110 Eastern Gulf Ko Si Chang Nong Yai Sa Ton © Lonely Planet Publications Eastern GulfChabang Laem 100º40'E Bang Lamung Hup Bon Map Yang Tha Cham 101º20'E 101º40'E 0 0 102º00'E Tamun not for navigation 30 km 20 miles 102º20'E Laem Eastern Gulf 331 Bung Sam Ngam Pung Ngon Naklua Wang Chang Pattaya Pong Nam Ron Hingebeak shrimp hitch a ride on a nudibranch Jomtien 344 Si Yack 3 36 Kong Din Klaeng 317 Ban Chang 3 Nong Khla Tao Than U-Taphao Rayong 12º40'N Ko Khram Sattahip Airport Tapong Nai Makham Suan Son Laem Mae (Pine Park) Tha Mai Ban Phe Phim Chanthaburi Samae San Ko Samet Laem Sadet See Enlargement Chak Ta Chalap Yai Laem Singh Laem Ko Proet 12º20'N Tha Chot 12º20'N 71 72 Naklua 3 Pattaya 73 Bang Kradan Laem Muang Gulf of Thailand Jomtien Laem Ngop Ban Khlong Son 74 Reef 3 Ko Chang 12º00'N 75 Depth 12º00'N Tao Than 0-5m Ko Khram 5-10m Sattahip 10-20m 20-30m 0 5 km Samae San 30-50m PATTAYA training sites, but there are some nicer 50m+ 0 3 miles 76 74 reefs away from the main tourist area. 11º40'N 11º40'N 100º40'E 101º00'E 101º20'E 101º40'E 102º00'E 102º20'E The bustling resort area of Pattaya was For the most part, it isn’t considered a Thailand’s hotbed of diving back in the destination for a full-blown dive vaca- 1970s. A favorite R&R spot for Vietnam tion. It is more of a place to get in some soldiers, this bay had a few pioneer dives while enjoying all of the other ac- dive shops and some small hotels that tivities that Pattaya has to offer, by both hosted soldiers during their week-long day and night. break from the war and also the military This area is also known to have some and their families stationed in Thailand. good shipwrecks with more being Things have changed. Pattaya is now found on a regular basis. The east is a world-class mass tourism center in the better known for wrecks than the west- order of Hawaii’s Waikiki or Australia’s side of the country. From ancient ships Gold Coast, with all of the top hotels to recent sinkings, there is a pretty wide and something for virtually everyone to gamut to be seen by ‘wreckies’. do. This of course includes diving. The handful of dive shops has burgeoned Eastern Gulf GOOD SNORKELING to now include full-service PADI 5-star INTERMEDIATE shops and those of other agencies to- ADVANCED tally equipped to outfit any diver and NOVICE teach most any course. The majority of the diving done here is introductory scuba and basic 71 HTMS KHRAM • • to advanced training. But many other 72 HTMS KUT • specialties, including tech diving and in- 73 KO KHROK • structor training courses, all take place 74 KO RIN • • around this hotbed of the east. Many of 75 PETCHBURI BREMEN • A frilly faced scorpionfish the nearby sites are somewhat shallow 76 HARDEEP • • 111 112 Eastern Gulf Eastern Gulf 113 71 HTMS KHRAM The Eastern Gulf 72 HTMS KUT 73 KO KHROK The Ko Chang area near the Cambodian Location: 300m off Ko Phai Location: Northeast tip of Ko Sak, Location: 4 nautical miles (7km) border is being explored and devel- Depth: 50-100ft (15-30m) southwest of Pattaya southwest of Pattaya oped as a dive destination. The islands Access: Boat Depth: 40-108ft (12-32m) Depth: 0-66ft (0-20m) here have excellent beaches and natu- Expertise Rating: Advanced Access: Boat Access: Boat ral beauty, and the offshore pinnacles Expertise Rating: Advanced Expertise Rating: Novice 1-= are producing sites with good marine life. Ko Chang is a boom town right now, with the range of accommoda- 1-= 1-= The HTMS Khram, a decommissioned US tion extending from economically warship, was sunk on 1 February 2003 priced bungalows to luxury resorts. Very similar to sister ship HTMS Khram, This site has a coral bed that runs down a by the Thai navy. It now sits in 100ft of Construction has been limited to the HTMS Kut is the most recent of Pattaya’s slope to around 65ft. Lots of hard corals water near Ko Phai and Ko Larn islands height of a coconut tree, so there is growing fleet of undersea wrecks that thrive here and a gentle current keeps off Pattaya and has quickly become an an attempt being made to retain the now support artificial reefs. Its sinking things healthy. The current can allow for excellent artificial reef. natural aesthetics of the place. on 17 September 2006 was a success, shallow drift diving or drift snorkeling if It is officially the USS LSM-469 but Offshore rocky pinnacles are home as the wreck sits upright with moor- there’s a surface current. Look for stag- was given to the Thai Navy by the USA to rays and some sharks, and the coral ings stern and fore. It also underwent horn, brain and star corals. The shoals of and renamed HTMS Khram, way back in cover is beautiful with good fish vari- preparations by the Royal Thai Navy, so chromis and damsels are found around May of 1962. Once it fell out of use, the ety. Live aboard diving is opening to provides a similarly safe dive site. Muni- the staghorns, while cleaning stations idea of sinking her came about and the this area and some dive shops are now tions, engines, oil and pollutants were for parrotfish, butterflyfish and other Thai Navy went through environmental located in Ko Chang, Ko Rang and Ko removed, while large holes in the deck tropical species are staffed by cleaner procedures, drained it of oil, removed Kut. They have sites like the Ko Rang allow divers to easily enter the passage- wrasse at the hard coral heads. wiring and cut large passageways for Pinnacles, Ko Wai Reef and Hin Luk ways and engine rooms. During Pattaya’s meteoric develop- divers to easily navigate. (This has also Bat Reef. These sites commonly have This ship sits on a bit of a slope with ment, the corals suffered a great deal been done with great success to two visibility ranging from 20ft to 45ft with the bow at about 108ft and