The marine life in the Andaman Sea ranges from manta rays to whale sharks. The visibility is as clear and translucent as a glass jar. It may come as no surprise then, that some of the best snorkeling and diving sites in the world are found here, including along the coasts of the Surin Islands.
Located in the Tha province of Phang Nga, this stretch of islands are some of the most remote, being some 37 miles from the west coast of Thailand. Because it is so far from the mainland, tourists are less likely to visit, making it both remote and unspoiled by visitors. In addition to marine animals, divers here will also find that the reef is vast and seemingly untouched, with diverse coral throughout. This is largely due to the fact that the islands, as part of a UNESCO development, have been a Marine National Park since 1981. One of the most famous diving sites, Richelieu Rock, is found here as well. Divers are almost guaranteed to spot a whale shark, especially during the months of February to April.
Phi Phi Islands
Phi Phi Islands are known for its scenic beauty both above and below the surface. After diving into the crystal clear waters of the island, you would definitely forget yourself. Also, this place offers the most thrilling experience of scuba diving for beginners.
Hin Daeng (Red Rock)
Diving below to this submerged boulder pinnacle where observing the bare rocks from above the water leaves you initially disappointed will bring surprises like few can ever imagine. Coral landscapes that have more “in your face” colour than Koh San Road, standing as large psychedelic structures to the small-scale world that works alongside, a world that much diver-fanatics and macro shooters would spend an entire dive exploring. Those who desire the presence of something larger will be pleased to hear that the site is frequently visited by whale sharks.
This diving spot is most recognised for its vast quantity of Whale Sharks and is regarded by many diving enthusiasts as “Whale Shark territory”. Plankton are ever so present in this massive diving region bringing about a significant quantity of marine life, especially the larger fish.
Richelieu Rock lies just south of the Burmese border and to the east of the Sulin Islands. This diving region is recommended for intermediate to advanced divers and a liveaboard trip will be your best bet (from either Phuket or Khao Lak), although this area can be accessed via speed boat from Khao Lak.
Located some 50 miles from Phuket are the Similan Islands. All of the eleven secluded islands sit amongst the Mu Koh Similan National Park and are protected by the Thai government. Established in 1982, the area protects an abundance of soft and hard coral, a wide array of marine life, and the crystal clear water that hugs the islands’ beaches.
This is one of the reasons as to why these islands are home to some of the best dive sites in Thailand, and some might argue they are the most stunning in the entire world.
Sail Rock is one of the most renowned diving sites in the Gulf of Thailand. Its sheer abundance of schooling fish have brought it fame and status in the Gulf. The large pinnacle which starts from above the waves provides a superb wall dive, and together with the surrounding pinnacles, Sail Rock offers an amazingly varied topography. Here you will find large barracuda and mackerel and many other types of marine life.