Located between the islands of Koh Samui and Koh Tao, Koh Phangan is an iconic Thai diving destination renowned for whale shark sightings and access to some of the best dive sites in the region. Underwater you’ll find yourself immersed in colours and life while on the island itself there are numerous stunning white sand beaches fringed with coconut trees, incredible sunsets and friendly locals. Koh Phangan is somewhere you can choose to relax and unwind or party until the sun comes up.
Local Dive Sites
Haad Yao has one of the healthiest reefs on the west coast of Koh Phangan, stretching the full length of this beautiful sandy beach. Excellent for shallow dives, snorkelling and swimming. Haad Yao has an abundance of colourful corals and Barrel Sponges which provide shelter for an excellent variety of marine life, including Stingrays, Wrasse, Groupers and Gobies.
This gently sloping reef dive site offers a great mix of hard and soft corals and a huge diversity of marine life. Expect to see all of the “Usual Suspects” such as lionfish, angelfish, butterfly fish and clownfish but the real highlight is the unusual. You’ll see schools of razorfish, hermit crabs, cuttlefish, stingrays hiding out under the sand, sea horses and some incredible macro life. When the currents are running look out for barracuda in the blue.
A nice, fringing reef in a sandy bay. If you are hoping to see diverse reefs and marine life, Mae Haad should not be overlooked. Here you will find everything from unique nudibranch species, seahorse, cuttlefish, and sting rays through to groupers. Mae Haad offers easy diving conditions but no matter what your experience level, there’s always a highlight.
An excellent local dive site which is under-dived mainly because it can be very unpredictable in terms of visibility and current. When conditions are favourable however, it can provide a very interesting dive. Sheltered, shallow areas of less than 10m, can be found to the South and West, whilst the North and East sides reach a depth of around 20m. This side is more exposed to currents making it the idea location for a fantastic array of soft corals and sea fans. Due to the varying topography, there is a surprisingly good variety of marine life ranging from the typical reef species such as Angelfish and Butterflyfish to species more commonly found at deeper offshore sites such as Batfish and Barracuda. Being only a short, 5 minute "long-tail boat" trip from Chaloklum Pier, Rock Point is easily accessible from our main office.
This quiet bay is fringed by a reef with a sandy area at the southern end which is ideal for shallow diving and snorkelling. Corals of varying sizes host numerous colourful Angelfish and Butterflyfish living alongside the smaller species of reef fish such as Parrotfish and Damselfish.
Off Shore Sites
Sail Rock (Hin Bai)
This 30 metre / 100 foot submerged rock pinnacle is often regarded as the best dive site in the Gulf of Thailand and one of the best sites for whale shark sightings. With few other pinnacles nearby, Sail Rock is a magnet for fish. On sunny days the suns’ ray filters down below the surface and the coral encrusted pinnacle is a breathtaking sight. It’s not just a site for big fish though, you’ll find a plethora of colourful smaller fish darting in and out of the reef and the currents bring in hunting trevallies and barracuda. Sail Rock is always alive with action both around the pinnacle and in the blue.
Situated to the North West of Koh Tao, Chumphon Pinnacles offers a challenging dive for intermediate and experienced divers. With one large submerged rock surrounded by a number of smaller pinnacles, this site boasts a wide variety of resident reef and pelagic fish species. In addition to being one of the recognized “hot-spots” for Whale Shark encounters, Chumphon has also gained a reputation as one of the few reliable locations at which to encounter Bull and Grey Reef sharks in their natural environment. Other species of marine life frequently found at Chumphon include Barracuda, Spanish Mackerel, Batfish, Queenfish and some huge Malabar Groupers, to name but a few.
Snorkelling Note: Due to the minimum depth to the top of the main pinnacle being approx. 15m, snorkelling is not possible at this location.
Explore a series of rock formations ranging from 4 metre / 13 foot to 30 metre / 100 foot and discover breathtaking carpet anemones in brilliant greens, pinks and blues, with their cavalcade of pink anemone fish. The crevices and ledges among the pinnacles are hot spots for snappers, emperor and harlequin sweetlips. Leopard sharks and whale sharks are occasional visitors to the site, which is home to large schools of snapper, yellowtail barracuda and fusiliers. If you are interested in critters then scorpionfish, stonefish and other bottom dwellers can be found here too.
