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Diving in Koh Lanta

Relax and unwind in the tropical peacefulness of Koh Lanta. See manta rays circle Hin Muang and Hin Daeng and enjoy the rich diving available around Koh Haa and Koh Phi Phi too.

Diving in Koh Lanta

Quick facts

Koh Lanta is an island located in the Krabi Province on Thailand’s Andaman Coast. Its crystal clear waters, mangroves, white sand beaches and lush rainforests make it a popular holiday destination. Underwater is equally spectacular with whale shark and manta ray sightings, vibrant reefs, abundant marine life and easy access to some of the region’s most famous dive sites. Koh Lanta has a relaxed vibe, friendly locals and a wide range of accommodation options for all travellers. Diving here is by boat only, either speed boat or slow boat. There’s a range of sites accessible from Koh Lanta to suit all levels. There are wall dives, pinnacle dives, wrecks and lagoons in which you can blow bubbles. Some sites can experience current, particularly the deeper open ocean sites, and are more suited to more advanced or experienced divers.The close by jewel on Koh Lanta’s diving crown is Koh Haa. Calm, pristine and with great visibility this is likely to delight divers of all levels. Expect an hour cruise on a slow boat here. The sites closer to Koh Phi Phi are also readily accessed from Koh Lanta, which means you can still enjoy these even though your preferred holiday base is Koh Lanta. Speedboats will deliver you here in around 45 minutes. Trips also leave from Koh Lanta to the King Cruiser Wreck, Anemone Reef and Shark Point. These sites are closer to both Koh Phi Phi and Phuket, but if you’re not planning to visit either place, then you do have this option. Koh Lanta also offers the closest access to Hin Daeng and Hin Muang, respectively Red Rock and Purple Rock. These rich, deep open ocean seamounts attract manta rays and some whale sharks too.

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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Koh Haa – The collection of five big rocks offer divers several caverns and swim-throughs which feature large entrance openings and ancient rock stalactite formations hanging down from the ceilings. The geology isn’t the only draw; you’ll also find varied marine life from macro critters such as ghost pipefish through to larger reef inhabitants including hawksbill turtles and occasional manta rays. Bida Nok / Bida Nai – These two limestone islands are breath-taking both above and below the water with stunning walls home to sea snakes and hawksbill turtles. Bida Nai also has numerous caves and overhangs where seahorses and other small critters like to hide out. The highlight here is the wide range of marine life from moray eels, wrasses, barracuda, leopard sharks, ghost pipefish and scorpion fish camouflaged against the reef. King Cruiser Wreck – This 85 metre / 280 foot passenger ferry sank in 1997 after colliding with Anemone Reef and amazingly out of the 500 passengers on board no lives were lost. The wreck sits close to the reef in an upright position at 30 meters / 100 feet. The captain’s cabin is the shallowest point at just 12 metres / 40 feet beneath the surface. Schooling fish and hordes of lionfish have made the wreck their home and the steel structure is now almost completely encrusted in corals. Whilst penetration is not possible this is an exciting dive and a perfect example of a thriving artificial reef. Hin Daeng / Muang – This is a firm favourite for many divers with vibrant red soft corals, gorgonian fans and vast carpets of colourful anemones. When you are not peering into the corals for critters remember to watch the blue as manta rays are often seen here along with occasional grey reef sharks, leopard sharks and even whale sharks. Above the corals look out for needlefish, hunting barracuda, schools of fusiliers and colourful jewel-like damsel fish darting back and forth. Koh Rok – Everything is possible at Koh Rok! There is an abundance of colourful reef fish as well as moray eels, octopus, blue-spotted sting rays, turtles, numerous species of nudibranch, black tip reef sharks and feeding pelagics too when the currents are running. On the reef you’ll find a healthy, vibrant mix of hard and soft corals including gorgonian fans and barrel sponges. Koh Rok really does have something for everyone.

What to see

Koh Lanta enjoys rich waters with both hard and soft coral. Manta rays and whale sharks visit the deeper pinnacles annually. The best time of year to spot them is from February to April. You can see leopard, zebra, and guitar and blacktip reef sharks. You may also be lucky and see devil rays too. Expect batfish and octopus, pulsing clouds of anthias and schools of jackfish too. Barracuda school and also patrol keeping a keen eye on the many varieties of colourful reef fish that make these colourful reefs their home. There are many varieties of nudibranch, shrimp, pipefish and even seahorses to keep the macro lovers happy. Scorpionfish and stonefish hide in the reef while lionfish stalk and mantis shrimp scuttle around.

Calendar

For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.

Most likely sightingsPossible sightings

Area

Koh Lanta lies on Thailand’s west coast and is, in fact, two islands, Koh Lanta Noi (little) and Koh Lanta Yai (big) and part of a 50 island plus archipelago. It’s
usually just referred to as Koh Lanta; the big island is where you want to be and where you will go should you simply refer to your destination as Koh Lanta.

It’s more mature in nature than other island and has always enjoyed a more laid back, less developed feel. You’ll find rainforest covered mountains, mangroves and
17miles (27km) of pristine coastline with many quiet, wide sandy beaches to relax on. The sunset here is nothing short of show stopping.

It’s one of the few islands that still has a resident community of Chao Lay (sea gypsies). The Chao Lay were most likely the island's first residents. Koh Lanta was once an important trading post and tax checkpoint. Today the island's main industry is tourism that attracts families and those who like to enjoy themselves but don’t need to dance until dawn.

Other attractions

Koh Lanta is all about relaxing, eating lovely food and watching the sun go down. If you just can't sit still, you do have a few options. You can learn how to cook the fabulous Thai cuisine, hire a kayak, try stand-up paddleboarding or explore the quaint old town.

Getting there

Koh Lanta closest airport is Krabi Airport. Transfer to Koh Lanta via road includes two pontoon type car ferries. It will take you an hour to get to these. Depending on how busy these are it can take as much as 2 hours to get across. You can organise a speedboat transfer that will allow you to skip the pontoon queue and have an exhilarating ride to your destination.

UTC+07:00

Time zone

THB

Currency

+66

Calling code

220-240 V

Electric volt

A, 

B, 

C

Plug type

KBV

Main airport
Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.