The waters around Ko Pha-ngan are mostly clear, protected waters with great visibility, as well as some great beach dives. There are one or two outlying sites that are internationally recognized for their interesting formations and abundant marine life.
Sail Rock, to the north of the island, is nearly always on a diver’s list of ‘must-dive’ destinations in the Gulf of Thailand. This remarkable natural structure rises 55m from the seabed in a wall of solid rock, sitting out on its own in the middle of the Gulf. It’s not the best location for beginner divers with strong currents and few ledges to stop upon, but the 40m depth below the sea line is perfect for more advanced divers confident in the water. Whale sharks regularly visit the site; over 40 sightings were recorded back in 2009 alone. But even if they don’t appear divers are usually treated to the sight of large schools of trevally, chevron barracuda and mackerel. Another treat is the vertical swim through the famous chimney. The entry points are at 6m and 18m and certainly make this location a little more interesting than your usual diving experience.
The Ang Thong Marine Park to the west of Ko Pha-ngan is another popular location for diving in Thailand, but this chain of islands is also visited by day trippers and kayakers, making it a busy place to be. Some of the smaller islands in the chain are less well known, but getting to them without a diving guide or scheduled trip can be difficult. Divers going out solo can take the ferry from Koh Samui to reach the chain, but most of the dive shops also run dedicated trips out, and they’re worth considering, for they have some of the brightest coral reefs and an abundance of marine life.
Another of The Gulf of Thailand’s most famous dive sites is the Chumphon Pinnacles, located just northwest of Koh Tao. Lying below the surface at a minimum depth of 12m, this rocky ridge is a fascinating series of rocks wending their way along the seabed. This reef is home to a plethora of interesting animals, from grey reef sharks to the smallest of sponges. It’s a 50-minute speedboat ride from the north of Ko Pha-ngan, but very much worth the trip.
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...