Plenty of choices
Published/Last edited or updated: 9th February, 2019
Ko Lanta’s reputation as one of the leading scuba diving bases in Thailand’s Andaman Sea is built on two factors: easy access to a few of the region’s finest dive sites, and a strong selection of local dive companies.
Due west of Lanta and often ranked among the best dive sites in the region, the pinnacles of Hin Daeng (“Red Rock”) and Hin Muang (“Purple Rock”) descend to depths of 50 and 70 metres, respectively, with visibility often topping 30 metres. Soft corals strike vibrant colours and support octopi and moray eels. Manta rays come around from November to May, and whale sharks are spotted with some frequency. These sites are roughly 60 km southwest of Lanta and a one-day day trip to both goes for around 4,000 baht.
Also located southwest of Ko Lanta but only around 25 km away is Ko Haa, the “Five Islands” composed of limestone splinters and several dive sites including the Lagoon, the Chimney and the Cathedral. We’ve heard the underwater scenery is just about comparable to Hin Daeng and Hin Muang, and day trips to Haa tend to cost 500 to 1,000 baht less.
Other sites accessible from Lanta include the twin islands of Ko Rok and several spots around the Phi Phi islands. The latter covers two wrecks: the World War II-era HTMS Kledkaeo was sunk specifically for diver use in 2014, while the King Cruiser car ferry sank unintentionally in 1997 with no fatalities. You’ll also find reefs around the tiny Bida islands, where sea snakes, crocodile needlefish, nurse sharks and stingrays roam.
Two small dive outfits recommended to us are Flip Flop Divers and Dive and Relax. Other well-known companies include Blue Planet, Go Dive Lanta, Hidden Depths, Kon-Tiki, Lanta Diver, Phoenix, Raya and Scubafish. Some stay open year round, though the majority of divers come through when the sea tends to be calmest from November through April.
A handful of liveaboard options are also available, some of them cruising as far as the Similans.
Dive outfits offer multi-day packages and courses ranging from beginner to underwater photography to rescue diver. Quite a few travellers choose Ko Lanta for certification training, viewing it as an alternative to more crowded islands like Ko Tao, Ko Phi Phi, Phuket and Ko Lipe.
Blue Planet Divers: Baan Saladan; T: (075) 668 165; (085) 472 3450; http://www.blueplanetdivers.net/
Dive and Relax: Castaway Beach Resort, Haad Phra Ae; T: (089) 050 3009; (084) 842 2191; https://www.diveandrelax.com
Flip Flop Divers: Main road in Haad Phra Ae; T: (075) 684 883; (083) 504 0186; https://www.flipflopdivers.com/
Go Dive Lanta: Baan Saladan; T: (075) 668 321; (081) 892 8321; https://www.godive-lanta.com/
Hidden Depths Diving: Baan Saladan; T: (080) 893 6211; http://www.hiddendepthsdiving.com/
Kon-Tiki Diving & Snorkeling Center: Baan Saladan; T: (075) 668 394; https://www.kontiki-lanta.com
Lanta Diver: Baan Saladan; T: (087) 891 4141; https://lantadiver.se/
Phoenix Divers: Baan Saladan; T: (099) 232 5319; https://www.phoenixdivers-kohlanta.com/
Raya Divers: Garden Hill Resort, Haad Khlong Dao; T: (094) 315 8207; https://rayadivers.com/pages/kohlanta
Scubafish: Ao Ba Kantiang; T: (075) 665 095; (083) 175 3077; http://scubafish.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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