Ko Pha-ngan sits in the Gulf of Thailand’s most picturesque waters and it’s built an understandably good reputation for scuba diving trips in and around the island. It might not be quite as famous as Koh Samui to its south, but for a quieter, more relaxed and slightly less touristic location, it’s the perfect holiday location. It’s a largely undeveloped island, with no real transport network down its eastern coastline, but in the west, dive shops can be found from north to south.
The town of Ko Pha-ngan in the west is the biggest urban development, amounting to little more than a dozen under-developed streets, but even so, there are still four scuba dive shops in the one location. The Phangan International Diving School is a 5 star PADI Instructor development shop with dive offices in the main resorts around the island. It’s been open since 2004 and has grown to be one of the most recognized schools on the island. As well as the usual array of dive trips and scuba courses, they also have a dedicated underwater videographer for hire, giving customers the unusual option of recording their adventures.
In the north, the Sail Rock Divers outfit has taken its name from one of the most famous of all the local dive sites, which they regularly take day trips to visit. They’re found at the end of the northernmost road at Chaloklum and run speedboat tours and cruiser tours for up to 30 divers. The dive team hails from various parts of the world and their experience has earned them a five star rating with PADI, as well as a loyal following of past and current students.
When it comes to buying equipment, finding a great outfitter with plenty of choice can be a struggle in some of the more remote locations. Therefore, the All Scuba Solutions shop in Ko Pha-ngan town is a welcome addition to the island. The shop stocks everything from ScubaPro and Aqualung, to Suunto and Mares, with at least another ten major brands represented. It’s unusual to find such a specialist shop on an island of this size, particularly when it doesn’t offer trips or courses of its own, but given the popularity of scuba diving on Ko Pha-ngan, this little gem of a retail outlet is understandably busy throughout the year.
Ko Pha-ngan doesn’t have its own airport, but the international airport at Koh Samui is a 50-minute ferry trip away. An alternative method of travel is by boat from the mainland. It’s a slightly less expensive option, but add about four hours travelling time from Bangkok.
Decent dive operation but this is not a luxury liveaboard. Tired decor in cabin, mattress on floor and badly leaking pipework in the bathroom. It is very basic. The crew are helpful though, the divemaster good and the dive deck well organised. The sites in Similan Islands are pleasant but average with the exception of Richelieu Rock which is very nice. All sites are very crowded with many boats around.
Been diving around Marine Park, Koh Tao and Sail Rock, Thailand with Dive Point Samui last year after attend my mate's wed in Samui and two week vacation for myself. It was a thrilling experience to dive in such beautiful dive sites and the boat is a very nice, clean and comfortable boat. Dive crew are professional, sociable, cool, fun and serious about divers' safety! Fell in love with the Thai Curry that was prepared on the boat! It is a slow boat but you can actually sleep on the boat as the...