Tag - Koh Chang

Exploring the BEST Diving Spots in Thailand

Two fish at a coral reef in Thailand

Guest post by Michelle Williams

Diving in Thailand


iving is one of the major activities when visiting the islands and beaches of Thailand. The combination of clear and warm tropical waters, and the overall variety of marine flora and fauna makes Thailand a great destination for exploring the wonders of the underwater world.

A lot of the great dive spots are right off the beach, along rocky shorelines which makes diving in Thailand very beginner friendly. On top of that, you have numerous Thai dive spots that include old underwater wrecks.

All of Thailand’s top diving destinations will have dive shops and schools, making it unnecessary to bring your own equipment. Especially for snorkeling though, it is nice to have you own equipment when the opportunity arises. There are numerous options, should you want to use your own diving gear and perhaps you would also want to bring some underwater camera equipment to store your underwater memories.

Choosing the right diving location

It can be overwhelming to choose a holiday destination when you start researching, as you will surely be presented with numerous dive options in Thailand. Many of the diving destinations in Thailand are seasonal, meaning your time of travel will help determine which area to explore. Here, we break down the top dive spots to help you decide.

Koh Tao

Koh Tao is located in the Gulf of Thailand, not far from two other famous islands Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. Among these islands, Koh Tao is particularly popular among divers.

The diving in Koh Tao is recognized for its relatively easy waters and friendly reefs, perfect for beginner scuba divers. The island is one of the top destinations for scuba diving instruction in the world and the number of open water dive certificates handed out here each year is staggering. You will find an abundance of PADI certified diving schools. Another important factor in Koh Tao being the go-to diving destination in Thailand is the fact that the island offers year-round diving in good conditions.

On a lot of the islands beaches, you can snorkel or scuba dive from right off the beach, as the island provides plenty of rocks and reefs teeming with life.

Koh Chang

Koh Chang lies in the eastern part of the Gulf of Thailand, not far from the borders of neighbouring Cambodia. Koh Chang and its surrounding islands are known for their lush green environments, being part of the Mu Koh Chang National Park.

Weather plays a role in this area, as the summer months and beginning of autumn sees a lot of rain. This means that from June to September the visibility decreases, so this is not the best time to go diving around Koh Chang.

Koh Chang has a number of wrecks for some exciting diving, as well as rocks in the shallow waters and reefs. The dive sites are mainly located to the west and south of the island.

Similan Islands

The Similan Islands is a cluster of islands in the Andaman Sea, east of Khaolak. These islands have maintained their charm with only very basic camping grounds and bungalows on a couple of the islands.

Usually visitors to the area stay overnight on liveaboard packages or daytrips from the mainland, where the main theme is diving, snorkeling and some romantic castaway experiences. So while getting to this divespot may require a bit more planning, you will get fantastic memories to take back home.

The diving season is seasonal here, spanning from October to May, while the best conditions for diving are between November and February.


Phuket is Thailand’s most famous beach holiday destination, so naturally the area offers much more than just diving. This makes it a great vacation choice if you want a lot of activity options for you stay.

Phuket mostly serves as a hub for multiple diving sites in the area, where you jump onboard a boat and go on day trips to the best diving spots.

Just like the Similan Islands, the diving in the Phuket area is best from October to May, where the waters are more calm and visibility is highest. section seperator

Diving in Thailand Resources

For more information about Thailand, head straight to our main Thailand travel guide. For more information on diving resources, here are some excellent links:

PADI’s Diving Guide to Thailand

DivingSquad’s Diver’s Guide

Ithaka’s Beginner’s Guide to Diving in Thailand

For a quick and easy overview of when to dive in each of Thailand’s top diving destinations, take a look at this table from Asia Dive Site:
dive seasons in Thailand

Wai Chaek, Koh Chang’s Robinson Crusoe Beach

Old rusty boat on the deserted Wai Chaek Beach (Haad Wai Shak) of Koh Chang, Thailand
Our Wai Chaek expedition turned out to be something special.

 Unknown, May 2014
Time: Morning
Deadline: 4 hours later (hotel check out)
Starting point: Khlong Kloi Beach, southern Koh Chang
Armour: Kayak, camera, ½L of water
Weather: Clear blue sky, calm water
Mission: Hunt down Koh Chang’s Wai Chaek beach

The evening before, we had spotted a long yellow strip on our Koh Chang map on the very south of the island. On the map it said “Wai Check Beach”. According to the map, no roads let to the beach, but since we were already on Khlong Koi Beach just a “map inch” away, we decided to check it out the following morning.

