In November 2008 four World War II planes and six helicopters were sunk off Bang Tao beach in Phuket to create an artificial reef. We went and had a look...
As we were in Phuket after coming back from our Burma liveaboard, my friend Ayesha and I decided to go and investigate the recently sunk WWII planes and helicopters off Bang Tao beach. They are four Douglas C-47 Dakota Skytrain military transport aircraft and six Sikorsky S-58T helicopters. These had been donated by the Royal Thai Airforce and put down to create an artificial reef in November 2008 and to create a new tourist attraction for Bang Tao. They have become known as the Coral Reef Squadron.
After dropping another dive buddy off at Phuket Airport, we got the taxi to take us on to Bang Tao beach. It's about a half hour drive and costs around 600 Baht. Bang Tao beach itself is a very pleasant sandy beach that seems popular with German and Scandinavian tourists. There are a few hotels and restaurants along the beachfront which are also very tourist-orientated i.e. quite pricey with mediocre food.
We turned up without any real idea of what we were doing or who could take us out to dive on the bombers. Fortunately, standing on the beach looking lost soon brought us to the attention of several friendly touts. It turned out one of them was Jub, a divemaster for the Pearl Andaman dive shop. Usually I'm wary of touts, but Jub was the real deal - we headed to his dive shop which was on the main road behind the beach (a minute's walk) or so and it was easy to organise our own longtail boat out to the bombers. The price was around 3500 Baht I think for 2 dives with weights and tanks - we'd brought all our own gear. There were several other dive shops along the same stretch of road parallel to the beach but we wanted to get on with the diving so didn't go shopping around.
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