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Swimming With A Great White Shark – Lucky Bay
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PADI Sold For $700 Million USD
Scuba Diving Locations Samae San Thailand

Samae San Islands
Best Of Diving Pattaya

Well Worth A Dive Off The Beaten Track

Samae San is small fishing village around 50mins drive south east of Pattaya, in the Sattahip District of Chonburi, Thailand.

Largely made famous by its WW2 shipwreck the SS Suddhadib, also known as the Hardeep, This dive area is one of the better scuba diving locations that is within close access to Bangkok.

Only a few Pattaya dive centers have boats that run scuba diving trips from Pattaya to Samae san. There are no dive centers in Samae san itself since it just a fishing village with a temple and local Thai community. .

Samae San Diving Trips

Taking a dive trip with a dive center in Pattaya is the only way to dive here. Starting out at 8am in the morning and returning around 4:40pm after two dives and lunch out around the Samae san islands.

There are several coral islands to explore in this area, all of which are uninhabited and entirely free from speedboats unlike many Pattaya dive sites. The coral reef is largely in great condition with the exception of natural coral bleaching damage, some small fishing boat anchor damage and one or two larger areas which were wiped out many years ago by the use of dynamite fishing before the practice was revoked by the Thai fishermen.

When The Conditions are good in Samae San Its Hard to Believe Your Still Diving In Pattaya!

Samae San Dive Sites

The Complete Dive Guide

Koh Samae San Dive Area Complete Overview

Koh Samae san is the first island you pass within 5mins of leaving the pier. Once around the backside of this huge island you are situated in the most common diving area where the Hardeep wreck lays in 28m of water boxed between two smaller satellite islands of Koh Ron Kon and Koh Nok and the next large neighboring island of Koh Chuang.

If you are diving the shipwreck you can normally expect to do a second shallower coral dive on one of these dive sites, although, Koh Chang klur, Koh Jarn and Hin Lak Bat are also less than 10min away offering alternative coral dive options.

Heading further around Koh Chaung, Ban Tahan, Aow Keow and to the south end of, the most southern bay, known as the Japanese Gardens dive site you can see there are many coral dive options in close range to choose from.

The coral reef around these dive sites is diverse and in good condition mostly ranging as shallow as 3m deep and jutting down to 12m to 18 m on average. It's a combination of gigantic boulder rocks encrusted with hard corals and shells between stag horn and leather corals dashed between sandy banks that rejoin the weaving corals lines along the islands shape.

The currents around these Samae San Dive sites demand knowledge and respect. Upon high slack tide, the waters are tranquil and offer divers some amazing long, shallow and serene coral dives. The incoming tides, on the other hand present exciting swift drift dives that dive guides really must pay attention to. Drift diving here is truly like flying underwater, its great place to learn and experience quick water flow and enjoy it but always listen and follow the dive plan to a T as describe. Certain areas and points of the drift dives require tight diver formation to pass swirling water as a team, wonder too far from your dive buddy with your nose in your go pro and you will find yourself separated and lost from your dive team in a flash. Pay attention and stay together though and you'll have a fun drift dive to remember no question about it!

The Top 5 Samae San Dive Sites

The Hardeep Wreck | Shark Fin Rock | Hin Chalarm | Koh Ron Kon | Japanese Gardens

1) The Hardeep Wreck

Advanced Divers Only, This WW2 shipwreck is best dived on a slack high tide, currents can be much stronger than you might expect... to say the least. Awesome wreck dive though with plenty of sea life.

Many Batfish, Travally, and tusk fish inhabit this wreck, if the tide allows you can multilevel dive through the engine room and come out on the top side of the ship, the upper part here is only 16m deep, perfect place to chill out and hunt for nudibranch and scorpion fish before descending back to the surface.

We have a full Wreck diving Write on the Hardeep Shipwreck Here

2) Shark Fin Rock

Open water Diver or above can visit Shark Fin, although id say it better suited to more experienced openwater divers. Some parts of the site can and often do have current and walls an drop offs require keen buoyancy skills to maintain depth and air supply. Its nick name is Identified by its Shark fin shaped rocky protrusion breaching the surface. Beneath the waves however, Hin Lak Bat is vast and complex. Made up of shallow sandy and rocky plateaus that meet wall edges with drop offs and fringing coral lines that weaver between enormous sand bars created by the currents and water flows. No less than 3 species of clown fish live here along with many Blue spot sting rays, Bamboo sharks, Hawksbill Sea turtles and good sized Moray eels.

3) Hin Chalarm

Open water Diver or above can visit Hin Chalarm, Hin meaning Rock and Chalarm meaning Shark in Thai. Yes you guessed it, good chance to see Blacktips here and bamboo sharks but it also offers so much more! This small rocky island is found as you head south away from all the other Samae san islands towards the open gulf of Siam.

A good hour cruising towards the horizon see you step off onto one of the best dive sites in the area! This island is also used by the Royal Thai Navy for Weapons practice, much the local dive communities dismay. This beautiful dive site is rich in bio diversity and with that offers a good chance to see some larger pelagic animals like Whale shark and Mobula Rays around the right time in the season.

The chance of seeing these incredible majestic sea creatures aside, you will still be treated to a superb dive that includes a variety of colourful corals, turtles, rare nudibranch, and also some unique underwater Audients and rockets curiosity of the Navy weapons exercises. DO NOT under any circumstances touch, move or disturb them. Although these are stared as training rounds, said not to contain explosives, this still do however contain detonators, some of which may still be un detonated

4) Koh Ron Kon

Directly Adjacent to the Hardeep and Koh Chang, this small dive site perfect for novice to advanced divers alike. With shallow colorful coral gardens perfect for photography and deeper outcrops to be explored your bound to enjoy this dive site. Some many creatures hide hear it best to dive slowly and with a careful eye. Giant Starry puffers and blue stopped Sting Ray sneak around beneath the boulder corals, Cleaner shrimp and tiny nudi's are on and around most of the 'uninteresting' looking rocks and if you are good on air and have a little more experience, your guide may be able to take you around the northern tip of the site, where the depth drops off and hear, quite frequently you can meet up with one of the oldest Turtles in the area, and it is HUGE!

5) Japanese Gardens

Located in the most southern facing bay of the island, Japs is suitable for all levels of diver and snorkeller so long as the current is slack. Its truly has stunning rock formations to explore ranging from 5m to 10m deep where beginners and shallow divers can hang out and relax. Advanced and deep divers however have the option to follow the rocky outcrops and mounts covered in hard and soft corals from 12m down to 25m and beyond.

Its best to stay within the 18m line to be able to stay under long enough and explore this site to the max. If no current is present, you can navigate your way outside the bay around the west tip. In doing so you will find a wall descending to around 16m deep which is dotted with striking Gregorian sea fans, Nudibranch and other crustaceans and shrimps etc. Whilst in this area id recommend you keep keen eyes since rare Picasso Trigger fish can be found here.

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Andrew Jennings
Andrew Jennings
You host and creator of underwater clicks.