Koh Tao is a divers’ dream as it has no less than 25 sites to suit all abilities. Beginners can start from at around eight/nine metres, going up to 40m at the island’s deepest site. Diving is generally good all year round except during the monsoon season, when the seas are choppy around November.
Visibility can get up to 40 metres in the best season, but on average is around 15-20 metres. A good time to visit if you are interested in spotting whale sharks is during March but they can appear at any time of the year.
Top Koh Tao Scuba Diving Sites
Chumphon Pinnacle is generally considered Koh Tao’s premier dive site. Although not especially challenging, there can be strong currents and is quite far from Koh Tao. The depths range from 12-40m and the site is a mass of large rocks where a variety of pelagic and reef fish, barracuda, king mackerel, grouper and tuna can be seen all year-round. You may even spot a reef shark, bull shark or whale shark if you’re lucky.
A series of rock formations ranging from 4-30m make up Southwest Pinnacle, another favourite site. The pinnacles are covered with a carpet of anemones in an array of bright colours and coral. Leopard sharks and whale sharks have been seen here, but the site generally plays host to large schools of snapper, yellowtail barracuda and fusiliers.
Sail Rock is a huge lone rock protruding from the water between Koh Tao and Koh Phangan. The most impressive feature of this site is ‘the chimney’ which is a vertical tunnel going from 8-18m. White eyed and yellow margin moray eels, and large anemones filled with anemone fish and shrimp can be seen all over the rock. Whale sharks can also sometimes be spotted here.
A small island off the the southeast of Koh Tao is known as Shark Island. The site slopes from the surface down to 24m and has a wide variety of soft corals. White eyed moray eels, blue spotted fantail rays, porcupine and puffer fish can be spotted in this coral garden. Despite the name, sharks are rarely spotting here – it is so called as the island’s shape resembles a shark’s fin.
Those with underwater cameras should not pass up the chance to visit White Rock. With its hard coral formations, the stunning site attraction a wide variety of marine life, including blue spotted stingrays, snappers, giant puffer fish, king fish and morays. There is also a very friend triple-tailed wrasse that likes to swim with divers.
With sharks, turtles, pipe fish and octopi, Aow Tanote dive site just off Tanote Bay has it all and is available even to beginners with its calm waters and a maximum depth of just 12m. Just outside the bay there is a catamaran wreck which sank on 2002. At a depth of 18m, it is now occupied by a Jenkins whip ray, porcupine fish, remora and bat fish.
Hin Wong Bay is a great challenge of all level of divers. The site only has an average depth of 15 metres, but there is a great range of interesting swim-throughs to traverse. Harlequin sweet lips and scribble file fish have made their homes among the table and stag horn corals covering the bay. Hin Wong Pinnacle is more tricky with depths of up to 30m and located outside the bay.
Twin Pinnacles is one of the most popular Koh Tao diving sites right off Koh Nang Yuan with rocks, consistant visibility and a huge array of coral and marine life at depths of 8-17m. Green Rock to the north of Koh Nang Yuan is a challenging dive site of 12-28m with swim throughs plus titan and yellow margin trigger fishes and can sometimes have a current. HTMS Sattakut is a wreck dive next to White Rock and Hin Pee Wee of 15-30m.