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Ko Rok

The two sister islands of Ko Rok (Nok and Nai) are best known as the best snorkelling sites around Ko Lanta.

There are enormous gorgonian sea fans, huge hard coral formations and many colourful soft corals dominate the deeper area on the east side of Ko Rok Nok. The islands are quite large so we are still discovering new and exciting dives.

Ko Rok is a very relaxed and calm dive, and perfect for beginner divers and those who like to capture the magic of diving without too many dive boats around. There isnt a huge amount of marine life, but marble rays and Hawksbill turtles are often spotted. Its a great day out for partys with a mix of divers and snorkellers, As there is lots to keep both entertained. With the right weather, lunch on the beach is also a added bonus to relax and soak up the sun on your lunch break.

Ko Phi Phi

At the heart of Phi Phi Leh lies some magical diving experiences. Located around 22km west of Ko Lanta the Phi Phi islands offer consistently good diving. Phi Phi is best known for its fabulous sea fans and home to the leopard sharks. With long caves, dramatic over hangs and swimthroughs Phi Phi can offer some fond memories.

Bida Nok and Bida Nai have been rated the best diving there.  The dive sites lie next to eachother and are very similar. Both offer a fabulous display of hard and soft coral, and both being home to marine life including black tip reef sharks, hawskbill turtles and sting rays.

Bida Nok has an outer reef known as finger reef. The cove starts at around 3metres where baby black tip reef sharks can be found. To the side of this Finger reef gradually drops to around 18metres which is home to the odd leopard shark and stingray.

Bida Nai has its own reef known as fantasy reef. You have to leave the main pinnacles and swim over massive patches of stag coral to get to it. There you will experience breath taking experiences of barracuda and trevally hunting over you, sea snakes free swimming and scools of snappers alongside you.

It takes around 45mintues by speedboat to get to phi phi, where you will enjoy the picture perfect views on your lunch break. the visibility ranges from 5 – 20m, and although you do not get the visibility of Ko Haa, the sighting of the odd leopard shark will make your dive!

King Cruiser Wreck – Dive Site Review

Dive Site Review of the King Cruiser Wreck

Wreck - Yellow Snapper

a dense layer of yellow snapper above the wreck

As I descended down the line towards the King Cruiser Wreck, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d heard the stories of eerie currents sweeping over the ruins of a huge steel catamaran wreck and I was a little worried about the poor visibility I’d heard so much about.

I certainly wasn’t prepared for the sheer numbers of schooling fish that engulfed the steel hulk.

Going down the buoy line, it felt as though I was descending into a swirling mass of yellow snappers and trevally. It was almost impossible to guess at what lay beneath this impenetrable layer of excited fish.

As I drifted downwards, the imposing outline of the huge sunken boat started to take shape, appearing gradually out of the gloom. I could make out a walkway with railings along the side, the remains of the wheelhouse and a turret on the side of the wreck loomed out of the side closest to me.

King Cruiser Wreck through schooling fish

the wreck emerges through the swirling schools of fish

A large school of big-eye trevally swam busily past as I checked my bearings on my compass. The wreck lies on a north-south trajectory and I had descended at the southern end.

My buddy signalled that we should continue down to explore a little deeper. At around 24m the visibility dropped to around 6m but I could make out the large, dark opening to the car deck. The ramp sloped down towards the murky depths and some extremely large lionfish hovered around the imposing entrance.

A few jacks circled the opening hopefully, being swallowed up by the vast darkness of the interior, before emerging again on their hunting circuit.

Although it seemed tempting to follow them inside, I’d been cautioned during the dive briefing that penetration was out of the question, due to the unstable nature of the wreck’s structure. Steel that’s been lying in 30 degree salt water for the best part of 14 years is not to be trusted. The odd groaning and creaking sounds I could hear emanating from the wreck gave more than a little credence to this advise.

Images of the King Cruiser Wreck

Swimming along the starboard side, I peered into one of the large openings that had been cut out of the side of the car deck. A huge mappa pufferfish stared back at me, its distended belly glowing in the greenish, murky light. I tried to imagine cars lined up inside, but it felt impossible – almost as though the fish had claimed this sunken mass of metal as their own kingdom, its former life lost in the passage of time.

white-eye moray sheltering in a tiny crack in the wreck

As we rounded the northern end of the wreck, it seemed as though there was almost no end to the variety of marine life to be found on this site.

