Kathu has a number of very good beaches that are frequented by divers, but the main concentration of dive shops can be found in Pa Tong and Kammala. Easy to get to, with Phuket International airport to the north, these tourist favorites are brimming with resorts and hotels, beach bars and dive shops, as well as an impressive collection of liveaboard boats docked in the harbour.
With diving on Phuket Island such big business, caring for the environment and protecting fragile reefs and dives sites is becoming increasingly high profile. Several of the dive outfits in Kathu demonstrate their commitment to preserving their local surroundings and have been well rewarded for their efforts. The Kamala Dive Center is one team promoting the Project Aware policies, including the dedicated Protect Reef Living plan. They operate speedboat and liveaboard trips from their base in Pa Tong and cover all the most popular dive sites on a regular weekly schedule.
Also located in Pa Tong, Scuba Cat Diving has also been awarded the Project Aware Foundation Environmental Achievement Award, as well as several PADI 5 star certifications and an endorsement by National Geographic. It’s been operating on the island for over a decade, and runs full service liveaboard trips to the outlying Similan Islands on their MV Scuba Cat, complete with 80sqm sun deck. They cater for every PADI course available, getting beginners and advanced divers trained to the next level professionally and quickly.
Just 50m from Kamala Beach to the north of Pa Tong, Merlin Divers is located on Rim Had Road, within easy reach of the main hotels and resorts. Part of the Phuket Divers of Thailand group of dive shops, it is one of the few outfits located in Kammala and runs day, overnight and liveaboard trips from Kamala Beach. It’s also an official retailer for Aqualung gear for divers who’ve forgotten any of their kit, making it a handy local shop for anyone diving in the area.
Getting to Kathu is generally by air, and Phuket International airport is located just to its north. Some tourists arrive by land, crossing from the mainland by the bridge at the very north tip of the island, but journeys by bus can be long, depending on which airport you arrive in.
Decent dive operation but this is not a luxury liveaboard. Tired decor in cabin, mattress on floor and badly leaking pipework in the bathroom. It is very basic. The crew are helpful though, the divemaster good and the dive deck well organised. The sites in Similan Islands are pleasant but average with the exception of Richelieu Rock which is very nice. All sites are very crowded with many boats around.
Been diving around Marine Park, Koh Tao and Sail Rock, Thailand with Dive Point Samui last year after attend my mate's wed in Samui and two week vacation for myself. It was a thrilling experience to dive in such beautiful dive sites and the boat is a very nice, clean and comfortable boat. Dive crew are professional, sociable, cool, fun and serious about divers' safety! Fell in love with the Thai Curry that was prepared on the boat! It is a slow boat but you can actually sleep on the boat as the...