Posted 15 September 2012 - 08:39 PM
The divers aren't really the ones to blame for the deterioration of the reefs/life in Thailand. That would fall on high water temps leading to coral bleaching, and the Thai governments inability to stop fisherman from entering the Similans national park area. The diving overall has become mediocre compared to other places in the region. In addition to the Similans, you might look at doing a trip that goes to Hin Daeng / Hin Muang, which is as good or better than the Similans. There are some boats that do shorter trips in that direction. Diving out of Phuket is OK, with Phi Phi being that highlight of the area (Bida Nok / Bida Nai). Manta sightings are possible at the south tip of Racha Noi, but because the currents can be strong there aren't a lot of boats that dive it regularly because they can't drop DSD's or OW students there. If you're going to fun dive and take pictures you'll want to stay away from the gulf side (Koh Tao, Koh Pangang, Koh Samui). Catch a liveaboard trip out of Khao Lak (Sea Bees and KSA are good, and moderately priced) for the Similans, or one out of Phuket for the southern sites like Hin Daeng/Muang.
Canon 5DMkIII, Nauticam NA-5DMKIII, 2x Inon Z-240