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Koh Tao Dive Sites

Can you imagine being in a tropical location diving in crystal clear water, surrounded by brightly coloured coral and fish. You and your buddy put on your dive equipment to enter the water and explore the abundance of marine life -- all the while hovering weightlessly underwater.

Chumphon pinnacle (1) : is one of the best dive sites in the Gulf of Thailand. It lies about 11 km northwest of Koh Tao and is formed by huge granite pinnacles surrounded by a series of smaller ones. It takes about 40 minutes to get there. The anemone covered boulders run in a north-south direction in water ranging from 14 to 38 meters. The Pinnacles are abundant with batfish, trevallies, big shoals of barracudas and snappers. Occasionally this site also attracts larger visitors such as whale sharks and manta rays. To the south of the main pinnacle lies Barracuda Rock, where large shoals of great barracudas aggregate.This is my favourite divesite on Koh Tao after years of diving on this island!

South-West Pinnacle (2) : Located 13 km southwest of Koh Tao, the site is made up of seven pinnacles at different depths (5 to 28 meters). Like Chumphon Pinnacle, the site is covered with pink sea anemones on the upper levels and rich layers of whip corals and sea fans along the lower edges. Chevron barracudas, giant groupers, leopard sharks, shoals of batfish, snappers can be seen. The pinnacles are full of cracks and ledges, which shelter small reef fish. Infrequent sightings of whale sharks and manta rays!

Shark Island (3) : is rich in terms of marine diversity! Located only 300 m southeast of Koh Tao, this small, uninhabited Island is surrounded by a colourful belt of corals. Depth ranges from 10 to 22 meters. The main attractions include various kinds of corals such as soft, hard or gorgonian. You will also find whip corals and sea fans. Marine life such as blue-spotted stingrays, filefish, harlequin
sweetlips, starry pufferfish, groupers and titan triggerfish can be spotted easily. The "fish junction" at the northern end of Shark Island provides an excellent vantage point for photographing. Although Shark Island is suitable for divers of all levels, the current can be quite strong, especially around full moon.

White Rock (4) : features an expansive coral garden that stretches between two distinct granite boulders. With a depth range from 5 to 21 meters, it is suitable for all divers. Blue-spotted stingrays and different species of barracudas are common. White Rock is well known for its thrilling night dives. You will have the opportunity to watch feather stars, hermit crabs, octopus, cuttlefish and crabs looking for food. This is one of the most popular dive sites for anyone taking the PADI Open Water Diver Course. I normally conducted Open Water Dive number 2 and 4 on this particular divesite. Also perfect for a relaxed shallow dive. Excellent for night diving!

Green rock (5) : offers both swim-thrus for divers as well as nesting areas for yellow-margin triggerfish. Depth varies from 3 to 30 m. Shoals of bright-blue damsel fish, tube anemones with tiny translucent shrimps and blue-ringed angel fish are common. Caution! Some of the swim thrus are very narrow. Without proper training avoid all “overhead” environments.

Red Rock (6) : is famous for it's long swim thrus and turtles. Red Rock itself drops down to 23 meters, but a compass heading of 240 degrees will bring you straight to the entrance of the swim thru, which is occasionally 'guarded' by a titan triggerfish. It is most fun to make a drift dive, starting at Red Rock either to Japanese Garden or to Green Rock (takes about 50 minutes).

Hin Wong Pinnacle (7) : lies on the east side of Koh Tao and is a large and very varied site ranging from depths of 10 to 32m. Although visibility here is unpredictable, Hin Wong is covered with lacy sea fans and curly whip corals, as well as filefish, shrimpfish, coral grouper and other reef fish. The resident green turtle is only shy if you get too close. For the macro-minded, Hin Wong also has some beautiful invertebrates such as brightly coloured nudibranchs. Don't miss the impressive bright-blue soft corals at 26+ meters! This is one of my favourites (number two after Chumphon). Great divesite with large fish! Currents and bad visibility parts of the year makes it hard to reach and dive this site. But if the conditions are ok and the divecenter is going there – sign up!

Light house (8) : has one of the most beautiful table, lettuce and staghorn corals. Depths range from 4 to 14 meters. Two years ago a fishing boat sank there, the remains still scattered around the dive site. Spot blue-ringed angelfish, porcupinefish, parrotfish, pink anemonefish and occasionally turtles.

koh tao dive sites

Divesites also suitable for snorkelling

Japanese Garden (9) : is named after the ornate arrangement of the coral boulders on this site. Depths range from 2 to 12 meters and is suitable for snorkellers & beginners. Unlike a Japanese Garden, you will get to see moray eels, trigger fish, sting rays, sea snakes (July-August) and an occasional hawksbill turtle.

Twins (10) : is located between the three adjoining islands which comprise world-famous Koh Nang Yuan. Twins is made up of two main rocks and a smaller, deeper offshoot (18m). The boulders range in depth from 5 to 18 meters, making this dive site perfectly suitable for beginners (Open Water Course). The rocks are embedded into white sand where the symbiosis of goby fish and their blind shrimp housemates can be observed. Divers can spot rock cods, blue-ringed angelfish, yellow raccoon butterflyfish, parrotfish and wrasses. Don't forget to say 'Hello' to "Mark" and "Mindy", a friendly pair of the rare saddleback clownfish! Great divesite for PADI Open Water classes. This is the site where I normally take my students on their first dive!

 

Mango Bay (11) : is an excellent dive site with depths ranging from 2 to 14 meters. This popular site is a favourite with beginners and snorkellers, since most of the corals are above 8 meters. You will see mushroom, staghorn, and table corals. Also notice the giant barrel sponges, tiger clams and the tiny but colourful nudibranchs. Amazing bay and great for both snorkelling and diving. Shallow and very relaxed divesite. Great for snorkelling!

Laem Thian (12) : has a series of swim-thrus, caves and canyons along the shallow coastline. Depths range from 6 to 20 meters, so all divers are welcome to explore this isolated dive site on the east-side of Koh Tao.

Ao Leuk Pinnacle (13) : offers a vast array of whip corals. Ao Leuk bay is a place to spot banded sea snakes, unicorn surgeonfish, hawksbill turtle, and eels at nightfall. Great for snorkelling!

There are many other divesites that we didn’t mention here (Sail Rock, Samran Pinnacle, No Name Pinnacle etc). If you are interested in information about other sites than the ones listed ask at the dive centre or email me: info@kohtaoseals.com

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