What To See?
Krabi offers some great underwater vistas made up of both hard and soft coral. Bamboo, leopard and blacktip reef sharks can be seen. Barracuda school here and also are known, along with grouper, to guard the entrances to swim-throughs. Colorful reef fish go about their business, fusiliers swarm, and you are likely to see lobster crammed into holes too. Macro geeks will love seahorses, ghost pipefish, nudibranch, shrimp and wart slugs.
Best For Easy Access: Ao Nang Local Islands
The Ao Nang Local Islands are the best for easy access with just a 10-minute speedboat ride, or 40-minute long-tail ride, from Krabi’s shore. There are several rock islets which offer everything from swim throughs, drop off, caverns, slopes and walls. Marine life is equally varied and in any one dive you can see elusive ghost pipefish, lazy hawksbill turtles, schooling reef fish, leopard sharks, barracudas, groupers and even a passing manta. When you’re not being mesmerized by the hordes of fish, the kaleidoscopic colours of the reef make for a memorable dive.
Best For Diverse Marine Life: Phi Phi Islands
Famous for the backdrop to Danny Boyle’s The Beach, the Phi Phi Islands are Southern Thailand’s most idyllic islands. Under the crystal-clear water there’s a diving playground protected by marine park status. You can dive with leopard sharks at Shark Point, where these sleepy giants are more likely to hide under a rock than bite your leg off. There is also an excellent wreck dive at the King Cruiser Site where colorful marine life has taken over a naturally sunken wreck. It’s in shallow water, so divers of all levels can experience the thrill of a wreck dive. Wall dives covered in vibrant, soft coral dot the seas between the islands. After a day’s diving, you can chill out on Phi Phi’s beaches, the best in Thailand.
For A Liveaboard Experience: Similan Islands
Ranked as one of the top diving destinations in the world, the Similan Islands are worth several days of discovery, and are the perfect liveaboard option. Cruises generally last four days and depart from Khao Lak, a 90-minute drive from Krabi, though Stingray Divers and Aqua Vision go from Ao Nang. Once on board you’ll spend your days diving the best sites in Thailand.
Generally currents are weak and visibility is high, so you’ll see hard and soft coral clinging to rocky outcrops for miles. Underwater fauna, big and small, fill the reefs between the islands. Manta rays, leopard sharks and sea turtles patrol the waters, while macro nudibranchs, pipefish and ribbon eels cling to the rocks.The area is also known for whale sharks, and spending more than a day diving seriously increases your chance of spotting these majestic creatures. At the end of a long day diving, you could relax with a sundowner on deck and dinner cooked up by a local Thai chef before waking to another day of diving in paradise.