Best Diving in Koh Samui

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Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s most popular outlying islands and is well-known for being a honeymooner paradise. This scenic and naturally beautiful island can be found in the Gulf of Thailand and welcomes at least 1.5 million visitors each year that come to enjoy the beach, scuba diving, festivals, bull fighting, sporting competitions and much more.

The island itself is fairly sheltered from inclement weather due to its location in relation to the curving coastline of the mainland, and it is so popular with tourists that not even sea swells and heavy rains in the monsoon season will deter visitors from visiting this palm covered paradise.

Diving has been popular on Koh Samui since the 80s, when it became easier to get to the outlying islands of Thailand. Koh Samui is in fact a tiny atoll that measures only 25km in width, but it is home to many dive shops that are run by both locals and internationals. The majority of these dive shops can be found along the north coast and the east coast, where many of the best beaches are. Lamai Beach on the southern shores of Koh Samui is by far the most popular for tourists as it is easily accessible from the mainland by ferry and offers long-stretching sandy beaches that are more than postcard-worthy.

Diving on Koh Samui is mainly done by shore entry, and with a sloping seabed and shallow, clear waters, it’s understandable why this location is so popular with first-time divers. There is a wide variety of marine life in the area and a number of challenging sites for those with a bit more diving experience. Sail Rock is one such dive site that presents a challenging vertical chimney that stretches for 12 meters and is well worth exploring due to the beautiful corals that can be seen all around the area. Whale sharks are also prevalent here. Sail Rock and some of the other more remote sites are usually best dived through an operator who will have access to a speedboat for ease of access to the site and efficiency. If diving solo and aiming to avoid dive operators, it is possible to take the hour-long journey by ferry to the Ang Thong National Park and explore the dive sites around this area.

Thailand’s monsoon season has a profound effect on Koh Samui and the diving conditions of the sites in the area. The warmest months in Thailand are between February and September, and after this warm season is when the rains hit. October, November and December are the months when the heavy winds and rains set in and these months are best avoided if looking to have the best visibility and calmest currents.

Dive Season

Year round scuba diving with best conditions between March and October.

Dive Sites (Koh Tao and Koh Samui)

Koh Samui is ideally located in the Gulf of Thailand which offers an extensive variety of sites that are easily reached by speed boat as day trips. There is something for every diving level in the Gulf of Thailand, with easy shore dives and shallow reefs for beginners and deep, challenging wrecks as well as large rock formations.

Sail Rock is by far the most well-known of all the dive sites in the Gulf of Thailand, with its rock face that rises 15m above sea level and extends to 40 meters below the water’s surface. A host of marine life can be seen around Sail Rock including whale sharks, barracuda, moray eels and tuna. There is also a vertical chimney for divers to explore that begins at 6m down and descends deep into the beautiful open water.

For advanced divers looking for a similar experience to Sail Rock, there is the Chumphon Pinnacles near the island of Ko Tao. This site presents a number of underwater peaks that rise and fall to depict a stunning seascape and a great number of marine species. Divers can see large shoals of tuna, trevally and mackerel as well as tiny seahorses and beautiful corals of all varieties. The Chumphon Pinnacles are best reached by speedboat and can be combined with other dives on the same day. The site is not usually suitable for beginners unless the conditions are very calm and visibility is above average.

Another favorite amongst advanced scuba divers is the Samran Pinnacles, with their three pinnacles that rise just 2 meters above sea level but extend down to significant depths below. The Samran Pinnacles are located on the northern side of Koh Samui and offer divers some great wall diving opportunities. The area is known for its strong currents but also some of the area’s largest fish predators such as barracuda and jacks.

Green Rock is a site that is not as well-known due to its fairly recent discovery, but it has quickly become known as a favorite amongst divers and is found to the north of Koh Tao. There are both deep and shallow diving opportunities at Green Rock, with a number of caves, swim-throughs and underwater archways to experience. Green Rock presents a wide variety of exotic reef fish in an array of colors and divers can hope to spot the blue-ringed angel fish that have made their home in this area.

Chumphon Pinnacles

  • 10-30m
  • Can be strong current
  • Large plateau with branch corals, barrel sponges and gorgonian seawhips.
  • Many reef fishes and some pelagics.
  • Good for whalesharks.

