Scuba Diving in Koh Samui, Thailand


One of Thailand’s best loved islands, Koh Samui’s charms are evident as soon as you arrive at its award-winning thatch-roofed airport. When you stay on the island of Samui you will not only enjoy the excellent beaches and wonderful nightlife, but you will also have access to the best diving in this part of Thailand. Most of these sites are found around Koh Tao and can be dived via day trips from Samui.

Dive sites that can be visited from Samui, including the famous Chumphon Pinnacle and Sail Rock, are characterised by submerged pinnacles, large rocky seamounts, colourful corals and reefs with plenty of marine life for you to enjoy, including good chances to see whale sharks. Because the Gulf of Thailand is a large sheltered bay, the seas tend to be calm and provide excellent conditions for Koh Samui diving throughout the year.


Scuba diving Koh Samui

Scuba diving Koh Samui


Dive Highlights

Chumphon Pinnacle — If you have come to “find Nemo” you won’t be disappointed since there are numerous anemones dotted around, each with their resident anemone fish. While sightings of plenty of batfish, jacks and barracudas are likely, whale sharks are the number 1 attraction here, particularly between February and April. You won’t forget an encounter with this gentle giant, the biggest fish in the world. Generally considered the best dive site in this part of Thailand.

Sail Rock — This is another pinnacle and a real highlight of Samui scuba diving because whale sharks are commonly sighted here. Whether you are on the surface or below you will be amazed at how long these sharks stay around seemingly enjoying the presence of divers. Catfish, trevallies and reef sharks also call Sail Rock home. In terms of topography, ‘The Chimney’ will probably stay long in your memory. You can enter the rock through a hole at around 20 metres and exit either at 15 metres or 10 metres having checked out the masses of glass fish, boxer shrimps, moray eels and other inhabitants of the chimney which makes a lovely swim-through.


Scuba diving Koh Samui

Scuba diving Koh Samui


How to Dive Samui

The dive sites can be visited by day trip boats from Samui Island. Large powerful speedboats depart every morning, normally in quite small groups. You will normally return at 5:00 pm in time to return to your resort and relax for the evening. You can book day trips only, or combine your diving with accommodation in one of our recommended Koh Samui resorts.

Diving Season

The dive sites in the Gulf of Thailand around Koh Samui and Koh Tao can be dived throughout the year. However the peak season, which sees the optimum conditions, runs from March to August.

There may be a reduction in visibility during the September to November period when monsoon winds and swells can be present. However these are rarely sufficient to interfere with diving trips, except maybe for making the speedboat journey a little bumpier. If you are planning a dive trip between November and February, Samui is not the best bet since rain and wind can visit the Gulf at this time of the year.

Reef Summary

  • Good for: Small animals, beginner divers, dive value-for-money, snorkeling and non-diving activities
  • Not so good for: Wrecks and drift dives
  • Depth: 5 — 40m
  • Visibility: 5 — 25m
  • Currents: Can be strong
  • Surface conditions: Calm to choppy
  • Water temperature: 27 — 29°C
  • Experience level: Beginner — advanced
  • Number of dive sites: about 10
  • Access: Samui speedboat day trips
  • Recommended length of stay: 5 days

With some excellent hotels and resorts, great beaches, the spectacular Ang Thong National Marine Park, and a mix of nightlife and quiet retreats, Samui Island caters to all sorts of tourists including young independent travelers, families and couples seeking a romantic beach break. When Phuket and the west coast are in low season, many consider that Koh Samui is the perfect destination for sun, sand and scuba diving.

Gavin Macaulay is Marketing Director of Dive The World which aims to help divers find the perfect scuba diving holiday in some of the world’s most exciting dive destinations. He offers opinions and advice on diving related topics based on his own experiences.

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Updated: September 29, 2011 by admin

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