Divesites in Thailand and Burma

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This page gives a brief description of some of the dive sites of Similan Islands (Koh Similan) that you are likely to visit during a liveaboard. 'Koh' means 'island' in Thai, so most of the divesites are named Koh ... Similan is a Malay word and means nine, and of course refers to the nine islands of the Similans.

Koh Similian is a Marine National Park and located 90 km (52 NM - nautical miles) NW of Patong Beach in the district of Phang Nga. (For the technical freaks amongst you - the coordinates are on the Northern end 08º40'39" N and 97º39'15" E and 08º28'20" N and 97º39'40" E on the Southern end. 

Similan Island Marine National Park

Perhaps the most famous of the dive sites in this area. This park is a spectacular seven mile long rocky archipelago, comprising of nine granite islands set in the Andaman Ocean.
The resulting abundant collection of high-viz, multi level dive sites are located near movie-location gorgeous islands with tropical rainforest, sandy beaches, and protected bays. Exploration of the undeveloped islands is possible except for the vacation home to some of the Thai Royals!

While diving, you are likely to discover an abundance of hard and soft corals, diverse marine life: large pelagic, including occasional whale sharks, mantas or eagle rays. On the protected eastern sides of the islands you'll find gentle sloping reefs, anemones, hard and soft coral, and plenty of marine life. Read some about the marine life at the Similan Islands and get some fact and figures .

On the western reefs of the Similans you'll find giant boulder formations going to below forty meters, including many tunnels, archways, caverns, and swim throughs. Upwelling thermoclines from deep in the Indian Ocean can sometimes make this a chilly dive for us warm-water softies. Some of the sites have occasional moderate currents making for challenging diving. Here's a summary of the fantastic dive sites of the Similan Islands National Park.

Similan Island

Name of Divesite Max Depth Current Max
Viz
Rating

Description


North Point

35m

medium - strong

25m
Three rock arches. Giant boulder formation, embedded on sand or gravel bottom, between them you find coral gardens with mainly soft corals.

Christmas Point

40m

medium - strong

-30m

Boulder formation, swimthroughs in the deeper sections of the divesite. mainly soft corals on the walls.
Variety of parrotfish, surgeonfish, in the deeper part colourful starfish, giant sea cucumbers.


Breakfast Bend

25 m

medium

-25m
For this site you have the best sunlight in the morning. The shallow level has a sandbottom, scatterd with coral boulders, further out you have a 45 degree drop off to the sandbottom at about 30 meters. The drop off - thats what its all about. Beautiful soft and hard corals and a very abundant marine life on it.

Snapper Alley
28m

mild - medium

-30m
Beautiful reef drop off, followed by rock boulders scattered on the sand floor. Rich marine life.

Donald Duck Bay


20 m


mild

-25m
Scattered coral heads spread widely on a shallow sand bottom. The rocks on the west side of the bay are a bit more interesting. They offer nice boulder landscape and a good variety of reef fish.

Turtle Rock

25 m

mild

-20m

Boulders offer a nice under water landscape, dive with a lot of swimthroughs. Fairly good marine life, surgeon- and parrotfish, featherstars. Sadly you still can find some scars of anchors and dynamite fishing. Still a good site and worth visiting.


Fantasy Reef

40m

medium

-30m

Desccending on a rocky plateau to about 15 meters, you will find a magnificant garden of hard and soft corals with an adequate variety of reef fish. Going North you come to a big boulder swimthrough which leads you down to the sandbottom at about 30 meters. From there you turn West to pass enormous boulders, pass a valley and continue from there.
Very rich marine and coral life. sweetlips of all kind, schools of jacks, surgeon- and parrotfish, lion- and scorpion fish.


Beacon Beach

35 m

mild

-25m
Starts very shallow with coral boulders, than slopes down to about 34 meter. On the slope there is a real beautiful coral garden. Hard- and soft corals, anemones with their inhabitants, all sorts of shellfish, and a very rich variety of other reef fish. Down on the sand, you can find blue spotted stingrays, gardeneels, sand dwelling goatfish.

Beacon Point

40 m

medium - strong

-25m
Large boulders on a sandy bottom. Be careful, here you can reach your depth limit of 40 meter easily. Down there, are only a few hardcorals on the boulders. On the sand bottom there are always blue spotted stingrays, garden eels, goat fish, surgeonfish and if you are lucky you will find reef sharks. At the end of the dive, you come back to the coral garden where Beacon Beach starts.

Beacon Point

40 m

medium - strong

-25m

Massive boulder formations and swimthroughs, arches and caverns. Thats why we dive here, it's a breathtaking underwater scenery with all those giant boulders laying there as if a giant dropped a handful of pebbles. Good marine life, mainly hardcorals. A vast variety of reef fish and in the most southern part of the site is a group of pinacles where you often can see reefsharks.


