Koh Tao Dive Sites
Sail Rock is undoubtedly the most famous dive site in the Koh Samui archipelago. This rock pinnacle, shaped like an iceberg, emerges from a sandy bottom at 40m to tower 5m above the oceans surface.
Located 45 kilometres north of Koh Samui, its midway between Koh Phangan and Koh Tao and provides large schools of pelagic’s, steep walls, rugged rock formations and an awesome vertical chimney swim through.
The swim through located on the northwest side starts from 18m down and exits at 6m where the natural light penetrating the top makes it fantastically picturesque.
At 18m, two divers can enter the cavern abreast where it bends vertically upwards. At 12m you’ll spot a hole that opens up and it is possible to swim back into open water from here. At the exit, just 6m from the surface, you’ll find you’re self totally surrounded by a magnificent carpet of pink anemones full of vibrant anemone fish.
Broken Granite Pinnacles
The Southwest Pinnacle dive site ranges from 30 to 50m deep. Southwest is dived less than some of the other sites around Koh Tao and Koh Samui and so it is quite possible that you will be the only dive boat on site. The dive site itself consists of a series of steep pinnacles rising from the sandy seabed and offers an ample amount of marine life.
Around the Southwest Leopard Sharks can be seen asleep on the sand as well as Blue Spotted Rays. The site also hosts the usual range of colourful tropical marine life such as Butterfly fish and Blueringed Angel fish.
Pelagic’s such as Jacks, Barracuda & the occasional Whaleshark can often be seen as well, as it is one of the deeper water sites laying in similar depths to both Sail Rock and Chumpon Pinnacle, this makes it popular with the bigger pelagic’s also.
Granite pinnacle, boulders, sand & shale
White Rock ranges in depths from 1 to 22m; White Rock is situated close to Twins and is one of the most popular dives sites around Koh Tao. It offers a good depth for beginners and intermediate divers and enough marine life for all. It is also popular with night divers as is the Twins, its neighbour.
Butterfly fish, Parrot fish and the Red Breasted Wrasse are colourful as well as the beautiful Angel fish. Titan Trigger fish are notorious for tenaciously defending their nest from all who pass too closely here so be sure to keep an eye out for them.
If your doing a night dive it is common to see large barracuda joining you on the dive using your torch been to help the feed. As always when night diving watch out for the colourful crustaceans.
2 rock formations, 1 smaller, soft white sand
Twins is located just off the west side of Koh Nangyuan; Twins consists of two groups of rocks with depths ranging from6 to 18m. At the deeper end of the dive expect to see big Grouper, White Eyed Morey Eels and Blue Spotter Rays amongst the hard corals and granite rocks. On the shallower side of the deeper rock you will find an entertaining family of Clarks Anemone Fish (Clown Fish) nestling on the sand. This is a great photo opportunity if you have your camera!
As always, Pink Anemone Fish adorn the shallower rocks, as well as teams of black & white Sergeant Major Fish and the colourful inquisitive Red Breasted Wrasse. Twins is a dive site for all levels of divers and one of the more interesting sites around Koh Tao today.
Boulder formations & swim-throughs
Green Rock is between 1 and 28m deep, this site consists of boulder formations that offer an array of short safe tunnels and swim-throughs. These features make the site one of the most fascinating sites around Koh Tao.
Ideal for the adventurous or novice diver (novices should keep to the shallows for safety) Green Rock gives you the chance to see the beautiful Parrot fish feeding on the main pinnacle close to the surface, as well as White Eyed Moray’s and Blue Spotted Rays deeper amongst the rocks.
Hawksbill Turtles and as always keep an eye out for the Trigger Fish that nest in the sand. It is often possible to see the less common Pink or Yellow Margin Trigger Fish here as well.
Fringing island and shallow reef
Koh Yippon is located at the northern extremes of the Angthong National Marine Park. This beautiful archipelago due west of Koh Samui consists of over 50 islands and is world renowned for the area where the movie ‘The Beach’ was set.
The visibility here is often lower than at other dive sites, but the snorkelling & diving combined with the stunning picturesque topside scenery make an enjoyable day-trip.
Koh Yippon along with Koh Wao is the most popular area for diving and it is noted for its shallow caves and swim-throughs, schools of Fusiliers, and its magnificent array of colourful soft corals and stingrays.
If you a novice diver, then this destination, with its mild currents and shallow depths will provide a great days diving for you.
Shark Island is situated just off the southeast coast of Koh Tao; Shark Island is one of the most popular dive sites in the area.
At the shallow end you will find beautiful gardens of vivid colourful corals and anemones, and at hi tide it is possible to cross from one side of the island to another. This site offers a great range of fish including the Blue Ringed Angel, Long Fin Banner and if you are lucky the odd resident Hawksbill Turtle.
Hugh boulders and rock formations give this site a great topography that is ideal for divers of all levels.
Sandy bay and shallow reef
Aow Leuk is situated close to Shark Island off the southern end of Koh Tao. Nestled on the southeast corner of Koh Tao the shallow reef and large sandy areas make this sheltered bay ideal for snorkelling, diver training or Discover Scuba Diving. The site is ideal for a second or third dive site as its shallow sheltered waters and huge array of corals make for a relaxing easy to navigate dive. It is often used as a second dive site by divers form Koh Samui after diving the nearby Shark Island and before returning back to Koh Samui. If you follow the western wall out of the bay then be sure to watch out for the resident turtle that is often sited here.
Granite pinnacles and boulder formations
Chumphon Pinnacle is located 11km to the northwest of Koh Tao and is considered by many, to be one of the best dive sites in the region. Made up from one huge granite pinnacle and a series of smaller ones, Chumphon’s main difference to Sail Rock is that the pinnacle starts 14m underwater and drops off to over 36m. Chumphon, like Sail Rock, is covered with sea anemones and pink anemone fish; you will also see shoals of Barracuda and schools of Batfish and Jacks.
Some of the most impressive Groupers in the gulf can be found at this site as well as seasonal visits from large pelagic’s such as Whalesharks and Mantas.
Fringing island shallow reef
Japanese Gardens is a sheltered site just off the east coast of Koh Nangyuan (The group of three small islands joined by sandy beaches to the northern end of Koh Tao).This site can be dived from a boat or by leaving from the beach on Koh Nangyuan and it offers an ideal training ground for beginners
The picturesque coral garden gently slopes down to a maximum depth of 18m over the sand with the majority of the soft and hard corals in the top 10m of water. Parrot fish are common here and always keep an eye out for the resident territorial Trigger fish. You will find this site an easy relaxing dive.