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Diving Koh Lanta

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Koh Lanta, Thailand

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Country: Thailand  Area: Andaman Coast

Water Temp: 28 - 31°C (82 - 88°F)

Depth Range: 5 - 40m (16 - 131 ft)

 

A jewel in the Andaman Sea, Koh Lanta is a laidback, relaxed island close to some of the coasts best dive sites.

The Koh Lanta archipelago consists of over 50 islands, the two largest are Koh Lanta Noi and Koh Lanta Yai, Small Lanta Island and Big Lanta Island. The islands are far less commercial than a lot of other Thai Islands which has helped it retain a lot of its charm and tranquillity.

Climate

The climate along the Andaman Coast is tropical so although it is lovely and warm for most of the year it does have a monsoon season running from May to late October. During this period there are very rainy days but a lot of the time it is still sunny with just a late afternoon heavy shower. The monsoon does make the Andaman Sea very rough with high winds so all the dive liveaboard's shut down during this time and the day boats cannot be guaranteed to run so the best dive season runs from the beginning of November to May.

It’s advisable to avoid December and January as this is peak season, accommodation can be hard to find and is more expensive, and the dive sites are very crowded. The best time to visit for diving is from February to April when the weather will be at its best, the seas at their calmest and the dive sites less crowded but also will have the highest chance of big pelagic encounters with manta rays and whale sharks. The water temperature is warm and pleasant year round with the coolest temperatures during the monsoon and warmest time being late March to May.

 

 
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Day Trips

There are no scuba diving sites around the island, so all require a short boat trip to reach. These trips are either on a slow boat of speedboat. Slow boats are ok to closer sites such as Koh Haa but take 3-4 hours to reach the further afield sites of Hin Muang and Hin Daeng, this means it’s along day so a speedboat may be the best option as this only takes an hour. All boats will provide you with breakfast and lunch as well as plenty of water to keep hydrated.

Koh Haa consists of five spectacular limestone islands which create a sheltered lagoon in the centre with crystal clear water and beautiful beaches. This lagoon is an excellent site for divers and snorkelers alike. The depth can vary from 5 to 30m so perfect for all experiences and with beautiful coral gardens and plenty of marine life it is a great location for photographers.

Another fun dive is The Cathedral as Koh Haa Five. This is a cavern and can be easily accessed through a large opening from 6 to 13m. The cavern is full of stalactites and due to high ceilings divers can surface and take in the stunning surroundings. There are two large entrances which provide the cavern with plenty of natural light so this again is another great site for photographers.

There are plenty of sites all around the five islands so you will be spoilt for choice and all boast a diverse marine life from Hawksbill turtles, barracuda and trevally to octopus, cuttlefish and some great macro life such as ghost pipefish, seahorses and nudibranches.

Liveaboard Trips

Koh Lanta Dive schools can arrange liveaboard trips to the north or to the south. The liveaboards that head up the coast to the Similan and Surin Islands tend to leave from Phuket or Khao Lak but the transfers will all be arranged and included for you if this is the case.

The liveaboards that leave from Koh Lanta mostly visit the surrounding area around Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi and then south to Hin Muang and Hin Daeng. These islands are the best sites the area can offer outside of the Similans and have frequent manta sightings. They are in open water and therefore exposed so sensitive to weather conditions which will create waves and currents so these sites are not suitable for beginners. But on the plus side these conditions are what attract the Mantas, Whale Sharks and large schools of fish.

Hin Muang, “Purple Rock” has a reef from 12, dropping down to around 70m and is one of the deepest dive sites in the country! The rock is covered in beautiful purple soft corals which feed in the current. Hin Daeng, “Red Rock”, is a couple of hundred metres away from Hin Muang and not surprisingly is covered with red and also purple soft corals.

Both sites are home to an abundance of small reef fish, moray eels, octopus, shrimps, and schools of jacks and barracuda. Even though the reefs are very beautiful and alone have enough reef life to entertain any diver, you need to keep one eye on the blue as you may be lucky enough to catch sight of a Whale Shark, Manta or school of tuna.

