Diving Myanmar – Burma : Mergui Archipelago
Diving Myanmar with Liveaboards have started in 1997 under the leadership of Phuket diving centers, the Mergui Archipelago opened to foreign tourists for the first time in over 50 years.
Diving here is deemed exceptional, both for the potential of the many unexplored sites around its 800 islands, set in granite and limestone, which span an area of 36,000 km², there is underwater richness everywhere.
Four years later, in 2001, Andaman Scuba organised its first Burma Myanmar liveaboard dive cruise on board its previous boat, Bunmee II.
The dive sites vary between pinnacles, canyons, plateaus, swim-through and tunnels, where there are presently colorful hard and soft corals, giant sea fans, soft coral forests where sedentary and pelagic faunas intersect.
With an abundance of colors and shapes, blue and red, green and orange, pink and purple, each site has its own uniqueness and offers a distinctive path on each dive.
It is often the case that your liveboard will be the only boat on the site, giving you the opportunity to explore every detail of the fixed fauna and discover the indigenous species including; Seahorses, Pipe and Ghost pipe fish – Comb and Spider crabs, Sponges – Frog fish and Pineapple fish … subtle crossovers of moving and fixed species … out in the blue swim the rays, barracudas, batfishes, giant trevally, tunas, and even whale sharks during the migration period …
Diving Myanmar is certainly the missing one in your Logbook so, let us introduce you to one of the world class diving destination…
Most famous Myanmar Burma Diving sites in the Mergui Archipelago
Diving Myanmar first encounter, is around 15 miles from Kawthaung, this small island is very characteristic with its single tree.On the north west of the Islet you’ll dive along an orange-green colored wall and to the southwest along a coral reef.The high density of fish include: shoals of snappers, glass fish, yellow fusiliers, blue fusiliers, titan trigger fish, groupers, nurse sharks, seahorses, many invertebrates and crustaceans, …
Not so far away from the mainland, the visibility can be a little poor during some tidal periods but High Rock is the perfect spot to start diving Myanmar.
Situated on the north of High Rock on the way to Three Islets and Shark cave, this site offers one of the largest fields of anemones of the Mergui Archipelago if not in all of the Andaman Sea.
All marine life is concentrated and swirls around the rock: kingfish, barracuda and tuna with a high density of sedentary reef fauna.
Three Islets & Shark Cave
These are 3 small deserted islands that protrude from the surface and are in total contrast with the superabundance of the underwater life beneath.
The field is grandiose between the islands and you will discover many pinnacles from 30m to 5m whose walls are covered with soft corals and colorful gorgonians, with huge shoals of perch, snappers and fusiliers, constantly swirling around. One of the favorite places to dive in Burma boasting: ghost fish, striped yellow seahorses, pipefish, nudibranch, harlequin shrimp, striped knit snake … they are all here! At the North of the central island a large canyon leads to, Shark Cave! This canyon, shaped in a horseshoe, probably offers of the densest marine life found in the Mergui Archipelago. From small: frog fish, ghost pipe fish, spider crab, harlequin shrimp … to large: giant trevallys, jackfish rainbow runner, tunas, snappers, marbled stingrays and the occasional gray shark, turn around at the tunnel entrance, you will never tire of diving here.The tunnel is about twenty meters long with a depth of 15 meters. At the end of this tunnel a lower cave is accessible, home to a group of nurse sharks, the largest being around 4 meters long.
The flagship dive site of Myanmar-Burma, the area is dense and dives are along its walls covered with hard and soft corals. Lonely and distant the rock lies out the end of a remote part of the Mergui Archipelago. Black Rock is a natural magnet for marine life, attracting many pelagic and migratory passages.
The terrain is gently sloping from 5 to 35 meters on the northeast face, while falling away at its southwest side where the depth reaches easily over 50m.The abundance underwater and variety are striking;
While shoals of Giant trevally, barracudas, platax fish and fusiliers pass by,holes and cavities abound with ghost pipe fish, frog fish, harlequin shrimp, striped ribbon eels and all kinds of crabs … You can observe leopard, gray reef and white tip sharks, along with eagle rays.Black Rock is among one of the most privileged sites in South East Asia, for encountering passing of manta rays.
