Koh Tao is dive central in Southeast Asia. From beginners to seasoned aficionados, there’s a dive site for everyone along Turtle Island’s stunning coral reefs.
Absolute noobs can get in on the action, too. More newcomers to the sport earn their certification in Koh Tao than anywhere else in the world (save for Cairns, Australia) as conditions are ideal and course fees very affordable.
Strap on your tank and head on down at these 8 stunning dive spots!
Earn Your Stripes at The Twins
Just off the coast of Koh Nang Yuan, a tiny island northwest of Koh Tao, The Twins is where rookies take their first visit to the world beneath.
The shallow depth and simple layout make an excellent introduction and even experienced divers enjoy searching for the rare saddleback clownfish living in a rock marked sea anemone.
Spy Giant Barracuda & Whale Sharks at Chumpon Pinnacle
Just 40 minutes by boat, Chumpon Pinnacle is the créme de la créme of the dive sites off Koh Tao, offering deeper dives of up to 30 metres.
Schools of queenfish, barracuda, trevally, and batfish regularly frequent both the larger main pinnacle and the smaller Barracuda Rock. Both pinnacles are covered in colourful sea anemone and provide the best chance of spotting a whale shark in the area.
Don’t be fooled by the whale shark’s gargantuan name — they’re totally harmless.
Go Deep Again at Southwest Pinnacle
Comprised of many smaller pinnacles surrounding one taller central spire, Southwest offers more deep dives (28m) and an incredible amount of fish life.
Rock surfaces are carpeted with sea anemone and along with more barracuda and giant groupers, divers are treated to hidden scorpion fish and tonnes of brightly coloured clownfish. Finding Nemo, anyone?
Tip: Not far from Southwest is the “Secret Pinnacle.” Swim over for a fun dive year round and keep your eyes peeled for Bryde’s whales on their yearly visit.
No Sharks at Shark Island!
Southwest of Koh Tao you’ll find an island named for its uncanny resemblance to a dorsal fin. While you won’t spot JAWS you will find an impressive collection of soft coral housing nudibranchs, stingrays, and moray eels.
Shark Island is a great site for beating the crowds as it’s generally less crowded and offers multiple dives for all levels of diver.
Tip: Currents are often stronger in this area so be prepared to kick. Keep an eye out for triggerfish as they can become aggressive.
Head to the Unofficial #1 – Sail Rock
As the dive site is 2 hours by boat between Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan many don’t consider the “specialty” Sail Rock dive to truly be part of the Koh Tao circuit.
With an underwater vertical cave called the Chimney and an extraordinary multitude of fish, it’s worth asking around to find a dive shop running tours to the top dive destination in the Gulf of Thailand.
You’ll pay extra to get there but it’s worth every last Baht.
Something for Everyone at White Rock
One of the largest sites just 10 minutes off Koh Tao, White Rock accommodates a variety of depths from 5 to 20 metres.
If you’re looking for a passing sea turtle this is where you just might find one. Additional marine life unique to White Rock are butterflyfish, angelfish and blue-spotted stingrays.
For a real adventure try a night dive! Hunting pickhandle barracudas with your torch is an experience like no other.
Underwater Caverns at Green Rock
Green Rock is perhaps the funnest dive around with a lot of area to explore and a network of unique “swim throughs.”
Search out the Trigger Pit where yellow margin and titan triggerfish congregate to mate and nest — just don’t get too close. Triggerfish aren’t dangerous but will bite when threatened.
The Wreck of the Sattakut
Advanced Open Water Divers can experience Koh Tao’s first artificial reef. The recently sunk Sattakut US Navy Ship has already attracted stingrays and puffer fish and over time is sure to be home to a wide range of other marine life.
All up Koh Tao has more than enough dives to fill your holiday and then some.