Hin Wong

  • 10-20m
  • Occasional currents
  • Huge granite boulders with various coral species. Black corals and seafans.
  • Reef fishes, crabs and shrimps.

Nang Yuan

  • 10-20m
  • Weak current
  • These 3 islets feature various dive sites with rock formations and swimthroughs.
  • Soft and hard corals with groupers, clownfish, stingrays, morays, squids, etc.

White Rock

  • 5-20m
  • Can be strong current
  • Two huge ricks covered with white leather corals.
  • Triggerfish (beware).
  • Colorful gorgonians, soft corals, wire coral, seakraits, sea turtles, moray eels and various invertebrates.

Shark Island-Red Rock

  • 5-20m
  • Weak to strong current
  • Steep reef slope with hard coral and a lot of marine life.
  • Angelfish, sea turtles, triggerfish, reef sharks and leopard sharks and sometimes a whaleshark.

South West Pinnacles

  • 5-30m
  • Can be strong current
  • Underwater mounds and sponges, sea anemones and hard corals.
  • Barracudas, snappers, fusiliers, stingrays, reef sharks and leopard sharks.

Sail Rock-Hin Bai

  • 10-30m
  • Weak to strong current
  • Superb Pinnacles dive site.
  • The Chimney is a vertical swimthrough.
  • Black bushy corals and branch corals.
  • Reef life and passing pelagics such as manta rays and whalesharks.

Ang Thong Marine National Park

  • 5-20m
  • Weak to strong current
  • 50 islets, islands and outcroppings with healthy hard and soft corals and marine life.
  • Sheltered dive site which are ideal for begginer divers.

Dive Centers

Diving on Koh Samui is hugely popular and over the last two decades there has been a large increase in the number of dive operators in the area. Most dive operators are on the north coast and the east coast in the Maret, Bo Phut and Mae Nam districts. The dive shops will offer training courses and certifications as well as tours to the numerous popular dive sites and some even offer snorkeling trips for non-divers.

Some dive operators focus on the more remote sites such as Mango Bay on the northern side of Koh Tao or the advanced-diver only Chumphon Pinnacles.

Trips are made to the Ang Thong Marine National Park, to the Southern islands of Samui or to Koh Tao.

Accommodation facilities range between budget beach bungalows and 5 star resorts.

How to get to Koh Samui

Koh Samui is Thailand’s second largest island and is easily accessible by plane directly onto the island’s international airport. There are also ferries that run from mainland Thailand and these operate to the east of Surat Thani.

Dive Sites Reviews in Koh Samui

Most divers pass-over the opportunity to dive off the beach on Chaweng Reef in Koh Samui in favor of the ...

Liveaboard Reviews in Koh Samui

Been diving here with a liveaboard? Please share your experience using the comment section!
Dan July 20, 2017

Hi, can you give me the price for the PADI open water course? Thank you!

Reply

James July 22, 2017

Hey,

Can you let me know where you are going diving on Thursday, Friday & Saturday next week.

I land in to Koh Samui at 7:30am is it possible to go be picked up from the airport and go diving then? I realise some boats leave at 8am, wasn’t sure if there are any other boats going out or if there are shore dives or closer dives you can do?

Thanks

Reply

Mark August 01, 2017

Hi

Do you have the equipment for the Diver Propulsion Vehicle (DPV) Speciality course for 2 people this week.
We are both advanced open water divers and above 12 years.

Many Thanks

Reply

May August 18, 2017

Hi there,

We are looking at either 2 or 3 dives and wondering what is the package price for the best dive site? On either Saturday or Sunday.

Below are a list of enquiries that we have:

1) One of us will need a general refresher’s course. Wondering how long would this take and do we take the refreshers course on the dive day itself or the previous day?

2) How big would the dive group be?

3) If we would like to put in 2-3 dives and including the Sail rock, would the dive sites be calm, simple safe ones?

Thanks, May

Reply

Mitchell September 24, 2017

Hi, My wife and I are heading to Koh Samui in late November and are looking to get our PADI open-water qualification (we may also have a friend joining us, so potentially a group of 3).

I wanted to inquire on the price for this course and understand if I could do the course on non-consecutive days?