Deep Six

40m

moderate

-25m
At the beginning large boulders and arches, good for spectacular swimthroughs. Hard and softcorals and a good variety of reef fish. In the deeper section of the site large fields of whip corals and a number of other soft- and hardcorals. Large sea fans, turtles and leopard sharks.

East of Eden

40 m

medium

-40m
One of the most beautiful reefs at the Similans. Mainly covered with hardcoral, it's also home for a great variaty of fish. Schools of fusiliers and snappers, single napoleon wrasses and sea turtles. In about the middle of the divesite there is a stunning coral head, coming up from 25 and reaching 10 meters, it is home of an excellent marine life.

Stonehenge

40m

medium - strong

-25m
This is a deep dive, towering rocks with large seafans and sponges between them. All the small reef fish are present. Leopardsharks, schools of tuna and travelly are frequently seen here.

Princess Bay
15m

mild

-20m
Sandbottom with occasional small coral boulders, nothing really exciting, good for nightdives, special the western part of the bay.

Hideaway Bay
20 m

mild

-20m
Nice quiet bay. Sandbottom with fairly big coral boulders, rich of marine life. The southtip of the island drops down to about 25 meters. There you often can see some ghostpipe fish. This site also is good for excellent night dives.

Barracuda Point
40m

mild

- 40m
This divesite is also know as Anita's Reef. The reef is sloping down from 6 to about 28 meters. Coralgardens, soft- and hardcorals are scattered thoughout the sand and are painting a great scenery. You will all kind of reef fish.

Honeymoon Bay
26m

mild

- 25m
On the westside of island No 4 you find a nice reef, dropping down from about 10 meter to the sandbottom at 30 meters. Mainly hardcoral (staghorns) and coral boulders can be found there. Sadly some areas are destroyed from past tense anchoring. Still a good site, special for night dives.

Bird Rock

40m

medium

-25m
Large boulders, reaching down to 40 meters. Not much marine life, but beautiful rock formations and swimthroughs at 16 m (53 ft).

Shark Fin Reef

40m

medium - strong

-30m
Three reef outcrops are seen from the surface. The dive takes you along either side of that vast outstretched rockformation. The southwest side is mainly a steep dropoff. At the southeast side of this formation is a large swimthrough where you can change from one side to the other. There you can find big lionfish in sheltered corners, surgeonfish and a variety of other reef fish. The corals there are mainly hardcorals.

Boulder City

40m


medium - strong


- 30m
Mountainous submerged boulder formations, running from southeast to northwest. Descending on the southeast mooringline you swim over scattered rocks, between them is a enormous seafan garden. Beside it there is a large plateau, rising 2 meters above the seabed. It is dotted with smaller hard and soft corals which is home to a rich variety of reef fish.

Coral Garden

24m

mild - medium

-25m

Easy reef dive. Beautiful hard and soft corals, rich on a great number of reef fish.


Rocky Point

35m

medium

-25m
Large scattered boulders, intersepted by patches of sand. Healthy fish population. There are mainly hard corals, but you can also find seafans and barrel sponges. Towards the deeper part of the site is a chance to see barracudas and other pelagic fish.

Koh Surin, Marine National Park

48 NM due West of Ranong Province on the West coast of Thailand. Comprises five granite islands, covered with evergreen forest. The dive sites are located on a fringing reef, and submerged pinnacles.

Name of Divesite Max Depth Current Max
Viz
Rating

Description


Richelieu Rock

40m

medium - strong

-30m

Thailand's number one location for sighting whale sharks and one of the best divesites in this area. Wall dive around main outcrop surrounded by smaller pinnacles. Rich marine life, schools of big barracudas.


Koh Tachai

40m

medium - strong

-30m
Big plateau, surrounded by big boulders covered with corals. On the plateau there is a miniaturised hardcoral garden with a generous amount of reef fish worth seeing. Schools of barracudas and mantas are seen here frequently.

Koh Bon

40m

medium - strong

-30m
Great wall on the south side, dropping down to about 30 m. Covered mainly with hardcoral. Oriental sweetlips, big emperors, all sorts of groupers and cods. Going west, following the rockformation down to 35 m you find some more whip corals and other softcorals. In this area big mantas are commonly seen.

Koh Bon Pinnacle
35m

medium - strong

-25m
A submerged pinnacle starting at 18 m , reef sharks commonly seen.

Bonsoong Wreck / Tinminer Northwest of Khao Lak

About 13 NM of Tap Lamu the Bonsoong wreck lies on sandy flat bottom in a maximum depth of 20 meter. This tinminer platform sank about 10 years ago. A fairly easy divesite where also beginners can go. The wreck serves as an artificial reef for big schools of fish. The site is famous for big and curious lionfish and all kind of moray eels.

