Koh Lipe diving
Tarutao marine park
Tarutao National Marine Park in the southern Thailand province of Satun consists of more than 70 islands which make up the Butang group.
Located close to the Thailand Malaysia border, just 30 nautical miles north of Langkawi, this protected area is still off the main tourist trail and many dive sites here are still to be discovered.
Koh Lipe is the only island that is permanently inhabited and a few dive centres can be found there. Most people stay on Pattaya beach.
Koh Lipe is home to the Chao Ley (Sea Gypsies in Thai), nomadic fishermen with their own culture, language and religion. Their village is at Sunrise beach and there are a few resort bungalows there too.
The best way to get to Koh Lipe is by ferry from Trang, Koh Lanta, Koh Muk or Langkawi. Koh Lipe diving is best from November to April, ferry few people visit the islands in the low season when ferries may not run.
Beaches are unspoilt with pure white sand and the islands are home to myriads of bird life. Dive sites are equally pristine with usually clear water and magnificent soft corals. Currents can be strong here with lots of opportunity for drift diving. Dolphins are regularly seen here from the boat and the very lucky may get a (very rare) dugong encounter.
Koh Lipe Dive sites
8 Mile Rock is an advanced dive site, 70 minutes boat ride from Koh Lipe. It’s a soft coral covered pinnacle that starts at 14m below the surface and drops to 50m deep. Diving is often not possible here due to the extreme currents that can be present but when you can dive it is likely that you’ll see large pelagics including whale sharks and manta rays.
Hin Chabang is another rock pinnacle covered in soft coral and is a favourite site for snorkellers as well as divers. The cleaning station here attracts the big fish.
Another site with strong currents is Yong Hua, a fish-factory shipwreck that sank in 1996 of the Koh Lipe coast. It now sits in 40m of water and is covered in marine life.
The west coast of Koh Adang has some excellent dive sites made up of large boulder formations and many coral and fish species.
Between Koh Lipe and Koh Adang is Hin Takorn Dukong a large granite boulder dive that is suitable for all levels of diver. Leopard shark are seen here.
Jabang is a large pinnacle in open sea that drops down to 18m. It’s covered in red and purple soft coral plus some hard coral species, barrel sponges and crinoids. Marine life here is prolific including lionfish, stonefish and many types of moray eel.
Other dive sites include Koh Dong, Koh Saweng, Honey Island, Petasem Plateau, Stonehenge, Rocky reef, Champagne Rocks and Lost Anchor Rock.