There are some holiday activities you can be forgiven for not participating in, but when vacationing in Thailand, one thing is simply not an option: refraining from jumping into the sea! And why would you, anyway? After all, Southeast Asia’s original beach destination has a whopping 2,800 km of coastline to explore its crystal-clear waters from.
The best way to take to the ocean, arguably, is to dive. Thai hotels have long specialised in offering memorable experiences for scuba-fans, though some addresses go the extra mile. Looking for the kingdom’s finest dive resorts? Immerse yourself in the below!
Pimalai Resort & Spa, Koh Lanta
This hotel in Thailand’s deep south recently launched the ‘Diving in Koh Haa’ experience which gives certified scuba-divers the chance to see the country’s gentle giants up close – and by ‘gentle giants’, we mean whale sharks, not underwater elephants… The program runs between February and May, when the biggest marine mammals in the sea (they’re not fish!) frequent the rich lagoon around tiny Koh Haa, south of Koh Lanta.
Including everything from accommodation and equipment down to National Park entrance fees, the Pimalai’s all-round carefree package lets you choose between no less than twelve unique dive sites. Advanced divers get up and close (though not too close, we suggest) with the sea snakes and lionfish at home in the cavernous ‘Chimney’ site, while beginners find Nemo in the lagoon’s turquoise shallows. No whale shark in sight? Take solace in the five-star resort’s luxurious amenities – it works for us!
Renaissance Koh Samui, Koh Samui
Running an LGBT+ offer all the way through December 20, 2019, the much-beloved Renaissance is a logical choice for queer scuba-lovers. Aside from the special promotion, which includes in-villa breakfast and a daily cocktail allowance (something to dive right into in the evenings!), the beachside Renaissance is just steps away from underwater explorations.
Moreover, a marine wonder world of Jacques Cousteau’s wildest dreams is only a boat ride away: Koh Yippon and Koh Wao, north of legendary Ang Thong National Marine Park, boast with remarkable biodiversity below the surface – even by tropical standards. Float above clouds of rainbow-coloured, soft coral while fusiliers and parrotfish curiously inspect the strange, bubble-making creature that is you! Despite their beauty, the islands aren’t major tourist spots. Hence, living conditions for local wildlife remain strikingly pristine and peaceful (want them to stay this way? Never step on coral). Back at the Renaissance, exchange stories with other scuba-aficionados at the Pool Bar… This is the life.
Amari Phuket, Phuket
Four-star properties aren’t exactly a novelty in Phuket, but the Amari does something extraordinary: they’ve teamed up with award-winning Sea Bees dive school to organise day trips and dive safaris all around Thailand’s most popular holiday destination! With Sea Bees’ help, anyone can learn how to dive within two to four days – even kids from the age of eight.
A minimum of 250 dives under their belt, each team member has unparalleled knowledge of the region’s dive sites (which comes in handy if you’re looking for personal encounters with the sea’s most elusive creatures). Hop aboard Sea Bee’s lemon-coloured MV Excalibur II and plunge right into offshore sites like Shark Point, Anemone Reef or the King Cruiser Wreck, whose remains have been taken over by life of all shapes and sizes since the car-ferry sank back in 1997. Advanced divers descend to a depth of up to thirty metres here. Too adventurous for you? The Amari’s infinity pool isn’t quite as deep – though just as stunning.