Coral Garden - Aka Palong
Plan your dive
At a Glance:
Max depth: 18 meters
Level of difficulty: Beginner
Visibility: 5/20 Metres
Current: Mild to heavy
Recommended Season: All year round is possible
Phi Phi Island is home to many things and great diving is one of them. There are several dive sites on PP that are a must and Coral Garden otherwise known as Palong is a definite must.
Coral Garden is just a little south of Maya Bay (the movie The Beach was filmed there) and under the right conditions is a beautiful dive site.
At the beginning of the dive you should drop down to the gently sloping bottom to about eight metres here there are some large boulders.
This is the area where I witnessed the battle of the Moray. Foolishly a young and bold Yellow Edged moray thought it would be a good idea to try and overthrow a rather large and unquestionably fierce moray from his home.
Big Mistake! The Giant Moray having none of the young upstarts startling bold behaviour sunk his teeth into his lesser built foe, while twisting around the smaller eel, no doubt pounding and biting, till the Yellow Edge decided enough was enough and skedaddled away as fast as he could.
The Moral of the story: Never try to take another Eels’ dwelling unless you are larger quicker and trained in Kick Boxing.
Further along this site there are soft corals all along the wall and are in pristine condition and the colours will bring a tear to the eye.
Coral Garden or Palong as it is now become more commonly known as is ideal for all level of divers. The absolute max depth here is eighteen metres, the viz is sometimes restricted to five metres but usually ten to fifteen.
Along the wall, there are some areas that hang over forming swim throughs which are great for buoyancy practice and for me make this dive even more intriguing.
Other sites on PP
Macro lovers will really enjoy this site as there is always a great chance to spot Harlequin Ghost pipefish and Tiger Tail Seahorses.
Here are just a few of the fishes that call Palong their home: Barracuda’s, Trevallies, Angel Fish, different kinds of Snapper, Scorpionfish; such as Bearded and Raggy varieties as well as Lionfish there are a couple of turtles here too Small Tuna and Mackerels will be out hunting.
Once upon a time, there was a very large school of Yellow Snappers, now the numbers have been greatly reduced, due mainly to a savage onslaught by a team of dolphins that feasted heavily one day and reduced the snappers to a few mere individuals.