Diving Koh Phangan

Home  |  Locations  |  South-east Asia  |  Thailand  |  Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan, Thailand

Bull Shark at Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan4Diving in Koh Phangan3Big Eye Trevallies Koh Phangan2Whalesharks Koh Phangan

Beginner Intermediate Expert

Shore Day Trip Live Aboard

Family Friendly

Country: Thailand  Area: Thailand

Water Temp: 27 - 31°C (81 - 88°F)

Visibility: 4 - 30m (13 - 98 ft)

Depth Range: 1 - 45m (3 - 148 ft)

Book A Diving Trip Online
 

The second biggest island in the Gulf of Thailand, just north of Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan is ideally placed close to the stunning Ang Thong Marine Park and main dive sites of the area. Quieter and more remote than the bigger island of Koh Samui it is a perfect place to either relax on stunning white sand beaches or to party at its famous Full Moon Parties.

Book A Dive Center Online

The diving near Koh Pha Ngan can give divers of all levels amazing experiences with the chance of seeing Green TurtlesHawksbill TurtlesWhale Sharks, as well as smaller life such as banded sea snakes, moray eels and an abundance of reef fish.

 

Climate

Although humid, Koh Pha Ngan has a tropical climate promising high temperatures and great beach weather, but keep in mind many countries such as Thailand have a monsoon season. For the Eastern islands including Pha Ngan this is from the end of October to the beginning of December. During this period the temperature drops slightly which can come as a relief, but is often twinned with short periods of heavy rain and strong winds which can cause flooding and loss of electricity. Obviously this can cause dive operators to close during this time as the seas are very rough, so the main dive season runs from late December to late October. 

Water temperature can vary from 27C-31C with the coldest water temperature being during and either side of the monsoon in October and December. The sea warms up until it reaches its highest point around May and then slowly drops down again towards October. The coldest points of the season, when the water temperature has dropped to around 29C, are the best times of the season to see sharks, as when it’s at its 31C peak the water is to warm, so they migrate elsewhere until the temperate drops back down.

Busy fishes, Credit

Marine Conservation

After the major coral bleaching in 2010 there are projects to research stress factors on the coral and lots of coral nurseries on artifical structures have been set up. 

Many dives schools also help out with regular reef clean-ups and with collecting data and monitoring the fish life and coral quality on the local dive site of Sail Rock, but there is one non-profit organisation in place devoted to the conservation and protection of the surrounding marine environment, based in Chaloklum in the north of the island Core Sea work primarily through volunteers and interns educating and working to make a difference in Koh Pha Ngan, you can find out more by visiting them at coresea.com.

Underwater, Koh Pangan, Credit

Other marine life

Box fish can be seen year round with the best time to see them being August to December.
Trigger fish can be seen year-round.
Goliath Groupers can been seen all year with the best time to see them being from March to June)
Big Eye Trevally (Big Eye Jacks) and Barracude can also be seen year round.

Bat fish (best time year round)

Octopus (best time year round)

 
Read more…
Hide content

Wildlife Calendar

   
   
   
   
   
                                   
   
   
   

Didn't find the information
you we're looking for?

Ask a question

Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

See Dive Centers

Shore Diving

There are a couple of excellent local dive sites around Koh Pha Ngan, one of the most interesting being Koh Ma island. This island is connected to the mainland at Mae Haad by a sandbar and offers excellent dive sites for all levels and some great easy snorkeling. The marine life around the island is diverse with some pretty reef fish, nudibranches, groupers, schools of fusiliers and maybe even some cuttlefish. Along with many shallow sites around bays such as Haad Salad or Haad Yao there is also the slightly trickier site of Rock Point. This site is great and only a few minutes from shore but isn’t dived as much as others as it has unpredictable conditions, such as the vis and current. When the conditions are right it can be a very interesting dive for all experience levels as it has some stunning topography and a great variety of marine life including the usual reef fish but also batfish, barracuda and some lovely soft corals and sea fans brought in by the currents.

Day Trips

The best dive site of the area is Sail Rock which is a rocky pinnacle just north of Koh Pha Ngan. This site is a must dive for anyone in the area, not only does it have colourful coral gardens and steep walls dropping off to 30m plus, but it also includes a swimthrough called the chimney and regularly has big schools of trevally, fusiliers, batfish and barracuda! To top it off it is also one of the best places in the area where you are most likely to spot the elusive whale shark!


Most of the other sites visited are closer to Koh Tao and are accessed on day boats. Diving around Koh Tao caters for all levels of experience from beginners to more advanced as there is a range of dive sites from easy shallow shore dives such as Mango Bay to deeper sites like Chumphon Pinnacle.

