Koh Chang Diving & Koh Mak Diving
There are some excellent diving and snorkelling opportunities around Koh Chang and the region is rapidly developing into a major centre of diving in Thailand. Diving Koh Chang is mainly at reasonably shallow depths with good reefs located at 5 to 25 metres. Visibility can reach 30m but is variable. You can dive year round but the best time is between October and the end of May since rougher seas during the rainy season can reduce visibility or make it difficult to reach the dive sites. However there are calmer periods in the rainy season when diving conditions are OK.
The Dive Sites
There are impressive reefs in the area with a variety of soft and hard corals including Massive, Columnar and Stagshorn Corals. These support a range of tropical reef life including Blue Tipped Rays, Moray Eels, Trigger Fish, Grouper and Batfish. Turtles can be spotted and Whale Sharks are also seen in the area from time to time.
There are a series of dive sites offering good diving at 5-18m around the seamounts and small islands to the West of Koh Chang. These include Koh Man Nok and Hin Sam Sao. The deeper dive sites are located off some of the islands and seamounts to the South of the Archipelago. Hin Luk Bat has a lot of good coral and some good swim-throughs. Hin Raap is a deeper rocky site with good soft corals.There are also some good dive sites around Koh Rang Island. This is slightly further away from Koh Chang but well worth the journey to dive some interesting pinnacles and see some of the best coral reef in the region.
Koh Chang has two excellent wreck dives.
The first is the HTMS Chang, formerly the US Tank Landing Ship LST-542 was decommissioned by the Thai navy, stripped and sunk on November 22nd 2012 in 33 metres of water off the South-East coast of Koh Chang.
The Chang is 100 metres long and is Thailand’s longest wreck dive so you will find plenty of ship to explore under the waters. and it is an interesting and challenging dive site for divers with advanced qualification. The undersea flora and fauna has now had time to develop and you can expect to see all kinds of larger pelagic fish in and around the wreck.
For the ship it is the end of a long life of service that started with its construction in Pittsburgh USA, and included World War 2 service in the Asia Pacific Theatre, with notable involvement in the occupation of Okinawa 1945. Subsequently it was put into use as a sea transport by the US Navy and saw extensive service during the Korean War including involvement in the Inchon Landing of 1950.
The ship must have performed well since in 1955 it was finally given a name rather than a number and continued to serve as the USS Lincoln County until it was decommissioned and transferred to the Royal Thai Navy in 1962.
And now there is a second wreck to visit. The Thai Navy sank another decommissioned vessel off the island in December 2013. The whole process happened very quickly and with little of the fanfare and long delays that accompanied the sinking of the first wreck. The boat was the USS PGM-71, renamed the T11 by Thailand’s Navy. It is a 30 metre long gunboat and has been sunk in shallower waters than the first wreck so it can be dived by divers with just an open water diving certificate. You can expect to see a good range and variety of undersea plants and animals that now call the wreck home. It’s another great reason to come and dive Koh Chang.
All of the dive shops listed on this page will be happy to give you further information about diving the wrecks.
You can book your diving by visiting the offices of the dive shops or from resorts and travel agencies on the island. You can find more about some of the dive businesses by going to the pages listed below.
The price for a two-day Discover Scuba course is around 4,500B whilst full PADI certification costs around 14,500B. Pleasure dives cost in the region of 2,700-3,000B, depending on site, for two dives with lunch. All other PADI courses are also available.
Koh Chang Dive Supply is a large retailer of all kinds of Diving equipment. They also offer a full repair and servicing workshop for all sorts of Scuba equipment. Their office is located between White Sand Beach and Chai Chet.
Siam H20 is another dive equipment retailer. Their recently remodelled shop has a huge stock of gear from diving and snorkelling equipment to free diving and spear fishing kit. They also specialise in Technical diving and equipment for Nitrox and Trimix diving. If you’d like to do some Nitrox diving whilst on Koh Chang then you can take advantage of Scandinavian Chang Diving Center’s Nitrox compressor.
If you fancy taking the effort out of diving it is worth noting that B.B. Divers now have six underwater scooters that you can use to make like James Bond as you cruise the reefs.
Whilst the beaches of Koh Chang themselves offer little opportunity for snorkelling other islands in the chain can be reached by boat trips and there is some excellent shallow reef for snorkelling at these sites. On Koh Chang the rocky shorelines at Hat Kai Mook and Bang Bao Cliff Cottages offer some good snorkelling.
Additionally most of the dive shops will take snorkellers on their boats. Contact them for prices and details.
Koh Chang Dive Businesses
Banner Photography courtesy and copyright Koh Chang Photographer
Other Koh Chang Activities