Koh Tao provides great diving in all of south east Asia and is most popular, and is one of the top 10 place for diving site. Koh Tao has loads of beach dive sites,
but 2 major dive sites are shark island and southwest pinnacle. both are exceptional sites with great variety of reef fish and alluring rocky formations, maximum
depth 32 m. Many international diving agencies are represented on this small island, including PADI, SSI IANTD, BSAC and NAUI. All course level are available
from beginner to professional.
Many international diving agencies are represented on this small island, including PADI, SSI, IANTD, BSAC & NAUI. (So intense has the market growth been in the past decade that PADI and SSI now send their representatives to the island to monitor the quality and to help keeping all their members informed about changes with the industry).
All course levels are available from beginner to professional, including special courses like UW- photography and technical diving (nitrox) for the more adventurous, so if you just fancy a few days of fun diving or wish to go on with your underwater career, it's all here. Actually Koh Tao has become the leading area in Thailand for Instructor Development Centers (IDC). IDC's are held at the larger dive resorts or shops with courses running every two months.
Equipment quality has also improved with shops using the latest models including Scubapro, Suunto, US Divers, Technisub and Seac Sub. There are repair shops for divers traveling with their own equipment and who may need a service. There is also a selection of retail centers for those who wish to purchase some scuba gear. Safety has been much increased with the nearest decompression chamber located in Samui only 90 minutes away by speedboat and a heliport is now operational on the south side of the island. Most of the reputable shops have staff that are fully trained first aiders and oxygen providers with oxygen on the boats and in their facilities. Some shops even offer full diving insurances to have that extra peace of mind.
If you don't fancy diving don't forget that snorkeling is available through most dive centers, if you prefer it more private try a longtail trip around the island or just swim or kayak along Koh Tao's beautiful coast line. Sunlovers, remember our beaches are nearly always empty as the divers are either in the classroom, on the diveboat or underwater, wherever they are, they are not on the beaches.
● Chumporn Pinnacle
Located approximately 11km northwest, this site is widely regarded as one of the best in the region. One main huge granite pinnacle and a series of smaller ones rising from the bottom at 36m to within 14m of the surface, covered with anemones and their attendant Pink Clown Fishes. Large shoals of Great and Cheveron Barracuda, schools of Trevally, Batfish and large Groupers are commonly spotted. Less common but still possible to see are Spanish Mackerel and Scorpion Fish. This great site also plays host to seasonal visits by Whale sharks and Manta Rays.
● White Rock
A very popular dive site located 1km off Sairee.It boasts a large coral garden situated between two distinct granite pinnacles to the north and south side and a vast array of bottom day time and noctural inhabitants. With a depth range of 26m to 5m, it is suitable for every experience level. White Eyed Moray and Blue Spotted Sting Rays are commonly sighted, as well as the infamous Trigger Fish. Several species of Barracuda routinely visit the site, it is particularly impressive to see them hunting on night dives, following divers torch beams to spot their dinner. Night diving also unveils many different kinds of Feather Stars, hunting Cone Shell, feeding Sting Rays, Black Spotted Porcupine fish, sleeping Parrot fish and Monocle Beam fish. You may also be lucky enough to spot a Hawksbill Turtle.
● Shark Island
One of the most varied site in terms of marine life. Located about 300m southeast of Ao Leuk, this small granite peak rises out of the water from a sandy bottom at 20-24m. Enjoy a huge variety of corals, sea whips and Gorgonian Sea Fans covering the multiple pinnacles. Some of the most usual marine life includes Blue Spotted Sting Rays, Scribbled Filefish, Harlequin Sweetlips, Starry Pufferfish, various Groupers and Titan Triggerfish that sometimes like nibbling the fins of divers who get too close to their nesting site. Although Shark Island is suitable for divers of all levels, strong currents may be encountered, especially during full moon, allowing the possibility of exciting drift dives.
● South West Pinnacle
Situated 13km southwest, depth ranging from 30m upward, a series of seven pinnacles form an underwater mountain range, with the largest peaks rising at 5m below the surface, covered with sea anemones. Along the lower edges of the site is an abundance of whip coral and gardens of large sea fans. Impressive Baracudas over a meter long can be seen, as well as massive Groupers, schools of black spotted Snappers, Emperors, Sweetlips and Batfish. Not to forget that Manta Rays and Whale sharks as well as Leopard Sharks may also pass by.
● Koh Nang Yuan Bay (Twins)
Twins consists of two main pinnacles and a smaller deeper “little brother”. A perfect site for both training activities and fun dives with a depth range of 18m to 5m surrounded by soft white sand dotted with the unusual symbiotic relationship of Goby fishes and their blind Shrimp house mates. Twins offers the chance to spot large Groupers, Blue Ringed Angelfish, Yellow Racoon Butterfly fish, Parrots and Wrasses of many kinds. Not to forget “Mork and Mindy”, a friendly pair of the uncommon Saddleback Clownfish, and enjoy your safety stop surrounded by hundreds of Yellow Tail Barracudas.
● Koh Tao's east side
The sparsely populated east side of the island offers a range of unusual sites. Light House, a favourite place for Turtle spotting, Hin Wong Pinnacle with its stunning blue soft corals at 26m, Laem Thian for exploring a series of connected swimthroughs & canyons, and Ao Leuk Point with cornfield-like areas of Whip Corals. These sites also offer the chance of encountering Banded Sea Snakes, Unicorn Surgeon fish, Parrot fish and the occasional passing Black Tip Reef Shark. From this side of the island, the lush, steep jungle slopes makes a magnificent back drop. On a clear day, divers on the surface can even spot Koh Samui and Koh Phangan.