North Twin – Plateau and Pinnacle
North Twin is one of the best dive sites in Myanmar Burma. Located in the northwest of the island, the rocky plateau is between 24 and 30m, upon which lie dozens of widely scattered granite blocks. A white sandy area around the plateau gently slopes down to a giant sea fan forest of orange and pink. There is an abundance of fish and leopard sharks, and white tip are seen in the deeper areas. Visibility is excellent and this site regularly sees Manta Rays pass by.
Located on its deeper side in the southwest of the island, the Pinnacle is from 5m to 35m deep and again we find large granite boulders here, covered with corals and pink and purple sponges, Zebra moray eels, morays ribbons, ghost pipe fish between the blocks and giant sea fans. Be on the lookout for the Barracuda, kingfish and tunas patrolling just above …
South Twin Islands
Located 10 miles south of its sister North Twin Island, South twin is one island you will remember from the Mergui Archipelagos. A granite island, with trees and white sandy bays, form its geological structure. Under the surface, the terrain is of rocky structures forming canyons and cavities where small and sedentary fauna are present on coral tables with colorful beds of anemones: large varieties of nudibranch, ribbon moray eels with passing kingfish rainbow runner jackfishes and barracudas. Emperors angel Fish, parrotfish and Oriental sweetlips are also found on this site and it is an excellent site for night dives with very little current.
Diving under the surface of this remarkable and pierced large rock, the seascape consists of drop offs covered with sponges all around the island with cavities, tunnels and swim-through, bringing you out in the middle of shoals of snappers and fusiliers. The dive is interesting for the macro sea life and juvenile nurse sharks can be found in the cavities which are also home to many varieties of shrimps including boxers and mantis. Diving down to 25 meters you will find a white sandy bottom where you will encounter marbled stingrays, black tip and white tip sharks.
Fan Forest Pinnacle or Rocky Peaks
Certainly one of the most colorful of the diving sites with an incredible density of orange-rose giant sea fans around which the lion fishes dance their ballet.From small harlequin shrimp, pipe fish, seahorses and yellow striped seahorses to big Marbled Stingrays, leopard sharks, white tip and gray reef sharks. Out in the blue look for the barracudas, trevally and of course, manta rays and eagle rays during migration periods.
Near to the west of the MacLeod Island, this limestone rock resembles a boats sail.
The dives here are from 5 to 35 meters deep and cast in a colorful orange. You’ll find Parrot fish, angelfish, sweet lips, marbled stingrays and nurse sharks are frequently seen.
Located further south of the Mergui Archipelagos, Western Rocky offers extensive underwater scenery including, pinnacles, walls, caves and tunnels where life is abundant and varied.
At 20 meters we find a tunnel through the island, which is populated with crustaceans. Rarely will you find such diversity on the same site: crabs, shrimps, lobsters, Pharaoh Squid, frog fish, lion fish, moray eels, schools of small barracuda, angelfish, parrotfish, groupers. Western Rocky is also in a prime location to encounter whale sharks during their migration
Best time for Diving Myanmar
From early December to late April is the best time for diving Myanmar. During these months, the weather is calm, the skies are clear and most sites have excellent diving conditions. If you choose to come earlier than December, you’re at the mercy of the monsoon season and if you decide to dive after April you generally encounter difficult sea conditions due to the trade winds that pass to Northwest. The water temperature varies little: about 27-28°C at the beginning of the season up to 29-30°C at the end of season. Visibility is usually better during the second half of the season.
All our Myanmar Burma Diving Liveabords cruises depart in the afternoon, this means that you can fly in, have some time for shopping and/or sunbathing and board the vessel on the same day.
We will ask you to be with us in early afternoon to prepare together the immigration formalities, as you will board around 15h00-16h00.
You will need 2 copies of a valid passport with more than 6 months to expiry, and 2 passport size photos to enable you for diving Myanmar.
The cost of the visa is USD $30 USD, which must be added to the diver taxes – $140 USD for the first 5 days + $30 USD per additional day ($200 USD for our cruise)
When you re-enter Thailand you will receive a new visa on arrival without charge for 30 days.
The diver visa can be obtained locally only and we will take care of the formalities on your behalf.
For this we will need the following information in advance:
First name / Last name / Gender / Nationality / Date and Place of Birth / Address /
Passport number / Date and place of issue / Expiration date.