Thailand, with its turquoise blue waters and white sandy beaches, reveals an equally beautiful and colourful underwater world, with an impressive diversity of fish and coral reefs.
In the spotlight, the Andaman Sea and its little gems that delight everyone, passionate about images, biology or simply about discovery and exploration.
In this article, we present you the 5 best dive sites to discover in Thailand…
1. Richelieu Rock
Located at the extreme north of the Thai waters of the Andaman Sea, at the limit of the Burmese waters, the Richelieu Rock is considered by many divers as one of the 10 best dives in the world.
The horseshoe-shaped rocky massif is covered in abundance with red and purple soft corals, which gave it its name.
The pelagics include schools of barracudas, jack fishes, tunas, which are constantly circling, chasing the myriads of glass fishes that move between the coral massifs.
The site is home to an incredible biodiversity and the endemic fauna includes rare species such as ghost pipefish, harlequin shrimp, seahorses, sygnates, alongside other more common species: lion fish, parrotfish, surgeon fish, angel fish.
Because of its environment and the underwater topography that regularly brings plankton to the sandstone of the tides, Richelieu Rock is also one of the favourite places for whale sharks and manta rays to pass through during the migration season.
After countless dives on Richelieu Rock, divers are always amazed at each launch: it’s a new discovery each time, as the diving conditions, luminosities, colours, visibilities, currents, change very regularly.
2. Hin Muang
At the very south, in the middle of the ocean, is the rock of Hin Muang, a favourite place for the passage of pelagic species.
This 200-metre long rock formation starts at a depth of 14 metres and descends to the sandy bottom at 60 metres.
You will be impressed by the purple colours of the soft corals and anemones.
It is common to encounter big species, grey sharks, leopard sharks, marbled and sting rays, turtles.
Being a real magnet in the middle of nowhere, it attracts many whale sharks and manta rays during migrations.
3. Similan Islands
There are 9 Similan Islands and they have been famous in the diving world for several decades because of their underwater diversity.
Hundreds of species of coral and at least as many species of fish can be found in a limpid, turquoise and white sand scenery.
Accessible from Khao Lak and Phuket, a few hours by boat are enough to reach this real paradise.
Since 1982, these islands have a status of a natural reserve, and are greatly protected.
Conservation programs are already in place, access is restricted and even prohibited during the monsoon season in order to preserve this unique ecosystem.
4. Koh Haa archipelago
Koh Haa, as its name indicates in Thai language, is an archipelago composed of 5 islands located in the South of Phi Phi and Koh Lanta.
Each of the islands has its own little particularity, offering an incredible variety in sublime scenery with crystal clear water, white sand and limestone cliffs.
Caves, rocks, lagoons, underwater passages will be the background of your dives.
With excellent visibility, this archipelago offers divers little unexplored paradisiacal spots where many tropical and endemic species can be observed: turtles, rays, groupers, lion fish, ghost pipe fish, pegasus, nudibranchs…
5. Surin archipelago
It is difficult to decide between our dive sites and to classify some of them, as we have made some unforgettable dives there.
The Surin Islands however, ranked 5th of our top, are last but not least!
Accessible also from Khao Lak, this archipelago is located north of the Similan Islands, and is composed of 5 main islands and other smaller islets.
Reefs in very good condition and very little explored are the backdrop for dives where you can discover numerous species of hard and soft colored corals, numerous schools of tropical fish, and you can even swim with turtles!
The little extra: a getaway is possible on the island to meet the Moken village – a small sea nomadic people from the Andaman Islands living for generations thanks to fishing and maritime trade. This authentic village, as if it was frozen in time, is made up of 70 houses made of bamboo.
No wonder, a trip to Thailand, to be complete, requires you to discover its incredible underwater kingdom, the other face of the country of smiles.