It isn't a surprise that Scuba Diving in Khao Lak and the surrounding regions is becoming quite a rage. As other prime diving locations in Thailand become more crowded, unexplored and offbeat ones such as Khao Lak rise in demand as a prime base for underwater sports.
Khao Lak lies just opposite to Similan Island, which is a world-famous destination for scuba diving. Apart from Similan & Surin Islands, several more sites exist in the region that are famous for their marine life.
Located in Phang Nga province, 60 km North from Phuket, Khao Lak is a somewhat quiet, bland but beautiful resort town in the Southern Thailand peninsula. With miles of white sandy beaches covered with palm trees and casuarinas and dense, lush green forest surrounded by clear blue waters, Khao Lak is an unspoiled natural wonder demanding to be explored.
Best Places for Scuba Diving in Khao Lak
Similan Island is a group of 9 islands amongst them only four are accessible to tourists. Island 1,2, and 3 are closed to visitors to protect the biodiversity here. Most divers opt for a day trip from Khao Lak when Scuba diving in the region.
With the crystal clear water and white sandy beaches, the views of Similan island is as beautiful as it gets. Underwater is no Different. The visibility is around 25-30 meters offering a great view of the colourful reefs. The main attraction of diving in the Similan Islands is on the western side of the island. The Elephant Head Rock, Deep Six, Christmas Point and North Point are spectacular to swim through, and soft, hard corals, sea fans and table corals can be seen here.
The marine life is diversified with reef fish, moray eels, octopus, lionfish, cuttlefish and scorpionfish. Also, pelagic hunters like tuna, reef shark, trevally and with a bit of luck manta rays and whale sharks can be spotted here.
Similan Island is closed for visitors from May to October. So it's best to visit here in the summer from November to April when the weather stays sunny, and visibility remains good.
With its great rocks and boulder formations, and a colourful coral garden, it's a paradise for divers.
Approximate cost of Diving 5900 TBH.
2. Boonsang Wreck
Located about 5km of Bangsak beach, Boonsang Wreck is often better than any other dive site in the Similan Islands.
Often called ‘Fish Soup’ Boonsang wreck is a Wreck of an old mining vessel sunk in 1985. Over several years surrounded by sand, it becomes home for thousands of juvenile fish, Variety of micro fishes like crocodile fish, scorpionfish, lionfish, ornate ghost pipefish stonefish as well as Ocessional whale shark and elusive sailfish can be spotted here
With the shallow depth of 14-19meters, Bonsung wreck is perfect for beginners as well as experienced divers. The only thing to keep in mind is to avoid touching anything as the rusty metals of the structure are very unstable. Also, keep an eye on lionfish and scorpionfish as their stings can be very dangerous.
The park opens from November to May. Any time between that is excellent for exploring scuba diving here.
Approximate Price of diving here is around 3300 TBH (Equipment included).
3. Richelieu Rock
Richelieu Rock lies 18 Km east from Surin island. It is literally a single rock structure in the middle of nowhere. In the low tide, the rock sticks out of the water, And in high tide wholly submerged. Because of the surrounding deep sea with nutrient-rich water, the colourful marine life here is unparalleled to anywhere else.
Harlequin Shrimp, ornate ghost pipefish, tomato anemonefish, seahorse, frogfish, tiger egg cowries, cuttlefish, octopus are some reasons to dive here. With a bit of luck on your side, whale sharks can be spotted too.
However, with a 35 meters depth and high current Richelieu Rock is certainly not suitable for beginners. It is a dive site for experienced nitrox divers.
February to April is the best time to come across whale shark and manta rays in the region. Although From November to May Richelieu Rock is open for diving.
Approximate cost of diving 5100 TBH.
4. Premchai Wreck
Lying just a few hundred meters of Khao Na Yak, Premchai Wreck is an excellent choice for diving. Divers can get there quickly via a brief boat ride. Lying at a maximum depth of 20meters Premchai Wreck is a superb spot for first-time wreck diving.
Sunk in the 1970s, this wreck is home for a vast array of colourful corals and a variety of juvenile fish. Lionfish, Scorpionfish, boxfish, angelfish, pipefish, and nudibranch can be seen here.
Diving can be possible all round the year. But the diving conditions are ideal during the month of November to April. The water temperature ranges from 26-30 °C. Visibility varies from 5-15meters. Due to cables and nets, penetration is not allowed here.
Approximate Price of diving here is around 3300 TBH (Equipment included).
5. Koh Bon
Located 40km from Khao Lak, Koh Bon is an Horseshoe-shaped Island that features one of the only vertical walls in Thailand. There are no beaches and landing sites on the island. There is, however, a hole passing from one side to another side of the island.
Two sites are most popular here. The western ridge is the main dive site. This step-down ridge carries underwater to a depth of 45meters where mostly soft corals can be seen. The north side of the ridge is also very deep.
Koh Bon Ridge is maybe the best place to find Manta Rays. Leopard Sharks are also common around the deeper water here. The reef is rocky, but plenty of marine animals can be seen including nudibranchs, pipefish, boxfish, mantis shrimps, sea snakes, octopus, lionfish, and moray eels.
This dive site offers the best sight of its marine life from November to May. Manta Rays can be spotted from January to April.
Approximate Cost of diving 4600 TBH.
6. Koh TachaiKoh Tachai is a small island located 40km from Similan Island. With a dome-shaped rock formation, the reef here is covered with colourful hard corals at about 12-15 meters depth.
Diving here can make you feel like you are in a National Geographic Documentary.
The marine life here varies from big hunters like barracudas, Trevally to tiny glassfish. Also, Batfish, fusiliers, rainbow runners, Tuna, Triggerfish, and many more can be spotted. With this diverse marine life, Koh Tachai is the most action-packed dive site in the region.
Depending on the weather and sea condition Diving, here is a challenge. It’s the most difficult yet most rewarding dive site in Khao Lak, and certainly not suitable for Beginners. Current and conditions change abruptly and without any notice.
The ideal period for planning holidays here is November to May.
Approximate cost of diving 4800 TBH.
Operators for Scuba Diving in Khao Lak
1. Big Blue Diving Khao Lak
Address: 4/53 Moo 7, Bang La Ona
Contact: +66 76 485 544
2. IQ Diving
Address: 4/42 Moo 7, Bang La On
Contact: +66 76 485 614
3. Khao Lak Explorer Dive Center
Address: 4/81 Moo 7, Khao Lak
Contact: +66 843258106.
4.Oktavia Dive Center
Address: 5/21 Moo 7, Khao Lak
Contact: +66 83 634 0383
5.Sea Dragon Dive Center
Address: 5/51 Moo 7, Bang La On
Contact: +66 76 485 420
6.Similan Dive Center
Address: 67/7 Moo 5 Moo Bang Niang, Khao Lak, Takua Pa, Phang Nga
Contact: +66 76 490 965
7.Thailand Dive & Sail
Address: 4/88 Moo 7, Soi Bang La On
Contact: +66 87 887 3878
Hopefully, the above information would be helpful for your plan on diving in Khao Lak. Just one thing to remember, always listen to your divemaster and you are guaranteed to have an experience worth remembering your whole life.