Pattaya Dive Sites
Pattaya diving sites are well known all over the world because of the two rings of coral islands that are located offshore around 20 to 30 kilometres away. Since some of these islands are the property of the Thai Navy, they are still unspoiled as construction activity is not permitted on them. As a result, colonies of fish and other sea creatures make their home in the coral reefs surrounding these islands, making scuba diving in Pattaya exciting.
The Near Islands are the closest diving sites off shore. The three islands belonging to this ring of coral islands are Koh Larn, Koh Sak and Koh Krok. In the reefs around these islands, you will see different types of fish depending on the depth of the waters. These include Butterfly fish, Angel fish, Damsel fish, Jacks and Rabbit fish. At places where the reef shelves to greater depths, you might spot Nurse Sharks or sea turtles, if you are lucky.
The Far Islands, which are further away from the shore, are calmer and offer better visibility than the Near Islands, mainly because there is no disturbance from water sport activities such as jet skiing. They are a group of five islands around Pattaya of which the best diving sites are around Koh Rin, Koh Manwachai and Koh Phai. Besides the smaller fish that you can see at the Near Islands, you will have higher chances of spotting barracudas, moray eels and different types of hard and soft coral around the Far Islands.
Koh Sak (Horseshoe island) is 45 minutes boat ride from Pattaya and has dive sites suitable for beginner and training divers. Depths are down to a maximum of 15m, visibility can be 15m on a good day. Turtles, stingrays and moray eels can be found here.
Koh Krok makes a good drift dive when currents are flowing. Soft corals and anemones proliferate.
Shark Point at Koh Larn is famous for nurse sharks hiding in crevices on the reef. The reef drops down to 40m on the western side but most of the dive will be spent above 20m. Visibility is 5-15m. Currents can be strong.
Koh Hu Chang (Elephant Ears Island) located 1 hour sail from Pattaya has a hard coral reef with anemones and plenty of small reef fish. Western clownfish (Nemo) can be found in the anemones. Maximum depth is 15m. Currents are usually mild.
Koh Klung Baden has a fringing reef down to just 12m with hard corals, mainly staghorn. Marine life is minimal although there are some invertebrates and crustaceans on the reef.