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Thread: Thailand in August - Andaman or Gulf? (or: Is Koh Tao really that bad?)

 


  1. #1
    RM
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    Thailand in August - Andaman or Gulf? (or: Is Koh Tao really that bad?)

    Dear Scubaboard,

    I'm hoping to get some friendly and frank advice on where to dive in Thailand in August. This is my first time time Thailand and I don't know when/if I'll be back.

    I've heard that the best overall diving is in the Andaman Sea (Hin Daeng and Hin Muang sound awesome), though I'll be there during monsoon season, so I've had lots of advice to go to the Gulf. The reviews I've read of Koh Tao, however, make it sound overcrowded and, well, not really what I'm looking for.

    So: Is August really that bad a time for diving the Andaman? Should I stick with the must-see sights on the Gulf? And, of course, is Koh Tao really that bad? Are there alternative launching pads?

    Thanks very much,


    Ralph

  2. #2
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    Having lived and dived from Koh Samui since the last 12 years, August is usually as good as it comes for diving in the Gulf between Samui and Koh Tao, especially Sail Rock can be awesome with some great viz and a good chance of whale shark sightings.

    Diving at the Andaman Sea is good but this time of the year it can be rocky out there and the boats may not always be able to go out. In general it's probably better to dive there during the Oct/Nov-April but than again, you may get lucky.

  3. #3
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    August is not one of the worst months for the Andaman side, but it's true that you may not make it to Hin Daeng--for a couple of reasons. First, of course, is sea conditions. Next, boats may not go out without sufficient numbers of divers to make the trip at least break even, so you might get great weather but miss out on the dives down there anyway. In August, you would have the best chance of diving Hin Daeng if you stay on Lanta, which is the nearest major dive-friendly island to those sites, no chance at all from Phuket unless you go on a live aboard (which is a great option for low season diving here, IMO), and a little better chance from Krabi. Even when you can't make it to Hin Daeng, the other dive sites around Lanta are really nice, though.

    As far as the Gulf goes, if your experience level is what you have on your profile, (0-24 dives), you'll probably find it enjoyable. Most of the dive sites are shallow enough for newer divers, and there are plenty of fish. Koh Tao gets bad press because experienced divers are looking for more than the kind of dives most operators offer, given that there are just so many student divers and just-certified divers there. There are operators that are not so mass-market, though, so if you end up there, go with one of those rather than with the big dive schools. If you're worried about the backpacker vibe on Tao, you might enjoy Samui more.

    On the Andaman side, as compared to the Gulf, our dives tend to be somewhat deeper, the marine life is maybe a little more varied (though there are things in the Gulf we don't have here), and the water clarity is, in my experience, usually a bit better on the Andaman side.

  4. #4
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    IMO the diving in the Andaman Sea is better, year round.

    There are a couple of confirmed liveaboard trips to Hin Daeng and Hin Muang you may be interested in.

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    ayeshacantrell's Avatar
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    In my signature you will see a link to our dive reports from Koh Tao - with pictures and video of the days diving ....have a look for yourself ....

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    I would agree with Steven. But having said that, there is also some good diving to be had in KT, and possibly this could be the best time of year to dive there. And as already explained, it may not always be possible to get the dives you want on the Andaman this time of year.
    With regards to KT in general, again as we are now in low season would possibly be the best time to visit as it will not be so busy. KT in my mind is worth going for the diving as I have done in the past quite a few times, but as far as I am concerned if it was not for the diving KT would be one of those places that I would visit once and probably never go back. There are other resorts / islands you can stay in the area but most of the diving will still be done around KT.

  7. #7
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    LK,

    August is very busy on and around the Gulf islands, KT, Phangan and Samui are buzzing, in contrast to the Andaman side, it's high season over here!

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    I had originally planned to head to Koh Tao this week, but with TS Nok Ten on the way and predictions of two meter swells in the lower gulf, I decided to give it a miss.

    How was the diving early this week?

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    The wind has died down from last week but its still a little lumpy but there are plenty of dive sites here and we can hide from the wind in other places....we were out at Chumphon yesterday and it was lovely.....the new wreck has been moved and sits upright and is open for diving again as of yesterday. Overall the diving has been great .....

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    Ah, reminds me of that line in Bruce Brown's surf movie "The Endless Summer": 'You shoulda been here yesterday!'

    (Perhaps I'm the only one here old enough to remember that!)
    Last edited by Buadhai; August 4th, 2011 at 12:29 AM. Reason: Senior moment. Got the famous phrase exactly wrong.

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