Diving Operators in the Gulf of Thailand

21 July 2016
The Gulf of Thailand is the body of water below Bangkok, to the East of the Thai peninsula. Some of the best diving here is around Koh Tao and Koh Chang. These are also less developed than, say, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.

Thailand has very clear waters and an average sea temperature of 28 oC. The best time to visit is between late December and June, although most of the year is good for diving in the Gulf of Thailand. Avoid November though, as this is when the monsoon arrives. For cheap hotel deals on the larger islands, see the Agoda site.

Thailand has thousands of dive operators - which to choose? Read on for divers' reviews and recommendations for each of the Gulf of Thailand diving areas.

Koh Samui Koh Tao Koh Phangan Pattaya Bangkok Koh Chang Koh Mak Koh Kood Books to Take Review a dive operator

For diving Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Khao Lak, Krabi, the Similans, Koh Lanta, etc - see the Andaman Sea Dive Operators

Soldierfish by Tim Nicholson
Photo credit: Tim Nicholson


Koh Samui

Compare prices and book diving in Koh Samui…

Koh Samui is one of Thailands larger islands. It is quieter in the south and west of the island - if you want crowds and nightlife head for the north and east. There are many high-end resorts on Koh Samui.

Koh Samui
Infinity Diving
Koh Samui
a-seadivers

119/21 Moo 2
Chaweng Beach
Koh Samui
Surat Thani 84320
Tel: +66 77 413 106
Mobile: +66 9 591 2631
[email protected]

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended

"I found Blue Planet very helpful and had a really good instructor who helped me get some magnificent photos. I went on a trip to the Similan Islands with them and had the best time of my life. So am going back in November to move on to my rescue course and hopefully move on all the way."
Ross Dimmock
 
"I hade 4 great days and will dive again with them as soon i arrive in Koh Samui again. You learn more than you can teach in the books and you get another perspective of the blue world. (But they are a bit hard to contact by e-mail.) "
Dennis
 
"I cannot praise Blue Planet highly enough...superb 1 to 1 tuition from a very experienced instructor, but tremendous fun too. Small school, just complete dedication to our enjoyment and 100% care from day 1! Can't praise them highly enough, we were waited on hand and foot! Taking my 14 year old son to do his Open Water with them next year. We were warned about the dubious practices at some Thai dive schools - and saw several taking out complete beginners that had 10+ per instructor....fine until something goes wrong! We definitely made the right choice compared to the others. "
Titch Manley-Bird

Koh Samui
In Sea Speedboat

In Sea Speedboat
16/1 Moo 4
Bophut
Koh Samui
Suratthani
Thailand
84320
[email protected]

" Scuba diving on In Sea Speedboat's Discover Scuba Diving tour to Koh Tao was amazing! Hotel transfer, breakfast, lunch, equipment, PADI Divemaster, 2 dives and insurance was included in the 4,100 Thai Baht I paid, which was the cheapest I could find on Koh Samui. The instructor was amazing and very patient with me as a beginner. He showed me all the best stuff like stingrays, puffer fish and moray eels, and we even went through a couple of swim-throughs! Thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended. Speed boat was large, lots of room to move. Shared with the snorkeling tour who go on the islands while we dive, leaving the whole speed boat free for just 3 of us! "
David Dulson, 2012

" A fantastic dive company and great customer service in Koh Samui, Thailand. Prices are low but fully inclusive, all diving trips are by speed boat, their equipment is in great condition and they take free underwater photographs and upload them to Facebook. "
Mike Fuller, 2011

Koh Samui
PADI IDC on Koh Samui
Turtle's DiveKoh Samui
Dive Point SamuiKoh Samui
Samui Dive TribeKoh Samui

Koh Tao

Compare prices and book diving in Koh Tao…

Koh Tao has some of the best diving in the Gulf of Thailand. (Read our dive site descriptions.) However, the dive sites are often very crowded - especially the well known ones of Japanese Gardens, Twin Peaks, Sai Ree Beach, Aow Leuk and Hin Ngam. If you are diving here ask your dive operator if they also go to some of the less busy sites.

