Scuba Diving Koh Lanta: The Ultimate Diver’s Guide
While not the remote paradise island you might expect from Thailand, Koh Lanta is laidback with something of a hippy vibe. It’s cultural, colorful, and still worthy of a visit on any Thailand adventure. It’s also easier to access than most islands with its proximity to Thailand’s west coast.
It doesn’t have the same party island feel as many of Thailand’s islands have. Instead, it’s very peaceful, relaxed, and unspoiled. It’s quite serene actually with thick jungle on the inland fringed by coastlines of stretching sandy beaches.
Let’s not forget, this fascinating and peaceful retreat is still an island and offers some immense diving! Scuba diving Koh Lanta offers warm, crystal clear blue waters and unrivaled amounts of species of tropical fish and other marine life. You’ll never get bored with discovering new vibrant soft coral and beautiful colored fish. You’ll also find far fewer crowds than other islands.
As if the postcard-worthy beaches with soft white sand and lush green palm trees aren’t enough, Koh Lanta offers a range of fascinating dive sites ensuring you’ll get the most out of your island retreat. Here are some of our favorite bits!
Let’s not beat about the bush. It’s well-known in the diving world that Thailand offers some of the best and cheapest diving in the world. You simply can’t find value like this anywhere else.
Many divers come here from other parts of Asia and Australia to complete their open water certification as it’s highly regarded as the best place to do so. Many backpackers and travelers opt to dive here too in order to save money.
Its remote island location leads it to be so peaceful and untouched.
That’s not the only reason we love its location, though! Koh Lanta sits in the Andaman Sea and has over 30 marine-protected islands. This offers a universe of different underwater landscapes and topographies to discover and explore.
Diverse Marine Life
If you’re a bit of a marine biology geek, or just like pretty colorful fish, you’ll fall in love beneath the surface of the crystal clear waters of Koh Lanta. The warm waters attract an abundance of beautiful, vibrant marine life that’s sure to please the eyes.
Koh Lanta Scuba Certification
In general, you aren’t required to be certified in order to scuba dive on Koh Lanta. In fact, there are many tour operators that cater to those of all levels of ability, no issue for a first-time diver. There are plenty of beginner-friendly and easily accessible dive sites to get your flippers wet for the first time.
Having said that, it’s always recommended to get scuba certified to give yourself the best, most enjoyable diving experience possible. While you’ll have a great time scuba diving Koh Lanta as a first-time diver, there’s a lot you can miss out on without the extra confidence and diving experience, such as the more challenging cave dives and wrecks.
In addition, becoming scuba certified will help you feel more comfortable and confident underwater. This leads to maximum enjoyment and safety from your diving experience and something worth considering.
Koh Lanta Scuba Diving Requirements
Koh Lanta doesn’t have any specific laws or regulations with regards to diving. As always, tour operators state that you must be in good physical condition and have some swimming ability. Children must be at least 10 years old to scuba dive with a tour operator.
With that said, it’s always highly recommended to have a dive buddy when you’re out scuba diving in the waters of Koh Lanta, as it is anywhere else. This is particularly the case if you’re out diving without a tour operator or guide. In this situation, it’s also good practice to make use of diver down flags.
Best Sites for Scuba Diving Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta offers plenty in the way of a luxury peaceful island retreat. Diving is one of its best traits, too. Here are some of our favorite Koh Lanta dive sites.
These two islands are approximately 30 kilometers south of Koh Lanta, and the journey is 45 minutes by speedboat. During our dive of the east side, we had excellent visibility of 30 meters in breathtakingly, crystal-clear water. With wonderful gorgonian fans, beautiful soft corals, anemones, and sea sponges, we saw a lot of turtles around this side too.
On the west side, there is a gently sloping, hard coral reef with a huge array of colorful reef fish. There are cute clownfish, beautiful blue surgeonfish, snappers, and blue-spotted stingrays buried in the sand here. Also, octopus and moray eels along with a wonderful selection of nudibranch.
If this sounds ideal to you, be sure to check out our recommended experience below!
This is a tiny group of uninhabited islands situated off the south-west coast of Koh Lanta with three dive sites:
THE CHIMNEY – This is the island at the north of the group and is a really exhilarating dive, with an entrance at approximately 15 meters leading into the top of a chimney-like shaft. Swimming down to 20 meters, it opens out into a small cavern with coral-lined walls and carpeted floors giving home to hundreds of fish.
THE CATHEDRAL – With its interconnecting caverns, this is a great swim-through dive offering the chance to see a vast array of fish from coral trout, damselfish, wrasse, fusiliers, snapper, pufferfish, to giant morays, barracuda, and groupers.
The caverns can be accessed safely through good-sized entrances and once inside, you can swim up to the surface and see amazing stalactites hanging from the ceiling – a wonderfully atmospheric dive experience.
THE LAGOON – The central Lagoon is great for beginners with its shallow waters offering protection to a large selection of colorful corals. The light penetrating the crystal waters provides perfect conditions for photography.
Home to clownfish, lionfish, porcupinefish, and also a Hawksbill turtle, this makes another great dive. We even encountered some very rare and tiny ghost pipefish, as well as an abundance of octopus. Although great for beginners, it’s also really popular with experienced divers due to its wonderful photographic opportunities.
Check out our recommended experience below, this one is not to be missed on any diving trip to Koh Lanta.
Consisting of two islands, the maximum depth is 28 meters. There are two entry points, the north which is suited to experienced divers, and the south which is more for beginners. There are swim-throughs and caves around these islands, as well as Fantasy Reef, home to leopard sharks and blacktip reef sharks
We encountered flitting shoals of glassfish, magical seahorses, and turtles on our dive here. You will also be treated to a wonderful view of stunning Koh Phi Phi on your journey.
Check out our recommended experience below for more details!
Best Time to go Diving in Koh Lanta
Regardless of the time of year you decide to visit Koh Lanta, you’ll have the opportunity to spot various marine life such as Whale Sharks, Seahorses, Manta’s, and Turtles.
What’s more, Koh Lanta features great diving conditions year-round with consistent water temperatures hovering at around 83 – 87°F. The crystal clear waters will also treat you to brilliant visibility.
Diving aside, you may want to avoid the rainy season from October-December. The high season runs from January to April and offers beautiful weather with very little rain.
How Much Does Scuba Diving Cost in Koh Lanta?
If you’re looking at booking an experience through a tour company on Koh Lanta, you’ll find prices between $100-$200. The price includes gear rental so there are no extra fees.
In addition, a PADI Open Water Certification will set you back around $400, if that’s what you’re looking for.
Scuba Diving Gear in Koh Lanta
There are plenty of dive shops situated on the blissful Utopia of Koh Lanta so renting equipment for your dives is an option.
It’s worth noting, you’re left with one less thing to think about when going with a guided tour operator as all equipment and gear are included.
However, buying your own gear might be ideal for you if you’re a more keen and experienced diver!
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