|Koh Tao Dive Sites
Photo By takau99
Whale Shark Collection
Similan Scuba Diving
About 70 Km north of Samui is the island of Koh Tao (Turtle Island). There are numerous dive sites in and around Koh Tao, which is is a mini-tropical paradise offering jungle walks and white sandy beaches. Here the water visibility ranges from 15-30 meters and includes the popular dive spots of Chumporn and Southwest Pinnacles, Nang Yuan, Green Rock, White Rock and Red Rock. The waters around Koh Tao are home to an abundant range of marine life, including barracuda, tuna, snapper and sea turtles.
Considered one of the more challenging dive sites with occasionally strong currents and depths of 10-35 meters, this site consists of fascinating submerged pinnacles. The highest of these rocks is approximately 16 meters below the surface. At Chumporn, you can swim with man-sized groupers and other large pelagic fish, including schools of barracuda, tuna and mackerel.
The Southwest Pinnacles consist of three rock formations which range from 4-30 meters below the surface, representing a series of short wall dives. At the top of the pinnacles are blankets of underwater plant life in a stunning array of rainbow colors. Between the rocks are many bushy black coral sea whips and gorgonian sea fans. Leopard sharks are often encountered and it is even possible to meet an occasional whale shark. Giant groupers are common here, as are scribbled filefish, masked porcupine fish, yellowtail, barracuda and snapper.
This dive site tends to attract the more advanced diver as the water is deeper and the currents are certainly much stronger. The rocks are submerged in 12 meters of water and attract large schools of jackfish (bigger varieties), trevally and giant barracudas.
Green Rock provides a good selection of swim-through opportunities in depths of 4-25 meters. The rock consists of large archways, caverns, caves and crevices. Common sightings include harlequin sweetlips, blue-ringed angelfish and moray eels. Sometimes you can spot whitetip reef sharks, and further out in deeper water, large groupers, schools of yellowtail, fusilier and silver fish.
This dive explores two submerged pinnacles which are only two meters above the surface but extend between 18-22 meters underwater. Schools of butterfly fish and angel fish predominate and colonies of staghorn corals attract breams and damsels to make their homes here. On any given dive look out for the more exciting sightings of sea snakes, turtles, morays and blue spotted stingrays. An interesting and equally exciting part of your dive will hopefully be an encounter with White Rock's resident titan trigger fish -- territorial by nature and supremely erratic.
North of Samui between the islands of Koh Tao and Phangan is the internationally renowned dive site of Sail Rock. Although only 15 meters above the water, the structure extends 40 meters below the surface. The main attraction of Sail Rock is a naturally formed 15-meter high underwater dive wall or chimney.
Divers can ascend from 18 meters up the chimney wall to the surface, making this a unique diving experience. Visibility is usually excellent at around 30 meters. The structure itself is pocked with small holes which are ideal homes for white-eyed and yellow margin moray eels, as well as large sea anemones. Sightings of reef sharks and manta rays are also common, as are large schools of tuna, jacks, trevally and barracudas. During the winter months whale sharks can be seen on occasion.
Angthong National Park
Ang Thong National Marine Park lies approximately 30 Km to the northwest of Samui. Popularized by the movie "The Beach" starring Leonardo Di Caprio, the park comprises 80 islands and offers some of the best diving in Thailand.
Koh Wao and Koh Yippon are the most popular dive sites, featuring incredible swim-through experiences, not to mention other encounters with caves, tunnels and passageways. The water visibility is 15-25 meters and the area is best visited between the months of September through January. The marine park is a proverbial spawning ground for many fish species and is home to hundreds of different varieties of colorful soft and hard coral.
Located east of Koh Tao, Hin Wong is a large and varied site, with depths ranging from 10-30 meters. Unfortunately, the only shortcoming of the site is the unpredictable water visibility, which cannot be assured at all times.
Nevertheless, the site abounds with delicate sea fans and spiraling wire coral and is home to many types of fish including groupers, filefish, snapper, etc. If you are lucky and keep your distance, you may even see sea turtles feeding off the rich variety of food the reef has to offer.