Koh Tao SCUBA Diving
Dive Sites @ Koh Tao

Koh Tao Dive Site - Chumphon Pinnacle

Chumphon Pinnacle

Chumphon Pinnacle, Located 11Km North West of Koh Tao, is one of the premiere dive sites in the gulf. This dive site has a main granite pinnacle which starts around 14 meters beneath the surface. Covered in Magnificent Pink Anemones, Sea Whips and Sponge Corals this is an awesome sight as you descend down one of several buoy lines. As you make your way round this spectacular dive site valleys cut through the rock become visible taking the more experienced scuba diver to depths of around 30 meters.

There are several smaller pinnacles off the main dive site to navigate around, the largest of these being Barracuda Rock. Making your way across the sandy bottom scattered with sea urchins the main attraction of this dive site make themselves known. Swimming gracefully from the depths Bull Sharks and Grey Reef Sharks make an appearance. The instant adrenalin rush is quickly followed by a strange calm as these magnificent creatures circle and swim with little regard to the on looking scuba divers. The apprehension that some scuba divers have about swimming with sharks generally gets forgotten when they see just how graceful these powerful animals are, and how calm they swim around this dive site.

For divers not wanting to visit the sharks, there are plenty of other areas of interest on this dive site to explore. White Eyed Moray Eels, Scorpion Fish, and Banded Harlequin Shrimp can be found in the many crevices and cracks around the North East area of Chumphon. The abundance of marine life is incredible with large shoals of Yellow Striped Fusiliers, Spotted Snapper, Chevron Barracuda, and Bat Fish. Then there's "The Big One" the fish every scuba diver wants to see, the majestic Whale Shark. Not a very common site in the gulf, but they do seem to make an appearance when you least expect it, adding a touch of excitement and anticipation to each entry into the water.

The one thing all divers agree about after diving Chumphon Pinnacle, whatever their experience and wherever they have dived in the past, this dive site never fails to impress...

Koh Tao Dive Site - South West pinnacle

South West pinnacle

As the names suggests this dive site is found about 13Km South West of Koh Tao. One hour by speed boat from Koh Samui and you find yourself seemingly in the middle of nowhere holding onto a buoy line.Then, as you descend, you realise just why the boat stopped here. A set of huge granite Pinnacles rising from the sandy seabed, the tallest falling just 3 or 4 meters shy of the surface. With depths to 34 meters this dive site is popular with the bigger pelagic species such as Giant Grouper, Barracuda, and Big Eye Trevally.

The tranquillity of Southwest is also evident as this is not dived as much as other dive sites in the Gulf. The topography of this dive site is astonishing, and when the visibility is good it is a magnificent sight as the different shaped rock formations blend into the distance waiting to be discovered. A short swim just off the Southern most point of this dive site it is possible to find Leopard Sharks resting in the sand.

Whale sharks do occasionally make an appearance and are a superb addition to an already outstanding dive site. During the months of March and April there is also a chance to see Minke Whales. Seen by only a few scuba divers on this site, there has been many more sighting on the speed boat ride back to Koh Samui breaking the surface between Koh Tao and Koh Phangan.

With the many fan corals and sea whips swaying gently in the mild currents there is an abundance of colourful reef fish to be found here, including Weavers Butterfly Fish, and Six Banded Angle Fish to name but a few. Not dived as regularly as some of the sites around Koh Tao, it is very possible for you to be the only boat moored on the buoy line, thus having this wonderful site all to yourself.

Koh Tao Dive Site - Sail rock

Sail rock

Undoubtedly the most famous dive site in the Koh Samui archipelago, this magnificent granite pinnacle rises from the ocean floor to tower 15 meters above sea level. With outer pinnacles adorning the main rock and depths of up to 40 meters, this really is an outstanding dive site.

A must for divers visiting this spectacular dive site is "The Chimney". A vertical swim through with easily enough room for 2 divers ascending inside, the entrance starts at 17 meters. A vertical window presents itself at 12 meters giving you the opportunity to look out into the blue to see the large shoals of Barracuda and Bat Fish in the distance. In a small ledge inside the chimney you are likely to find small cleaner shrimp and the Japanese Blue Striped Pipe Fish one of the smallest species known. The exit can be found at 6 meters, the Skunk Clown Fish, dart about their anemone, protecting their home, watching as you exit and make your way round to the mooring line to begin your safety stop.

