If you are a scuba enthusiast, but do not have a dive ticket yet you can now easily afford to become a certified diver and still be able to stay at the best hotels, because learning scuba diving in Thailand with Padi registered dive centers is relatively cheap. You will find dive schools in Phuket, Phi Phi, Koh Samui, Khao Lak, Koh Samet, Koh Tao and also Pattaya.
Apart from the many scuba operators, there are also hotels in Koh Samui and many 4 and 5 star hotels in Phuket, Pattaya, Krabi and Khao Lak with their own in-house dive centers. All offer daily excursions, or you could book your space on a liveaboard boat for longer overnight diving trips and night dives at locations such as Similan and Surin islands.
For beginners, discovery dives are ideal and designed particularly if you first want to see if you will be comfortable with the sport before committing and spending on a full 4 day course. A short 2 hour crash course is offered where after you can simply walk in from the beach with a certified instructor and get the feel of it.
Some of the best diving in this area is to be found in national marine parks like the Similan, Surin and Tarutao archipelagos and diving around Koh Phi Phi and Phang Nga Bay should be on every enthusiast's agenda. The Andaman sites and Gulf of Thailand are best visited from November to April and due to rough weather brought about by the Monsoon the rest of the year.
Pattaya offers some great wreck dives while Koh Chang, Thailand’s newest holiday island and least affected by tourism, offers some shallower water and new diving sites to explore.