About Phuket - Thailand
How do I get there?
Phuket has an international airport with direct flights to Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Hong Kong. Between November and April there are charter flights to many European Cities as well. Thai airways offers 10-12 daily direct flights to and from Bangkok
Do I need a visa?
Visitors from most Western Countries including Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand are granted a 30 day stay on arrival. Other nationals are required to produce a tourist visa and should contact a local Thai consulate for more details.
Transportation from the airport?
Phuket International Airport is located about 45 minutes north of the major Beach centers. There is a minibus service operating for about $8 USD per person, or a private taxi may be hired for about $25 USD per car.
Where can I change money?
Thailand's Currency is the Thai Baht, and can be exchanged on arrival at Phuket airport. The exchange rate towards the US$ is around 32 Baht for 1 US$. Commercial banks, currency exchanges, ATM Machines and major hotels provide currency exchange services at Phuket's major beach centers. Credit cards are widely accepted.
Where can I stay?
If you are diving during the day and coming back to Phuket for your evenings entertainment and rest, there are many different types of accommodation to choose from. These range from basic bungalows/guesthouses with fan and approx 5 minutes walk to the beach for $25-35 USD; air-con guesthouses/hotels for $30-50 USD; and luxury resort hotels from about $50 USD and up. Accommodation can be found in all major centers, either with plenty of night-life or in quiet, secluded bays around the island. For divers the most convenient location to stay is Karon Beach, as it is close to our Dive Center. The Islandia Travelodge Resort and many smaller guesthouses are within walking distance of beach, shops, restaurants and our main diving shophouse. Let us know what your preference is when you make your booking, and we will let you know what the best deal in town will be.
What about the weather?
November to April is Phuket's dry season, and Dive Asia runs a full program of Daytrips, Liveaboards, and PADI Courses. You can expect an average temp of 30C/89F, sunny weather, and calm seas during most of this time.
The rainy season lasts from May till October, and Dive Asia continues to run a full program of PADI Courses and Daytrips, but there are no Liveaboard trips available. There are many sunny days throughout the rainy season, and showers normally last little more than 2-3 hours. Expect temperatures similar to the dry season, but rough sea conditions can also occur during this time.
What about the Food?
Few places in the world can provide the quality and variety of food available here in Phuket. You can choose between local Thai restaurants (Phuket is famous for its seafood) and every kind of Western/European cuisine.
You should take the normal precautions, like on any other journey. Malaria prophylaxis is not necessary. Phuket has 3 international hospitals in case you should require any medical assistance.
What about tipping?
Tipping in Thailand is entirely a matter of choice if you have enjoyed the service you receive. On a week-long liveaboard trip, if you feel you have received excellent and friendly service from our Thai crew and staff, you may wish to leave a few hundred or so baht per day ($5 USD) to share amongst them, although this is at your discretion.
Is there anything to do topside?
Phuket is a world class holiday destination offering first class beaches, great shopping and a glittering nightlife. You won't run out of things to do, we promise.
About Diving in Phuket
When is the best time to dive?
The best diving season is from November to May, with Whale Sharks being sighted throughout this period. The weather is at it's calmest during the months of February to April. Diving during the period of June to October is also a satisfying experience with the reduced numbers of divers, snorkelers and sight-seers. Although you can expect a little rain and slightly choppy waters, the diving is even more exciting since unusual large marine animal sightings that can occur, and the chance to view the reef inhabitants without the tourist rush. Also, prices can be more competitive during this period, allowing you to sample more dive sites.
What am I likely to see on a dive?
On every dive, you should expect to see a wide variety of colorful hard and soft corals, Clown Anemone Fish, Lion Fish, schools of colorful tropical fish, and numerous other reef fish. Interesting and brightly colored nudibranchs can be found on almost every dive - in fact, the sites you will dive are full of small and interesting reef creatures. For those seeking larger animal encounters, you can choose your sites to increase your chances of diving with Whale Sharks, Leopard Sharks, Guitar Sharks, Manta Rays, Blue-Spotted Rays and Reef Sharks. The Andaman Sea has it all!
What is the water temperature?
You can expect water temperatures between 27-28 C / 83-85 F.
How many dives can I do in one day?
A typical day trip consists of 2 dives and lunch for around $60 USD, without renting diving equipment. A liveaboard trip opens up more diving possibilities and allows you to relax between your dives, so that you can dive 3-4 times in one day including a night dive. A typical liveaboard cruise will cost around US$130 a day, including all diving, three full meals and accommodation (equipment is extra).
How deep are the dive sites?
Sites are generally deeper on liveaboard trips, and dives of all depths are available from 5 meters up to 30 meters plus. On a liveaboard trip, you can choose the type of diving that you prefer, whether it be deep or shallow.
Are there strong currents?
If you like the enjoyment of a drift dive, you can choose to dive some of the sites that provide a convenient, and sometimes strong, current. If not, you can choose to dive the sites that have little or no currents. There are so many different dive sites in the Andaman Sea, and you'll become spoiled for choice!
Will I see whale sharks?
If you opt for a liveaboard trip during the months of February to April, and ensure that your diving is taking you to Richelieu Rock (in the Surin Islands) or Hin Daeng or Hin Muang (to the south of Phuket), your chances of seeing a Whale Sharks are very high indeed. In fact, some companies go so far as to "guarantee" Whale Shark sightings. We prefer not to label such a wonderful experience with a wild and free animal.
What should I bring?
All your personal diving gear (except tanks and weights), bathing suit, towel, T-shirts, shorts, and sunscreen. As evenings can sometimes be a little cooler, you might also bring a windbreaker or sweatshirt and light cotton pants. You always need less than you think. Any excess luggage or valuables may be kept at your hotel or at our office during the cruise. If you prefer to travel light, Dive Asia has a full range of quality rental diving equipment.
Do I need a wetsuit?
Yes. Although the water is very warm at 28 C / 85 F, exposure protection is necessary as you will be making up to 4 dives a day.
Where do I sleep?
You will be sleeping in air-conditioned twin cabins with pillows, blankets and sheets provided.
What kind of food is served?
Our chef produces excellent Thai and Western cuisine. Some highlights: daily hearty western style breakfasts, delicious fresh fish, Thai curries, local fruits and vegetables - even Chicken Cordon Bleu.
What if I am vegetarian?
If you are vegetarian, let us know a week prior to your trip and we will make sure there are plenty of vegetarian dishes to suit your tastes.
How many dives can I do in one day?
A typical day trip consists of 2 dives, but a live-aboard cruise opens up more diving possibilities and allows you to relax quickly between dives, so that you can dive 3-4 times in one day.
Are Night Dives included?
Night dives may be included at the Tour Leader/Divemaster's discretion, conditions allowing.
Can I recharge my strobes and batteries?
Yes. 220/110/24 Volt current is provided.
About PADI Diving Courses
What is PADI?
PADI - the Professional Association of Diving Instructors - is the largest dive training organization in the world with affiliated dive centers and members in more than 100 countries.
How old must I be?
Anyone age 10 and up and in good health can enroll in a PADI diving course.
Do I need to pass a medical?
Before you can enroll in your course, you must sign a medical statement that says you are fit to dive. If you have any pre-existing conditions, they must be signed off by a doctor.
Do I have to be a good swimmer?
No, you don't. But you should feel comfortable in the water. A 10 minute float and a 200 meter swim or a 300 meter snorkel swim is to be completed prior to certification.
What if I can't complete the course?
You will be granted credit for the portion of the course you have completed, and can finish the course at a later time.
How can I make a Booking