Another outstanding feature of this dive site is the "Secret Pinnacle" (not so secret now!!) Which offers a second smaller dive site of its own. With a maximum depth of 34 meters at the back of the pinnacle the most impressive sight you will see at this dive site is found at about 14 meters. A massive shoal of Big Eye Trevally more than 2000 strong circles the top of the rock and if divers are careful enough it is possible to be taken in by the shoal and get completely encompassed giving an experience more likely to be found on a National Geographic documentary.

The marine life found at this spectacular dive site seems endless, and the possibility of sighting a Whale Shark is ever present. To say this dive site is unpredictable is an understatement, having had the honour to dive this site over the last 10 years I can honestly say this is one dive site that never fails to deliver a new experience.

Koh Tao Dive Site - Twin Rock

Twin Rock

Located on the west side of Koh Tao next to the private islands of Koh Nang Yuan, Twins, as the name suggests, consists of two main rock formations, with depths ranging from 6 to 18 meters. Running from East to West this is an easy dive site to navigate, and is full of overhanging rocks and crevices to explore.

As you travel from the shallower end of the dive site to the larger pinnacle, Clarks Anemone Fish (Clown Fish) can be found playing up to the divers cameras and fanning their eggs during the spawning season. A swim through can be found on the larger rock, with Cleaner Shrimp and Blue Spotted Sting Rays hiding under a large overhanging ledge just at the entrance. Be wary of where you put your hands here, as Bearded Scorpion Fish are well camouflaged against the many small rocks lying in the sand.

This is an excellent dive site for student divers and experienced divers alike. You can often see students completing their dive skills in the sandy shallows. Twins is one of the more interesting dive sites around Koh Tao, and is suitable for any level of diver. With an assortment of colourful marine life such as Christmas Tree Worms, and Marbled Sea Cucumbers, Porcupine Puffer and Masked Puffer Fish also make an appearance on this site.

Some of the best symbiotic relationships in Koh Tao can be found at Twins. Numerous Pink Anemone Fish can be found constantly cleaning and protecting their anemones and look close enough in the sand and you'll find the Shrimp Gobies. Acting as lookout while their blind companions continue the tireless work of burrowing and building a safe hideaway, it's easy to get hypnotised by this fascinating partnership.

 

Koh Tao Dive Site - White Rock

White Rock

This is one of the more popular dive sites situated on the west coast of Koh Tao. White Rock is quite a narrow and extremely long dive site which is perfect for beginner and experienced scuba divers alike. With depths ranging from 2 to 26 meters this is a very diverse dive site, and the marine life found here is no different.

As you descend down one of three buoy lines you'll see large shoals of Yellow Tail Barracuda, and for the lucky diver, small groups of Squid can be seen at around 6 or 7 meters although good luck getting close enough for a picture. Hawksbill Turtles can sometimes be found at the southern most point of this site eating the soft corals which are in plentiful supply. Not paying much attention to the scuba divers, photo opportunities are excellent and a great souvenir.

Butterfly Fish, Parrot Fish, and the Blue Ringed Angel Fish are colourful companions on this site as well as the Red Breasted Splendour Wrasse. One fish to keep a particular eye out for is the Titan Trigger Fish. Very beautiful, but also very territorial, these are notorious for tenaciously defending their nest from any that pass too closely. This dive site has many smaller rocks and overhangs dotted in and around the main site giving natural protection to Blue Spotted Sting Rays, and White Eyed Moray Eels. Sometimes used as a second dive site, White Rock will put a fitting end to a fabulous days diving.

Koh Tao Dive Site - Green Rock

Green Rock

Short tunnels, Swim throughs, and the Trigger Fish pit, makes this dive site sound like it's from an Indiana Jones Movie. The small tunnels vary in size and shape, and some can be a bit of a squeeze at times, but there are many larger swim through easily big enough for the faintest of hearts. Then there is the Trigger Fish pit...

