Diving the Western Gulf Islands
From Koh Tao to Koh Phangan and Koh Samui, the islands of the Western Gulf of Thailand offer wonderful diving conditions, with vibrant reefs and the chance to spot whale sharks. Koh Samui is the most popular island and a great base to combine diving with a beach holiday. Most of your dives will involve boat trips out to Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, part of the 600-island Chumphon Archipelago. At the former you can spot whale sharks between March and April and dive at one of the best sites in the Gulf of Thailand, Sail Rock. A 15-minute boat ride from the beautiful Koh Phangan, this part-submerged rock pinnacle is home to everything from the tiniest macro critters to batfish and even bull sharks. For its part Koh Tao promises dramatic rock pinnacles blanketed in coral, wrecks and reefs busy with colourful marine life. A paradise island with swaying palms, sweeping beaches of brilliant white and dramatic cliffs, its underwater delights are just as plentiful. The Chumphon Pinnacle is known as one of the best dive sites in Thailand, thanks to its amazing rock formations, where giant barracuda, grouper and snapper shelter. Diving around these islands promises hard and soft coral, wrecks and clear, warm waters, although monsoon weather means it is best to avoid November. Generally, the water temperature is between 28 and 30C (82-86F) with around 20m (65ft) visibility.
Dive Sites in Western Gulf Islands
Featured places to go in Western Gulf Islands
Aquatic Life in Western Gulf Islands
Many divers visit between March and April for the best chance to swim with graceful whale sharks, but there is amazing marine life to be enjoyed all year round, from hawksbill and green turtles to playful triggerfish and the almost neon blue-spotted rays. Enjoy a night dive and see how the barracuda sidle up to you and use your light to hunt, while hermit crabs and razorfish populate the reefs, along with pretty lionfish and angelfish. The coral itself is dazzling sight too, and you can swim among sponges and anemone as well as elegant swaying sea fans.