Every year visitors from around the world come to dive in Thailand’s Andaman Sea. Koh Phra Thong, which is the closest land mass to some of the most exciting diving sites in Thailand, is an ideal location to take up diving.
Golden Buddha Beach Resort does not have its own diving operation but our visitors can book in advance with Blue Guru Diving, which operate from their own base a little further down the bay. They have operated on Koh Phra Thong for many years, and know the local diving spots better than anyone. Blue Guru offer a full range of PADI diving courses in season (November to April). They can also arrange diving trips to Richelieu, The Surin and Similan Islands.
THE SURIN ISLANDS:
The Surin Islands are made up of five islands of the Andaman Sea and are administratively a part of Tambon Koh Phra Thong. The Mu Ko Surin National Park covers the area of the islands and their surrounding waters.
The park is home to one of the most famous dive site in the world, Richelieu Rock. The islands are famous for their hard corals and fringing reefs suitable for divers and snorkelers. Surin National Marine Park is usually open from 15 November until 30 April, thus this is the diving season at our resort.
Koh Phra Thong is the closest landfall point to the world famous Richelieu Rock, a submerged rock about 18 km (11 miles) east of the Surin Islands. The horseshoe-shaped reef discovered by Jacques-Yves Cousteau is known for its purple corals as well as diverse marine life ranging from small fish and harlequin shrimp to large pelagics like whale shark, manta ray, barracuda, and grouper.
Richelieu Rock is an iconic dive site. Surrounded by deep ocean, it acts rather like an oasis harboring a vast array of fish and corals, but can be a challenging site for divers. Although not dangerous, there are depths to 35 meters and occasional currents. It is therefore not suitable for snorkelers or novice divers. Sightings cannot of course be guaranteed but generally February to April is considered whale shark season. Manta ray sightings are more common.
THE SIMILAN ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK:
The park is an archipelago consisting of nine islands named Koh Bayu, Koh Bon, Koh Huyong, Koh Miang, Koh Payan, Koh Payang, Koh Payu, Koh Similan, and Koh Tachai. The Similan Islands is one of the most famous diving sites in Thailand, and is ranked as one of the top ten dive destinations in the world, according to the National Geographic Society.
Koh Tachai is the most northerly island in the group, and is visible from Golden Buddha Resort on a clear day. The beautiful white sands and turquoise waters there are idyllic. An abundance of reef fish can be sighted by divers and snorkelers.
The other islands in the group and Koh Bon are further south. Day trips or live-aboards from Khao Lak can be arranged through Blue Guru.