Diving the Eastern Gulf

Where the country curves around the Gulf of Thailand, it creates a vast stretch of coastline on its eastern flank, offering a hugely varied diving experience. To the east of this magnificent shallow inlet lies the beach town of Pattaya, famed for its amazing wreck dives, and the breathtaking Mu Koh Chang National Marine Park, where you can experience bustling reefs and rock pinnacles, as well as a smattering of fascinating wrecks. At Pattaya, you will be doing boat dives and the scattered islands nearby make a great starting-off point. Conveniently known as the Near Islands, the Far Islands and the Samae San Islands, each group has its own wreck for you to experience. The three Near Islands are the most popular to dive, with sharks and turtles gliding by and the HTMS Kood, a former US warship, as a focal point. The Far Islands number six in total and the scuttled HTMS Khram, donated by the US to the Thai navy after World War Two, has become one of the area’s best wreck dives, while the two Samae San Islands are little-visited and perfect for a spot of macro diving. Diving at Mu Koh Chang reveals abundant marine life and it offers shallow dives to cathedral-like rock pinnacles. The best time to dive here is between October and April and your best chance of seeing whale sharks and manta rays is between February and May.

Dive Sites in Eastern Gulf

Featured places to go in Eastern Gulf

For the best Pattaya dive sites, you should head to the islands that are furthest from the shore.

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Go to Rayong and its amazing Rayong Pinnacles and discover exceptional soft and hard coral as well as dramatic crevices and ledges and even a swim-through.

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Ko Chang

You’ll find an amazing array of dive sites around Koh Chang and they offer fantastic variety for every level of diver.

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Aquatic Life in Eastern Gulf

The islands and wrecks around Pattaya are home to the highest concentration of turtles and seahorses in the Gulf of Thailand, while you will also spot everything from damsels and snappers to butterfly fish and clown anemone fish. Among the wrecks of Mu Koh Chang, you can expect to see barracuda and octopus, as well as huge grouper, while the reefs attract colourful parrotfish, angel fish, stingrays and moray eels. Barracuda, turtles and whale sharks are also common in the Hin Raab South area, where there is also a soft coral canyon with trigger fish and parrotfish darting about.