Angthong Marine Park
Made up of 42 limestones islands, Angthong offers a number of caves, swim throughs, overhangs and sloping reefs. Angthong has incredible diversity of coral including abundant soft corals, barrel sponges and anemones as well several types of black corals and sea fans. Marine life here is equally diverse and you’ll find numerous species among the reef. In deeper sections you can spot large snappers, blue-spotted sting rays, schools of fusiliers and yellowtail barracuda.
Trips to Koh Tao Sites
One of South East Asia’s most famous diving and snorkelling destinations, Koh Tao boasts an incredible diversity within its many local bays and reefs, making it the ideal location to suit any activity and experience level. The island is set apart from its neighbours by its better than average water clarity and number of prime diving sites within a small area.
Our trips to Koh Tao generally center around the southern sites such as Shark Island (named after its triangular shape), Aow Leuk bay ad Laem Tien bay, although we may use other sites as dictated by seasonal conditions.
These sites tend to be in a healthier condition, and are certainly far less crowded with dive boats and divers than the sites in the northern half of the island.
Snorkelling Note: Due to its calm, clear, shallow water and abundance of colourful, healthy corals and marine life, Koh Tao is ideal for both snorkellers and divers of all experience levels.
Aow Leuk Bay
Situated in a sheltered bay at the south of Koh Tao, Aow Leuk bay features a healthy coral reef which fringes the coast-line. On the outer side of the reef is a sandy bottom with scattered rocks, on which you can find numerous species of Goby, and occasionally Barracuda, Mackerels and Trevallies. As with most inshore reefs, there are countless species of marine life to be found here, ranging from the common species of Wrasses, Parrotfish, Butterflyfish and Damselfish. In addition to these common inhabitants of the reef, there's also the possibility of an encounter with less common species such as Turtles and Pipefish and Seahorses. Although it is considered an ideal site for student divers, Aow Leuk also makes for an interesting and relaxing dive for more experienced divers seeking to maximize their dive time.
Snorkelling Note: Due to the sheltered and shallow nature of this site, it is perfect for snorkellingand swimming at most times of year.
Aow Mao Bay
This uninhabited bay at the South-East of Koh Tao is separated from the neighbouring Laem Tien Bay by a narrow, rocky strip of land to the South. Being uninhabited and rarely visited by the local dive operators, Aow Mao has a habit of throwing up a few surprises such as the Jenkin's Whiptail Ray, Pipefish, Seahorses and on one occasion, a Humphead Parrotfish, which is virtually unknown in the area, was seen here. Aow Mao is suitable for divers of all experience levels and is also a good area for snorkellers and swimmers.
Laem Tien Bay
Situated on Koh Tao's west coast, Laem Tien Bay is another site ideally suited for snorkelling and swimming. Laem Tien Bay offers shallow, sheltered areas which are excellent for the non-divers, whilst divers of all experience levels can explore the huge submerged bolder formations. In keeping with the contrasting topography of this site, there is also an excellent diversity of marine life to be found such as Pipefish and Sea-Horses, Unicornfish, Sweet-Lips and even a possible encounter with the resident Turtle.
Depth ranges from 5m - 20m+
Situated on Koh Tao's east coast, between Laem Tien to the north and Aow Leuk to the south, Tanote Bay is a picturesque location which is ideally suited to snorkellers and swimmers. Although this is a typical shallow, inshore site, it also doubles as an excellent training site for student divers, as well as an interesting site for more experienced divers who often welcome the opportunity of a longer, more relaxed dive. Viewed from offshore, the bay is divided in two by a large rock formation. Close to shore are large areas of Staghorn Corals which provide a perfect nursery area for the juveniles of countless fish species such as Butterflyfish, Damselfish and Wrasse. A little further out onto the sandy areas you will encounter large numbers of Benthic (bottom dwelling) species such as Gobies, Nudibranchs, Flatworms and Goatfish.
Red Rock, more commonly known as Shark Island, is a large rock formation off Koh Tao's south east coast. Named after its "shark fin" shape, rather than any resident shark population, Shark Island offers an excellent location for both beginners and more experienced divers, as well as non-divers, when conditions are favourable. Trips to Shark Island are most often to the south side, which features some huge rock formations and overhangs. Ranging in depth from the surface to around 20m, you can find a large variety of local marine life such as Titan Triggerfish, Scribbled Filefish and Batfish (often juveniles) in addition to the more common species of Butterflyfish, Angelfish, Wrasses and Damselfish.
Snorkelling Note: Due to its slightly exposed location, weather conditions make it susceptible to variations in visibility, currents and surface calmness. Please ask a member of staff for information regarding snorkelling conditions.