Diving and watersports

Diving and Watersports

Key

map of dive schools etc. in Thong Nai Pan

a: Santhiya Resort
b: Thong Tapan
c: Tropical Divers
d: H2O Scuba School
e: Panviman Resort
f: Candlehut Resort
g: Dreamland Divers
h: Central Cottage
i: Nice Beach Resort

j: Baan Panburi

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Providers Diving

Diving:

Snorkeling:

  • H2O Scuba School
  • Dreamland Divers
  • Tropical Dive Club
  • Candlehut Resort

Kayak Hire:

  • Nice Beach Resort
  • Baan Panburi
  • Candlehut Resort
  • Thong Tapan
  • Panviman
  • Santhiya

Fishing Trips:

  • Candlehut Resort
  • Central Cottage

Windsurfing:

  • Santhiya

Thong Nai Pan is great for swimming. It isn't great for snorkeling. There is no coral reef in the bay and so you won't see any fish. There are, however, some good dive spots in the coastal waters around Koh Phangan as well as further afield in the Gulf of Thailand. The most popular dive sites are Sail Rock, Chumphon Pinnacles and Ang Thong National Marine Park. The best diving around Koh Phangan is found at Koh Ma Marine Park in the north west. Haad Salad and Haad Yao also have good coral for diving.

 

The only 5 star rated dive site in the Gulf of Thailand is Sail Rock. This is about 1.5 hours away by speed boat. The most impressive and largest thing to spot is a whale shark. Don't worry they don't bite!

 

There are 3 main dive shops in Thong Nai Pan. They cater for everyone from complete beginners to qualified divers. They all provide the chance to get PADI qualifications. They also offer 'Discover Scuba' day courses for people who just want to experience the underwater world.

 

The best dive school according to Trip Advisor is H2O Scuba School. They have an office in Thong Nai Pan Noi village as well as next to Pen's Bungalows in Yai. Lee, the head instructor, has many years of teaching experience and always does a professional job. H2O Scuba School also has a speed boat to get customers to the best dive sites quickly.

 

The other dive school in Thong Nai Pan Noi is Tropical Divers. This is a school that has been around for several years. They can be contacted directly or through the Thong Tapan website. Tropical Divers offer recognised SSI and PADI courses. They have late departure times and take out small groups. The beachfront office is open from 10am to 7pm, 7 days a week.

 

On Thong Nai Pan Yai the only dive shop is Dreamland Divers. They offer a full range of PADI courses as well as fun dives. They are affiliated to Dreamland Resort.

Snorkeling

As with diving, there is no point snorkeling in Thong Nai Pan Bay as you won't see any fish. The nearest snorkeling beach is Haad Khom next to Bottle Beach. There are several other spots around Koh Phangan great for snorkeling. These are mostly on the west coast where there is a long stretch of live coral.

 

All the dive shops will take you out snorkeling. A number of the resorts will also organize snorkeling trips for you. In Thong Nai Pan Yai there are a few independent operators that offer day trips of the island that include an hour or so snorkeling, normally at Koh Ma.

Kayak Hire

The Thong Tapan website ambitiously suggests people attempt to kayak around the headland to places such as Laem Pak Chong (the headland north of Thong Nai Pan Noi) and Than Sadet (south of Thong Nai Pan Yai). We don't advise this. The sea can get rough outside the bay and if you have an accident you are very much alone. The coast is rocky and the sea has many rocks just below the water's surface.

 

Most people just kayak around Thong Nai Pan Bay. Just before and after the monsoon (September & December) there is often a few waves. It is good fun to use a kayak to catch the waves back to the shore. You usually rent a kayak by the hour. Santhiya and Panviman have free kayaks for guests.

 

On a calm day and for those with experience in a kayak there is the possibility of making it to places like Ao Krang Khai and the small island of Koh Kong Than Sadet. See map of surrounding area.

Fishing Trips

We have been sent emails asking if you can fish in Thong Nai Pan. The answer is yes but you are very unlikely to catch anything. The locals usually go fishing off boats or hike off to their favorite fishing spot.

 

Fishing is popular in Koh Phangan. You can find a good range of fishing equipment in Thongsala. However, rather than buying fishing gear it is much easier to pay for a fishing trip where they provide everything you will need. Most fishing trips go out to sea. You can find mackerel, snapper and barracuda.

 

Please, if you are taken to Koh Ma or Mae Haad for fishing insist on going somewhere else. These waters are protected marine park.

 

There are a few resorts in Thong Nai Pan that will organize fishing trips. There are also a few small operators that offer fishing trips. They all offer very similar deals

Windsurfing

Santhiya offer windsurfing to guests. I have only seen one person windsurf in Thong Nai Pan, and he was going so slowly it was painful to watch. Thong Nai Pan does not have a constant or strong wind suitable for wind surfing.

 

The best spot to windsurf in Koh Phangan is Plaay Laem on the west coast. Cookies have windsurfs as well as small sail boats for hire.

Bodyboarding

Some of the shops in Thong Nai Pan Noi and Yai sell cheap bodyboards that break easily. There are no breaks in Thong Nai Pan - nor anywhere else on the island. However, as the November monsoon approaches the waves get bigger. You can catch waves and they fling you up the shore. It's fun but nothing that a dedicated bodyboarder would find interesting.

 

Be warned, the waves look big during the rainy season. Don't try and surf them. You will risk your life. The undercurrents are notorious and there is little that people on the shore can do to help.

 

If you do get caught by a current while swimming in the bay don't wear yourself out fighting it. Swim parallel to the beach until you find an easier place to swim landwards.

 

There will be a red flag on the beach on days when you shouldn't swim. Although Thong Nai Pan is one of the safest places to swim in Koh Phangan you should never totally dismiss the dangers.

Jet Skis

Jet skis give off strong gasoline smells; they pollute the natural environment and they are noisy. Moreover, despite government crackdowns and exposure of scammers many tourists continue to use jetskis. In Thong Nai Pan you can rent jetskis on both beaches. Phangan Jetski claims to offer insurance. If you pay for insurance DON'T leave your passport with the jetski operator.

 

As with motorbike hire, if you damage the jetski and they have your passport, expect a hefty payment (up to $700) to get your passport back. Since tourists are supposed to have their passports with them at at all times this is illegal. Don't expect any help from the police or your resort.

 

Santhiya tells its guests not to rent jet skis. We agree with them. It might look macho, but it isn't.