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? The answer is 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 there’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 swim-throughs. 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. In fact, most days there are none. This means that with no day trip 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.
As part of the national marine park it's officially open from October 15th - May 15th every year. We advise going from November to April, with the best months December to March.
Koh Haa is a group of five uninhabited islands and islets, surrounded by healthy coral reef. There are several swim-throughs and a small cave.
In southern Thailand's Andaman Sea, 45 kilometres from the mainland (Trang province) and 20 kilometres from Koh Lanta. It's part of a national marine park, and therefore protected and closed during the rainy season.
Some day trips go from Koh Lanta, but the best way to visit Koh Haa is on a liveaboard diving safari.
Day-trip boats take at least an hour to get there, and some take more than two hours. Liveaboards can sail through the night or during your surface interval.
Anyone can dive at Koh Haa. You can learn to dive there, by doing your Open Water Diver Course, as well as take the Advanced Course. It's physically possible to do a 'try dive' at Koh Haa, but sometimes it's not possible for logistic or bureaucratic reasons.
Experienced divers can enjoy deep dives, caves, swim-throughs and currents.
Marine life at Koh Haa comes in all shapes and sizes. From tiny seahorses and nudibranchs to the majestic Whale Shark! The corals are healthy and home to plenty of reef species. Plus because Koh Haa is in open sea, large pelagic species are often seen passing or visiting the reefs.
Koh Haa is a wonderful place to visit for snorkellers and divers of all levels. It really has the perfect balance of variety, safety, marine life, depth and more. Getting there is done from Koh Lanta on a day trip boat, or from Phuket on a liveaboard diving safari. It's closed from May to October, and the best time to go is from Christmas to March.