TOP DIV­ING IN THAI­LAND

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When you visit some­where ex­otic like Thai­land you want to try new things. From re­lax­ing in your own pri­vate villa to try­ing out cui­sine you could never have imag­ined, it’s the chance to do some­thing com­pletely out of the or­di­nary.

Thrill seek­ers es­pe­cially can in­dulge in some fas­ci­nat­ing sports and ac­tiv­i­ties, with Thai­land be­ing a hot spot for scuba and deep sea div­ing. Be­low we’ve picked out three fan­tas­tic, at­mo­spheric and awe-in­spir­ing dive sites from across the coun­try, blogs Mark Cox.

THE SIMILANS

The Similans has had Na­tional Ma­rine Park since 1982 and is made up of nine gran­ite is­lands cov­ered in trop­i­cal jun­gle. The lay­out of the isles cre­ates one of the most di­verse and at­mo­spheric dive des­ti­na­tions in Thai­land. It is home to a vast range of trop­i­cal fish, prob­a­bly more than any other area of Thai­land with leop­ard and whitetip sharks seen reg­u­larly. There are also ghost pipe fish, tur­tles and giant hump­head par­rot­fish to look out for. The clar­ity of the wa­ter makes it a won­der­ful op­tion for a spot of un­der­wa­ter pho­tog­ra­phy and there are div­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for com­plete be­gin­ners as well as those with a lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­perts.

HOBBITON WAS A SIG­NIF­I­CANT LO­CA­TION IN LORD OF THE RINGS FILM TRIL­OGY. IT IS ON A FAM­ILY RUN FARM IN WAIKATO AND A PARK/ TOUR SITE FOR LORD OF THE RING FANS.

KOH SA­MUI

A lux­ury spot since the 1970s Koh Sa­mui re­mains the most pop­u­lar tourist des­ti­na­tion of Thai­land’s east coast. It’s slightly more shel­tered than the rest of Thai­land due to its po­si­tion on Gulf and the dive sites are great all year round. Sail Rock and Chumphon Pin­na­cle are the most fa­mous sites and they have be­come pop­u­lar with both ex­pe­ri­enced and be­gin­ner divers. Snorkel­ers can en­joy the small caves and coves in the shal­lower wa­ter, whilst divers can throw them­selves in amongst the schools of fusilier fish and large snap­pers. You may even spot an­gelfish, yel­low-tailed bar­racuda and st­ingrays.

PHI PHI IS­LANDS

The Phi Phi Is­lands com­prise Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh, two pic­turesque, stun­ning beau­ti­ful isles. They of­fer some of the most in­ter­est­ing and awe-in­spir­ing dives you could imag­ine with un­par­al­leled views and the chance to en­joy the beauty of un­der­wa­ter co­ral, soft to the touch and vi­brantly col­ored.

There seems to be an end­less ar­ray of coves and dive sites to en­joy with the scope to get stuck into a huge range of dif­fer­ent div­ing ad­ven­tures. Look out for sea snakes, green tur­tles, squid, croc­o­dile long-toms and leop­ard sharks.

Div­ing is an ex­cur­sion you can try in the UK and many other coun­tries but the views in Thai­land and the sheer range of ex­pe­ri­ences make it stand out from the crowd.

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