Koh Lanta Scuba Diving
Hawksbill Turtle. Credit Rickard Zerpe on flickr
Koh Lanta is one of the best dive locations in the world and should form part of every dive enthusiasts bucket list.
There are opportunities for divers of all qualification and experience levels. Day trips are available from Koh Lanta and Krabi (although these are very long days). Taking a liveaboard is the option for those heading to the area from Phuket and possibly Krabi.
The world-class dive sites of Hin Daeng (Red Rock) and Hin Muang (Purple Rock) are 2 to 3 hours each way from Koh Lanta but are well worth the trip for advanced divers due to strong currents and depths of dives. Hin Daeng, Hin Muang and Koh Haa are inside the Mu Koh Lanta Marine Park which is closed from May to October.
The Koh Haa Islands are much closer to Koh Lanta and ideal for a day trip for diving or snorkelling.
Koh Rok Nok and Koh Kok Nai are popular with divers and snorkellers as well as people just enjoying the wonderful beaches and are about 30km from Koh Lanta.
All of the main tourist areas in Koh Lanta and Krabi have dive shops to arrange courses and dive trips.
Whale Shark. Credit TANAKA Juuyoh on flickr
This incredible dive site is only suitable for advanced, experienced divers with depths of 20 to 70 metres and strong currents present.
The site is well worth the trip however as it is one of the best places to see whale sharks and manta rays as well as grey reef shark, leopard shark, barracuda, moray eel, octopus and crayfish. In shallower waters there is a large school of long fin batfish and nurse shark can sometimes be found within the southwest cave.
Barracuda. Credit Thomas Quine on flickr
Hin Muang often sees stronger currents making this a more technical dive than its neighbour. Its name, translated as Purple Rock comes from the purple anemones that cover the rock.
The site has a cleaning station at around 10 metres which can see lots of manta rays and an excellent show. Other marine life that can be seen includes grey reef shark, leopard shark, barracuda, yellow snapper, tuna and sometimes a whale shark alongside the incredible corals and anemones.
Another deep dive with depths from 10 to 60 metres.
Koh Haa Yai Lagoon
Clownfish. Credit Thomas Quine on flickr
Suitable for divers of all experience with depths of 5 to 28 metres, excellent visibility and plenty of places for students to practice skills. The are also great opportunities for snorkellers.
The area has plenty of coral outcrops and anemones among the patches of sandy bottom. There are stag horn, brain and seaman corals.
The coral and anemones make great hiding and feeding places for all sorts of marine life.
The area is excellent for spotting clownfish, scorpionfish, lionfish, moray eel, parrotfish, barracuda and turtles as well as smaller residents including nudibranch, ghost pipefish and harlequin shrimp.
Koh Haa Neua / The Chimney
Trumpetfish. Credit Thomas Quine on flickr
The chimney system here is the main attraction for many divers but the coral surrounding the dive site are exceptional and home to many creatures. Depths range from 12 to 18 metres, with little current and is suitable for all levels of divers
Common sites here are green sea turtles, scorpionfish, glassfish, groupers, yellow-tailed seahorses, pipefish, frogfish, trumpetfish and snapper. There are also plenty of smaller creatures for the macro lover.
Koh Haa Yai Cathedral
Leopard Shark. Credit Brian Gratwicke on flickr
The very large cave here is known as the cathedral with an entrance depth at around 18 metres so best suited for more advanced divers. Once inside the walls have incredible anemones and corals that are lit up by cracks and openings higher up. There are a number of other caves in the area as well.
Hawksbill turtles can often be found feeding here as well as grouper, whitetip reef shark, leopard shark as well as plenty of the other common reef fish.
Koh Rok Nai
Moorish Idols. Credit Thomas Quine on flickr
Koh Rok Nai is suitable for all divers with maximum depths of 20 metres but generally averaging closer to 12 metres. The site is also suitable for night dives and snorkelling.
The is beautiful hard coral and barrel sponges.
Marine life include stingrays, turtles, dogtooth tuna, barracuda, trevallies, blacktip reef shark, turtles, tiger-tail seahorses, moorish idol, white-collar butterflyfish, pufferfish, triggerfish, sea snakes, lobster, shrimps and nudibranch. There are also a number of giant clams.
Koh Rok Nok
Goatfish and Parrotfish. Credit Thomas Quine on flickr
Excellent beaches and snorkelling plus stunning diving make this an excellent location for the whole family.
The area features hard and soft corals, boulder coral, bubble coral, branching coral, sea whips, anemones and has opportunities for muck and macro diving. Maximum depths are no more than 18 metres and currents are low so the area is ideal for all divers.
Marine life includes blacktip reef shark, angelfish, surgeonfish, moray eel, turtles, clownfish, glassfish, fusiliers, parrotfish, sweetlips, grouper, eagle rays, shrimp, sea cucumber and nudibranch.
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