Koh Samui is Thailand’s second-largest island after Phuket, receiving millions of tourists every year. With an amazing landscape, picturesque small villages built of bamboo, white sandy beaches, turquoise water, and a unique and well-preserved cultural heritage, this small island will not disappoint. Diving is yet another reason to visit this tropical destination!
Koh Samui is a popular diving destination for both experienced divers and those interested in taking their first plunges. Diving courses are extremely affordable, the spots very interesting, and the diving conditions more than suitable for novices, with excellent visibility and low current in many of the spots here. Many diving spots are only a short boat ride from the shore but most dive centers will take advanced divers a few hours away to the dive sites around Ko Pha Ngan and Koh Tao.
Scuba diving at Sail Rock. Photo by David Rubin/Flickr
You can dive in Koh Samui all year round, but the best diving conditions can be found from March to September, when visibility can exceed 30 meters (100 feet).
The water temperature in Koh Samui doesn’t drop below 26° C/80° F and peaks at about 30° C/86° F during spring and summer.
Shore dives here are usually current free, but you can expect some relatively strong current on the deeper sites, located in the open ocean.
Depending on location, dive site, and time of the year, water visibility in Koh Samui can range from 5 to 30 meters (16-100 feet), or beyond. Visibility typically averages 15 meters (50 feet).
This challenging dive site with strong currents is an exciting dive featuring a huge granite pinnacle and several smaller pinnacles. The rocks are habitat for a variety of marine life, including large creatures such as whale sharks. Barracudas, giant groupers, tuna, batfish, and many other sea creatures can be frequently seen here.
Sail Rock is a world-renowned dive site located north of Koh Samui. It’s a big granite pinnacle that plunges 30 meters below the surface of the water. The most famous feature is its so-called chimney, a vertical swim-through that can be entered at about 18 meters (60 feet) and exited at 12 or 7 meters (40 or 23 feet). There can be strong currents around the rock. Advanced divers can also explore several submerged pinnacles off Sail Rock, which are home to reef sharks.
The sister of Sail Rock, Samran Pinnacles is one of the most intriguing spots in the region. It features smaller pinnacles than Sail Rock but it is exposed to strong currents which makes dive centers hesitant to take just anyone there. As a result, it sees fewer visitors than other dive sites, which can only be a blessing for advanced divers that can take on the challenge. Marine life is abundant, ensuring close encounters with residents such as Malabar and Brown Marbled groupers.
Located off the southeast coast of the island, this bay is suitable for novice divers or those that prefer an easier dive. Although Aow Leuk means “deep bay”, it is only 12 meters deep (40 feet). Nonetheless, there is plenty to see in this shallow spot. Divers can easily encounter schooling barracudas, butterflyfish, sea turtles, and blue-spotted stingrays swimming over a variety of sea sponges and corals.
This rocky formation is located northwest of the island and features a multitude of interesting crevices and overhangs. The area is home to sea creatures like blue-spotted rays, white-eyed moray eels, and titan triggerfish. Some strong currents may occur around the rock.