There are over 40 dive operators on the island. The name Koh Tao means Turtle Island, and it has been a breeding ground for Hawksbill and Green Turtles.

Koh Tao
justdiveit.com
Koh Tao
Coral Grand Diver

Coral Grand Divers
Sairee Beach
Koh Tao
84280 Surat Thani
Thailand
Tel: (66-77) 456431-3
Fax: (66-77) 456430
E-mail: [email protected]

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended

Divers' Comments...
"The Staff at Coral Grand Divers were one of the best & most hospitable I have dived with in over 250 Resort Dives. A lovely liveaboard. Very spacious."
Jim Dwyer
 
"I dived Koh Tao in April 2004 with the Coral Grand and found the Resort and Staff excellent. Thanks to Brian and his crew for their service in the dive shop. Also all the resort staff at the Happy Snapper. Found the diving o.k but the sea was a bit full of algae due to the unusually high water temps this year. Saw and photo'd the shark at Chumpy. I Recommend the dive school and resort highly. "
Mick Hatswell

Koh Tao
Simple Life Divers
Koh Tao
Planet Scuba
Koh Tao
New Way Diving

Sairee Beach
Koh Tao
Suratthani 84280
Thailand
Tel: +66 77 45 65 27
Fax: +66 77 45 65 28

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended

"I have dived with many dive operators and this dive school was really one of the best. Very professional and safe. Very friendly staff, good value for your money. "
Peter Nieuwhof, 2007

Koh Tao
Master Divers

PO Box 4
Koh Tao
Suratthani 84280
Thailand
Tel: +66 77 456 314
Fax: +66 77 456 765
E-mail: [email protected]

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended

"Absolutely brilliant-safe, friendly, fun. "
Anna Minogue, 2011

"Great friendly team with progressive courses all the way to extreme tech diving available. Amazing dive sites from novice to pro available. I have had a great reception and expert help training for divemaster. Recommend you to try this firm. "
Prof Tim Evans, 2007, Divemaster trainee at Master Divers

Koh Tao
Island Dive Club

Koh Tao Island Resort
9/5 Sairee Beach
Koh Tao
Suratthani
84280 Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 77 456 296
Fax: +66 (0) 77 456 296
E-mail: [email protected]

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended

"Reasonable and fair prices, good value for money. Small groups for safe diving and more fun ensured! No rushed courses. Their passion for diving is truly addictive. Excellent management and ensurement of safe and responsible diving practises. "
Dominique Barth, 2006

Koh Tao
Scuba Junction

Scuba Junction
Sairee Beach
Koh Tao
Thailand
Tel: +66 77 456164
Fax: +66 77 456013
E-mail: [email protected]

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended

"It's what I think is the best dive operator in Koh Tao. They don't take more than 4 people in a group. Have awesome instructors, especially David. All the staff are just like friends. We dived with them and looking forward for more vacations in Koh Tao. "
Shibsankar Bagchi, 2008

Koh Tao
Buddha View Dive Resort
Koh Tao
Easy Divers

10/3 Moo. 2 T. Koh Tao
A. Phangan Suratthani 84280
Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 7745 6010
Fax: +66 (0) 7745 6321
[email protected]

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended

"Really nice and professional. I was very nervous but they made it fun and made me feel safe. "
Elliott
 

"Really professional and fun. A lot of the other dive shops are run like factories they don't even remember your name, but these guys are different. All of the instructors are really nice and very experienced and look after you all the way. They have a really nice boat and good equipment too. I am definitely going to dive with them again! "
Billy
 

Koh Tao
Phoenix Divers

PADI and SSI training with the emphasis on small groups and a relaxed atmosphere. Offers accommodation to suit all budgets with landscaped gardens and swimming pool.

