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Diving in Koh Tao

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Koh Tao Diving Tours
Koh Tao, Thailand

Koh Tao is encircled by kaleidoscopic coral reefs, concealed pinnacles, and shipwrecks.

Simple Life Divers runs two dive excursions around Koh Tao each day (with two dives per trip).
We keep dive groups small to guarantee quality service and long dives, to observe fantastic underwater scenes, and enjoy unique diving experiences.

Aboard our fully-equipped dive boat, our enthusiastic dive guides explore all the best dive sites around Koh Tao.
You can pick and choose your dive sites each day.

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More Info: Scuba Diving in Koh Tao

Is Koh Tao good for diving? 

Koh Tao is a superb destination for scuba diving for many reasons.

  • Variety of Dive Sites: Koh Tao is a small tropical island that is encircled by coral reefs, submerged pinnacles, and monumental rocky boulders. Close to the island, countless unique dive sites are waiting to be explored, from shallow coral gardens packed with marine life to sprawling underwater megaliths. In addition to natural formations, Koh Tao also has several shipwreck sites to dive. Most notable is the HTMS Sattakut – a former Thai naval vessel that rests at a depth of 30 meters near Koh Tao. And in partnership with Thailand’s Department of Marine & Coastal Resources (DMCR), local dive operators have invested effort into reef restoration projects around Koh Tao, including the ‘AlotMeant’ dive site directly in front of Simple Life Divers.
  • Distance to dive sites: Koh Tao has many dive sites close to the island. Many can be dived directly from the shoreline. Others are a short boat ride away. Basing yourself on Koh Tao means you can quickly reach a tremendous range of nearby dive sites – coral reefs, shipwrecks, pinnacles, and coral conservation projects. Scuba diving from Koh Tao means you get to enjoy more time underwater, and less time motoring back and forth. From other nearby islands (Samui, Phangan), dive operators visit Koh Tao using speedboats. Logistically, it makes much more sense to plan your dive trips from Koh Tao.
  • Price of scuba diving: Short distances to dive sites mean quick journey times, low fuel consumption, smaller dive boat overheads, and ultimately great value scuba diving in Koh Tao. Plus low fuel consumption means much less environmental impact and pollution caused by the dive industry, contributing to a lower carbon footprint.
  • Marine Life: Dive sites near Koh Tao are home to incredible aquatic life. Close to Koh Tao, you can scuba dive with almost any tropical marine species you might imagine; Reef dwellers such as butterflyfish, wrasses, angelfish, blue-spotted ribbon tail rays, triggerfish, moray eels, lionfish, hawkbill and green turtles, porcupine pufferfish, Jenkins rays, seahorses, clownfish and more. Granite boulders are carpeted with anemones and pink anemonefish, plus you can dive with giant groupers, barracuda, trevally, batfish, remoras, small sharks, and even whale sharks.
  • Depth / Difficulty of dive sites. Koh Tao has something for all levels of diver. For beginners and students, dive sites including Mango Bay or Koh Nangyuan’s Japanese Gardens, or Twins & Buoyancy World offer a mix of kaleidoscopic coral reefs near sandy areas to fine-tune buoyancy control and build up confidence in shallow water. Intermediate sites such as White Rock, Hin Pee Wee, or Shark Island offer seasoned divers the opportunity to explore deeper, navigating demanding topography and searching for larger marine species. Further out in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Tao has world-class diving at Chumphon Pinnacle, Southwest Pinnacle, or Sail Rock. These offer the chance to dive deeper, exploring staggering granite megaliths shrouded by schools of pelagic fish. Koh Tao also has multiple shipwrecks to dive; in recreational diver depth range the HTMS Sattakut and MV Trident. Or for technical divers, the ‘Unicorn’ and ‘Torpedo’ wrecks situated north of Koh Tao.

How much does it cost to dive in Koh Tao, Thailand? 

For certified divers, the cost to dive in Koh Tao, Thailand starts from just 900 baht per dive.

At Simple Life Divers, we run two dive trips per day. Morning trips depart around 07:00 am, visiting two dive sites to make two dives before returning by noon. Afternoon trips depart around 12:30 pm, heading to two dive sites and returning by 5:00 pm.

As a certified diver, the price of dives depends on the total number of dives you make:

  • Up to 9 dives: 900 baht per dive
  • 10+ dives: 800 baht per dive

Dive prices are inclusive of all scuba gear, dive guide, boat fees, refreshments, etc. There are no hidden ‘extras’. (Discount is available if you have your own full set of dive equipment).