I have also read, it can be possible to complete the eLearn and pool qualifications remotely, is it an option to complete this in Melbourne Australia prior to arriving in Koh Samui?

Thanks,
Mitch

Reply

Sebastien October 08, 2017

Hello,
My husband would like to do a dive master course over the Christmas / New Year period. He has completed the PADI rescue course and EFR (still within its 24 month validity). He is an experienced diver (over 100 dives). He does not want to become a dive instructor but would like to complete the dive master course in any case. Is it possible to do it in 2 weeks (late Daecember / early Januray?
Kind regards,
Deirdre and Sebastien

Reply

Sebastien October 14, 2017

Hello,
My husband is interested in doing a divemaster course. Could you please give me some information (price? duration? etc…) He has already completed the Padi rescue diver and EFR. He doesn’t want to make a career as a dive instructor, just for him personally.
Regards,
Deirdre

Reply

Sorcha October 26, 2017

Hi, I’m looking for the prices for your beginner courses.

Reply

JOHN October 26, 2017

My wife Ally and I are travel agents specializing in scuba related travel, mostly to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Hawaii. We are traveling to SE Asia in January to check out the diving. We are interested in two days of diving in Phuket, 16 & 17 January. Our party will consist of three divers. We are also looking for a suitable place to stay for four nights (15 Jan – 19 Jan) if you have any recommendations, we would appreciate it. Please let me know the best price

Best regards,
John Hicks

Reply

Aileen November 02, 2017

Dear Sir or Madam,

we’re two girls from Germany (1 Diver, 1 Non-Diver) who would like to book a half day trip with 2 or 3 dives.

I have 19 logged dives (last one on 30 October at Koh Phi Phi) and my friend tried Scuba diving in Mallorca and did another two dives in Mexico in June but has no certificate. Is there a possibility to go diving together and if yes, how much would that cost for each of us including all equipment and fees?

Furthermore, we are really interested in a diving trip to Khanom (pink dolphins). Do you sometimes go there?

We just arrived at Koh Samui and stay at Banburee Resort & Spa only until 4th of November. Do you have some tours today or tomorrow?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Best regards,
Linda and Aileen

Reply

Arris November 16, 2017

How much for the PADI Open Water diving course?

Reply

Ken December 05, 2017

Interested in both a Beach dive and a 2 tank boat dive in late March, 2018, for me and my 14 year old son. We are both PADI OW certified, but very much at the beginner level.

1) What boat dive do you recommend for beginner level divers?

Reply

Patrick March 29, 2018

Hi we are at the passage resort in NW Samui. Would like to go to koh tao, either diving or snorkelling. I have paid open water and partner just snorkel. Can you assist?

Reply

Chris May 29, 2018

Hello
Looking to dive in the next week.
Thank you

Reply

Firose July 30, 2018

Please let me know about divemaster course I am advanced diver

Reply

Nicole July 30, 2018

Info summer kids diving camp please. Also phone. Thanks

Reply

pennie August 01, 2018

wanted to get a price for some scuba diving in September between the days of sept 11 and sept 18. Myself and my husband are certified and want to dive. Our 2 sons ages 21 and 19 will need to get certified.

Reply

Marco August 11, 2018

Hello, my son (8) wants to do a bubblemaker course in open shallow water in Koh Samui area. We have availability next monday or tuesday. What is the price and length? Me and my wife would be joining to snorkle.
Cheers, Marco

Reply

Giovanni September 18, 2018

Bonjour nous serons à Koh samui du 25 au 4 Octobre, nous sommes 2 plongeurs et aimerions plonger sur votre site !.

* Giovanni : Dive master et instructeur CMAS ** environ 2000 plongées
*Mathieu : CMAS ** 200 plongées

Pourriez vous SVP nous faire parvenir vos propositions ?
Merci

Cordialement

Reply

jessi September 24, 2018

Dear team

Would it be to late to book for today, open water PADI cert?
Also pricing.
I am only staying here on Ko Samui until Friday

Reply

Christoph October 01, 2018

Hallo, can I make a divemaster course also in two weeks, eg. between 01-04 / 2019 ?
I have 114 dives and Pado Rescue Diver and spee english.
What would that cost ?
Regards Christoph

Reply

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