Mango Bay is a typical beginner dive which has a sandy gently sloping bottom and plenty of marine life including a huge shoal of fusiliers which can reliably be found every dive. Chumphon is a much deeper pinnacle offshore which can have strong currents but also the chance of Whale Sharks in season. This site isn’t for beginners but is an excellent advanced deeper dive if the currents aren’t too strong.

All image used with permission - on this page are taken around Sail Rock.

Didn't find the information
you we're looking for?

Ask a question

Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

See Dive Centers

How to Get there

Koh Pha Ngan can be easily reached by regular ferries from the mainland which arrive at Thong Sala and also ferries or speedboats from both Koh Samui and Koh Tao. You can get around the island to most of the main bays by jeep or also by water taxi.

At the Pier, Credit

The nearest airport is on Koh Samui which receives  regular flights from Bangkok and PhuketThailand has a months visa upon arrival for most countries but it is best to double check in advance.

Didn't find the information
you we're looking for?

Ask a question

Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

See Dive Centers

Where to eat and drink

Each beautiful sandy beach on the island comes with a selection of beachside restaurants all serving a variety of food, from western to traditional thai food. There are excellent food markets in places such as Thong Sala or you could visit Haad Yao or Haad Salad which have some beautiful beachside restaurants all facing west so you can watch the beautiful sunset whilst dining.

For those opting to stay on the North of Koh Pha Ngan alongside the main throng of dive schools we recommend a variety of restaurants; for solely Thai food you could visit the popular but vaguely named ‘Thai Food Restaurant’, other options for local cuisine include Rendezvous, Nong Nook and 2 Brothers restaurants, all located within walking distance of Chaloklum village center.

Drink moderately! Credit

For a good bit of Western food you can cure that hangover with a breakfast at ‘The Worlds End’, or take a stroll further down the beach front to the 220 baht all you can eat bar and grill known as the ‘Holy Grill’. On the off chance your group would like a mix of options between Thai and Western we highly recommend a restaurant on the same beach road in Chaloklum known simply as ‘Texas’, where you can enjoy a high quality and affordable range of Thai, Western and niche dishes.

Now how did we get that hangover that made our ‘Words End’ breakfast so enjoyable? ..The nightlife in Chaloklum is few and far between but well worth exploring. Located next door to ‘Sail Rock Divers’ Gemini bar is a great place to meet likeminded people and on the beach alongside Chaloklum Divers is a great little spot called ‘The Lost Dog’ with a pool table and friendly conversation … so what if you’re not diving in the morning and want to get a bit loose? Simply make your way to Crow Bar where the party never seems to end, squeeze an inflatable chicken and buy a round, great food fun games and awesome music is what The Crow is all about.

Didn't find the information
you we're looking for?

Ask a question

Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

See Dive Centers

Other Activities

Koh Pha Ngan is of course famous around the World for its monthly Full Moon party and sometimes up to 30,000 people flock to the island during this time to take part in these infamous beach parties. These take place on the beach at Haad Rin and is the ultimate party experience involving many performers, a selection of dj’s, and a lot of alcohol, most of which is in buckets! Koh Pha Ngan does also host Black moon and half moon parties through the rest of the month but this Full Moon is still the biggest and the most popular.

Kiteboarding, Credit

But Koh Pha Ngan is not all about the full moon party!

There are still many beautiful, tranquil places on the island away from Haad Rin partying where you can stay where you can relax on peaceful sandy beaches and enjoy a relaxing day in a spa or have a Thai massage or take part in a Yoga class.

On the northern end of the island you join ‘Wake up Wakeboarding for a day packed with tricks, try out ‘Slip & Fly activity center, head slightly East and go Zip Lining, go down south for a spot of Kiteboarding or try your hand at Thai cooking or Thai Boxing almost anywhere on the island. 

Family Friendly

Although it has a reputation for party goers Koh Pha Ngan is an increasingly family friendly island, especially for those planning on visiting the North beaches. In the area of Chaloklum you can easily find a Kindergarten to care for your children if you are planning a dive, maybe ask for directions to “kids Academia’, a popular child care center with a great reputation.

If you would prefer to stay with the kids check our Dive Report verified dive centers for a family friendly team and introduce your children to the world of diving, simply go into the ‘Dive Centers’ tab above and browse their facilities.

If you are looking for a more relaxing day on dry land with a full family you may want to consider the Botanical Gardens, sporting an array of tropical plants and educational activities, if you’re lucky you can meet their resident crocodile and watch the Eagles soar overhead.

