Phuket, The Phi Phi Islands, Koh Ha, Hin Daeng, Hin Muang
Thailands West Coast has some spectacular diving. The Andaman Sea south-east of Phuket is sheltered and offers virtually year round access to the dive sites. The sites here are dived by a select few liveaboard boats that head as far south as Koh Lipe in some cases. Do not assume that the Similan Islands is all Thailand has to offer. Although the Similans are the most well known the far south sites of Hin Muang, Hin Daeng, Koh Ha and the sites closer to Phi Phi are all excellent diving spots.
The sites such as Anenome Reef, Shark Point, King Cruiser & Koh Doc Mai are all popular for day trips and also for liveaboards returning from the further afield areas south of Phi Phi. They offer some excellent diving and are a short distance from Phuket, Phi Phi and Krabi. Racha Yai and Racha Noi are also the domain of Phuket operators as they are closer to Chalong than the majority of other sites. The depths at these sites do not attract the larger pelagics as much but the reef life is still abundant, colorful and spectacular.
The most likely way of spotting large pelagics such as Whalesharks and Mantas however is by diving Hin Daeng & Hin Muang, Koh Ha and to a lesser extent the Bida Islands around Phi Phi. These sites are a considerable distance south of Phi Phi and are accesible from Phuket via liveaboard trips virtually all year around. If you are visiting Thailand from May to October then it is these sites that you will visit on a liveaboard as the weather and regulations close the Similan Marine Park. If you are visiting in the remaining 6 months then you have the freedom of choice.
The dive sites around Koh Phi Phi are too numerous to talk about in detail here. Suffice to say that they offer excellent easy diving in the main and the topside scenery of the Phi Phi Islands is also breathtaking. Sheer limestone cliffs plunge into the azure waters offering both fantastic snorkeling and equally scenic diving. They didn't choose to film the Leonardo DiCaprio movie "The Beach" here for nothing. . . The limestone formations form numerous underwater caverns, caves and swimthroughs which makes diving here extremely interesting. Any liveaboard diving the southern sites will stop and let you dive at some sites around Phi Phi.
Moving further south from Phi Phi, Koh Ha (Five Islands in Thai) beckons with it's famous "Twin Cathedral" and internal lagoon. This is unlike any other diving area Thailand has to offer. It is dived far less extensively than the Similan Islands and well worth a visit.
Finally the main dive sites furthest south (and certainly not to be missed or dismissed) are Hin Daeng and Hin Muang (Red Rock and Purple Rock respectively in Thai). These sites are covered in purple and red corals and sea fans and attract the big fish due to the depth of water. If you have enough time and the budget and you are here in the Similans diving season then do not dismiss the Southern Sites. If you wish we can find you some excellent week long trips that cover it all. Trust us when we say whenever you choose to visit Thailand to dive you are unlikely to be disappointed. . .