Are you interested in diving Koh Tao but would like to know a little more about the dive sites this beautiful little island offers? Here are my personal favourite Koh Tao dive sites with a little added a little information for you to help get familiar with the underwater world Koh Tao has to offer.
Twins is a beautiful dive site situated close to Koh Nang Yuan. This dive site consists of two pinnacles – the “twin peaks” – with a third smaller rock formation sitting slightly deeper. The depths at Twins ranges from 10m – 18m making it a perfect spot for PADI Open Water divers . Another fantastic feature to the site is a brilliant artificial reef sitting a few kick cycles north of the main dive site.
Buoyancy World as it has been named, was constructed by a group of environmentally minded dive centres on Koh Tao including Crystal Dive. Consisting of various structures, each one created by one of the participating dive centres, Buoyancy World was developed as an alternative to Twins allowing offering Koh Tao scuba diving Instructors the perfect place to conduct various open water training activities such as Peak Performance Buoyancy dives.
The marine life you will spot on Twins includes: Schools of Barracuda, Hawksbill Turtle, Anemone (Nemo) fish, Blue spotted Stingrays and Angelfish.
4. White Rock
Named White Rock due to a distinctive rock which can be seen from the surface, White Rock is located a short boat ride from the pier on the west side of Koh Tao. White Rock consists of two clusters of large boulder rocks; one at the north end of the site, the other further south with a coral garden in between. Covering these rocks is a beautiful variety of hard corals.
The depth of the site ranges from 12m to 26m making it an ideal dive site for both open water and advanced open water certified divers. White Rock is also a popular location for night dives, whether part of the PADI Advanced Open water course or just a fun dive and boasts a variety of species that become active after sunset.
One of the highlights of night diving White Rock are the great barracuda hunting for their dinner. It is also known for its resident Turtles who are a common sight both during the daytime and at night.
Marine Life here includes Hawksbill turtle, Golden Trevally, Christmas tree worms, Moray eels, Titan Trigger fish, Blue spotted stingray and Barracuda.
3. HTMS Sattakut
Koh Tao’s premier ship wreck, the HTMS Sattakut was sunk in June 2011 to create an artificial reef offering Koh Tao’s divers a different type of scuba diving adventure. Due to its depth range 25m – 30m it is a perfect site for PADI Advanced Divers and offers that mystique that surrounds a sunken ship, with a backdrop of beauty being provided by the many different species of fish which have made the wreck their home.
The Sattakut was once a WW2 US Navy ship decorated with 3 battle stars. Today the guns that once fired towards the beaches are still in great condition with one cannon attached to the bow and an anti-aircraft gun attached to the back. This is also a great wreck to consider taking your PADI Wreck Diver Speciality Coursedue to the ease of movement on the inside and its many entry and exit points.
Marine life to spot on the HTMS Sattakut include Giant Groupers, Red Snapper, Barracuda, Giant Trevally, Moray Eels and Starry Pufferfish.
2. Sail Rock
Sail Rock is a bit further away than the usual Koh Tao dive sites and as such Koh Tao based dive centres offer this stunning dive site as a full day trip. Located around 90 minutes from Koh Tao, Sail Rock can be seen from the surface, raising 5 meters and the dive site has a maximum depth of 40m.
This site is great for fun divers or divers that are either Nitrox certified or are wishing to earn their PADI Enriched Air Nitrox Speciality certification. Diving with Nitrox provides you with that extra bottom (dive) time to really enjoy this brilliant dive site.
Features of this site that makes it so special include “the chimney” where you are able to make ascents and descents inside the rock. You can enter the Chimney at 5 metres and exit at 18 metres making it a very cool way to start or end a dive.
Due to Sail Rock being far from land, the site boasts huge schools of fish including Barracuda, Batfish and Travelly. Sail Rock also welcomes the mighty Whaleshark during season and occasionally we see Bull sharks here too. Overall, one of the must-see venues when scuba diving Koh Tao.
Creatures to spot on site include Whalesharks, Giant Moray, Barracuda, Batfish, Giant Grouper, Mackerel and Big Eye Trevally
1. Chumphon Pinnacle
Chumphon Pinnacle is regarded as one of the premier dive sites in the Gulf of Thailand and is my personal favourite. This magnificent dive site consists of one huge granite rock surrounded by literally thousands of schooling fish and covered in magnificent colourful Anemones.
With smaller, deeper lying clusters of rocks including “barracuda rock” which is just to the south of the main Pinnacle, this is truly a great deep dive site that avid divers would need to visit several times just to get a good idea of what it has to offer.
The top of the pinnacle sits at around 14 metres and the maximum depth, off the north end of the site, is below 40 metres, making it a perfect place to test out “nitrogen narcosis” if you are wanting to complete the PADI Deep Diver Speciality course.
Whalesharks are commonly sighted at Chumphon Pinnacle as the site offers a rich feeding ground for these majestic creatures.
Marine life to view at Chumphon Pinnacle includes Whaleshark, Giant Grouper, schools of Chevron Barracuda, Lion fish, Scorpion fish, Cobia, Shoals of fusiliers, Batfish, Rainbow Runners and much much more.
So what do you think? Do you agree with me? What is your favourite Koh Tao dive site?
Author: Neil Davidson (PADI MSDT #294100)