I just got back from a week's diving holiday in Phuket. My wife was learning to dive and completing her open water dive training here in Phuket. Since my last dive was more than 20 years ago, I tagged along and redid the course as well.
The two main day diving trips that run out of Phuket are to see Mantas at Racha Noi and the other is to see the ferry wreck called King Cruiser. A side trip or two round out the day. The diving here is world-class, and is highly recommended.
After paying money to your agent, there is the lingering worry that somebody might be out to rip you off, especially if your transport doesn’t show up on time. But there is a strange efficiency to the Thai way of doing things, and the organizers have it worked out to a science. The dive boats leave on time, with everyone on board. The food is good and plentiful, and everyone is happy.
Back on shore, there is plenty to do. The whole world comes to Phuket this time of year. You can make like a tourist and wear fake Billabong clothes, prop a fake pair of Oakley sunglasses on your head and carry a fake Diesel bag. At night, you can chill out at one of the many ‘girly’ bars or catch the nightly Muay Thai fight.
Tips: Take your sea-sick pills early. They work well if taken an hour before you sail. If you have the time, book your day-diving trip in Phuket. You'll cut out the middleman agents and get a better price. If you have a long stay, consider booking an apartment instead of a hotel. They can be hard to find online, so the strategy is to book a night or two in a hotel, then spend your first couple of days hunting down an apartment. In high season, this can be a bit risky, and you might end up without a place to stay. Rent a scooter or jeep to get around.
Top: Street Hawker, Patong Beach Sunset.
Middle: Dive instructor Phill Rogers and Laura.
Bottom Two: Laura takes a look around the King Cruiser wreck.
All photos taken with a Sea&Sea 1G/Ricoh GX100.