As well as beautiful beaches and wonderful resorts, Krabi, on Thailand's west coast, offers some excellent diving. While most make for Thailand's islands there is as much fun above and below water to be had by exploring this beautiful area of the coastline.
Diving in Krabi at one of Ao Nang Beach's nearby 7 main groups of islands means immersing yourself in some of Thailand's most diverse waters where schools of reef fish, beautiful soft corals and wondrous macro-marine life are all present in impressive quantities.
For big fish fans there are plenty of sharks, including leopard sharks, barracudas and large groupers, all frequently seen patrolling the area. The area lies within the Hat Nopparat Thara - Mu Koh Phi Phi National Marine Park.
Koh Dor - In the afternoons the west side of Koh Dor Island often hosts a group of the usually shy black-tip reef sharks. Whilst brief sightings of these sharks are possible on scuba, it's best to watch them on snorkel at lunchtime. The island has a good mix of larger Porites and Diploastrea Heliopora hard corals and soft corals, sea whips, fans and leather corals. Several large barrel sponges are also dotted around the dive site.
Koh Ha - has over 60 coral species and the many gorgonian fans host a range of fascinating shrimps and crabs. Often there are large schools of barracuda and some small groups of squid here, and in early mornings leopard sharks are often seen lazing on the sea's sandy bottom.
Koh Si - This site competes with Koh Yawasam for the best snorkelling area in Ao Nang, with 2 large shallow coral covered plateaus on either side of the island. The southern end is particularly picturesque and usually has good visibility. Big schools of snappers and sometimes large grouper make a breathtaking sight when the visibility is up at this dive site. Otherwise you can always look for seahorses, nudibranchs and scorpionfishes that live amongst the rocks here. Show more
The northern end of the island has a steeper wall covered in Tubeastrea barrel corals, sponges, and sea whips. Black-tip reef sharks are here and dive sightings are common but brief as they commonly shun any contact with humans.
Koh Talu - The large island of Koh Talu boasts 2 swim-throughs and large barracuda often circle the entrances. As you move to deeper waters, mantis shrimps are sometimes found scuttling across the bottom. The coral extends a long way south and it is even possible to swim on one dive from the western side of this island right across to the next site, GK Island.
Koh Yawabon - This island has the longest swim-through in the Krabi area, but this has a large no light zone and can be subject to strong currents, so penetrating the swim-through requires specialised scuba diving training. With the majority of dive boats going to the other islands around Ao Nang, this island is often swarming with large schools of unwary fish. Lobsters are commonly found here, as well the Kuhl's stingrays.
Staying in one of the excellent resorts in the area, which are very reasonably priced and well-run, is the best way to dive in Krabi. You can visit the local Ao Nang Beach area dive sites, which are a very short distance away, or you can join one of the daily boat trips to the further sites of the Phi Phi Islands, and the Shark Point - Kingcruiser - Anemone Reef area.
The season for diving in Krabi is the same as that of Phuket with the high season, especially January to March, seeing the best conditions. Visibility is often 20m but may drop due to sea swells and plankton during low season, when there are fewer divers but less predictable weather. This can sometimes lead to cancellation of day trips to the sites further from shore.
The water temperature in Krabi can reach even 30°C during the dry (high) season, while even in rainy season it never drops below 27°C.
One of the most popular creatures at the Krabi dive sites is undoubtedly the leopard shark. Most of them seem to prefer staying in a particular area instead of making long journeys elsewhere. Their mating season is between March and June, when the female can give birth to as many as 35 pups.
Good for: Small animals, beginner divers, snorkelling and non-diving activities
Not so good for: Drift dives and advanced divers
Depth: 5 - 25m
Visibility: 5 - 20m
Surface conditions: Calm, but can be choppy in rainy season
Water temperature: 27 - 31°C
Experience level: Beginner
Number of dive sites: >10
Distance: ~5-10 km west of Ao Nang Beach (¾ hour), ~70 km east of Phuket
Access: Ao Nang day trips
Recommended length of stay: 1 week to dive all destinations accessible from here