Elephant Trekking & Abuse

Please do not support Elephant torture and abuse by riding Elephants (or supporting Elephant performance) in Asia;

In Thai culture, the Phajaan or ‘the crush', is the torture method elephants undergo to become a part of the tourism industry. Essentially this involves cruel physical and mental abuse over long periods of time to make the Elephants submissive to humans.
Asian Elephant spines cannot support the weight of people. Carrying people on their backs all day often leads to permanent spinal injuries.
There is responsible Elephant tourism in Thailand - a good rule to remember is that if a tourist outfit offers anything other than getting to spend time with elephants, it is not friendly to them. 
Any outfit that offers riding, circuses or paintings means they have undergone horrific abuse in order to get them to where they are
Please do not support Elephant torture and make your travel companions aware of what lies behind this industry.
  • In Thai culture, the Phajaan or ‘the crush', is the torture method elephants undergo to become a part of the tourism industry. Essentially this involves cruel physical and mental abuse over long periods of time to make the Elephants submissive - starting as a calf
  • Asian Elephant's spines cannot support the weight of people. Carrying people on their backs all day often leads to permanent spinal injuries.
  • There is responsible Elephant tourism in Thailand - a good rule to remember is that if a tourist outfit offers anything other than getting to spend time with elephants, it is not friendly to them.
  • Remember; any outfit that offers riding, circuses or paintings means the Elephants have undergone horrific abuse in order to train the Elephants

You can help these magnificent animals by making your travel companions aware of what lies behind this industry. The main problem is a lack of awareness - most people have no idea! 

Dive Report is committed to raising awareness to the abuse suffered by Elephants used in the tourist industry. If you want to know more you can find out more hereherehere and here. Also see a PETA documentary video here.

Didn't find the information
you we're looking for?

Ask a question

Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

See Dive Centers

Tips

The Full Moon parties can be great fun but there you do need to behave safely and protect your valuables, its best to leave any valuable items at your accommodation in a safety deposit box. Check any alcohol purchased on the street for a seal, if the seal is broken be aware that the drink may be contaminated. Wear shoes or sandals to avoid injuries from broken bottles or burning cigarettes. Please try to avoid taking your motorbike to Haad Rin as the approach is steep and dangerous, a popular site for accidents.

Motorbike accidents are very common all around Asia, so ensure you wear a helmet and do not drink drive! Most roads on the island are only dirt roads and are not recommended unless you are an experienced rider. If you do hire a motorbike bear in mind that although the vehicle hire shops are cheap it can be very expensive paying for scratches on the newer bikes, so try to hire an older bike.

Into the sea, Credit

If you know how to ride a motorbike you can rent one for around 200 baht/day, but if you don’t know or have little experience driving a motorbike please take a taxi, your hospital bill is not worth the extra two dollars.

Although this is not as much of an issue on Pha Ngan as it is in other areas, 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

If you have a minor injury seek ‘West Western Healthcare’ in Saladin. There are other clinics on the island but the nearest hospital is Koh Samui or on the mainland at Chumphon. 

In emergencies the closest recompression chamber to Koh Ph Ngan is in Koh Samui.


Dive Reports

X

Write a Dive Report for Koh Phangan

Attached files
No files attached
X

Share a tip about diving in Koh Phangan

X

Ask the dive community a Question

Rating 9/10

Bull Sharks at Sail Rock!

For the first time ever the beautiful dive site of Sail Rock has received a visit from bull sharks.

Anyone who has dived at Sail Rock knows about it's beauty. The rock has it's own particular Eco-system, almost like a fairytale land.

The site is awash with numerous types of fish, including wrasse, parrotfish, 'blissful' batfish, triggerfish, big groupers and buzzing with 'barracudas'. Sail Rock offers you the unexpected, and sometimes you just get lucky- like when the whale shark comes to town.

The latest visitors to Sail Rock take our breath in a different direction.

In the past few weeks there have been numerous sightings of Bull Sharks. They have been spotted at different depths and locations around the site and both solo and in pairs.

Nobody is sure why they have chosen to come to Sail Rock for the first time ever. Many divers have witnessed the sharks in the past few weeks.

It is a very interesting time to dive the premier dive site of The Gulf of Thailand and a genuine opportunity to see fascinating creatures of the sea.

Bull Shark at Sail Rock Ko Phangan2
tumbler profile

Catherine Jones

Wow! I dived the area 2 years ago and Sail Rock was my fav site, must be even better with Bull Sharks!!!

9.1262834930.scuba diving in jamaica

Marie Harper

Definitely wow! Ive dived there too, last year, and would have loved to see Bull Sharks.

scubadiver

Mickael Jeunes

Amazing! I have also dived there but was not as lucky!

Delete comment?

This will permanently delete the comment. Are you sure?

Your Dive Report has been published.

Would you like to share it on Facebook or Twitter?

Share it on Twitter Share on Twitter

Share it on Facebook Share on Facebook

No thanks - just show me the report

Sign up now and join in!
Sign up now and join in!
Sign up now and join in!