Whether you are a diving fanatic or a budding scuba enthusiast, Thailand and particularly Pattaya is a great place to participate in your favourite sport.
There is an abundance of great diving off the coast of Pattaya with many large and small islands just waiting to be discovered, littered with great corals, sunken shipwrecks, magnificent sea life and enchanting underwater features.
Because of this many tourists come and take their PADI courses with the experienced and professional Dive Centres that are dotted around Pattaya.
Two of the best and most reputable dive centres in town are:-
Pattaya Dive Center
Pattaya Dive Center is the only dive center in Pattaya both still in the same location and still run by the same owner since conception 15 years ago.
Based in the center of the main Pattaya beach road it is really easy to locate and to book your dive. It just received its 25 year PADI award.
Seafari Dive Center
Seafari Dive Center is a PADI 5* IDC Dive Center, and they hold a certificate of excellence from Tripadvisor showing their commitment to high standards and quality of service. Seafari is situated only just two minutes walk from Beach Road and is easy to find.
Part of the attraction of Pattaya is the plethora of nearby islands which offer fantastic opportunities of diving in very diverse waters. The islands are relatively close at hand and easy and cheap to get to.
Known as Gnat Island the waters are stunningly clear and host quite beautiful coral reefs. Diver and snorkelers can also see a resident family of sea turtles and the occasional used practise shell as the sea around the island is part of a Royal Thai Navy gunnery range.
Koh Rin, is on the itinerary of most of the yacht charters from Pattaya, but your dive center will arrange the appropriate boat transfer for you.
The island and the waters around Koh Sak are particularly popular with divers and snorkelers. The sheltered bay makes a great training ground for beginners, with an abundance of hard corals and fascinating sea life including a few hawksbill turtles and several bamboo sharks.
A little off the east coast, there is the wreck of the HTMS Kut, which was scuttled by the Thai Royal Navy and now rests 30m down.
The largest of the small chain of islands, which also includes Koh Klung Badan, Koh Luam, Koh Luam Noi and Koh Man Wichai.
Located about two hours from Pattaya, Koh Phai is under the supervision of the Royal Thai Navy meaning visitors are not permitted to stay overnight. Diving around the excellent coral reefs is permitted, and the reefs around all of the islands in this chain and the nearby wreck of the HTMS Khram are among the best scuba diving sites around Pattaya.
The islands around Pattaya have some exceptional diving experiences just waiting to be explored. It is almost difficult to imagine how such diverse marine life and interesting corals can be situated so near a big city like Pattaya.