Sairee Beach
Koh Tao
Surat Thani
84280
Thailand
Tel: +66 (0)77 456 033
Fax: +66 (0)77 456 034
[email protected]

Reviews: 4.5 stars

"Just completed a 6 fun dive package with Phoenix Divers and was very impressed with their service and facilities. Excellent service and very professional experienced instructors - nice pink boat. "
Dave Lumley
 

"Been coming to Koh Tao on and off for about three years and have tried many different shops, but never really felt totally happy until I dived with Phoenix Divers on Sairee Beach. Shop and resort staff made me and my girlfriend feel totally at home - bar is a little noisy, but from what I gather it is nowhere near as bad as it used to be.
The dive staff where incredible, making sure that all customers where equipped and ready to go and safety was excellent; diver checks, boat checks & so forth, without being to in your face to make you feel uncomfortable. Me and my girlfriend were doing some fun dives, but from what i could see all customers were getting excellent value for money and professional instruction.
Excellent value for money. Will be going back there in the near future so see you there!
"
Andi
 

Koh Tao
Koh Tao Divers
Koh Tao
Ban's Diving Resort

Sairee beach
Koh Tao
Surat Thani
84280 Thailand
Tel: +66 7745.6061
E-mail: [email protected]

Reviews: 3 stars

Divers' Comments...
"I have just done my PADI open water and all classes were safely taught, not large numbers and well organised."
Rozzy Secrett
 
"100 rooms, pool, young and friendly place, great bar, very professional outfit, DM Course (internship included unlimited diving) 25000baht! Special rooms for DMs for 5500baht per month - great value! I stayed and did my divemaster course with those guys. Extremely good value for the money and the most fun dive center on the island. Same prices all of the island, but i believe that the quality is much higher here at least for professional level courses. Assisted on 7 courses during my training and did 130 dives!"
Steve Thompson

"I did a 2 month divemaster course at Ban's and was consistantly verbally abused, even physically threatened by their very nasty team of in-house instructors. I would avoid this place like the plague. "
Dave Cummins, 2008

Koh Tao
Diving on Koh Tao

Diving on Koh Tao
GPO Mae Haad Road,
Koh Tao
Surat Thani
84360,
Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 835438682
[email protected]

" I've book and dive with this people and they were really nice. They took care of everything for including and from the day I arrived in Koh Tao they were there not only teaching me how to dive but also making sure my trip on the Island was perfect. Dutch and Canadian, they were also teaching in Dutch and French. Very good people and I do recommend! "
Laura, 2011

Koh Tao
Seashell Divers

Seashell Divers
Seashell Dive Resort
9/1 Sairee Beach
Koh Tao
84360
Suratthani
Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 812718826
Fax: +66 (0) 77 456 271
[email protected]

" I learned to dive on Koh Tao with Seashell Divers. It was amazing, the highlight being the Chumphon Pinnacle. Vibrant coral reaching from the sea bed 30 m below the surface, with the sun glinting off schools of fish all around. I've now dived on Koh Phi Phi and Cozumel (Mexico) as well and I have yet to see such varied life in one place. Especially amazing for new divers. Koh Tao is a beautiful and cheap place to do dive courses. I can't wait to go back--still haven't seen my whale shark! "
Brad Bonnell, 2012

New Heaven Resort
Koh Tao
Tel: +66 774 56462
[email protected]

"We've just returned from the most amazing diving holiday in Thailand. We all have fast-pace lives and wanted something as quiet and relaxing as possible. Boy, did we find it! It takes a while to travel to remote Koh Tao island, but it's worth every km. We found a real gem in New Heaven resort and dive-shop, run by Devrim. This is NOT the place for those looking for partying. They have two resorts, both very quiet, the one we stayed in can only be reached by longtail boat. As a result, it has the feel of a genuinely private beach, and I was often the only person on it, especially every morning at sunrise. No frills here - just beach and mountain huts - but the food is great and Phi Kay who runs the resort is wonderful - looking after us as if we were family. The amazing rates meant we could stay for two weeks.
 
