Creating visual excitement for divers are PINNACLES, TUNNELS, fantastic SWIM-THROUGHS, walls and slopes. Add vividly colored CORAL GARDENS & coral bommies which attract schools of barracudas, giant trevally, NAPOLEON WRASSE, snappers, BLUE FIN TUNA, giant moray eels ... clown trigger fish, ANGELFISH, rabbit fish, cuttlefish ... plus some great CRITTERS: scorpion fish, frogfish, mantis shrimp, porcelain crabs, pipefish, cleaner shrimp, fire dart goby, popcorn shrimp. With all that appetizing prey, you get leopard SHARKS, blue spotted STINGRAYS, MANTA RAYS, even WHALE SHARKS in season.
HARD & SOFT CORALS IN BLAZING COLORS ... WITH PELAGICS TOSSED INTO THE MIX
In Thailand, the hot spots for divers are the Similan and Surin Islands off the west coast of the peninsula. They offer a geologic combination of granite and limestone. The huge granite boulders and weathered limestone both create tunnels and caves and swim-throughs galore.
There is access to pelagic action, great coral gardens and plenty of engaging critters.
Thailand is known for magnificent hard & soft corals lure exquisitely-colored fish into their gardens on the protected side of the islands. Then, in the strong currents on the open-water side, particularly at Richelieu Rock, the diving is vastly different.
These waters host a long list of big fish including barracudas, jacks, tuna and trevally and are graced by visits from migrating Whale Sharks and Manta Rays in the spring months.
The Burma Banks & the Mergui Archipelago also offer quite unusual underwater landscapes with exciting diving.
THE DIVING BY REGION
Adding to the excitement, you'll find that at the right time of the year you're in one of top locations for whale sharks and manta rays. Richelieu Rock, which is covered in soft corals, hosts a vast array of fish: Moorish idols, bearded scorpion fish, titan triggerfish and lionfish, crabs and nudibranchs to name just a few.
And as major food supply is not abundant in this sea, it's quite natural that the pelagics would find their way here to fill their bellies. You'll run into jacks and tuna and trevallies, rainbow runners, great barracuda, plus the delight of the mating cuttlefish in addition to whale sharks and manta rays.
Elephant Head is another favorite site with more boulders, swim-throughs with caverns, arches and grottoes to explore. Soft corals & hard corals abound, schools of yellowtail snappers and yellowtail fusiliers, imperial and emperor angelfish, leopard sharks.
Favorite dive sites are Black Rock, North Twin, South Twin, Three Islets, and Shark Cave which all include plenty of variety. From multiple species of sharks, pelagics, schooling fish & unusual macro life to caves, caverns, steep walls and rock covered with coral and fans, the wealth of aquatic life combined with clear water will please underwater photographers and marine naturalists.
You'll be fascinated by the cleaning stations where giant barracuda wait for their teeth to be cleaned. Enormous manta rays, bumphead parrotfish and napoleon wrasse are also often seen, sometimes by the dozens.
The National Park now dictates that a maximum of 525 divers may enter the Similan National Park each day. This means that liveaboard operators have to pre-purchase entry tickets from 60 days prior to a cruise departure. If you already have a confirmed trip the following details will be required immediately. I you are planning on booking a trip, they will be required upon confirmation of your booking:
- name as seen on your passport
- passport number
- date of birth
- diving certification
- paper copies or original cards of dive insurance & dive certification
Without these details the liveaboards reservations team will be unable to purchase an entry ticket for you. While travelling, you need to have your documents with you for inspection by park rangers or risk being barred from diving.
We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Located on the Indochina peninsula, bordered by Malaysia, Burma, Laos & Cambodia, is charming Thailand. The Gulf of Thailand lies to the west & offers the best of Thailand's diving around the Similan Islands, a group of 9 rocky islands which offer divers fascinating diving terrain. India, a distant neighbor across the Andaman Sea, is often a starting point for trips into the northern & western parts of the Andaman Sea & to the Mergui Archipelago & Burma Banks.