Thailand is famous for some wonderful scuba diving locations, most of which are often too extreme for new and learning divers, and no good at all for snorkellers. These include Richelieu Rock, Koh Tachai and even Koh Bon. In addition, these ‘awesome’ dive sites are a victim of their own success by often being busy with boats and full of divers. So, where can divers of all cert levels and snorkellers go to enjoy some great underwater experiences? Koh Haa.
Koh Haa means ‘five islands’ in the local language and they are exactly that: five uninhabited tropical islands, with a couple of pristine beaches. They’re located far enough away to ensure a pollution-free environment and not too many visitors, but near enough to be reachable by day trip from Koh Lanta. However, the best way to enjoy it is by liveaboard diving at Koh Haa to see the best of everything without daytrippers anywhere to be seen. These tropical islands are only open to the public from October to May and nobody lives there. They are 20 kilometres southwest from Koh Lanta and 35 kilometres south-southeast from Koh Phi Phi.
The diving is not ‘world class’ but it really does have something special for all levels of diver throughout the season. Learning and new divers can feel safe in the shallow areas which don’t have waves or currents and ther’s lots to see below the surface. In fact, it’s one of the best places in Thailand to learn to dive.Also, snorkellers can spend all day here without getting bored or too tired. For experienced divers there are around ten great dive sites, with lots of interesting marine life. The most-popular three are ‘The Chimney (#1),’ ‘The Lagoon (#2 & #4)’ and ‘The Cathedral (#3)’ which include some awesome topography and easy to challenging swimthroughs. Larger species such as Whale Sharks and Manta Rays are seen from time to time, but with so many other species and the great topography, these islands would be great to dive even if no fish were there.
Although there are several day trip diving boats that visit Koh Haa from Koh Lanta & Koh Phi Phi, liveaboard diving at Koh Haa is by far the best way to enjoy this wonderful location. Normally, only one or two liveaboard diving boats are there each day. In fact, most days there are none. This means that with no daytrip diving boats for the early morning and sunset/night dives, any liveaboard boats at Koh Haa will have the place to themselves. Liveaboard diving at Koh Haa really is the best way to see some of Thailand’s best dive sites without being crowded out by other divers and boats.