Dive the wrecks
Published/Last edited or updated: 3rd August, 2018
Yet the Chang archipelago’s depths conceal three shipwrecks along with the whale sharks spotted with some regularity around the islets and pinnacles. A few long-standing dive operations ensure that you’ll be in safe flippers.
All dive outfits have offices at Bang Bao Pier, where the dive boats shove off for sites like Hin Luk Bat to see the stingrays, moray eels and parrotfish glide alongside a 25-metre-deep pinnacle painted orange by Christmas-tree worms. It’s one of roughly 15 notable sites hosting vibrant marine life with visibility up to 20 metres in the vicinity of Ko Rang and other undeveloped national park islands.
You can also dive the wreck of the 100-metre-long HTMS Koh Chang (formerly USS Lincloln County), an American-built warship that saw action in the Pacific theatre of World War II before being passed to the Royal Thai Navy in the 1960s. Located near Salak Phet, the ship was intentionally sunk as a scuba-friendly memorial to the Thai vessels that were downed by French forces in the 1941 Battle of Ko Chang. These have since vanished beneath the silt of Ao Salak Phet.
The largest outfit is BB Divers, which maintains offices all over Ko Chang’s west coast as well as on Ko Mak and Ko Kut. While you won’t find live-aboard programs, BB does offer weeklong diving adventures including overnights on all three of these islands. Employing instructors “from all over the world”, the Belgian-owned company has six boats ranging from a small speedboat to a 50-seat double-decker. A serious free diving program is included among a wide range of fun dives and PADI courses.
Another long-standing dive outfit, Scuba Dawgs brings a little more attitude along with slightly cheaper prices for fun dives and open-water courses via its three boats. Though offering fewer options than BB, the Dawgs also have a great reputation for providing good service and reasonable prices. Divers may also receive free or discounted accommodation at Cliff Cottage in Bang Bao.
Though BB and Scuba Dawgs seem to serve most of the Anglophone divers, you could also consider the smaller group dives offered by Koh Chang Divers, which appear to be good options if you seek a bit more personal attention from your instructor or guide. There’s also Dolphin Divers, a Swiss-run outfit that takes care of some of the older and wealthier divers up Haad Sai Khao way.
BB Divers: Several offices including at Bang Bao, Lonely Beach, Haad Sai Khao, Ko Mak and Ko Kut ; T: (039) 558 040 ; (086) 155 6212 ; https://www.bbdivers-koh-chang.com/
Dolphin Divers: Offices at Aana Resort in Khlong Prao and Koh Chang Lagoon Resort in Haad Sai Khao ; T: (039) 557 030 ; (086) 101 4783 ; http://www.scubadivingkohchang.com/
Koh Chang Divers: Bang Bao ; T: (097) 294 2234 ; https://www.kohchangdive.com/
Scuba Dawgs: Bang Bao (offices at the pier and Cliff Cottage) ; T: (083) 469 6964 ; (081) 282 6071 ; http://scuba-dawgs.com/
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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