(c) August 2006 Oliver Bonten
Ko Pha Ngan 2006
|Ko Pha Ngan 2006
After my extremely enjoyable time on the Perhentians, I wanted to move on to the Gulf of Thailand, and since I've never been on Ko Pha Ngan, I decided to try this island. I expected that it would be better than Ko Samui for diving, and that it would offer more non-diving options than Ko Tao.
At first I went to Haad Rin because that is the place where (most of) the action is, and I thougt I would find everything there. And in fact it is a good place to get organised, but other places on the island appear to be suitable for this purpose as well, and Haad Rin is really a dreadful kind of Khao San Road on the beach. After two days I relocated to a newly opened resort in the Ban Tai area, which was OK though the place was a bit too quiet for my taste, but I didn't want to relocate again.
The tours that Pha Ngan Divers re-sold were more relaxed and with more experienced divers on board, but Lotus was the better organised place. They reminded me a bit of the dive shops on Ko Tao.
Sail Rock is the closest dive site to Ko Pha Ngan and therefore it is frequently visited, on day trips that go only to Sail Rock, and as one stop on trips that go to several locations. As a consequence I've been there a couple of times. Sail Rock features a chimney, something like a vertical swimthrough, and it is actually quite a good dive site but subject to currents and visibility.
In particular on the first day I went there, currents were bad.
Chumpon Pinnacle is one of the best dive sites in the area. Which doesn't mean it is good for photographing - it is also one of the deepest sites in the area. But visibility is often better than on many other sites, and it is one spot where big fish pass by, especially blacktip reef sharks.
Operators dive at South West Pinnacle usually because it is conveniently on the way back (or going to) Chumpon Pinnacle, but normally Chumpon Pinnacle is the real destination of a dive trip and South West Pinnacle only the secondary attraction. Not so after my first dive there: we saw a whale shark, and for a couple of days everybody wanted to go to Southwest Pinnacle, without seeing the guy again of course.
The Ang Tong Marine Park is near Ko Pha Ngan and the only dive spot in the area where people from Ko Tao usually don't go. It was not the best season for the Marine Park, though, so not many boats went there, and then only to the edge, and visibility was poor. Still it is a pretty good site for photographers.
White Rock is a dive spot near Ko Tao that can be reached from Ko Pha Ngan on a day trip.
Shark Point is a dive spot near Ko Tao which can be reached from Ko Pha Ngan.
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