Like swim-throughs and caves? Then there’s a few dive sites around Koh Tao that may pique your interest. While Koh Tao is by no means host to a vast array of cave networks or difficult dives that involve wriggling through small spaces, there are a few stand out dive sites where caves and swim-throughs are the main attraction….Our top picks for this are:
The name pretty much says it all huh? Laem Thien Caves is a rocky dive site with a maximun depth of around 20metres and if caves and swim-throughs are your thing then its pretty much the dive site that keeps on giving – dive it 10 times and you’re almost guaranteed to find new swim throughs on every one! Opportunities to disappear within the rocky walls of this dive site range from 3 metres- 20 metres, and there’s even a couple to keep you occupied on your safety stop! The star attraction however is what local dive pro’s refer to as the ‘Star Wars Tunnel’, a V shaped crevice that opens up into a large cavernous space with various entry and exit options, meaning that its virtually essential to go down it at least twice during the dive – well, it’d be rude not to right?!
Green Rock is all about the swim-throughs! From a small spacious cave to the numerous archways and channels of varying difficulty levels and depths, you can (and probably will!) spend the whole dive criss-crossing around the dive site. This provides a great opportunity to practice your natural navigation by looking out for key features and direction markers as your dive guide traverses you around – and through – these impressive coral covered pinnacles. A firm favourite with regular fun divers and Koh Tao Divemasters, you just need to watch out for those pesky Trigger Fish, who like to build their nests in the sand surrounding Green Rock!
NangYuan Pinnacle (also known as Red Rock)
While not as complex in the number of swim through opportunities as Laem Thien or Green Rock, the singular cave at Nang Yuan Pinnacle is certainly one of the largest and longest in terms of overhead environments on Koh Tao. With a spaciously wide opening at around 10metres, your swim through the cave will stretch for around 20-25metres as the walls gradually narrow (dont worry, not too much!) before you’ll exit right at the back of the cave. There’s also an extra side entrance where you can dip back in and exit again through the large entrance you came in through. As always with cave and swim-through dives we recommend taking a torch with you. Shine it into the empty spaces and crevices in the cave walls and you’ll see glass fish, pipefish and shrimps.
As with Red Rock, there is only 1 swim through here, but its quite a unique one. Known as ‘The Chimney’ this vertical swim-through is one of the star attractions at Sail Rock – in addition to the abundant coral and marine life of course! Easily wide enough for divers to descent (one at a time of course) in the sky-dive position, this iconic swim through has featured in many a photo album and facebook profile picture! The entrance is at around 5metres, and the base of the chimney exits at around 18metres. But fear not, there is an additional side exit at around 10metres if you decide that the full descent is not for you!
Our Top Tips for Overhead Environments
1. Take a torch
2. Make sure you are comfortable with your buoyancy and trim. Sneaky self promotion… the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty is great for this!
3. Always be aware of where your fins are – careless kicking can cause reef damage!
4. Go slowly, and give your buddy and dive leader lots of space
Check out our dive sites page for more info on all of these dive sites and more. We do try to make sure that fun divers visiting us do get to see a range of sites over their stay and if you have a particular request we try our best to make it happen – and we usually manage it! For several years we compiled a conditions report/logbook so we could provide our customers with an idea of what to expect during their visit, so feel free to have a browse.