Koh Bida Nai diving

Phi Phi diving

Koh Bida Nai Leopard sharkKoh Bida Nai (in Thai it means inner father island) is a limestone island that rises dramatically from the sea to the south of Phi Phi Ley. Along with it’s twin site of Koh Bida Nok this is regarded as Phi Phi’s best dive area and is where most of the dive boats coming from Phuket Island choose to dive.

Where trees cling to the rocks above the waterline they are replaced with corals below. Walls are covered with zigzag clams, huge gorgonian sea fans and sea whips. Boulders form swim-throughs and staghorn patches are home to thousands of fish.

Descending the mooring line takes divers to the top of a small boulder formation. Swim into the wall of glass fish below and they will part to reveal a swim-through like a secret door. Bearded scorpion fish like to sit on the bottom here so care is needed with buoyancy.

On the outer edge of the swim-through it is normally possible to see harlequin ghost pipefish and seahorse. On the inner side moray eels poke their heads from the rock to be cleaned by boxer shrimp. Moving east around the island you pass small coral bommies and a colourful sloping wall covered with anemones and resident clown fish. Look for beautiful porcelain crabs on the edges of the anemones.

To the south east of the island over a narrow sand patch and a staghorn coral garden you reach Fantasy Reef. Leopard Sharks are usually resting in the sand here and blacktip sharks are common sightings, particularly on morning dives.

Schools of trevally and five finger jacks hunt above the reef and on days when visibility is good it’s an amazing site to see as they make raid after raid on the thousands of bait fish. Schools of squid can also be seen. Barrel sponges are full of lion fish and scorpion fish. Trumpet fish and file fish hover above the staghorn as do banner fish and puffer fish.Phi Phi Islands Diving

Bamboo sharks can be spotted under small coral covered rocks. Look for the tell tale sand hole at the base of the rock where the sharks have dug their hole. Juvenile oriental sweetlips can be seen doing their unusual dance. Closer in towards the main island is another long narrow swim-through. Grouper and emperor angelfish are common here. Look up to the surface to see crocodile longtoms swimming above.

As you finally ascend and break the surface you can pass the time while you wait to be picked up by your dive boat looking at stunning rock formations where minerals in the rocks have stained the limestone oranges and whites. White bellied sea eagles and braminy kites will be circling above in the bright sunny sky.

This post is also available in: Thai