The Phi Phi Islands offer a great diving destination in south Thailand. The scenery from the surface is already stunning; colossal limestone monoliths rising straight from the sea and soaring to heights of more than 100 meters. Underwater, these towers shape a rugged, stunning environment for scuba divers. Over time the elements have created caves, overhangs, and swim-throughs in the soft limestone rock.
Other dive profiles include vertical walls that plunge from the surface to over 25 meters. On these walls, growing in every nook and cranny, are found a profusion of soft corals, large orange-colored fans, black corals, and long stringy sea whips. There are several unusual types of coral endemic to the waters surrounding the Phi Phi Islands, including a one-meter-high white coral bush that is shaped like a Christmas tree complete with little ornaments.
The Phi Phi Islands offer a remarkable variety of dive sites concentrated in a small area. One of the most popular dive sites is located at the Southern tip of the small island of Koh Bida Nok. In a shallow bay on the Eastern side of the island are found huge gardens of stag horn and star corals and incredible numbers of colorful reef fish. In spite of diving visibility often being limited to 5-20 meters, the Phi Phi Islands are likely to remain among the most popular diving locations in Southeast Asia.
|Boat Trip||100 minutes. Approx.|
|Depth||3 - 27 metres|
|Experience Level||OK for all levels|
|Reef type||Coral gardens, limestone rock, walls|
|Visibility||Variable from 5-30 metres|
|Current||Variable, often strong, good drift diving|
|Coral||Lush colorful soft corals, healthy hard corals|
|Fish||Quantities and varieties excellent|
|Highlights||Leopard sharks, dramatic landscape above and below the water, caves, vertical walls, and many colorful soft corals.|
Phi Phi Island Dive Sites
A small submerged reef just east of Koh Phi Phi Leh and a excellent backup to Shark Point so if you are unlucky there, Garang Heng has a healthy reef with anemones, soft corals and of course, sharks.
Four pinnacles starting just below sea level and dropping down to around 30 metres characterise Hin Dot (Chimney Rocks) on Phi Phi Don's southern headlands. Often quite dark due to the volume of fish life above you, but some interesting marine life under the rocks near the bottom where several nurse sharks have been discovered. These enormous towers are famous for their large schools of fish. Other fish populations include groupers, pufferfish, lionfish, squid and bearded scorpionfish.
- Location: 15-20 minutes by boat from Tonsai Bay
- Remarks: Visibility 8-20 metres - Dive depth: 10-34 metres
Hin Pae is a relatively shallow dive site - 10 to 15 metres deep. Its shallow depth offers excellent snorkeling. Hin Pae is sometimes called Baby Shark Point, because even snorkellers have the opportunity to see different types of sharks. The main topography includes boulder and brain corals, with many holes and tunnels for moray eels to pass through. Soft and hard coral provide shelter for a rich variety of coral fish. Crabs, lobsters, angelfish, groupers, snappers and surgeonfish are also residents of this area.
- Location: 10 minutes by boat from Tonsai
- Remarks: Visibility 7-15 metres - Dive depth: 8-16 metres
King Cruiser Wreck
Built in Japan 30 years ago, King Cruiser was a comfortable catamaran-hull passenger-cruiser with 4 decks until she sank on the 4th May 1997 in near perfect weather conditions. An easy dive, King Cruiser has large openings that allow easy access to the spacious interior. The propellers (deepest point) rest 30 metres deep with the most interesting areas around the passenger decks between 10 and 20 metres.
Koh Bida Nok & Kok Bida Nai
One dive site not to be missed, Ko Bida Nok, has outstanding hard and soft coral with lots of marine life. Sightings include leopard sharks, turtles, moray eels & ghost pipe fish, plus there is always a chance of the unexpected whale sharks and manta rays.
- Location: 50 minutes from Tonsai Bay
- Remarks: Visibility averages 20 metres - Dive depth: 19 to 30 metres
With a maximum depth of 18 metres and plenty of fish life and rocks to look under, Maya provides a great dive site for the inexperienced diver. Heading out of the bay, the underwater landscape changes with large caves 30+ depths. Maya South starts as a shear wall down to 30 metres.
Yes Shark Point (Hin Bida) does live up to it's name, well 95% of the time. This rock which justs breaks the surface, attracts a lot of Leopard sharks and often Nurse & Reef sharks as well. A small, submerged outcrop some 8 kilometres southeast of Phi Phi Ley, it's a favoured spot for whale sharks around February / March.
- Location: 50 to 60 minutes from Tonsai Bay
- Remarks: Good visibility, averaging 20 metres - Dive depth: 12 to 18 metres