Diving in Koh Tao Thailand: What You Should Know

For many the island of Koh Tao is a diving Mecca. It’s the second most popular diving place to learn in the world, as well as the go-to destination for more experienced divers. And after a couple of dives there I could easily see why this island is so popular. There’s abundant marine life, somewhat healthy coral and warm water temperature all year round, plus it is buzzing and very budget friendly. Yes, please!

The reefs of Koh Tao are some of the most diverse in the Gulf of Thailand. However, like in many other places, they are heavily threatened by human activities and climate change. But despite this, surprisingly it is possible to find abundant marine life. About 365 species of coral reef fish have been recorded around Koh Tao to be more precise. Including black tip sharks and whale sharks which you could encounter (if you’re extremely lucky)

There’s also plenty dive centres and diving resorts to choose from for a relatively small island. So, you’re certain to find one that suits your needs.

Some of my favourite dive sites in Koh Tao were: Chumphon Pinnacle, White Rock, Hin Pee Wee and Twins. Where I spotted all the marine fauna you will see below.

Lion Fish and Coral Diving in Koh Tao

However, it is important to bear in mind a couple of things about the island. Koh Tao has a decent nightlife scene (If you want to just chill try to find accomodation far from Sairee Beach). There are lots of scooters, is noisy and crowded all year round. Expect to find an interesting mix of tourists, like backpackers, divers, families and just everything in between. In general terms is safe, and just a bit of common sense is enough to get you out of trouble.

Diving in Koh Tao Coral yellow blue Fish

Useful things to know before you go diving in Koh Tao, Thailand

  • Fun dives cost around 700-1000 Baht (£18-£30) depending on how many you want to do and if you have your own equipment. Typically packages are cheaper.
  • Getting travel and diving insurance is a MUST, specially because if you need medical care the nearest decompression chamber is located on another island (Koh Samui). And the costs could get higher due to transportation.
  • You don’t need to rent a scooter to get around unless you want to be super mobile and explore the island a bit more.
brown fish underwater
Photo By Franceso Ungaro
  • While it’s true that black tip sharks and whale sharks can be seen in Koh Tao, spotting them frequently is a myth sadly. Don’t get your hopes too high and you might get surprised.
  • If you’re Padi certified you’ll probably want to check out Padi Travel I find it really useful. For the SSI certification there’s plenty of centres with this method available on the island too.
Black Spotted fish diving in Koh Tao Thailad
  • Do lots of research to find the Dive centre / resort that’s right for you. Accomodation and food is generally very cheap in Thailand and Koh Tao isn’t the exception. I stayed at the Tarna Align which was a good resort but their Dive Centre was chaotic and unprofessional, so sadly I can’t recommend it.
  • Think about the type of dives you’d want to have. Do you prefer dive masters who can speak your language? Do you like big, medim or small size groups? This will depend on the size of the dive centre and their boats. So choose carefully.
Daniela Diver Diving in Koh Tao
  • Wear a full suit to be safer around coral (I didn’t and paid for it on my 3rd dive). Or in case you come across a territorial Titan Trigger fish (don’t get too close or they will get pissed) 🙂
  • Visibility is reduced dramatically during monsoon season which is Nov-Dec.
Titan Trigger Fish Diving in Koh Tao Thailand
Titan Trigger Fish

Well, that’s it for me here. I hope that this guide has been both fun and useful for your next diving trip to Koh Tao, and to those of you who don’t dive, you don’t know what you’re missing! Yew

The Best of Croatia’s Natural Wonders

While its coastal towns are soaring in popularity most of Croatia’s natural heritage is surprisingly less known. From majestic mountains, river canyons and caves to charming lakes and waterfalls. This guide is packed with inspiration for your next retreat in nature.

Croatia is so naturally beautiful that it is almost unfair when compared to another European country. Surely, I’m leaving aside all the impressive man-made constructions and a whole lot of historical places (worth visiting) out of the package but it is done kind of on purpose. The focus here are the natural wonders of the country which are surprisingly less known.

Something that struck me during my Croatian quest for nature is that you don’t need to search too much to find it. If you shift your gaze from the ground chances are you will spot a majestic mountain, go further inland and you are greeted by river canyons, caves, picturesque lakes and a gazillion waterfalls, and as if that’s not enough, you still got incredible coastal towns with waters that invite you to swim under the Adriatic sun.

