Low/Wet Season Diving in Phuket
Dont let the forecasts fool you
Firstly don’t always believe the online weather forecast’s. With the high humidity, we have year round here in Phuket, a lot of the online weather sites & App’s will simply predict thunderstorms & rain 365 days of the year. They are happy to get this correct maybe 40% of the time…..
We actually still have some very nice sunny days during the monsoonal season, and the diving can still be really good. Plus the beaches are less crowded and airfares & accommodation much cheaper, it’s sounding like a win-win all round!
If you are looking for a local forecast site/app we generally recommend looking at the site called Windguru. This forecast site also included’s a marine weather forecast including wind/waves etc. We have written a helpful ‘blog’ to help understand wind guru and the forecasts, you may find the following links helpful.
Diving in Low Season
We do dive year-round here in Phuket, almost every single day, with the only two days the boats are scheduled not to go out being New Years Day & Songkran (Thai New Years).
Between the months of May through to October, altho it is the wet/monsoonal season here, we still have some very good local diving to enjoy in Phuket. One of the advantages of diving in low season is fewer people on the boats and fewer crowds at the dive sites.
Yes, some days the weather can be a little wet & wild during the monsoonal season. However, most days in the “wet-season” will still be nice and sunny and there will be some very good dive options in the low-season. Our storms and rain here in Phuket are often through the night when the temps cool down and early mornings.
Also as our dive sites are quite a distance away from Phuket quite often during this time of year it can be wet & rainy here in Phuket yet nice and sunny at the dive sites. The Racha islands are around 20-30km’s to the South of Phuket & Phi Phi is over 40km’s away to the South-East.
Diving Options for Wet season in Phuket
Our day trips to the sites like Racha Noi/Yai & Phi Phi still run all year round, with most of the monsoonal weather arriving from the West. Of course, the weather is not always ‘perfect’ in the wet season and the oceans may be a little bumpy on the boat trip to and back from the dive sites. A lot of our dive sites though do offer good protection from the weather coming from the west & once you reach the sites the oceans will be nice and calm and mostly flat. Wet-season can also surprise us with many days being just as nice as our dry season.
Racha Islands is a good option during the wet season as some of the best dive sites on the Eastern side of the islands. During the wet season, the island will offer protection from the weather at these dive sites. On the 90-120 minute boat ride to the dive sits, there will be protection from the wind and waves for most of the trip, with only around 30-50 minutes in the open ocean. Once the boats reach the Eastern side of the Racha Islands, the ocean will be relatively calm waters again. With very little freshwater runoff from the Racha Islands, there also is often 15 – 20m visibility at these dive sites, even in the wet season.
Phi Phi & Shark Point
Phi Phi is around 3-hour boat trip to the East of Phuket, and most of this trip is in the open ocean. The larger style charter boats can still reach the Phi Phi dive sites on most days of the year and handle the bumpy conditions well. However, during the wet season, the Phi Phi day trip can be changed to Racha Islands or canceled due to weather. For the comfort of those onboard once the waves start to reach 1.5-2m the larger boats will change course and head to the closer dive sites at Racha Noi/Ya instead.
Altho it is rare for the boats to change destinations, the boat captains & crew will often make this decision once the boats are outside the Chalong harbor.
Shark Point/King Cruiser/Anemone Reef
These particular dive sites are all in the open ocean and offer no protection from wind or waves, the boats can still go here some days but King Cruiser trip will be the first to be changed/canceled. On the Phi Phi day trip, the boats will still try and dive Shark Point as the 3rd dive of the day, however, if there is any strong wind, waves or heavy rain then the 3rd dive of the day will be at Koh Doc Mai (Flower Island). Koh Doc Mai is a nice macro dive site with heaps of life on the walls of the island, also being a small island it offers protection from the waves.
We also still conduct all of the PADI course’s during the wet season, from the introduction PADI Discover Scuba Diving Experience through to Rescue and Pro level courses. With fewer people on the boats and less crowded dive sites, low Season is a great time to look at doing PADI courses.
The Racha Islands are a great place for education/training dives and the boats will still be heading to these dives sites most days.
Also, some of the boats that usually operate in the Similan Islands in the high season will be doing local 3 day/2 night liveaboard trips here in Phuket. This is a great way to experience a short liveaboard trip and upgrade your certification to the PADI Advanced Open Water certification whilst onboard.
The advantage of doing the 3-day liveaboard is the boat will anchor at night in calm waters near the dive sites. This means less travel time in the rough conditions, simply wake up and start diving!
You May be Suprised
You may be surprised & the weather gods may be on your side, with nice beautiful sunny days, uncrowded beaches and some amazing diving. Yes, there is a slight risk with booking diving in the wet season, however, with the cheaper airfares, cheaper accommodation, etc this risk can be worth the reward.
We recommend planing a few extra days and being a little flexible with the diving days. The Aussie Diver’s staff will keep you well informed on the weather in the lead up to your booking, and give you options.