The average tourist on Koh Tao may be a little bored: the island is small, there are few land attractions, the sea is shallow, and even with high tides.
To this should be added the remoteness of the island from the mainland - about 70 km to Chumphon and more than 80 - to Suratthani (Donsak). It so happened by itself that Ko Tao had no choice but to become a mecca for divers.
Koh Tao - the island of divers
The beaches of the island are sparsely populated, and many are completely deserted. Why? Because it is customary for the local public not to lie on the sand, but to scuba dive in the sea. 2/3 of the people present on the island are recreational divers who have come on vacation, or professional instructors who live here.
There are more than 50 dive centers on Koh Tao, which is a lot considering that the island itself is small. There is one school where Russian-speaking instructors work.
Dive centers on Koh Tao offer a full range of services:
- PADI certified training (from one-day classes for beginners to professional programs for instructors and divemasters);
- organization of dives;
- dive equipment rental.
The cost of training programs is from $100 to $1200. The cost of 1 dive is about $50. When ordering a series of dives, many schools provide a significant discount - up to 70%.
Best dive sites
In terms of the number of places suitable for scuba diving, Ko Tao occupies a leading position - there are more than 20 of them. The undoubted advantage of diving on the island is that all dive sites are in close proximity to it: the road by boat or ship to the most remote takes no more than 2 hours. We will show you the most interesting dive sites.
It is considered the best place for diving not only in the vicinity of Koh Tao, but throughout the Gulf of Thailand. Sail Rock is a rock sticking out of the sea.
The place around it seemed to have been specially created for diving. Hard rock slopes down 20 m deep, where it connects with the sandy bottom and slopes down another 20 m.
But that's not all: Sail Rock is surrounded by several rocky hills that do not reach the surface of the water. Such an underwater landscape creates ideal conditions for underwater inhabitants, of which there are countless.
In addition, there is a unique opportunity to swim through a natural vertical tunnel passing through solid rock. Its length is 13 m, and not every diver dares to swim it.
Chumkhon Top is the second most popular dive site, second only to Sail Rock. This is one of the closest places to the island: it is located 12 km from it.
The bottom landscape in the Chumphon Pinnacle area is represented by numerous rocky hills. The depth reaches 36 m. The marine fauna is represented by numerous flocks of inhabitants typical of the Gulf of Thailand. In addition, here you can see giant sea bass reaching 2 meters in length, and from March to May and from August to October, a whale shark swims here.
Hin Wong Pinnacle
"Hin Wong Summit" - located off the northeastern part of the island and is an atypical diving site. There is a fairly strong current and not very predictable visibility, but the place is great for advanced divers.
Depth - up to 40m - deeper than most dive sites around Koh Tao. Hin Wong Pinnacle is known for its gorgeous corals and other unique marine life.
The artificial reef was created as an alternative to traditional diving. At 400 meters from Mae Haad beach, various large-sized rubbish was scattered - a car, sports equipment, awnings, a helicopter cabin and even a copy of the Sydney bridge. In general, the spectacle is unusual, more like an apocalyptic picture in the style of the movie Mad Max.
The structures are colonized by marine life. The depth of the site is 10-12 m, the bottom is flat. All this makes it not only interesting, but also a convenient place, especially for beginner divers.
Another artificial reef around Koh Tao is Buoyancy World. It was created in 2009 as a site for training dives and is still successfully used for this purpose.
Various "artifacts" are scattered along the bottom - sharks, lizards, structures that look like large spiders - artificial dummies, but very spectacular, bringing real delight to novice divers.
When to go to Koh Tao for diving?
Underwater conditions on Koh Tao can be called ideal:
- there are no currents at most dive sites;
- the sea is always calm;
- visibility from January to May exceeds 20 m;
- in the rest of the year, due to rain, visibility fluctuates between 10-20 m;
- The water temperature is 29 degrees C all year round.
Thus, diving is possible on Koh Tao throughout the year, which is confirmed by the constant presence of divers on the island.