Diving & Snorkelling Trips Koh Samui to Koh Phangan and Koh Tao
Thailand is well known for its beautiful beaches and its tropical paradise delights, but there is a whole realm of underwater beauty & gardens to discover too.
The Gulf of Thailand is a fantastic place to snorkel and dive, with a wealth of sea creatures to discover. If you are visiting Samui, there is a great range of dive spots and most of the dive operators also offer trips to Koh Phangan or Koh Tao.
Over 365 species of coral reef fish have been recorded in the waters in and around this area. You will see bright and beautiful Indo-Pacific reef fish including bright Butterfly fish, Parrot fish, you may even see a Nemo (Clown Fish) and if you’re lucky you may find a Dory (Powder Blue Tang or Powder Blue Surgeonfish).
There’s a good chance you may see an exciting range of marine life including moray eels, puffer fish, triggers, moorish idols, and manta rays.
Sharks have also been sighted in the Gulf of Thailand including Leopard Sharks, Grey Reef, Bull Sharks and the Juvenile Black tip.
Whale Sharks in Koh Samui?
Whale Sharks have been spotted around submerged pinnacles at sites that include Chumphon Pinnacle, Sail Rock, Southwest Pinnacles and Shark Island. Usually, sightings occur when visibility is at its best, which is March to April and August to September. There are no guarantees to see them. Those that witness these remarkable creatures are very privileged.
The Whale Shark is not aggressive - it’s recommended you follow these guidelines if you are lucky enough to spot one:
So where are the best diving spots?
There are many places to snorkel and see some beautiful fish in the bays around Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan. PADI list their own favourite dive spots in the surrounding areas and what you’ll be likely to be able to discover there:
This is one of the most most popular dive sites for trips from Koh Samui and is found in a sheltered location in the north of the Angthong Marine Park. Maximum depth is 18m. There are plenty of soft coral and anemones that are even visible from the surface, so it’s great for snorkellers too. In deeper sections, you’ll find snappers, blue-spotted stingrays and yellow-tailed barracuda.
Koh Wao, also known as Dragon Island
It’s often called Dragon Island as it is said to resemble a sleeping dragon. This bay is full of marine life, the water is usually calm, so it’s suitable for all levels. You might find stingrays, anemones, fusiliers, snappers and trevallies.
Another popular dive site is Hin Bai located just north of Koh Phangan and Koh Samui which is also known as Sail Rock. It’s known as one of Thailand’s best wall dives. You may see a bearded scorpion fish, pink anemone fish and yellow margined moray eels.
Wreck dive: HTMS Sattakut
This ship sunk in June 2011 and makes for an interesting artificial reef, it’s home to a thick school of fusiliers, yellowtail, barracuda, groupers, trevally and moray eels.
This is a huge granite pinnacle surrounded by several smaller ones. Very occasionally a whale shark or a manta ray will visit.
Who should I dive with?
There are several dive operators on Koh Samui, you’ll find them mainly in the north east of the island where the waters are deep and the boats depart from a number of piers. We strongly recommend that our guests only use dive operators recommended by Thailand Retreats. Most of the diving trips are around a 2 hour journey toward Koh Tao. Many of the beginner courses use waters around Koh Samui or in swimming pools of private villas.
Here are some of the operators we recommend:
100 Degrees East
We highly recommend the well qualified and safety conscious staff at 100 Degrees East.
The company also became Koh Samui’s first PADI “Go Eco Dive Centre” in 2006. They are also a patron of the Project Aware Foundation. The dive industry’s leading non-profit organisation committed to the conservation of the underwater environment. Their talented and friendly team includes PADI dive masters and dive instructors.
They offer both snorkelling and diving trips and you can combine both if you have non-diving members of the party. They offer trips to Angthong Marine Park and Koh Tao. They also offer trips to Sail Rock for experienced divers and PADI courses from a 2 hour discover diving to the 4 day open water course.
You can also book a private tour for your group if required. They are located on Big Buddha beach.
Discovery Dive Centre
This dive centre has been operating for over 17 years. They offer a full range of PADI courses in multiple languages from Bubblemaker, Discover Scuba up to professional level dive master and instructor training. They also operate their own speedboats they have three - ‘Stoli’, ‘Priabdaw’ and ‘Jagger’.
Discovery Dive is owned and operated by Eric Vinik, who is a PADI master scuba diver trainer, as well as an Emergency First Responder instructor, he is supported by a fantastic team. The centre is based at the Amari hotel located on Chaweng Beach.
The Dive Academy
The Dive Academy is a British owned 5 star PADI dive centre. The main office, where the training rooms and swimming pool are located, is next to the Samui Go Kart Track and a short walking distance to the other office which is at the Bandara Resort & Spa, based on Bophut beach. They offer a full range of PADI courses including those suited to families with children as young as 10. They visit Sail Rock, Chumphon Pinnacle, Mango Bay, Aow Lek and Shark Island amongst others.
If you want to hear first hand about snorkelling and diving in Thailand we highly recommend you read the exciting blogs about diving in Thailand from bloggers @WanderlandAlex, @nomadicmatt and @youngadventures.
If you would like to book a diving trip, please contact us on +44 (0)208 144 0482 or +66 (0)810039620 or complete our enquiry form.