the stern at from runoff and other neglect due to in- Australian decommissioned destroyers mild currents and hard corals. about 90ft in the sand. Marine life and frastructure and construction work. This farther south along the Australia west Roughly 85% of Ko Chang, along encrusting invertebrates are starting to area has now been targeted by Pattaya coast.) with about 50 smaller islands, is part of take hold, and schooling fish have al- and Bangkok environmentalists to bring These days the ship sits upright with the Ko Chang Marine National Park. ready made the ship home. Visibility is awareness to a new Pattaya Region En- the bridge area coming into view at only about 20ft to 30ft on a good day, vironmental and Use Policy, and aid in 50ft. Two moorings lead down to the so try diving at slack tide. coral growth. ship aft and bow. If the water is clear, Divers can enter the bridge of the it is possible to go down the mooring ship, which is open and devoid of any Anemone colonies and then swim to the center of the old navigation equipment. Because the ship when the bridge comes into sight. HTMS Khram was a troop carrier, there Visibility is typically low on the wreck, is a large open deck which was used for however. vehicles and equipment and launching Soft corals and other encrusting ma- troops onto a beach zone. The aft en- rine life have already taken hold. The gine room is also accessible, although water here is very silty and that has also the engines have been removed and already covered the wreck, so penetra- there is also a lot of light here due to tion dives must be done with care to cut-out access ways. (Pattaya dive op- avoid silt kicks causing a white-out. The erations use this for tech training.) This passageways are open and well-lit and area is also silty, so movement should divers are not usually out of the natural be slow and easy. light. It has been noted that a few of the Outside the ship there are a lot of soft rooms have steel watertight doors still corals, sponges, fish life and particularly fitted, which could be locked easily with baitfish. A batfish school has already a diver inside. called the HTMS Khram home. 114 Eastern Gulf Eastern Gulf 115 © Lonely Planet Publications ged ship. When the current is running, 75 PETCHBURI BREMEN look for the school of resident eagle rays that favor this site. Location: Between Ko Khram Yai & Sattahip Depth: 62-82ft (19-25m) 76 HARDEEP Access: Boat Expertise Rating: Intermediate Location: Between Ko Samae San & Ko Chuang 1-= Depth: 50-85ft (16-26m) Access: Boat The Bremen is in a fairly poor state due Expertise Rating: Intermediate to its use as a demolition target for the Royal Thai Navy at one time. Its parts 1-= cover an area across about 300ft of the sea floor. Some wreck exploring can be The Hardeep is a better wreck for those done, as parts of the ship still remain wanting to see a WWII victim. This Indo- upright. Its biggest plus may be that it is nesian freighter was sunk in 1942 (some a very good artificial reef that schools of accounts say 1943) by Allied bombs. yellowtail snapper, barracuda and jacks Only about 200ft long, she sits on her gather around. port side on a sandy sea floor in depths The ship went down due to an engine ranging from 50ft to 85ft, and can be room fire in the 1930s near the village of covered in one dive. Encrusted with Sattahip, just south of Pattaya. Its depth sponges of brilliant orange and bright and low visibility make it a good train- yellow tubastrea corals, she has been ing site for advanced divers who can a fish magnet for decades. The ship is navigate the ship and the sandy bottom also decked out with large gorgonian while getting the depth requirement sea fans, barrel sponges and wire corals, out of the way. and resident schooling fusiliers, snap- It isn’t used that much for wreck div- pers and longnose barracuda. Blue- ing courses as penetration isn’t really spotted stingrays like the sandy areas safe due to its broken condition. The around the ship. newer HTMS wrecks are actually the Divers normally follow the descent The detail of a scorpionfish fin shipwrecks of choice these days for a line down, as visibility can be low and lot of Pattaya wreck diving. The good the wreck is small. Thus, currents can very popular as a day trip for divers and news is that it tangles up fishing nets, so easily push those free descending off 74 KO RIN snorkelers. net fishermen stay away from the jag- the wreck. One line goes down by the Though shallow, there are canyons forward hold while the other is aft near Location: 13 nautical miles (24km) between rocks, swim-throughs and hard the stern. It is wise to note where the southwest of Pattaya coral formations – some shallow enough line is and use it on the way back up as Depth: 0-46ft (0-14m) for snorkelers to enjoy. Black coral can well. There are open hold areas and the Access: Boat be found in just 40ft of water, and big bridge that can be entered. But some of Expertise Rating: Intermediate barrel sponges host hundreds of tiny, the deeper parts of the ship are start- white sea cucumbers clinging to their ing to deteriorate and are not really safe 1-= outer surface. The fact that this site has for mass swim-throughs with a group some occasional current also helps the of divers. Considered one of Pattaya’s best coral invertebrate count, with nudibranchs, One can find more ship parts, includ- dives with a nice selection of hard corals flatworms and anemones all present. ing the mast and funnel, in the sandy on a shallow and rocky reef and good Fish include harlequin sweetlips, lion- area around Hardeep. There are also two A jewel box urchin visibility being the norm. This is also fish, squirrelfish and ember parrotfish. large bombs close by.