Scuba Diving Around Pattaya Far Islands
As the far islands are uninhabited and a little further from Bangkok the visibility tends to be marginally better than at the Near Islands. All of the Far Islands have large amounts of Jacks, Trevellys, Barracuda, Rabbitfish, Angelfish, Butterflyfish, Wrasse, Gobi’s and as with the near islands thousands of Damselfish, as well as some Giant Reef Rays, some up to 2 metres across. A variety of sharks can also be found in these sites.
Koh Rin has three main dive areas each of which can easily support more than one dive. Hin Ton Mai also known as South Rock is a very popular dive spot as the fish life is very varied with lots of Moray Eels and Barracuda. There are plenty of both hard and soft corals, coral whips as well as very good invertebrate life such as nudibranchs, brittle stars and feather stars. This site has very good coral life down to 16 metres. Hin Khao also known as North Rock has as much coral life as South Rock and has lots of rock outcroppings that are homes to many sharks and eels. This is an excellent site for searching around for the more unusual nudibranchs, pipefish, razorfish and others that like to hide away. The site has good diving down to around 14 metres. Koh Rin bay. This site is, unlike the two rocks previously mentioned, part of the main island of Koh Rin. Although this site only goes down to a maximum depth of 12 metres it is well protected from currents and is therefore a nice relaxing dive when compared to both South and North Rock.
Koh Man Wichai:
Koh Man Wichai has two excellent dive areas, the first of which ‘The Wall’ cannot be completed in one dive. The Wall is a 7 metre high coral wall that runs down from 9 to 23 metres and is a dive in itself. The area around the wall itself is an excellent dive site, you can start your dive from the bay and go out along the soft coral line at 18 metres, finish half of your allotted time and come back to the boat along the hard coral line at 12 metres, two environments in one dive !! As each environment is different with the larger fish among the soft corals this is for me the best dive to be had around Pattaya islands. The other dive site at Koh Man Wichai is called ‘The Fingers’, the fingers are a set a rocks stretching from land out to sea to a depth of 12 metres, the hard coral and fish life is very good and as there are five fingers ( but no thumb !!) it is like diving across a large hand.
Koh Hu Chang:
Koh Hu Chang is a very small island that although quite shallow at around 10 metres has some very good corals and abundant small fish life. Koh Hu Chang probably has more sea anemones than either Koh Rin or Koh Man Wichai and as it is well protected from the wind is a good relaxing dive spot.
Koh Klung Bedan:
Koh Klung Bedan is another small dive site that is also quite shallow, maximum coral depth being 12 metres. This dive site has many Staghorn and Table corals as well as Boulder corals that have many Christmas Tree worms.
Koh Phai or Bamboo Island is controlled by the Royal Thai Navy, who restricts the use of the beaches, but the small sheltered bay at the south of the island is ideal for beginners.
Phillip Boyes, highly experienced in marketing now living in Thailand is co-owner of Adventure Divers. http://www.pattayadivers.com.