5 badass Koh Samui and Koh Tao dive sites that won’t leave you flippered-off

So you’re on Koh Samui or Koh Tao and you want to do a dive – and why wouldn’t you? – it’s pretty much the number-one activity in the Thai Gulf. But with that popularity, of course, comes throngs of frantic flippers and underwater screamers, perfectly poised to scare away all the coolest sea monsters in the vicinity.

Here we list for you five badass dive spots in the area that are anything but basic, and remain on a largely need-to-know basis. These dive sites are perfect for beginners, advanced divers and snorkelers.

Photo: Koh Nang Yuan

Nang Yuan Pinnacle and Twins

Everyone knows twins are always good fun, so head to the Koh Nang Yuan Pinnacle and Twins and enjoy three sweet dive sites for the price of one. Nang Yuan Pinnacle is just a short swim from Koh Tao, while the Twins lie a little west of Koh Nang Yuan. Here you’re likely to find Sergeant Major Fish, Pink Anemone Fish and a few lost Nemos while you’re at it. The view of Koh Nang Yuan alone is worth the trek here. Two beautiful white sandbars connect the three islands so it’s just as cool to walk in the clear turquoise as it is to dive in it.

The Koh Yippon Islands

Just south of Koh Samui in the Ang Thong National Marine Park sits the Koh Yippon Islands, considered by those in the know as one of the best dive sites in the area. You can really experience Thailand’s gorgeous untouched paradise in this national park. The small islands of the park have no development, so you can trek up to viewpoints and reenact any Leo fantasies you might still have. There are some super sweet swim-thrus, large rock pinnacles and coral gardens here, hosting Yellow-Tailed Barracudas, Blue Rays and Banded Sea Snakes up to depths of 20 metres.

Photo: Shark Island / Tetsuji Sakakibara

Shark Island

If you’ve got any balls at all, Shark Island is an obvious must. With a gentle slope to 28 metres just off Koh Tao, it’s a great spot for newbie divers who are down for a cheap thrill. It’s one of the most famous dive spots in the region. As well as a huge number of reef fish, such as Banner and Angel Fish, large populations of Reef Sharks and Leopard Sharks roam and rule these waves. If you’re really lucky you might spot a Whale Shark here as well – they’ve been known to surprise divers (in a good way) around Koh Tao.

Photo: Sail Rock / David Rubin

Sail Rock

Right between Koh Tao and party island Koh Phangan sits the lonely protruding Sail Rock, known for its awesome underwater “chimney”. The vertical tunnel, from 8 to 10 metres, spews out huge Anemones, Shrimp and even the occasional Whale Shark. One of the most unique experiences here is seeing the large White and Yellow Margin Moray Eels popping out of the rocks. The lengthy creatures are more afraid of you than you are of them, though, so they’ll pop back into their hiding places pretty quickly.

Photo: White Rock / Tetsuji Sakakibara

White Rock

A dive at White Rock off Koh Tao is always a treat, mainly thanks to the super friendly Triple-Tailed Wrasse who likes to come and hang with divers. The stunning hard coral formations also attract Giant Puffer Fish, Blue Spotted Stingrays, King Fish and Morays. This is one Koh Tao dive site that’s open and enjoyable all year long. There’s a shallow coral garden which is perfect for beginner divers.

Header Photo: White Rock / Ryan Lackey

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