Name of Divesite Max Depth Current Max
Viz
Rating

Description


Bonsoong Wreck
20m

mild - moderate

-15m

The only divesite off shore Khao Lak. The wreck is about 30 m long and 10 m wide. After the tsunami it broke in several parts and is scattered on the sandy bottom. An astonishing variety of moray eels, big schools of small barracudas, makarels and jackfish, watch out for nudibranches and have a look at the sandy bottom, there is always something interesting around. Occasionally whalesharks have been spotted here.

Burma divesites

As many trips are combined Thailand and Burma safaris, we will include some divesite description of Burma here as well.
Please be aware that this is a very wide area and not all boats are going to all the divesites. Also the names for the divesites can be different. A map to these divesites is on progress now ...

Name of Divesite Max Depth Current Max
Viz
Rating

Description


High Rock
30m

medium - strong

-20m

Spectacular single rock with a tree on the top. Mostly soft corals, sandy bottom. Schooling fish, lot of small stuff, nudibranches, seahorses. "Macro"-place. Normally poor visibility.


Shark Cave
25m

medium - strong

-30m
Two small and a big rock, on 18 m a cave which goes through the whole rock, about 4 m/12 ft high and 1,5 m/5 ft wide.
Grey reef sharks, rays, whip corals, anemones, crabs, shrimps, lobster.

Clara Pinnacle
30m

medium - strong

-30m
Underwater plateau with soft corals and fan corals. White and black tip sharks, gray reef sharks.

North Twin Pinnacle
40m

medium - strong

-25m
Submerged reef, east side steep slope down to 65 m, west side shallow, soft and fan corals.
Zebra sharks, blue spotted sting rays, bull sharks have been sighted, sometimes strong currents.

North Twin Plateau
40m

medium - strong

-25m
Submerged reef, south west of the main island, boulders, all kind of hard and soft corals, gray reef sharks, white and black tip sharks and often mantas.

Burma Banks
40m

medium - strong

-25m
Big submerged plateau, more than one sqkm, rising up from 300 to a top level of 18 meters. The main attraction there are the silver tip sharks.

Black Rock
40m

medium - strong

-25m
Single rock in the middle of nowhere, south west side steep slope, north east side shallow. Rocky landscape, corals,
gray reef sharks, chances for mantas, lot of stingrays on the sandy bottom.

Leo Point
40m

medium - strong

-25m
Beautiful reef, lot of big stuff, mackerels, tuna, wahoos, zebra sharks, white tip sharks.

Western Rocky

35m

medium - strong

-25m
One of the most beautiful divesites in Burma. It consists of two parts, the main island and the pinnacles with the coral garden. Thriving, intact marine life. Encounters with sharks of all kinds.

Northern Rocky
35m

medium - strong

-25m
When i dived there the last time it was an uneventful place. Quite possiblel that it improved in the last years.

Little Torres

25m

medium - strong

-25m
Small island, beautiful boulders, nurse sharks, bull sharks! Lots of fishes!

Double Rock
25m

medium - strong

-25m
Small rocky island with two big boulders, mostly hard corals.
Black spotted sting rays, devil rays, nurse sharks, white tip sharks.

South Twin

18m

mild - moderate

-25m
Beautiful bay, lot of under water rocks, hard corals, small stuff, good place for night dive.

Tower Rock
40m

medium - strong

-25m
About 100 m high rock - therefore the name Tower Rock! Wall dive down to 35 m, hard corals, a lot of small caves with lobsters, crabs, shrimps. Devil rays. Current.

Devils in the Sky
25m

medium - strong

-25m
Big boulders with relatively small corals, most of the time strong currents. All kind of big schooling fish like mackarels, tuna, barracudas, all kind of reef sharks, bull sharks.
Big schools of devil rays!

Lion Rock
25m

medium - strong

-25m
Big fan corals, white tip sharks.

Swinton Bay North
15m

mild - moderate

-25m
Sandy bay, blue and black spotted sting rays, hard and soft corals
Ideal place for night dives.

Swinton Bay Southeast
15m

medium - strong

-25m
Sandy bottom, soft and hard corals, good night dives.

McCarthy Island
25m

medium - strong

-25m
Small rocky island, wall dive on the south side - all kind of reef fish.

Cavern
25m

medium - strong

-25m
Rocky bottom covered with hardcorals. Nothing spectacular, lots of shellfish, good for night dives.

Steward Island
25m

medium - strong

-25m
Island with a lot of caves.
Rocky bottom with soft corals, barracudas, rays .
           

All about the Dive Sites in Thailand. Pattaya, Phuket, Krabi, Similan Island, Trang, Surin Island, Ko Samui, Ko Tau and more...

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