As far as the diving itself goes, the dives were always organised around our preferences and diving levels. We were often the only people on the boat. Our dive-masters and instructors were very professional and the emphasis was always on fun and safety. Devrim, who owns the diveshop, is one of those calm, gentle souls who spreads a feeling of life being good wherever he is.
 
So if you are looking for real peace, and indescribably lovely diving, this is the place to advise them to go."
Robynn
Koh Tao
Big Bubble
Koh Tao
Ace Marine Expeditions
Koh Tao
Scuba Birds
Koh Tao
Dive Wishes & More
Koh Tao
Carabao Dive Resort

One of the first dive schools to open on Koh Tao.

50/1 moo 3
Chalok Ban Kao
Koh Tao
Suratthani
84360 Thailand
Tel: +66 77456402
[email protected]
Book diving via Divebooker…

Review Carabao Dive Resort.

Reviews:5 Star Rating: Recommended (1)

"We have just returned from a week's diving in Koh Tao. I can highly recommend Carabao Dive Shop. If you are going out there pop in and do your diving with them as there is quite a lot of competition out there with dive shops and some ...no names... just have loads of people packed onto the boats. "
David Main

Koh Tao
Simple Life Divers
Koh Tao
Asia Divers
Koh Tao
Goodtime Adventures
Koh Tao
DJL Diving
Koh Tao
Golden Divers Koh Tao
Koh Tao
Blacktip Diving and Watersports
Koh Tao
Oceans Below
Koh Tao
Big Blue BSAC
Koh Tao
Davy Jones Locker
Koh Tao
Koh Tao Diving Adventure
Koh Tao
Go Dive Pro Thailand
Koh Tao
Roctopus Dive
Koh Tao
Crystal Dive Resort
Koh Tao > Koh Nang Yuan
Koh Nang Yuan Dive Resort

Located on a small private island near Koh Tao.

46 Moo 1
Koh Tao (Nangyuan)
Suratthani 84280
Thailand
Tel: +66 (0)77-456088-93
Fax: +66 (0)77-456088
[email protected]

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended

"Did our Padi open water at Koh Nan Yuang off Koh Tao. Lovely experience for first time divers and not too challenging. We were actually attacked by Trevor the Triggerfish on our first dive! Saw a sea turtle on our first unaccompanied dive too. "
Andy, 2007


Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan
The Dive Inn
Koh Phangan
Haad Rin Divers

Haad Rin Divers Koh Phangan offer day trips and liveaboard diving, PADI courses and free accommodation. Small groups. Flexible schedule. They dive Koh Tao everyday. Snorkel tours and non diver activities. They have their own resort in Koh Phangan and rooms in Koh Tao.

Seagarden Resort
Koh Phangan
Thailand
Tel: +66 (0)77 375415
Fax: +66 (0)77375414
[email protected]

Review….

Koh Phangan
Phangan Fun Factory

Phangan Fun Factory
Moo 1 79/22 - Koh Phangan
84280 Surat Thani
Thailand
Tel: 081 677 2101
[email protected]

Divers' Comments...
"I would definitly dive again with the Fun Factory. Dive sites include: Sail Rock, Marine Park, Chumphon Pinnacle, South West and Samran Pinnacle, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. High speed dive catamaran, build 2009, cuts normal travel times by two thirds. "
Andrew Hunt, 2010

Koh Phangan
Phangan Divers
Koh Phangan
Haad Yao Divers

Pattaya

From Pattaya you can dive two wrecks near Sattahip, but the visibility on them is generally low and strong currents mean you need to dive them at slack water. Otherwise the best diving is around Koh Phai and the nearby islands.

