Diving From Ko Samui

This tropical paradise which lies in the Gulf of Thailand provides an unbelievable wealth of sites where you can safely go diving and snorkelling. All the top dive sites are around Ko Tao and Ko Phan Ngan, this essentially means if you’re based in Samui you will spend longer on the boat heading to the dive sites. It's around double the price of Ko Tao to pay for the extra fuel. But it's still a relatively cheap place to dive from. If you want to get a fair bit of diving in, you’re probably best heading to Ko Tao or Ko Pha Ngan. That said, if you have reasons or preferences to stay on Samui, you can still have an incredible experience diving at the same sites. There are plenty of dive shops on the island, with the same excellent feedback and relaxed but highly professional attitude as on the other two islands. Many of the dive sites are ideal for both beginners and experienced divers. The coral and marine life you can see are stunning. The waters contain superb hard corals in a wide range of reefs, with an abundance of tropical fish and other exotic marine life. Diving groups are usually quite small, ranging from 1 to 4 persons, which again make it a more friendly and enjoyable experience, as you receive more personal attention from your dive leader or instructor. Under Thai Law, all dive operators and instructors are members of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), and must be registered with the TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand). This ensures they are all properly qualified, provide a professional service, observe all internationally recognised safety rules, and do not overcharge. So ensure that you book through a TAT recognised dive centre. Popular dive sites include: Sail Rock - Located between Koh Phangan and Koh Tao (50 mins from Ko Samui), one of the most famous dive sites in the gulf. This stunning site can be explored by divers of all levels of proficiency. The huge rock which rises out of the water provides a great wall dive with excellent diving from 6m down to 35m. It's an incredible display of underwater scenery with fascinating rock formations and a wealth of tropical marine life. Whale Sharks are often spotted around here! Champhon Pinnacle - One of the best dive sites in the Gulf of Thailand and is located 11km NW of Ko Tao, the furthest dive site from Ko Samui (2 hours by boat) but well worth the extra distance. There are several pinnacles; the main one starts at 14 meters and goes down to 36 metres. There is an abundance of marine life and besides the dazzling array of tropical fish, you are likely to see big fish such as Giant Groupers, Bat Fish, Cobia, Barracuda. Manta rays are also occasionally spotted. From February to May and September you stand a chance of seeing the amazing Whale Sharks. They are colossal at several metres long (up to 12m!), but are filter fish so there's nothing to fear! For those of you wishing to learn how to dive, there a few options; including a one-day introductory course to see if diving is for you, as well as a full beginner's course. You can attain the internationally recognised PADI Open Water Certificate that will allow you to dive anywhere in the world. The Open Water course involves a few hours classroom learning. PADI now allows you to do this online before the practical part if you wish. Just look on the PADI website for more details. SSI is another internationally recognised diving certification offered by some schools. Prices vary between the dive shops but you can expect to pay around 5,800B for Discover Scuba Diving, 17,000B for Open Water and 14,000B for Advanced Open Water. There are also many different courses for experienced divers such as Rescue Diver, EFR, Nitrox Enriched Air, and even courses for those wish to become professional instructors. There are many dive operators and schools spread around the island. Be to check the reviews online for any dive shop you look at going with. Here are a just a couple of highly rated ones: The Dive Academy (Bophut Beach) Email: info@thediveacademysamui.com Tel: +66 924643264 Website: www.thediveacademysamui.com Discovery Dive Centre (Chaweng) Email: info@discoverydivers.com Tel: +66 840566345 Website: http://discoverydivers.com Samui Scuba Divers (Lamai Beach) Email: info@samuiscubadivers.com Tel: +66 611970184 Website: www.samuiscubadivers.com

Map of Lower Gulf of Thailand

Lower Gulf of Thailand-Map