Best places to dive in Koh Tao

Looking for the best places to dive in Koh Tao?

Lucky for you, there are plenty of them! It is one of the best places to dive in Thailand.

This travel tip will probably make it harder for you to choose a dive spot… since there are so many. The best is to try them all.

Go scuba diving on Koh Tao with Nava Scuba Diving. They offer Discover Scuba Diving, 3 day PADI open water dives, 2 day PADI open water dives, refresher dives and fun dives. Book here.

Best dive sites in Koh Tao.
Best dive sites on Koh Tao.

Best dive sites on Koh Tao.

Mango Bay

Located north of Koh Tao, the Mango Bay area is a nice relaxing dive. With depths ranging from 2 to 15 meters, it is ideal for beginners and divers. Hard and soft coral formations abound here, along with a variety of sponges and clams. The bay is only accessible by boat and is a popular day trip for divers. Approach the northwest end of the island and head into the bay area to avoid the crowds.

Sail Rock

One of the most famous dive sites in the Koh Samui archipelago. It is an iceberg-shaped pinnacle that rises from the sandy seabed at 40 meters and rises 15 meters above the surface. It is a dive site suitable for all levels of divers, from Discover Scuba upwards.

Its surface is made up of small patches of hard and soft coral. Common fauna that can be seen include barracuda, batfish, jacks, occasional whale sharks and many other species of tropical fish. Currents can vary considerably, but are generally medium to strong. Visibility is usually 10 to 30 meters. For more advanced divers, there is a vertical pass on the northwest side of the rock. Commonly called “The Chimney”, it starts at a depth of 18 meters and exits the rock again at depths of 12 and 6 meters. There are still no fees associated with diving at Peñon de la Vela.

Chumphon Pinnacles

Widely regarded as the premier dive sites in the Gulf of Thailand, 5km northwest of Koh Tao. The site consists of a huge granite pinnacle with some smaller pinnacles rising from the bottom. 40 meters. Bull sharks, barracudas. Batfish, giant spiderfish, Pacific lionfish and occasional whale sharks.

Southwest pinnacles

Consisting of seven granite pinnacles ranging from 5 to 30 meters deep and located about 12 km off the southwest coast of Koh Tao. The shallower sections of the pinnacles are covered with anemones, whip corals and sea fans. Large groupers and barracuda can often be seen here, and you may be lucky enough to see even larger visitors.

Green Rock

Green Rock offers several small swim-throughs, caves and crevices where sheltered marine life can be seen. The depths of the rocks range from 5 to 32 meters. There is often a strong current that can be used to drift around the submerged pinnacles so it is not really recommended for inexperienced divers. You are sure to encounter Yellow Margin and Titan Trigger fish here as it is a popular breeding spot for them… so approach with caution.

White Rock

Two large granite boulders make up the White Rock dive site. Here you can find a large coral garden at about 10 meters that is teeming with schools of butterfly fish and angelfish. Blue rays are also common on this dive. White Rock is also a popular night dive site where you can see feather stars and a variety of crustaceans foraging for food.

Red Rock

This Koh Tao dive site is also known as Nang Yuan Pinnacle. It starts at about 2 meters and goes down to 22. The pinnacle itself is nothing special and the main attractions of this site are the swim throughs. The entrance to the swim throughs can be found if you exit the pinnacle and head west towards Koh Nang Yuan. This is usually done as a drift dive down to the Japanese Garden, where you can relax during the safety stop.

Diving in Koh Tao, Thailand
Diving in Koh Tao, Thailand

Twin pinnacles

On the far side of Koh Nang Yuan, starting about 5 meters below the surface and descending to a depth of 18 meters, are the Twin Peaks or simply “Twins”. It is an ideal place for beginners because of its depth and ease of navigation. The rocks are embedded in the white sand and there is no shortage of marine life here. On the western side of the largest of the peaks, you can find a couple of rare clownfish.

Japanese gardens

This dive spot gets its name from the ornate arrangement of coral boulders. Located on the east side of Koh Nang Yuan and with depths ranging from 2 to 12 meters, it is suitable for divers and beginners. A large amount of staghorn and plate coral can be seen in the shallow waters. A popular drift dive can be made from Red Rock through a series of swim throughs and emerging at Japanese Gardens for a relaxing safety stop amongst the countless coral formations.

Hin Wong Pinnacle

Located on the east side of Koh Tao is Hin Wong Pinnacle. This site comprises several large granite boulders covered with sea fans and whip corals, as well as file fish, shrimp fish, coral groupers and many other reef fish. If you are lucky, you may encounter the resident green turtle. The top is a table-like rock formation about 10 meters from the surface and the maximum depth at Hin Wong is about 32 meters.

Laem Thien Pinnacle

Laem Thian Pinnacle is a large rocky dive site near Mao Bay full of swim throughs, caverns and small caves. There are a few steep walls with some predators hunting for smaller prey. Along the wall, at depths between 18 and 5 meters, you can admire excellent white soft corals and sea whips. It is possible to combine this cave dive with the beauties of shallow reef diving inside Mao Bay or Aow Mao.

Shark Island

Named for its resemblance to a dorsal fin, Shark Island is a twin rocky outcropping located southeast of Koh Tao. Each side of the islet offers a different set of marine life and features making it almost two sites in one. On the east side you’ll find countless soft corals, gorgonians and sponges, while on the west there are hard coral formations that are home to moray eels, nudibranchs, rays and the occasional leopard shark. The titan triggerfish can be very aggressive here, so approach with caution. The maximum depth at this site is 25 meters.

Unicorn Wreck

At the time of the sinking in 1989, it was rumoured that the Unicorn had been sunk on purpose as an insurance scam. The 60-metre freighter had a hold full of expensive tuna that turned out to be cheap dog food, hence the nickname it later acquired: the “dog food” wreck. Located about 12 km from Mango Bay and 50 meters deep, it is also a technical dive site. It is still largely intact and most of the fishing nets have been removed, so it is possible to penetrate it. The wreck is now home to some large red snapper and grouper patrolling.

Torpedo Wreck

The Torpedo is a 70 metre Japanese freighter that lies upright about an hour north of Koh Tao and sank in the mid 1970s. Due to the depths involved this has been classified as a technical dive for experienced divers only. There are three penetration zones, although visibility is usually poor at depth. The deck is at 45 meters and the cargo holds are still full of teak logs, with some strewn across the seabed.

Hin Ngam

Same wider bay as Aow Luek, shallow or sheltered training dive.

Hin Pee Wee

Next to White Rock, 30m.

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