The spectacular dive sites around Koh Lanta are still Thailand’s best kept scuba secret.
Koh Lanta’s dive sites are less well known than those of the world famous Similan Islands, but they are just as spectacular for marine life and visibility. There are numerous different dive sites on each of the three major locations that Koh Lanta liveaboards and daytrips visit, providing plenty of variety for several days diving.
Manta Ray, Whale Shark at Hin Muang & Hin Daeng – just incredible!
Hin Daeng / Hin Muang
These two ocean pinnacles provide brilliantly dramatic dive sites, sloping down to 60 metres. Currents can be strong and visibility occasionally poor â€“ but itâ€™s more than made up for by the manta rays who sometimes use the pinnacles as a cleaning station. Several mantas can be seen here at any one time, circling the fingers of rock and seemingly unperturbed by divers. On the days theyâ€™re not around, there are plenty of other creatures that call Hin Daeng and Hin Muang home, including inquisitive leopard sharks and groupers. The pinnacles are full of nooks and crannies which hold a smorgasbord of other smaller critters and soft corals too. It’s a great place to see some of the bigger fish hunting as well – barracuda, tuna, batfish and clown triggerfish are all regularly spotted. Every so often a whale shark also passes by Hin Daeng, so if you’re very lucky, you might get to see one.
What to expect: Manta rays, groupers, leopard sharks, cuttlefish, octopus, barracuda, tuna, batfish
Leopard sharks, Seahorse,Turtles and Whale Sharks can be found around Koh Bida
Koh Bida is actually two islands, Bida Nok and Bida Yai, with several dive sites located on their underwater slopes. Bida has quite variable conditions with poor visibility on some occasions, but itâ€™s also a great site for seeing coral and spotting macro marine life. Beautifully coloured nudibranches and seahorses live along Bidaâ€™s wall which goes down to around 28m but also has plenty of shallow areas too. Incredibly, whale sharks have also been seen here on occasion too.
What to expect:Leopard sharks, nudibranches, turtles, seahorses, ghostpipefish, cuttlefish, black tip reef sharks, trevally, lion fish, scorpion fish.
Octopus, Cuttlefish, Nudibranch and Ghostpipefish can be found around Koh Ha
A circle of 5 small granite islands, Koh Haa has numerous dive sites which all enjoy spectacular visibility and some great marine life. Wall dives outside the rocks yield huge schools of barracuda hanging in the blue, octopus moving along the coral and seahorses at 35metres, waiting in the archway of a dramatic swimthrough. Koh Haa Yai has a beautiful chimney ascent, where you can slowly come up within the very rock itself and reach the airpocket at the top of the cave. Within the shallow lagoon formed by the five islands, there are numerous macro delights, including the harlequin shrimp and ghost pipefish.
What to expect: Barracuda, octopus, nudibranches, harlequin shrimps, ghost pipefish, cuttlefish, squid, mantis shrimps, moray eels, porcelain crabs.
Take a quick tour of the King Cruiser wreck.
King Cruiser Wreck
On the 4th of May 1997, the King Cruiser car ferry, which was on its last maiden voyage between Phuket and Koh Phi Phi hit Anemone Reef. It tore a large hole in the vessels hull and sunk in 17 mins. Luckily diving boats and fishing boats where very close to help rescue the poeple on board and there was no casualties. It now makes for a great artificial reef.
The boat which is 85 meters long and 35 meters wide sits upright in 30 meters of water. The captains cabin rests around 12 meters under the surface. Due to strong currents and being quite deep this site is recommended for advanced divers.
Unfortunately the ship is now classed unsafe to penetrate as the upper deck has now collapsed but just by swimming around the outside makes for an impressive and memorable dive.
What to expect: Baracuda, Trevally, Nudibranch, Turtle, Box fish, Eels, Lion fish, Scorpion fish, a huge ship!
A great way to experience the wreck is by joining the Lanta Liveaboard which visits the King Cruiser on its 4 day liveaboard trip and 5 day Similan Island and Southern Island Liveaboard.