I could go on… but in all honesty if you are interested in not-so touristy places (except for Plitvice which is a well known UNESCO World Heritage site) where you can disconnect, breathe-in the fresh air, capture picture-perfect landscapes combined with a few cultural options then you seriously need to consider what Croatia’s natural heritage has to offer. Whether you are up for an active holiday doing some outdoor sports, like hiking, kayaking, climbing and such or a more chilled one, I’ve got you covered with some of the best, unspoiled and less visited Croatian natural wonders that without a doubt will give you a few ideas for your next retreat.

Krka National Park

A true natural paradise that makes your jaw drop with its vistas over the mountains along the Krka River. The many waterfalls and pedestrian-only zones such as the Orthodox Monastery, Skradinski buk and Visovac island are a definite must.

Krka is a great spot for nature lovers and anyone looking for a good hike as there are well defined trails for this purpose, or simply for enjoying wonderful views and the cultural heritage of Croatia. It is also important to mention that Krka is one of the few national parks where you can actually swim close to the waterfalls. There’s also bicycle trails and boat excursions to some interesting sites within the park, such as the Franciscan Monastery and Roski Slap waterfall.


Main points of interest:

  • Skradinski Buk the longest waterfall in the park and the 19th century watermills
  • Hydropower plant which provided electricity to the area before most European cities had done so
  • Visovac Island and the Franciscan Monastery are one of Croatia’s most valuable cultural and natural sites
  • Roski slap waterfall and its beautiful Necklaces (barrier of small cascades)
  • Krka Monastery a spiritual centre of Orthodox faith located in a bay on the river
  • Manojlovac slap waterfall with its 59 m is considered the largest and loveliest waterfall in the park
  • Archaelogical site Burnum a gem of ancient Roman history

Location and access: Krka is located in the central part of the eastern Adriatic coast. The nearest railway station to the park is Sibenik station. However, the best way to access it is by car (A1 Motorway), as you are more in control of the time you dedicate to each area and also because it is quite extensive.

Opening Hours: is open all year round. From April to October all entrances are open 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. For more info click here

Brijuni Islands National Park

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Or Brioni in Italian is a beautiful archipelago consisting of two main islands and 12 islets off the coast of the Istrian Peninsula. While most people head south to the popular Dalmatian coast this archipelago is somewhat less known and remains very protected. So much so, that you can only access it by visiting the largest island Veliki Brijuni and from there you can organise other boat excursions to the rest of the islets.

These islands became President Tito’s summer residence from 1945 when they officially became part of Yugoslavia. But above their interesting history you can expect clear blue waters, calm atmosphere with very few tourists, great snorkeling, a zoo, a charming little train that will take you along the shore, among other things on the largest island Veliki Brijuni.

Location and access:  The closest cities from which you can get to the Brijuni islands are Pula and Rovinj. There are daily boat trips departing from a town called Fazana which is only about 8 km from Pula that will take to the main island. For more info Brijuni click here

Paklenica National Park


It’s the absolute heaven for climbers and people who enjoy trekking and mountaineering. The wonderful vistas over the canyons, its flora and vegetation make it a top spot for anyone looking for an adventure, a passion for outdoor sports but it is fair to say that the only way to really see its beauty is by being active in the mountains, so if you don’t feel like working out this natural wonder might not be for you.

An interesting fact I learnt while I was there is that the name Paklenica is believed to derive from black pine sap named paklina used by the locals for its medicinal properties.

The park has many hiking and mountaineering trails and routes with different levels of difficulty for everyone, so don’t worry if you are not a pro. There’s also amenities and view points for taking great shots.

Location and access: the park is located in northern Dalmatia not far from Zadar. The quickest way to get here is by car taking the motorway A1. There’s also good connections by bus from Zadar to Paklenica, it will take about 45 minutes to get there. For info about opening times click here

Plitvice Lakes National Park

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The Croatian wonderland of water. With its interlinked pools, waterfalls and forests it is by far the country’s first national park and one of Europe’s premier natural wonders. Plitvice Lakes extend over 5 miles creating a pool in one and from there flowing into small streams, springs and waterfalls. It has many wooden footpaths that allow visitors to explore the lakes without disturbing the fragile environment. Veliki slap (big waterfall) is the biggest fall dropping 78 meters into a canyon.

Plitvice lakes are perfect to visit all year round and in the summer they offer a great escape from the heat while in winter time you can see natural stalactites formations from frozen water in the lakes. Just bear in mind that swimming is not allowed here due to its UNESCO Heritage Listing but that doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy the visit.

Location and access: located in central Croatia about an hour away from Zadar. Easily accessed by car or bus from either Zadar or Zagreb. Park is open all year round from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm for more info check here


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