Ko Chang Diving Guide
First published 30th May, 2006
As more and more hotels go up on the shores of Ko Chang, more and more divers are going down offshore. The Ko Chang Marine National Park's 52 islands take a backseat to diving in the Similian and Surin islands in the west and Ko Tao further south in the Gulf of Thailand. But for some divers, this only adds to the appeal as the Ko Chang's waters are wonderfully unspoilt by over-diving.
The harbour town of Bang Bao in the south of Ko Chang is the usual jumping off point for dive trips, and there are dive shops on virtually all of the island's beaches as well as on Ko Maak and Ko Kut. Introductory scuba diving courses cost about 3,200B an open water PADI certification costs around 11,000B. Fun diving trips cost about 2,200B. Some dive companies -- and there's plenty to choose from, combine dive trips with a night's accommodation at islands such as Ko Wai, Ko Kham, Ko Maak and Ko Kut.
Diving is best between October and May when the seas are usually calm and the visibility good. Popular sites include seamounts to the west of Ko Chang and other deeper diving sites can be found further to the south.
Sites around the tiny island of Ko Rung, about 1.5 hours south of Ko Chang, rank as some of the best. Though much of the water is relatively shallow the area's pristine coral reefs, stone knolls and often crystal clear water are a magnet for divers and snorkelers alike.
Divers often want to explore the wrecks of two Thai warships in the waters south-east of Ko Chang but unfortunately, these were covered up by silt years ago.
Here's just a few of the dozens of sites popular with visitors to Ko Chang and surrounds.
Hin Luk Bath
Welcome to rush hour, folks. One of the most popular dive sites around Ko Chang, Hin Luk Bath is packed with more varieties of fish than A Shark's Tale. Stingrays, snappers, moray eels, parrotfish, butterfly fish and barracuda are just some of the species that take refuge around the pinnacle. Divers can go as deep as 25m and visibility varies from 3m to 25m. Huge boulders surround the pinnacle which divers can swim through, amid an abundance of colourful Christmas tree worms. Hin Luk Bath is 30 minutes from Bang Bao and some divers have spotted dolphins on the ride out.
Hin Raab South
There's two dive sites in this area, about 20 minutes from Bang Bao. A big group of rocks is a popular hang-out for turtles, batfish, stonefish and porcupine fish. Close by is a deeper, coral-rich canyon that attracts morays, angelfish, triggerfish and anemone fish. The maximum depth is 18m and the water is often very clear with visibility of up to 25m.
Hin Ga Daeng
Just off Ko Rung, many divers reckon this pinnacle looks like an underwater cathedral. Perhaps that's what draws so many fish to congregate here despite the occasionally strong currents. This site is particularly recommended for great underwater snaps, with visibility from 5m to 30m and a maximum depth of 30m.
Hin Kuak Ma (Tree Finger Rock)
One side of this large rock walls is often populated by eels, nudibranchs and stonefish. The other side has abundant coral, stingrays and parrotfish, and occasionally nurse sharks and turtles. Hin Kuak Ma is close to Ko Rung and the maximum diving depth is 20m.
Sadly most of the coral around this islet has been destroyed by fishing boats seeking refuge from the high seas. But Ko Tien's unique formations and plentiful fish around the boulder formations are still worth a look. It's west of Ko Rung.
Ko Yak, Ko Laun and Ko Tong Lang
Ko Yak and Ko Laun are a pair of islands ringed with a beautiful coral reef. The maximum depth is 12m allowing for longer dives amid the rich fish life in the area. Ko Tong Lang is north of Ko Rung and has a lot of small rock formations making for excellent dives.
Hin Tai Nam (Blueberry Hill)
You too can find your thrills around this impressive rock formation, close to Hin Raab South. The site is usually full of fish including nudibranchs, stingrays and eels. The visibility here ranges from 3m to 25m and the maximum depth is 16m.
Hin Rua Tek
Sea life here includes table corals, gorgonian fans and sponges, but there's really not an abundance of coral here. Rocks, rocks and more rocks is what you'll see most, many with crevices in which shrimp and lobster can be found. Hin Rua Tek is a popular site for its beautiful formation, and has a maximum depth of 20m.
We'd like to thank BB Divers in Bang Bao for the pictures and help putting together this story. For more information on BB Divers, please see their website: http://www.bbdivers.com
Other dive schools on Ko Chang and the surrounding islands include;
Ploy Scuba Diving - www.ployscubsa.com
The Dive Adventure - www.thedivekochang.com
White Sand Dive Centre - www.whitesandsdc.com
The Wing Dive Centre - www.thewingdivingkohchang.com
Paradise Divers Ko Kood - www.komak-divers.com
Scubadive - Thailand.com - www.scubadive-thailand.com
Dolphin Divers - www.dolphinkohchang.com
Scandinavian Chang Diving Centre - www.changdiving.com
Water World Diving - www.waterworldkohchang.com
Koh Chang Divers - Tel. (01) 8111 689, email. firstname.lastname@example.org
Story by Alexander Santillanes
Related readingPhotos of Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
Dive Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan & Ko Tao
Ko Tao for non-divers guide
Phuket Diving Guide
Siem Reap to Ko Chang
Ko Chang to Phu Quoc Island
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