Phi Phi Le & Bida Islands
The Phi Phi Islands are an incredibly scenic diving destination. The topography from the surface is stunning; monolithic limestone mountains rising vertically from the sea and soaring to heights of more than 500 meters. Underwater there is an environment of rugged caves, overhangs, and swim throughs. Other dives include sheer walls that plunge to 25 meters. These walls contain a variety of soft corals sea whips, and sea fans.
Two of the most popular sites are Bida Nai and Bida Nok at the Southern tip of Phi Phi Le, where you'll find huge gardens of Staghorn and Star corals, and plenty of colorful reef fish.
Koh Ha Islands
Ko Ha is a group of five magical uninhabited islands. One of the highlights is diving the Twin Cathedrals, a lagre cave system that has formed into two large domes with a passage between them. This island group is a haven for marine life and divers! Caverns, caves, chimneys, swim throughs, and soft coral covered walls, the marine diversity here will suit all divers with intersting macro such as sea horse and rare nudibrancs, plus squid, cuttlefish, morays and more.
Hin Daeng (Red Rock) & Hin Muang (Purple Rock)
The southern side of Hin Daeng drops to 60 plus meters, making it the deepest drop in Thailand's waters. The rock itself is quite barren, but offers the oppurtunity to see large pelagics & fantastic underwater gardens on the shallower shelves (east side). Large schools of Barracuda, and Tunas are a common sighting, as well as Leopard Sharks sleeping on the bottom.
Hin Muang is only a few hundred meters from Hin Daeng, and is completely submerged. The rock is covered with purple soft corals and anemones, hence it's name. Many sea fans of varying colors decorate the steep sides. It has a remarkable amount of life on it compared toits neighbor. Whalesharks, Sharks, and Mantas are regularly seen around the two pinnacles.
52 miles Nort-West of Phuket lies Koh Similan Marine National Park, an archipelago of nine granite islands, with a reputation as one of the world's top ten dive destinations. Largely because they offer a great variety of marine life. Aside from coral walls and deep dives with huge sea fans, barrel sponges, and big fish, the bottom topography is also fantastic. Large granite boulders overgrown with coral and algae lie jumbled together all the way from the surface to 40 meters and below, providing many interesting swim-throughs, canyons, archways and caves.
The Similans also have a rich variety and abundance of reef fish. Deep water creatures like manta rays and whale sharks also visit the area, particularly in season from February to early May when nutrient-rich water cause planctonic blooms. The visibility ranges between 15 and 40 meters, and shallow coral in blue water at white, sandy beaches are the perfect surrounding for snorkeling or relaxed sunbathing.
Surin Islands – Koh Bon, Koh Tachai & Richelieu Rock
Further up north, some extraordinary dive sites invite the adventurous diver to unforgettable underwater excursions. Richelieu Rock is an outstanding dive site about 10 miles south-east of the Surin Islands. This pinnacle is known around the world as THE WHALESHARK MAGNET. The plankton concentration here is often very high and thus, the amount and variety of fish and coral is bigger than anywhere else at Thailand's west coast. Even the dinosaur-like looking 'ray shark' is seen here – transforming Richelieu Rock to a Jurassic Park under water!
Located halfway between Surin and Similan, Koh Tachai and Koh Bon offer brilliant dives with many soft coral and schools of large tuna and barracudas. The main attraction of Koh Tachai is a huge underwater reef with big boulders, sea fans and swim-throughs.
Koh Bon is the ultimate spot for deep dives, as the impressing reefs and walls drop down to depths of more than 45 meters in the crystal clear, blue water. Also manta rays are frequently sighted in this area.
The Mergui Archipelago – Myanmar (Burma)
Finally, the Burmese authorities pulled the curtain and opened up this amazing archipelago to foreigners in 1996. The Mergui Archipelago contains more than 800 islands and stretches over 10,000 square miles. This is a dive destination that has it all, whether you're an experienced or novice diver, you will find untouched reefs, sharks, big fish and an endless variety of coral. Topside these beautiful islands are uninhabited. Covered with lush primal rainforests they give home to a rich display of flora and fauna.
The bay of South Twin Island contains three dive spots with an average depth of 16 metres. Large boulders, covered with elk and staghorn coral are home for the whole spectrum of reef fish. Further away, big schools of jacks, tuna and trevallies pass the blue. The wide plateau of North Twin Island starts at 20 metres with clusters of seafans, building a safe haven for the colourful inhabitants. Curious, small white tip reef sharks and barracudas are guiding the diver along this outstanding reef.
A great observation station for divers is the barren, submerged pinnacle of Western Rocky, which is rises from 40 to 20 metres. Whitetips and big triggerfish are playing cat-and-mouse between geometrically shaped boulders which are characteristic for this area. Big stingrays are found here also as they flourish at almost every dive spot of the Mergui Archipelago.
Plenty of grey reef and blacktip sharks are calling the Northern Rocky their home. Parrotfish and wrasse are found in a vast mixture of soft coral, sea fans, gorgonians and hardcoral. This exciting and mind dazzling drop off ends at 50 metres and is one of Mergui's top spots for big fish encounters.
Black Rock is where anything can happen – anything to do with fish, that is. You might see Leopard Sharks dancing a graceful ballet just for you or Manta Rays enjoying the sensation as your bubbles tickle their mighty wings. Grey Reef Sharks roam around the rock as shoals of Barracuda and Trevali form great spirals nearby. Smaller fish abound too, Frog Fish, Devil Scorpion Fish, all the way down to countless varieties of tiny Nudibranches.
The four islands south of Great Western Torres offer beautiful dive sites with good visibility and mild currents. At the depths of 18 to 25 meters you will experience a diverse landscape of giant boulders, table corals and soft corals, gorgonian fans and sea whips. This wonderful coral garden is also an excellent place to see both sharks and rays.
Tower Rock, located on the north-west side of Prinsep Island is a place you won’t want to miss! You will find towering walls cascading down into whole cities of underwater boulders covered with soft corals that partially conceal many enticing swimthroughs. The variety of marine life is never-ending with Grey Reef Sharks, and schools of Devil Rays cruising beneath your fins as you make your safety stop. Here the best night dives in the Mergui Archipelago introduce you to Ghost Pipefish, juvenile Batfish and too many invertebrates to name them all.
The Burma Banks are a collection of elevated shelves sitting in a depth exceeding 300 meters. The top of the banks rise to within 15-24 meters of the surface. Reef fish are plentiful, but the real thrill of diving here is watching out for whatever might emerge from the deep blue. Keep your eyes open for silvertips, whitetips, hammerheads, and Mantas, you never what you will see!