In Thailand’s pristine Andaman Sea, the province of Satun provides an exceptional diving experience off the beaten track, where healthy coral reefs, exhilarating underwater topography and a plethora of species wait to be encountered by divers of all levels. From the tiniest nudibranchs to dolphins, dugongs and enormous whale sharks, Satun promises endless diversity.
In the beautiful Andaman Sea lies Koh Lipe, where a quiet, peaceful paradise island getaway with white sands and swaying palms is only the beginning. Below the glimmering azure waters, untouched reefs and rocky pinnacles hold diverse marine life, from macro life to gigantic pelagics - it’s all waiting to be discovered.
Diving in Satun
In the Andaman's southernmost region lies Satun province. Once a secret backpacker getaway, it’s now a popular beach and diving destination thanks to the region’s pristine white sands and turquoise waters that hold a plethora of vibrant life. One of the most visited spots is Koh Lipe, which attracts beach bums and divers to its picturesque shores. After enjoying the sites of Koh Lipe, divers often head north to Koh Lanta, or south to Pulau Langkawi in Malaysia. Other spots to add to your to-visit list include Koh Tarutao, where divers can marvel at sites in the Tarutao Marine National Park. The islands in this mostly untouched area are Koh Adang, Koh Rawi, Koh Dong, Hin Ngam, Koh Yang and Koh Bitsi, which boast 25% of the world’s tropical fish species that thrive in rich, healthy coral reefs.
Divers can expect to meet extremely diverse species here, including adorable macro critters, tons of reef fish, slithery eels and sea snakes, and plenty of schools of barracuda and trevally. Masters of camouflage can be spotted by observant eyes, like scorpionfish, stonefish, octopus and cuttlefish. Special encounters include dolphins, sperm and minke whales, mantas, dugong and even whale sharks.
With an abundance of dive centers and resorts to choose, there’s no lack of opportunity. Seasoned divers can enjoy challenging deeper sites, while beginners can opt for entry-level dive courses and be mesmerized by many of the shallow, calm reef dive sites.
As for timing, the best time to go scuba diving in Satun is the dry season from October to May, when the ocean conditions and weather are optimum. The tropical climate maintains warm waters, ranging from 27°C-30°C year-round, with visibility fluctuating between 10-30 meters.
Best places to dive
Tarutao National Marine Park boasts 30 islands hosting colorful reefs with diverse marine life, including awe-inspiring animals like dugongs, dolphins and plenty of sharks. 8 Mile Rock off Koh Lipe is a pinnacle that attracts schooling barracuda and trevally, as well as pelagics like manta rays and whale sharks. Currents can be strong, which of course, the big creatures love.
Koh Taru is perfect for beginners, where there’s lots of easy coral reef diving among tons of varied species. Stone Henge features a group of large pinnacles, where below the surface, boulders, sloping corals and soft coral gardens await. With interesting topography and exciting creatures like leopard sharks and eagle rays to be seen, it’s a site to be dived multiple times. Far Islands offer several sites where vibrant reefs hosting a wealth of reef fish and ocean-dwelling critters. Popular with photographers, this area is bursting with color and vast amounts of life.