Pattaya
PJ Scuba

P J Scuba Co., Ltd (Mermaids Group)
75/124 Moo 12
Jomtien Beach Road Nongprue
Banglamung
Cholburi
Thailand
20260 E-mail [email protected]

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended

Divers' Comments...
"Truly superb. Very friendly. I had problems that slowed the course down and everyone was really cool with that. Really relaxed, safe, professional - not one bad word.
"
Paul

"The Benchmark. Excellent. Fun, safe, loved it!. "
Terry, 2007

Pattaya
Real Divers

Opposite the Jomtien Beach on the way up to the Soi Welcome Hotel
Tel: +66 038-232-476
E-mail: [email protected]

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended

"Real Divers are a pleasure to dive with they took care of all our diving needs and made all of us in the group feel very safe and have plenty of fun. Their experience of living in Thailand was also very helpful to my family and friends. Would advise any diver to vist or contact their dive shop. I will be back to dive with them again and again. "
Gary Ball, 2009

"Real Divers in Pattaya was excellent. I was a novice diver and their instructor was knowledgable and very patient. I would definitely recommend! "
Dorothy Martin, 2007

Pattaya
Asian Sport
Pattaya
Scuba Tek Dive Center
Pattaya
Seafari Diving Center
Pattaya
SEAduction
Pattaya
Barcodescuba
Pattaya
The Dive Site
Pattaya
We Dive Pattaya

Bangkok

Bangkok
Planet Scuba Bangkok

Koh Chang (Elephant Island), in the Gulf of Thailand, is a large island close to the Cambodian border. The Ko Chang Sub-district encompasses 28 islands of the Ko Chang Marine National Park of which Ko Chang is the largest and most developed.

Koh Chang
The Dive Adventure
Koh Chang
Scuba Evolution

Claim to have the most comfortable dive boat on Koh Chang. Do wreck trips out to new wrecks they discovered.

Koh Chang
Trat
Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 811528092, +66 (0)87 9264973
Fax: +66 (0) 89619602 [email protected]

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended

"Had a great experience with Scuba-evolution. These guys know their stuff when it comes to the wrecks and technical diving. The only company to cater for tec diving divers like myself. The boat is fantastic and completely unlike any of the other boats on the island. The food is a massive plus and its hot from the kitchen. Other than that the whole team is a great pleasure to dive and socialise with. Always happy to have a beer with you and give you plenty of technique tips that the other instructors never let you know or they don't know themselves. I will be bringing my daughter to do her PADI Openwater as they have the best swimming pool on Koh Chang and the most qualified instructors on the island. 100% clean record of safety and they are the only dive centre I have ever dived with that update their equipment every 12 months. I will be back to dive on Koh Chang and to dive with Scuba-evolution everytime. Value and safety all wrapped into one nice package! 2600 baht 2 dives. Tec diving trips 6000 baht per day. "
Tim Street, 2008

Koh Chang
Scandinavian Chang Diving Center

All prices are include: Pick up, drop off, lunch, equipment, drinks, biscuits and everything needed for the day. Price example: 2 dives (1 day) costs 2700 Baht.

Big Elk Shop
Klong Prao
Koh Chang
23170 Trat
Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 039 696 530, +66 (0) 89 401 39 27
[email protected]

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended (1)

"I enjoyed the days with the crew from Scandinavian Chang Diving Center. They are professional and friendly, not only on the boat but also later in the shop or when we met them in the evening. Beside that the Scandinavian Chang Diving Center stand for quality in everything: divetrips, equipment, tanks, food, pickup, education and with the underwater life! Next year I will do my advanced Course with them. I saw how they taught and I was so impressed. The Dive sites are full of fish and a lot of corals: the dive guides from Scandinavian Chang Diving Center know them so well that even when you go twice on one spot they can show you different sides. Thanks for the dive. "
Johann, 2009

"Scandinavian Chang Diving Center made my dive trip perfect. The staff are proffessional and give a hand in anything. The equipment is new as well as the tanks. They explained a lot about the underwater environment and gave me useful tips for my bouyancy. It helps me now using less air. A BIG THANK YOU to Scandinavian Chang Diving Center and i will come back soon. "
Helga, 2009

