If you’re in need of some scuba gear while you’re in Thailand’s capital, you’re in luck. There are two excellent shops that can equip you with pretty much all the dive equipment you need.
The two main dive shops in Bangkok are Dive Supply, on Sri- Ayudhaya Road, and Planet Scuba, on the main Sukhumvit Road between Sukhumvit Sois 22 and 24. Dive Supply is the main supplier of dive gear throughout Thailand, and has branches in Koh Chang, Koh Tao, Koh Samui and Krabi as well as Bangkok. It’s here you’ll get the more esoteric items and accessories you need.
Planet Scuba is a bigger, more attractive store with a definite showroom feel to it, with lots of wetsuits, BCDs, masks and fins to choose from. They mainly stock Mares, with few other brands. (No ScubaPro or Suunto for example, who are both stocked by Dive Supply). Planet Scuba’s main strength for me is that they sell the Mares Vision X mask with prescription lenses ready to go, so you can walk out the store there and then rather than having to put in a custom order. I’ve written about how pleased I was with this mask before, which I got before I went to the Perhentian Islands. Anything they don’t have, they direct you to Dive Supply.
At both stores, you get a 15 per cent discount if you have a valid Dive Instructor card and pay in cash. The staff in both shops speak good English and are very friendly. From the prices for scuba diving equipment on Amazon.com, I’m not sure there are massive savings to be made by waiting to buy dive gear in Thailand rather than in your home country. Both shops do have regular promotions and specials though, especially for complete gear sets.
Both stores are quite near each other. Sukhumvit is like the 5th Avenue of Bangkok, and its streets are arranged as odd and even numbers either side. However, they are not parallel with one another – so while you might reasonably expect Soi 23 to be opposite Soi 22 and 24, it isn’t. It’s about a 20 minute walk down the road, which can be uncomfortable in 30+ degree heat…
The easiest way to get to both stores is to use the BTS Skytrain.
Planet Scuba is at Phrom Phong BTS station. It’s a tall building whose sign is visible from the skytrain platform. Take Exit 2 to get to ground level and be on the right side of the road.
Dive Supply is on Sukhumvit Soi 23. Go to Asoke BTS station and leave via Exit 3, where the skytrain connects with the MRT subway. Walk up Sukhumvit, take the pedestrian crossing across the huge Soi Asoke, and Soi 23 is a couple of minutes on your left. Dive Supply is another minute or so down the road. This place has now turned into a girlie bar called Twins…
Dive Supply is now located at 457/4 Sri- Ayudhaya Road, Ratchathewi, Bangkok. The nearest BTS station is Phaya Thai. When you get to the station, look at the Station Map and use Exit 3 onto Sri Ayudhaya Road. Dive Supply is about 5 mins walk along the road – you will need to use the pedestrian crossing to get to the other side of the road where the shop is located. Once you cross over the pedestrian crossing, Dive Supply is just a few metres further on.
There are two other smaller dive stores nearby, both on Sukhumvit 21 – Dive Indeed and Divemaster. They are located within 100 metres of each other, about 2 mins walk from Soi Cowboy. From Asoke BTS station, walk down into the Sukhumvit MRT station. Cross to the other side of the road using the underpass. (Don’t go down to the train area!). When you exit from the MRT onto Sukhumvit 21, turn right and walk past Soi Cowboy further down Sukhumvit 21. The two shops are just a little further along.
I am a regular customer of Divemaster which is managed by Mr Kitja, who is very knowledgable, helpful and friendly. Divemaster are also Ikelite’s representative in Bangkok and can order you any Ikelite item you require – but be advised they have no Ikelite inventory in stock. (Follow the link for more info on ordering Ikelite in Bangkok).
Finally, don’t expect scuba gear to be cheaper in Thailand – virtually all of it is imported and tends to be quite a bit more expensive than USA prices. UK tourists might find it to be cheaper than home, but you should also be aware of warranty issues too and weigh up if the savings are worth it.