Diving in Koh Tao, Thailand: The Best Dive Sites In 2022

Want to know more about diving in Koh Tao, Thailand? Keep reading!

Thailand has some of the best diving sites in the world but nothing comes close to Koh Tao, a tiny island brimmed with diverse marine life. It is rare to find an affordable diving destination bundled with world-class instructors for the best diving experience. 

Koh Tao is such a popular destination for diving, that there are over 50 diving schools to choose from! The diving schools in Koh Tao usually carry one of two diving certifications: Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) or Scuba Schools International (SSI). Both certifications are globally recognized and are based on similar diving course curriculums.

And if that is not a convincing factor to dive in Koh Tao, there are over 20 dive sites located on every corner of the island! There are guided tours available for each of these dive sites so you will be in good hands.

So, how much does it cost to learn diving on Koh Tao?

Here is the price for each diving course in Koh Tao:

  • Open Water Course: 9,000 – 11,000 Baht ($ 250 – 300) 
  • Advanced Open Water Course: 9,000 – 10,000 Baht ($ 250 – 275) 
  • Try Scuba Diving Course: 2,500 – 3,000 Baht ($70 – 80)

Koh Tao has one of the most affordable diving packages in the world and many divers find it value for money.

In terms of duration, the Open Water Course requires 3-4 days, the Advanced Open Water Course requires 2-3 days. Pressing for time and only having a day to spare? Go for the Try Scuba Diving Course!

If you are already a certified diver and just want to know the best dive spots in Koh Tao, we list below some of our favorite dive sites in Koh Tao for you to explore: 

Best Dive Sites in Koh Tao 

1. Shark Island 

Shark Island is located on the southeast side of Koh Tao. There are unfortunately no whale shark spottings here (maybe one, if you are lucky), just an island with rock formations jutting out like a shark fin. 

The rocks in this area are surrounded by soft corals. This is also a good location for drift diving, where divers are transported around by the water currents. You can find rainbow-colored parrotfish, some occasional sightings of turtles, and the aggressive triggerfish.

Difficulty: Beginner – Advanced

2. Chumphon Pinnacles

Chumphon Pinnacles is the most famous spot for diving in Koh Tao as one of the deepest dive sites. It is a cluster of underwater boulders located 11km northwest of Koh Tao and it is best catered to seasoned divers who want to explore different depths of sealife up to 40 meters.

Marine life visibility starts at 14 meters onwards and you can find a large selection of hard corals, sea anemones, trevally, barracuda, and with a bit of luck a possible sighting of manta rays, groupers, and whale sharks.

Difficulty: Intermediate – Advanced 

3. Southwest Pinnacles

Southwest Pinnacles is a shallower version of Chumphon Pinnacles but far less crowded. There are 7 granite rock pinnacles, with an addition of a secret pinnacle only accessible to advanced divers as it is a 5-minute swim away from the area. 

In terms of fauna, you will find similar marine life sightings in both Chumphon Pinnacles and Southwest Pinnacles. Within these rocks, you can spot glassfish, sea anemones, barracuda, sting rays, and possibly, whale sharks.

Difficulty: Intermediate – Advanced 

4. Sail Rock 

Sail Rock is a rock pinnacle that is located remotely in between Koh Tao and Koh Phangan. Sail Rock is a popular destination among divers as it is the largest diving site with plenty of marine life swimming around the rock up to 45 meters deep. 

Go on a guided tour as it takes a two-hour boat ride to get there. You will have a higher chance of swimming with the whale sharks here compared to other dive sites. 

Difficulty: Intermediate – Advanced

5. White Rock

White Rock is located at Koh Nang Yuan, a tiny island at northwest of Koh Tao. Easily accessible from the shore, this place is perfect for beginner divers and a popular location for night dives as well. 

Take a nice relaxed dive here exploring the thriving colorful reefs, moray eels, and hawksbill turtles. Dive deeper and you may spot some barracudas and blue-spotted rays! 

Difficulty: Beginner – Advanced 

6. HTMS Sattakut

On the west side of Sairee Beach, there lies a decommissioned warship known as HTMS Sattakut gifted by the Thai Navy as part of an artificial reef project. 

It is now a marine ecosystem with large corals and exotic marine animals such as the Jenkins’ stingray and the great barracuda. At 30 meters deep, this unique shipwreck is limited to advanced divers only.

Difficulty: Advanced 

FAQ About Diving in Koh Tao

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Is Koh Tao Good For Diving?

Koh Tao is a great diving location for both beginner and advanced divers. With its warm and calm waters coupled with its shallow reefs, Koh Tao is an amazing place for divers looking to explore marine life under the sea effortlessly.

What Can You See Diving In Koh Tao?

Koh Tao is popularly known for whale shark sightings. Although they can be seen any time throughout the year, the best season will be from March to June.

Other marine life sightings in Koh Tao are hawksbill sea turtles, green turtles, titan triggerfish, sea snakes, and big coral formations.  

When to Dive In Koh Tao?

You can dive all year round in Koh Tao as the weather is mostly sunny. For the best marine life sighting and optimum water temperatures, dive in between March and September. 

During October and November, the monsoon season usually attracts fewer visitors due to its reduced water visibility. But fret not, it will rarely disrupt your diving trips!

What To Bring To Your Diving Trip In Koh Tao? 

All dive centers will provide the necessary equipment for your diving trip. Here are some things you should bring so you are well-equipped before your course:

  • Swimsuit: Wear a tight-fitting swimsuit to prevent chafing from your diving wetsuit 
  • Sunscreen: Always have sunscreen ready as there will be intervals where you will be above water for a rest! Opt for a reef-friendly sunscreen to protect the marine life below. You may consider buying it abroad since it may be quite expensive on Koh Tao.

Conclusion

Diving in Koh Tao is safe and enjoyable, especially with the weather conditions and experienced instructors. Nevertheless, you should still exercise caution and pay attention to instructions during your dive. 

Diving can be an addictive sport and once you get your first taste of diving in Koh Tao, you will find yourself already planning your next diving trip!