I wished I’d brought a torch after my guide (who had brought one) picked out more and more tiny delights hiding in the most unusual places. With a torch, all the colours became so much more vivid and I could really see all the corals that had started growing on the wreck’s structure.

Disregarding the vast numbers of schooling and hunting fish that surround the wreck, every little crack and crevice seemed to have become an established home for a different species of fish or crustacean. Even the railings and ironwork concealed cleverly camouflaged scorpionfish or tiny nudibranches, clinging on in the brisk current.

Big, bold white cowfish nosed around on the main deck, while rainbow runners darted through ever-present schools of snappers. I was intrigued to find three toilets lying in blithe disarray, presumably tossed there by the stronger currents that sweep through these areas during the monsoon seasons.

King Cruiser Wreck - Walkways

the walkways give a true sense of the size of the wreck

The moment it most felt like I was truly diving on a shipwreck was when we swam along the main walkway down the side of the top deck. It was at this point in the dive that the sense of perspective seemed more real and the true size of the boat become most apparent, filling me with a sense of awe at the remarkable beauty in the juxtaposition of nature, rusting metal and such an abundant array of colourful tropical fish.

The walkway is wide enough for 1 person to swim fairly comfortably along it. There are windows that look into the inside seating area.

Some fairly significant sections of the upper deck have collapsed in towards the middle of the boat, and some of the huge metal sheets that make up the main structure of this deck, are torn and twisted in spectacular disarray, adding to the eerie atmosphere and giving many more sheltered areas for the fish to inhabit.

Looking in through the top-deck windows, quite a few of the passenger seats were still in place and I was delighted to discover a huge Hawksbill Turtle sleeping in the main cabin. It was almost as if the turtle had picked out the most comfortable spot to take a nap.

Marine Life on the Wreck

The King Cruiser Wreck is a remarkable dive that’s completely different to any of the other dive sites I’ve dived around Ko Lanta. On the day that I dived, there were some fairly strong currents, although once we were down exploring the wreck, the structure itself provided quite a bit of natural shelter from the current. The visibility seemed to be quite variable with deeper parts having much poorer visibility that the shallower areas of the wreck. For me, this added to the atmosphere of it being a wreck dive and it was exciting to piece together an overview of the entire boat from each new section that I discovered.

I dived on NITROX which meant that I had plenty of bottom time to really explore all the interesting areas of the King Cruiser. As quite a few sections have collapsed inwards, a fairly significant part of the wreck lies below 18m. For me, diving on NITROX was a great decision.

Banded Sea Snake

the colours appear so much more vibrant when using a torch or flash light

The King Cruiser Wreck is situated half way between Ko Phi Phi and Phuket, and is the area’s most popular wreck dive. The boat lies perfectly upright, resting on the sandy bottom, with the deepest point at 32m and the captain’s cabin at around 14m. The entire wreck is 85 meters long and 35 meters wide and lies north to south.

Since sinking, the King Cruiser’s steel frame has evolved into a fantastic, barnacle covered, natural reef – a wonder that has attracted countless marine species, including massive schools of snapper, trevallie and batfish.

The wreck’s resident turtle lives inside and makes a trip up to the surface to breathe approximately every half an hour, so you’ve got a fairly good chance to find him during any dive you make there. You’re also likely to find many types and sizes of pufferfish, moray eels, lionfish and scorpionfish hiding in cracks and openings. There can also be a few unexpected visitors such as octopus, reef sharks and maybe even a whale shark.

With such a vast number of fish calling the King Cruiser Wreck their home, it’s bound to attract ever-increasing numbers of larger fish, looking out for a quick snack. This makes for exciting diving with never a dull moment!


If you’d like to share a dive-site review of one of Ko Lanta’s dive sites, please submit your review via email to review [at] scuba-dive-lanta.com.

Hin Daeng and Hin Muang

Hin Daeng and Hin Muang (red rock purple rock) has developed a high place in diving rated the best in Thailand after the similan islands. These two spectacular dive sites have tourists coming from all over Thailand choosing from speed boats to live aboards. The dive sites are most famous in the diving world for a good chance to see manta rays and whale sharks, the dive sites are very popular from the months of november to april, when the weather is most stable.

Hin Daeng – red rock – This is a submerged boulder pinnicle, where at the surface you have no idea of the hidden beauty under water. There are plenty of soft corals in different shades of red all around, looking out into the blue you will be amazed by the amount of giant trevallies and barracudas hunting. Hin Daeng  promises you a large amount of marine life surrounding you as you slowly glide through the warm waters. Most appealing to this dive site is the sightings of manta rays. Its common to see them coming in from the blue and enjoying your company while swooping around and around in your presence. Its always good to keep an eye out for the whale shark too, who likes to pop by from time to time. Theres no mistaking the largest fish in the sea (growing 12metres and bigger) so enjoy being on the look out.

