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Diving in Koh Samui

Koh Samui is one of Thailand's most popular holiday destinations and a great base from which to explore the Gulf of Thailand’s southern dive spots.

Diving in Koh Samui

Quick facts

Koh Samui is part of the 600 island strong Chumphon Archipelago that also includes Ang Thong Marine Park, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.

While Koh Samui does have some shore dives they are certainly not what they would have been 20 years ago and overhead boat and jet ski traffic is an issue. Dive centres on Koh Samui will, on the whole, take you to the dive sites around Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.

Clearly staying on Koh Tao itself would entail shorter journeys to its dive sites. However, if diving every day is not your holiday priority and you prefer Koh Samui as your base, then you get the best of both worlds. Dive trips leave Koh Samui around 9 am returning around 3 pm, having made two dives. One silver lining is that Sail Rock, which is one of the premier sites in the gulf, lies closer to Koh Phangan and, therefore, closer to Koh Samui than it does to Koh Tao.

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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What to see

Whale sharks frequent the deeper open ocean sites like Sail Rock, Southwest and Chumphon Pinnacle. You can expect to see jackfish, fusiliers, barracuda as well as curious batfish, colourful butterfly, angel and parrotfish. Turtles, while not a daily occurrence aren’t rare either. Expect hawksbill and green turtles. Macro lovers will enjoy pipefish and a variety of nudibranch and shrimp too.


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Most likely sightingsPossible sightings


Koh Samui is one of Asia's most popular island destinations. As such it has everything for your beach holiday; popular white sandy beaches, quiet coves,
top international cuisine, traditional street food, pumping nightlife, rocking, sexy parties, luxury spas, beach massage, simple huts and swanky villas.

Like many islands, Koh Samui’s beginnings were humble. The Chinese word for a safe haven is saboey; this may be where Koh Samui gets its name. This tells you everything about its initial value to sea-going traders. Searchers on the hippy trail are most likely to have been the islands first tourists. These adventurers would’ve had to endure an 8-hour sea journey to travel the 21 miles (35km) on a local fishing boat to arrive at its pristine beaches and sparkling waters. Even so coconut and fruit production remained the island's main business until as recently as the 1980s.

Today regular high-speed ferry services and an international airport deliver those searching for fun in the sun. 15 miles (25km) across at its widest point, you can circumnavigate the island in an hour using the 32 miles (51km) of road that circles the island. The island's interior is still jungle and peaks rise to 2100 feet (635m) which means it still looks like a rugged island paradise despite the development.

Other attractions

Koh Samui is a veritable holiday playground island with elephants, waterfalls, beach clubs, hilltop hangouts, markets and great shopping. You can also take a day trip to visit Ang Thong Marine Park, which is a largely uninhabited, undeveloped, protected area of natural beauty comprising over 40 islands.

Getting there

Most visitors arrive at Koh Samui Airport, which is quite possibly the quaintest tropical airport in the world. High-speed ferries connect Koh Samui to the mainland and its closest neighbours of Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.


Time zone




Calling code

220-240 V

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Plug type


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.

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