The King Cruiser wreck was once a reliable passenger ferry but on the 4th of May in 1997, the unexpected happened when the ferry sank during one of its many routine trips to Phi Phi Island.
For about 17 years the King cruiser wreck was the only wreck dive in the Phuket area, untill March 2014 when the Kled Kaew was sunken in the proximity of Phi Phi making a another great wreck dive.
History recounts that the ferry strayed many miles off its course after hitting the Anemone Reef. It sank, creating what is known today as the King Cruiser Wreck of Thailand.
The dive scene of Phuket used to be lacking when it came to wreck dives, but when the King Cruiser went down, things changed because divers now had a neat looking wreck to explore.
As the wreck sat at the bottom of the ocean, marine life took over, and the wreck became a part of—or what could be considered an addition to—the already amazing Anemone Reef.
It is no surprise that this is now one of the most beloved dive sites that surround Phuket, thanks to its uniqueness, as well as its proximity to Anemone Reef's natural beauty. Continue reading to learn more about the King Cruiser Wreck, what makes it so special, and if it is the right type of dive for you.
History of the Wreck in Phuket
The King Cruiser wreck was originally used by the Japanese as a car ferry. It was later converted so that it could instead transport passengers from Phuket and Phi Phi and back again.
Unfortunately, the King Cruiser sank in 1997 after it struck Anemone Reef as it was making its way to Phuket. There were over 100 passengers aboard the vessel at the time it sank, but luckily all passengers survived.
Why Should You Dive the King Cruiser?
This unique wreck is 35 metres wide and 85 metres long. It lies at the at around 32 metres, with the average depth of the site at roughly 20 metres.
When you come upon the wreck after diving into the water, you will notice that it is in an upright position and the condition of the wreck itself is very poor. Therefore, you should not attempt penetrating it because it would not be safe at all. Still, the King Cruiser wreck is worth the trip just for the way it looks from the outside.
What is interesting is that sometimes the visibility at this site is poor not because of the harsh currents, but rather because of the huge numbers of gorgeous fish that call the wreck home and swim in it.
Photo Credit: Sukianto
Divers have often been left in awe at just how many fish can be found here. This dive site is great for some stunningly underwater photography, as you will be able to capture the natural beauty of all of the fish with a backdrop of an old sunken ship wreck.
You can typically expect to see very large schools of various species of fish on this site. These include rabbitfish, goatfish, fusiliers, lionfish, barracuda and snappers.
You will also find groupers, scorpion fish, eels, and crabs because there are so many open areas and decks that provide safe havens for large numbers of different species of marine life large and small. As the years pass, you can expect this wreck to take on a patina, and divers are waiting for the day that colorful corals become encrusted throughout the wreck, bringing even more life to it.
Best Time to Visit and Dive the King Cruiser?
Diving in Phuket is done throughout the year, thanks to its typically hot, humid conditions and tropical climate. However, it should be noted that the island has two primary seasons: a rainy season and a dry, hot season.
Having this understanding of the weather patterns in Phuket may help you when it comes to determining the ideal time to dive at King Cruiser wreck, as well as other dive sites throughout Phuket
The hot and dry season of Phuket spans from January through April. This is the best time to visit, but just be aware that, even though this is called the "dry season," there will be days that can experience rainy conditions.
Also, visibility is best from November through April. From April through October, the water can become quite choppy, making diving more difficult, and the visibility will also be decreased as a result.
The rainy season itself, though, runs from May through December. Between June and October, you can expect pretty heavy rains. You will more than likely encounter a 2-hour downpour towards the end of the day that serves as a great way to cool off.
Planning a scuba trip? Then you should download the ultimate scuba dive checklist just like 5000+ other divers already so you will not forget to bring anything.
Also, bear in mind that the highest tourist season in Phuket runs from November through April. The top of the tourist season is in December and January. If you want to avoid crowded dive sites, avoid travelling to Phuket at this time, as the dive sites can even become crowded while you are underwater, which is dangerous and can disturb marine life.
If you want to avoid hassles when it comes to finding affordable accommodation it is best to visit during the low tourist season instead, which is pretty much anytime after January.
How to Get to the King Cruiser Wreck?
Getting to this dive site is pretty straightforward, and if you are already in Phuket exploring its many other dive sites as well, you can definitely add the King Cruiser wreck to your agenda.
Your journey to this incredible dive site will begin in Phuket. To get to Phuket, you can first travel to Bangkok and then take a plane, train, bus, or a car to Phuket.
Then, to get to the King Cruiser wreck, you will need to take an easy boat ride that will last approximately 90 minutes. But you can also get there from Koh Lanta in Krabi though it will take about 2 hours.
Who Should Dive It and Who Should Not?
The King Cruiser wreck dive is considered an advanced dive site, so it is recommended for more experienced divers.
Why is it challenging? Well, there can be strong currents in the water that make diving hard and visibility quite poor, and there are also a lot of objects that protrude throughout the site and can put divers in danger.
Overall, when the conditions are good, experienced divers can enjoy the natural beauty of this dive site as they explore the outside of the King Cruiser wreck. It is a stunning dive that you will likely never forget and probably want to return to.
What are your thoughts about diving the King Cruiser wreck? Have you been? Let us know in the comments below