For a variety of unique and interesting dive sites, you can do worse than spend a few days or weeks exploring the depths in Thailand. Koh Tao and Koh Lanta have reputations for being the best spots for diving, but for a more chilled out and equally memorable experience, head East to Diving Koh Chang.
For many years, as backpacker fever gripped the rest of the country, Koh Chang remained surprisingly undiscovered despite its many attractions such as rugged mountains, jungle treks, a selection of swimmable waterfalls and many picturesque stretches of beach. However, more recently, due to government grants, word of mouth and of course the unstoppable power of the internet, things have begun to change and tourist development has exploded. Koh Chang now attracts holiday makers from all over the world as well as being a favoured spot for Thai tourists hailing from further north. One of the biggest draws of the Island though, is its world class dive sites and schools.
Ko Chang hosts no less than eight 5 star PADI dive schools and two shipwrecks on the ocean bed for you to explore, including the HMS Chang, sunk solely for the purpose of diving in 2012. These sites, coupled with the archipelago of small local islands and the nearby Ko Rang National Park make for a diverse and exciting underwater landscape for divers and snorkelers of every ability. The list of regularly spotted local wildlife include trigger fish, moray eels, barracuda, mackerel and turtles – with majestic whale sharks also being regular visitors to the reef during the high season. The reef itself is pristine, with huge forests of grogonian fans and staghorn coral stretching out from the edges of the islands, and generally brilliant visibility.
So, once you’re on the island, how do you choose who to dive with? Prices on Koh Chang are all very similar, with very little aggressive undercutting, but it’s still a good idea to shop around and see what deal suits you best. Most of the bigger resorts will be happy to book your course for you, but do remember that they will probably have deals made with certain schools that they are acting as agents for, and may charge you slightly more.
The biggest and best on the island are Scuba Dawgs and BB divers. Scubadawgs have the lowest advertised prices on Koh Chang, whilst also having a reputation for excellent customer service and a good sense of fun. BB divers are the longest established dive centre on Koh Chang, having first started diving here in 2003, and since have open up branches on Koh Kood and Koh Mak. Their wealth of experiences comes along with a free pick-up and drop-off to your hotel, all food and drink throughout the day and free use of quality equipment for your dives.
Whoever you choose to dive with during your trip, there’s no doubt that when you step back onto solid ground you will have had a fantastic day beneath the waves. And this, coupled with the laid-back charm of Koh Chang and its inhabitants, will make sure that this Thai island is always on your map of the best places to dive in Asia.