Scuba Diving has a long tradition in Ao Nang. Right in front of Ao Nang, Railay and Nopparatthara Beach is a group of 15 smaller and bigger islands that can be reached within 30 to 45 minutes by Longtail Boat. Theoretically, everyone of them gives at least one dive spot but only 6 or 7 of them are actually used for diving. Their names are Koh Ya Wa Sam, Koh Ya Wa Bon, Koh Doh, Koh Mae Urai, Koh Si, Koh Ha and Poda Island.
While most of them offer nice rock formations, covered with corals and other tropical marine live, Koh Ya Wa Bon has a 70 meter long cave of the size of a train tunnel that under runs the whole island and even has a dom in it to surface.
The depth at the local islands is mostly 12 to 14 meters and on some spots it goes down to 18 meters. With this depths, this area is ideal for dive training and lots of divers have done their first attempts under water in this area.
Over the past years, dive operators in Ao Nang have grown up and bought bigger boats to reach the famous dive sites further outside like Shark Point, Anemone Reef, the King Cruiser Wreck and the dive sites around the Phi Phi Islands. Some dive shops even own a speed boat to bring their customers to other top dive sites like Hin Daeng, Hin Muang and the Koh Ha Islands on a single day trip. Without a speedboat, this places could only be reached on a day trip from Koh Lanta or on over night "live aboard" tours from Phuket.
A typical "Dive Day" in Ao Nang:
If you haven't booked anything in advance, drop in at any of the Dive Operators along the shopping mile and book your favorite dive trip for the next or any other day. Make sure you bring your divers licence and log book for a check up. Dive tours usually start at 8:00 or 9:00 in the morning, depending on the destination.
Guest from hotels outside of Ao Nang can arrange a pick up service with the dive operator. After meeting at the dive shop, everybody will be taken from the beach by Long Tail Boat to the tour boat which anchors a couple of hundred meters off shore.
The trips to Shark Point, Anemone Reef and King Cruiser Wreck take about 1.5 hours and to the Phi Phi Islands 2 hours. On board you will be offered coffee, soft drinks, fruits and cookies to shorten the trip. When reaching the dive site, two or three* dives will be done and during the break between the dives you can enjoy a delicious lunch, which is all included in the trip price. At about 3:00 pm it's time to go back to Ao Nang and the boat will arrive back there at around 5:00 pm.
* 3 dives only on Super Day: Shark Point, Anemone Reef & King Cruiser Wreck