Finger pointing on map showing Khlong Kloi Beach and Wai Chaek Beach (หวายแฉก) in southern Koh Chang, Thailand

Only an inch of kayaking on the map

Our idea was to rent a kayak, visit the beach in the morning, and get back in time for check-out at our resort at noon. We paddled along rocky shores of the island with the sun beating down on us with increased intensity. After about half an hour of intense paddling we arrived at a small bay. The beach was covered with rocks and pebbles, so we decided to continue on for another 15 minutes. We arrived at another bay where we stopped to cool down in the sea and try to figure out if this was Wai Chaek Beach.

We hoped it wasn’t, because this bay was also filled with rocks and pebbles, and didn’t look like the long sandy beach portrayed on the map. We decided to continue for a bit. Because of the curves of the island and the cliffs sticking out of the water, we could only see as far as the next little cape along the island. Every time we passed a new cape, we were disappointed to see that there was no beach to be found. The sun felt a little more merciless, and we began to doubt that we would get to the beach in time – if it even existed.

Patience and perseverance are central to hunting expeditions, so we continued. After curving around yet another island cape without a beach on target, we decided to paddle to the next rock and turn around from there, if Koh Chang bid us yet another stretch of rocky island coast with no beach. Just as our turning point approached, the spectacular view of a long, sandy, palm-fringed beach appeared. Wai Chaek Beach! What an absolutely wonderful view. The beach lay outstretched before our eyes with nobody in sight to take away the feeling of arriving at an absolutely deserted Robinson Crusoe beach.

We lost time on the beach, in the sea, and while investigating the beach from all possible corners and angles.

 Mission accomplished.
 Deadline not met.

  • Wai Chaek?
    The beach is somtimes spelled Wai Shak, Wai Chek or Wai Check. Surely, there are more transliterations out there. In Thai, luckily, Wai Chaek Beach has always been spelled หาดหวายแฉก.
  • Is there no other way to get there?
    Yes, a few days later we found our way on a small bumpy path guided by our GPS. Without this aid, we would never have found it. As the main road on Koh Chang is a reverse U-shape, you have to go all the way to the northern tip of Koh Chang and then down along the eastern side. We zig-zagged along bumpy dirt roads and barely visible paths to get there, but apparently, there is a bigger road leading to Haad Wai Chaek. Ask the guys at Ting Tong Bar on Lonely Beach, Koh Chang.
  • Is there accommodation at Wai Chaek?
    Yes and no. First, define accommodation (yes, it’s that “rustic”). Travel Fish recently (2015) reported that the bungalows are now closed, and that it was unclear whether this was a temporary situation. We checked this information by contacting the owners of Ting Tong Bar who also run the bungalows at Wai Chaek. They informed us that we could just let them know when we desired to visit and they would open. So, if you plan to spend some nights at this beautiful place, be sure to contact them first either directly at the Ting Tong Bar on Lonely Beach, Koh Chang or through their facebook page.You will find some simple bungalows on a hill at the western end of Wai Chaek Beach. They were in the middle of adding a few more bungalows when we came. The old bungalows actually hardly qualify as such. They are more like shaky shelters with no facilities whatsoever. The newly build ones are equally simple but bigger and better built. You get a mattress and a mosquito net. Toilet and shower room (the cold water scoop style shower) are shared. They serve meals there, and they managed to cook really delicious food for us. There is a nice chill-out area with wooden chairs a few hammocks and a superb sea view. Electricity, not much. If you need to charge any electronic device there is a plug at the bar cum restaurant cum reception. Air-con, fan, tv, hair-dryer – forget about it. Lighting at night? – nope, but you get a kerosene lamp. Amazingly, however, they do manage to keep cold drinks in the bar.
  • More information on Wai Chaek?
    A fantastic resource on Koh Chang, has an interesting story on finding the beautiful “Haad Wai Chek”.

Here are a few images of the Wai Shak Bungalows. This should get you an idea of whether spending the night here is for you:

In short, if you plan to stay at Wai Chaek Beach, you have to love the simple, back to nature kind of experience. The beach is stunning, the sand is smooth, the sea is clear, and you are likely to have a 400 meter beach to yourself. If Robinson Crusoe beach charm is your thing – Wai Chaek Beach will send warm sun rays of bliss through your entire being. That’s what it did to us.