diving. Phuket fits the bill perfectly for you. Bali is very good too. Sipadan requires a in-country flight from KL then a 2-3 hours road trip before a boat ride to the dive resort and is completely isolated so leave it for when you are more committed to the hobby. PG shore diving does not have the cleanest water as I suspect sewage from the town most likely dumps into the same water nearby. But it still has the holiday village atmosphere so its a good travel destination. TBH - I've always left PG fighting mild ear/throat infection where my immune system feels a little down and fighting. Especially after the shore dives. You wont get VFM going all the way to PG unless you make day trips to Verde Isle which you only should after you've tucked in upwards of 75 dives in your log book - it is an advanced dive site.

    The advantage of diving Thailand for beginners is that new divers are properly chaperoned - to the extent possible, It has what you'd call a dive tourism industry that provides everything you had want - you just have to walk in, sign up (and pay up). Same with Bali/PG and most other S.E Asian tourist spots.

    Things will have changed after covid-19 as far as the party scene goes. In fact some Bali nightspots/clubs were shutdown a few years back itself for legal violations.
  10. Centrals

    Centrals Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives:
    Location: Hong Kong

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