Looking like craters on the moons surface, the nests are clear to see, and act as a very good keep out sign. Although this is only really a problem during April, May, and June which is breeding time for the Trigger Fish. The rest of the year they are normally pretty tolerant of divers, and you may be lucky enough to see the not so common Yellow Margin Trigger Fish. Admittedly a favourite for the more adventurous diver, Green Rock does have its calm and peaceful side too.

With probably the biggest variety of nudibrach, and Flat worms (Spanish Dancers) in Koh Tao, it's ideal for those underwater photographers to get a bit of macro action. With brightly coloured Parrot Fish feeding on the main pinnacle, White Eyed Moray is tucked away in one of the many cracks, and Blue Spotted Rays hiding in the deeper water, time almost disappears on this site.

Koh Tao Dive Site - Mango Bay

Mango Bay

Situated at the north end of Koh Tao and only accessible by boat this picturesque coral bay is normally the first dive site student divers are taken to. With the entrance being done from the beach it is no wonder this is the perfect site for PADI Discover Scuba Diving, PADI Scuba Diver & Open Water Course and even some PADI Adventure Dives or PADI Advanced Open Water dives can be completed here. To start your diving experience the gentle sloping nature of this dive site makes for easy equalisation and introductory skills.

Even experienced scuba divers find this an interesting site being one of the few places in Koh Tao where you can find Sea Horses. Hiding among the small pieces of drift wood, and bamboo in the sandy shallows, looking like small leaves swaying on the bottom, these delicate little creatures only seem to come to life when approached. Also on the sandy bottom you can find some very big Hermit Crabs, and the near impossible to see Peacock Sole.

Mango Bay has beautiful coral running down both sides of the bay, and a large patch of coral in the centre. This makes Mango Bay one of the few dive sites which are perfect for non divers wishing to accompany divers on a great day out. Snorkelling is fantastic around here with Sergeant Majors, Parrot Fish and Thick Lipped Mullet just a few inches from the surface, as well as the colourful hard and soft corals to be found. As with most the dive sites around Koh Tao Mango Bay has a vast array of fish species and is a great addition to any log book.

Koh Tao Dive Site - Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden

In the shelter of Koh Nang Yuan, Japanese Garden has a sloping nature with large coral formations dotted around a sandy bottom. With depths from 3 meters near the smallest beach of Koh Nang Yuan to 23 meters by Nang Yuan Pinnacle this dive site also has a small wreck in the form of an old dive boat that was sunk in a storm.

Descending the line down to Nang Yuan Pinnacle you'll find a large cut out going the whole way round the pinnacle giving a perfect hiding place for Whip Rays and Blue Spotted Sting Rays. With Stag Horn and Table Coral protruding from the side of the rock and Whip Corals spiralling from the seabed, head west to the long swim throughs and caves near the steep rocky shoreline of Koh Nang Yuan. This is the perfect place to find the Banded Sea Crate (Sea Snake). Although very poisonous these stunning creatures move effortless in the water due to their very timid nature are quickly in the safe confines of the submerged rocks far from harms way.

To the south east side of the dive site there are also some small caves, and swim throughs. Around the shallows there are magnificent Pink Anemones, and large table corals. Red Breasted Wrasse and Goat fish are very popular around this site. Along with shoals of Yellow Tail Barracuda, and rarely found in the gulf, a family of Lion Fish, this is a very beautiful dive site for novice and experienced divers alike.

Koh Tao Dive Site - Shark Island

Shark Island

Also known as Red Rock, this shark finned shaped island is located at the southern end of Koh Tao. This is one of the dive sites that give a variety of dive options with some of the best submerged rock formations in the area. With depths ranging from 5 meters to around 30 meters again this is a very diverse dive site. For novice and inexperienced scuba divers, be sure to find out the conditions before you dive this site as the currents can sometimes be physically challenging.

With swim throughs, caves, and over hanging rock formations covered in colourful Fan and Harp Corals, with Hermit Crabs, Nudibranch, and sea urchins aplenty this is an exciting dive site. In and around this island are some of the most colourful reef fish in Koh Tao such as the Blue Ringed Angel Fish, Long Fin Banner Fish, Harlequin Sweetlips, and Weavers Butterfly Fish. Great topography and variety of marine life makes this a very popular and interesting dive site. Whale Sharks have been spotted on several occasions on the north side of this small island so there is always a buzz of excitement before each entry.

 
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