This dive site starts at around 3metres and drops to 40metres plus on the southern side. Visibility usually ranges from 15 – 40metres

Hin Muang ( purple rock) is the deeper of the two dive sites, Hin Muang is covered with purple soft coral over the several pinnacles which create it. There is a mooring line to help with the descent and ascent of the dive, which is surrounded with a field of anenomes. Manta rays and whale sharks also have sightings here, and in addition other tropical reef residents including large grouper, snappers and moray eels lurk among the many crevices. Hin Muang is also rich in macro life, so dont be surprised to see many divers taking pictures of ghost pipe fish, harlequin shrimp and an unimaginable variety of nudibranchs. The newly found lacy scorpian fish is also one of our new favourite finds.

The depth of the the pinnacles range between 8 – 60 metres, because of the depths of the dive and the variability in current, Hin Daeng and Hin Muang are recommended for advanced divers only.

Ko Haa dive site

Koh Haa is by far the most beautiful dive site around Koh Haa and Phi Phi. You can enjoy the incredible experience of seeing perfectly formed pinnacles, crystal clear water, a small white sandy beach that stretchs across the lagoon on island 3, and to top it off  a large range of marine life with a chance to see something big!!

Ko Haa has a great variety of dive sites across the 5 islands. You can enjoy a easy dive starting in the lagoon of island 3. Its crystal clear water and shallow depth is a very appealing way to start your diving experience if its your first time. For those who would like to be a little more extreme island 1 holds a 18metre chimney. Its entry begins at 5metres where you enjoy the adrenalin of entering the dark and beautiful chimney. There is a little marine life in there and a small channel into a side cave at around 8metres. Its very open and a great way to start or end your dive by looking out into the blue in the surrounding of the ceiling and walls around you.

There is also another option on island 5 ‘the cathedral caves’ you can enter the cave at the beginning of the dive and surface in it as its a 5metre drop to get in. There are swim throughs at the bottom and side of the Cathedral to add even more to this incredible experience!!

The marine life is fantastic all over Ko Haa with scools of squid, barracuda, giant trevelly, and snappers. You will find yourself surrounded by scools of butterfly and angel fish, puffer and box fish. We have a very good friend porky the common porkupine fish which has its very own facebook page!Hawskbill turtles are a usual sighting and something a little more special is the green turtle on island 1. They are very rare in thailand so its a privellage to dive next to one on a regular basis. If you enjoy looking for macro life bring your torch as Ko Haa has a huge amount, and with lots of cracks in the pinnacles its great fun trying to seek them out.

And while your diving on the beautiful and succlusive island 6 look out for the whale shark as there have been a few sightings already this year!

Any way you dive Ko Haa you are sure to have an unforgettable trip, so bring the camera and get snapping, you dont want to miss a thing!!

Dolphins play around dive boat

Dolphin watching has become a regular activity on the return journey from Koh Haa to Kantiang Bay.  The divers on MV Moskito, Scubafish’s luxury dive cruiser have been rewarded with many sightings.  The dolphins glide in from the blue to jump and swim in the bow wave to much applause from the divers relaxing on the top deck.  Captain Mann loves the dolphins and slows down and circles around to let them cacth us.  What a fantastic sight!

Lacy Scorpionfish spotted at Hin Muang


The Lacy Scorpionfish has been spotted on Hin Muang numerous times. Its usual location stretches across the waters of the Asian Pacific region and is known to occur from southern Japan to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and across to New Caledonia. One of the best locations to regularly see this fish is at Loloata Island in Papua New Guinea where several different colour variations are known. The lacy scorpionfish can be recognised by its distinctive head shape, the large upturned mouth, dangly tentacles on the snout .The species varies in colour from yellow to brown, purple, green or black and is covered by a maze-like pattern. it can grow up to 30 cm and is known to live in coral reefs from depths 5 – 30metres.This species is a master of camouflage and blends in very well with its background and quite often can be seen hiding under plate corals and ledges on coral reefs. It also remains well disguised when hiding in amongst crinoids as it blends in with the fine fronds of the feathery invertebrate. so guys have fun trying to find our new friend and feel free to add any new pics of him!!!