Koh Samui is nothing short of a tropical paradise, and therefore boasts some of Southeast Asia’s most alluring underwater kingdoms. Clear water, warm conditions, a colourful array of marine life and excellent visibility make Koh Samui a popular destination for both keen scuba divers and those wishing to take up the watersport. The island is also peppered with reputable diving schools for visitors who are just setting out on their underwater journey.
Koh Samui Dive Courses
Situated just a short boat ride to the north of Koh Samui, Koh Tao (or ‘Turtle Island’ as it’s known in Thai) dishes out more PADI (Professional Association of Divers) accreditations than any other diving destination in Asia. Short dive courses are readily available to visitors, and are offered at very competitive prices compared to other popular diving destinations. Thanks to Koh Samui’s popularity with visitors, it’s usually easy to find a course that is being conducted in your native language as well, whether that’s English, Mandarin or Russian. Dive courses tend to be split into two sections – the theory and the practice. Once divers have passed, they are free to book onto excursions that visit open sea dive sites.
Koh Samui Dive Sites
A range of popular dive sites can be found close to Koh Samui within the vast web of islands that make up the Ang Thong National Marine Park. Green Rock boasts towering underwater archways, sprawling caverns and intriguing crevices for scuba divers to explore. Harlequin sweetlips and moray eels are just a couple of the sea creatures that make this popular dive site their home, and there is an occasional siting of the white tip reef shark here as well. The Samran Pinnacles provide another spectacular underwater site for divers to explore, although it’s only suitable for those with a little more experience as the currents tend to be a little stronger. The rocks lie beneath 12m of water and are a magnet for enormous schools or jackfish and giant barracudas.
Koh Samui Dive Trips
Visitors searching for the ultimate Koh Samui dive experience often book onto day-long excursions to Sail Rock or Chumphon Pinnacle. Both sites drop to depths of approximately 40m, creating a wonderful habitat for an array of fish – including the odd whale shark. For visitors that want to catch a glimpse of the elusive sea turtle, Koh Tao is the place to go. In addition to booking onto day-long excursions, visitors can also reserve places on live-aboard dive boats, which provide comfortable accommodation for a fully immersive diving experience that lasts several days.
For visitors that are happy to peek beneath the ocean surface without diving down into the depths, snorkeling is an appealing activity. Many visitors to Koh Samui book onto snorkeling safaris, which take them by boat to explore a selection of the island’s most picturesque snorkeling locations. Some day trips take in several islands, including Tai Phow, Mae Kho and Koh Wao. This kind of tour also offers an excellent opportunity to enjoy unspoilt beaches and pristine lagoons far from the crowds of bustling Chaweng. Visitors that wish to go it alone can charter their own yacht or speedboat for the day, rent snorkeling equipment and explore where they wish.
Updates by Wayne Hue