Koh Chang
DivingScool Koh Chang
Koh Chang / Koh Kood
BB Divers

Bang Bao Pier 16/2
Koh Chang
PO box 22 Koh Chang Post Office
23170 Trat
Thailand
Tel: +66(0)39 55 80 40
Mobile: +66 (0)6 129 23 05
E-mail

Klong Chao beach
next to Away resort
Koh Kood
Trat
Thailand
Tel: +66(0)39 55 80 40
Mobile: +66 (0)6 129 23 05
E-mail

Reviews: 5 Star Rating: Recommended 5 Star Rating: Recommended (3)

"Last month I dived with my friends with bb divers Koh Kood. We could choose to dive around Koh kood, Koh Maak, Koh Rang and Koh Chang. We went to Koh Kood. 2 of my friends donít dive, so they went with us for snorkeling. We went to 2 different divespots, where we were the only dive school. So it was very quite and relaxing. We dived with Pui, a dive master who works already for years in this area. We saw a lot of beautiful fish and the corals are still so alive... Great. In between we went to a totally white small beach.. again nobody :-) it was a great day.. Staff professional and friendly, give us a lot of info about koh kood. For sure I go again to dive with them and enjoy the relaxing area of Koh kood. "
, The Netherlands, 5 September 2012

"I did my open water diving course here (Koh Chang). The instructor Hanah was great. We had a great time. Dive sites good. Planning to come back. "
Andrew Gordon, 2012

"Instructor help me a lot with my Advance Open Water (Koh Chang). So professional and friendly....U would say this is the best dive operator on Koh Change...see you next holiday...Natt "
Natthapong Sanguansri, 2012

Koh Chang
Dolphin Divers

38/7 Moo 4 Klong Prao
23170 Koh Chang
Trat
Thailand
Tel/Fax: +66 (0)39 557030

Review….

Koh Chang
Ploy Scuba Diving

Ban Bangbao
Koh Chang
Trat
Thailand

"Small groups, personal attention, Thai management, international instructors (English, German, French, Spanish), speed boats. Fun dives (2 dives + equipment + lunch + transport from/to the hotel) 2500 THB. Night dive 2.000 THB. PADI courses: OW 13.500 THB. ADV 12.500 THB. Special prices for multiple courses or trips. "
Lydia Arteaga, Ploy Scuba Diving, 2009

Koh Chang
Dive School Koh Chang

Koh Mak

Koh Mak is a small island 60 km from Trat and 20 km from Koh Chang. There are hourly buses to Trat from Bangkok, and two flights a day. From Trat connect to the Laem Ngob pier by local taxi ( THB 60 - 80 ) and from there go by boat to Koh Mak.

Koh Mak
Koh Mak Buri Hut Natural Resort

Koh Mak Buri Hut Natural Resort
Koh Mak
Trat
Thailand

There are full service dive shops on Koh Mak.

Review….

Koh Mak
Koh Mak Divers
Koh Mak
Paradise Divers

Updates

This page is regularly updated, so please revisit soon. Meanwhile, these books lists dive operators in other areas of Thailand.

Diving Guide Books

Dive Thailand
by Paul Lees, Paperback, 176 pages
Covers both the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Gives plenty of information and not just on dive sites. In fact is a mini guide book, covering travel, dive operators, money, when to go and Accommodation. Filled with colour pictures, it features sections on sea life, underwater photography and first aid. All dives are given a star rating and are well described. If you're planning to dive in Thailand you won't regret buying this book.

Travel Guide Books

Two good guidebooks for travelling in Thailand are the Rough Guide and Lonely Planet. We'd choose the islands and beaches edition: lighter to carry and includes Bangkok. The Rough Guide has more information than the Lonely Planet.

Thailand's Islands and Beaches
Paperback, 448 pages
Thailand Rough Guide
Paperback, 816 pages

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