New to diving and don’t have a certification? The option is to take a PADI course or try scuba diving with a one-day intro dive called ‘PADI Discover Scuba Diving’.

Does Koh Tao, Thailand have whale sharks? 

It is possible to see whale sharks whilst scuba diving in Koh Tao, Thailand.

Rhincodon typus, aka whale sharks, are the world’s biggest fish and can grow up to an amazing 18 meters in length.

Whale sharks don’t permanently live around Koh Tao, but periodically migrate through the Gulf of Thailand. As part of their journey, whale sharks can be observed filter-feeding near dive sites off Koh Tao, notably at isolated pinnacle formations such as Chumphon Pinnacle, Southwest Pinnacles or Sail Rock.

Koh Tao doesn’t have whale sharks every day. It’s impossible to guarantee scuba diving a whale shark in Thailand. You should appreciate, to scuba dive with a whale shark you need to be fortunate. But it can (and does) happen.

Whilst you are diving in Koh Tao, Thailand, if we hear that whale sharks are being seen near Koh Tao we’ll do our best to get you there. Scuba diving with the biggest fish in the sea can be the adventure of a lifetime.

How many dive sites are in Koh Tao? 

At the time of writing, 29 discovered & named dive sites exist close to Koh Tao, Thailand. Dive sites include tropical coral reefs, submerged pinnacles, islets, and shipwrecks:

  • Mango Bay
  • Lighthouse Bay
  • Hin Wong Bay
  • Hin Wong Pinnacle
  • Laem Thian
  • Mao Bay
  • Tanote Bay
  • Lang Khai
  • Aow Leuk
  • Shark Island
  • MV Trident
  • Sai Nuan Beach
  • June Juea Beach
  • 3 Rocks & Pottery
  • Junkyard
  • ‘Alotmeant’
  • Sairee Beach
  • White Rock
  • Hin Pee Wee
  • HTMS Sattakut Wreck
  • Japanese Gardens
  • Biorock / Hin Fai
  • Twins & Buoyancy World
  • NoName Pinnacle
  • Green Rock
  • Nangyuan Pinnacle aka Red Rock
  • Chumphon Pinnacle
  • Southwest Pinnacle
  • Unicorn Wreck (technical diving depth)

Beyond Koh Tao’s immediate reefs, pinnacles and wrecks, there are even more dive sites to explore within dive boat range. Most notable are; the famous Sail Rock dive site, Samran Pinnacle, Mu Koh Ang Thong and the Torpedo Wreck (suitable for technical divers).

What is the best way to see Sail Rock (dive site)? 

The best way to dive Sail Rock (the dive site in Thailand) is by dive boat from either Koh Tao or Koh Phangan.

Sail Rock (called Hin Bae in Thai), is a tiny rocky islet situated roughly midway between Koh Tao and Koh Phangan. Jagged rock walls of the island plunge steeply beneath the ocean surface to a depth of roughly 25-28 meters where they meet the seabed. The dive site is encrusted by corals and features a unique vertical chimney swim-through and expansive ‘secret pinnacle’ situated a short swim from the main dive site. It’s possible to see huge amounts of marine life including whale sharks, placing Sail Rock among the most renowned dive sites in Thailand.

At Simple Life Divers, from our base on Koh Tao, we dive Sail Rock as a full-day trip due to the distances and transit times involved. We run Sail Rock as a two or three dive trips, sometimes combining with Samran Pinnacle, Southwest Pinnacles or Shark Island depending on the sea conditions.

Because we’re aboard the dive boat for an entire day, we prefer to run Sail Rock trips whilst the ocean is calm, wave heights are low and the weather favorable, so everybody enjoys a fantastic day that is memorable for all the right reasons.

What is the best time to dive in Thailand? 

Koh Tao’s secluded location in the Gulf of Thailand means that scuba diving can be enjoyed all year round.

On most days, the weather throughout the Gulf of Thailand is hot and sunny with low wave heights and outstanding diving conditions.

In the Southern part of the Gulf of Thailand (where Koh Tao is situated), the exception is that with each November comes the annual monsoon downpour. Throughout monsoon season, a strong north-easterly wind (called Lom Pattaya in Thai) ushers stormy weather; persistent heavy rain showers, bigger waves up to 3 meters in height plus sporadic thunder and lightning. Surface-water runoff from rainfall combined with waves agitating the seabed cause underwater visibility around Koh Tao to drop. Scuba diving is still viable on the sheltered leeward side of the island, but it isn’t as idyllic as the majority of the year.

So if you have flexibility, best would be to avoid Koh Tao’s monsoon season in November / early December. Any other month should be fine for scuba diving in the Gulf of Thailand.


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