Dive Centers in Koh Lanta

Andaman Dive Adventure

nemoPorselein Crabschildpadturtleandjellyfish
Manta4

After 8 years on Koh lanta, we started a new Padi dive center. We bring a personal and relaxed approach to scuba diving.

We teach Padi scuba diving courses & guide experienced divers in the Andaman Sea. Small diving groups, personal service, fast big boat & experienced Padi instructors. Experience & new Cressi dive equipment, will make your diving holiday unforgettable, safe & great fun !

Land-based facilities

Own Day Boat

Live aboard facilities

Meals included

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How to get there

The nearest airports to Koh Lanta are Phuket, Trang and Krabi. Phuket has the most international flights but Krabi and Trang do receive regular flights from Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

There are ferries from Phuket leaving about 8am and 1pm everyday; these have a short stop at Koh Phi Phi along the way so you can also join the ferries at this point. There is also a ferry from Krabi and Ao Nang.

Another option is the express transfer from either Phuket or Krabi airports. This uses a combination of minivan and speedboat and gets you there a lot quicker without the wait for the ferry. This is also good if you arrive late in the day and do not wish to wait overnight to catch the next ferry. Obviously this option is a lot more expensive than the standard ferry but also a lot more convenient.

Once there most of the main roads are paved, but there are still a lot of dirt roads. Most of the locals use motorbikes and you can hire motorbikes or jeeps to get around.

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Other activities

There are many activities to part in on Koh Lanta besides diving. One of the most popular is a Thai Cooking course. There are several cooking schools to choose from and they will teach you about all the local herbs and spices as well as help you prepare and cook a selection of dishes such as tom yung gung, Thai green curry and chicken with cashew nuts.

Elephant Trekking is also available which can take you to the top of the hill in Koh Lanta National Park.

For water lovers there is also the option of kayaking around the islands exploring the secluded bays, mangrove forests and caves in the limestone cliffs.

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Tips

Thai vendors can sometimes make some people feel uncomfortable. They can approach you with goods to buy or to persuade you to enter their shops or restaurant. A calm and clear, “No, thank you,” will usually do the trick.

Healthcare

The nearest international hospital is in Phuket which also has two diving recompression chambers.

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Rating 8/10

Koh Haar

Koh Lanta23 Nov 2012 - 23 Nov 2012 with Ocean Divers

There was a beautiful assortment of coral and marine life at Koh Haar today. Ocean Divers made our experience comfortable and relaxed from our 7am pickup to our 4 o clock drop off at our accomodation. Our first dive took place at Koh Haar 2 and 4 and we went to the Cathedral for our second dive. The Cathedral has an underwater cave that you can go in with your open water without having to take a "caving adventure dive" which was a great experience for a beginner diver. As for marine life, we saw some batfish, puffer fish, and all kinds of other great critters of the sea.

Rating 10/10

Awesome, great dives, great people

Koh Lanta9 Feb 2012 - 15 Mar 2012 with Ocean Divers

We (my girlfriend and I) dived with Ocean Divers to the Hin Daeng / Hin Maung dive sites in mid Feb and had an amazing time.. Not only were we treated extremely well but all the staff on board were generally excited to go diving. We had a lovely breakfast getting to know our DM before we boarded the speedboat for the 1.5 hr trip to one of the worlds best dive sites. Our guide fully briefed us on the dives and the marine life we were to see. they also made special mention about our code of conduct should we encounter any big stuff!! The dives were amazing, the sites were so pretty lined with soft corals and just to top it all off.. a Manta!!!! There was a supposed sighting by one of our group of a whale shark, but unfortunately we didn't see it..

Not only did we see big but also some amazing small critters too.. like an ornate ghost pipe fish.. there can't be many dive sites around the world where you see such big stuff and small!!

A great day out which was not only educational, fun, safe and enjoyable but one which will last in our memories forever.. thanks Ocean Divers

I saw: Manta Rays
Picture 593a2
P1030720

Steven Williams

Very jealous, ive dived there once and not seen mantas!

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