Nai Thon Dive Resort
11/5 Moo 4,
+66 76 20 50 49
+66 76 20 50 49
+66 85 47 21 506
+66 80 52 52 654
Dive safaris to the Similan/Surin Isands and Hin Daeng/Hin Muang in Thailand and in the Mergui archipelago in Burma (Myanmar) are the highlights of a diving vacation in Phuket. Both destinations are among the best dive sites in Southeast Asia and have become a major attraction for divers from all over the world.
The Similan National Park is renown for the best dive sites in Thailand, and many divers regard its reefs to be the best-preserved in Asia. Dive sites vary from shallow hard-coral reefs to soft-coral reefs and breath-taking underwater seascapes with huge, massive granite rock formations. Generally, the western shores tend to be more rocky, while the eastern shores are framed by drop-offs overgrown with corals. This magnificent variety, combined with the diversity of marine life, is the reason for the popularity with a growing number of divers who visit the Similans every year.
The group of Similan Islands are located about 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Phuket in the Andaman Sea.
Since 1982, when the Similan Isands were declared a National Park, the nine islands with their white, sandy beaches, their multi-coloured reefs, and their crystal-clear water have become a major attraction for divers from all over the world, and offer the best of first-class dive sites in Southeast Asia.
Nearly all of the nine islands are framed by huge boulders, which have been shaped by weather and tides. The resulting caverns, narrow passages, and gorges are ideal dive sites with famous names like “Elephant Head”, “Sharkfin Reef”, and “Christmas Point”.
The Similans are home to about 200 species of stone corals, about 350 species of soft corals, and hundreds of fish species, including quite a few of divers’ favourites. Among these are whale sharks, leopard sharks, violin rays (rhinobatos rhinobatos), and manta rays, to name just a few.
Greater depths of up to 35 m (105 ft) and tidal currents on the western sides of the Similan Islands make these dive sites especially attractive for the more experienced divers. Apart from spectacular rock formations and passages, there are giant fan gorgonians to be found here.
This unique combination of underwater attractions makes Similan Islands an ideal destination for dive safaris.
Dive safaris starting from Phuket usually last about 4 days and are headed for the Similan and Surin Islands, including Koh Bon, Koh Tachai, and Richelieu Rock. Some safaris are exclusively destined for the Similan Islands, which are also well suited for snorkeling. For divers and non-divers alike, some operators also offer islands excursions.
The Similan Islands comprise nine islands, which, while properly named, are usually referred to by their numbers. The following descriptions include the better-known dive sites around these islands.
Often called the most spectacular dive site of the Similans, Elephant Head is composed of huge granite rocks. These build a complex formation with passages and channels, at a depth of 40 m (120 ft). On the surface, two rocks are shaped like the back and the head of an elephant, hence the name.
Underwater currents can frequently be fairly strong, but in the shelter of the rocks they are manageable and make the diving not overly difficult.
This excellent dive site with soft-corals and rock formations features passages to dive through. The dive site covers a large area and requires several dives to fully explore it. Frequently, white-tipped reef sharks can be spotted near the sandy bottom, at a depth of about 35m (105 ft). In shallower depths there are beautiful soft-coral gardens, where nudibranches and moray eels can be found.
This is probably the reef with the greatest variety in the Similans. It is a dive site typical for the eastern side of the islands, with stone-corals (cnidarians) in best condition, various soft-corals, horn-corals (anthozoa) , and sponges.
Mild currents frequently allow relaxed drift driving.
East of Eden is a veritable “aquarium” with an incredible multitude and diversity of fish. Many of our Aqua Divers guests regard this as „Best Of Similan.
These are two sides of a large group of rocks off island number 3. At both dive sites, chances are good to spot large specimens of napoleon, leopard shark, and masked pparrotfish. Magnificent gorgonian decorate the passages between the hugo granite rocks. Both dive sites cover a large area, with depths of 5-35 m (15-105 ft).
Our recommendation: dive these sites several times!
This dive site at the southern end of island number 8 primarily consists of imposing rocks. One rock on the surface resembles the face of a monkey; hence the Thai name „Na Ling“ (monkey face). Impressive, massive rocks cover the white sandy bottom at a depth of about 20-35 m (60-105 ft).
Further north, an expansive reef stretches along the island. Depending on where you start your dive, you may find cenery predominantly rich with corals or rocks, or a combination of both.
Along the eastern side of island number 9 there is another expanse of stone corals. Fish diversity is impressive and includes butterfly fish, harness fish (Zanclus cornutus), doctor fish, boxfish, groupers, and hunting mackerels.
Depth does not exceed 25 m (75 ft), ideal for a relaxed dive. During your safety stop at 3-5m (9-15 ft) depth keep looking for turtles, as this seems to be their meeting point! Another real highlight is a night dive at the Hideaway site.
Aqua Divers management regards the Fantasea Reef as the indisputably best dive site of the Similan Islands. Seascape variety and marine life diversity is absolutely unique here. Some of the rock formations are suited for diving through them, and a multitude of soft-corals in pristine condition covers large areas.
Most Aqua Divers guests do not miss out on the dive sites around Koh Bon, Koh Ta Chai, Richelieu Rock, and the Surin Islands.
The Surin National Park, located on the northern border of Burma (Myanmar) , offers dive sites at which encounters with manta rays are not unusual. Here, and also near the southern islands of Hin Daeng and Hin Muang, are the prime spots for whale shark rendezvous.
Dive Site Description Surin Islands, Richelieu Rock, Koh Ta Chai, and Koh Bon.
About 50 nautical miles north of the Similan Islands lies the most famous dive site in Asia, the fantastic Richelieu Rock. At low tides, when Richelieu Rock barely breaks the surface, chances for whale shark encounters are excellent, as Richelieu Rock seems to magically attract the gentle giants. Other shark family members, like eagle rays and manta rays, are also regular visitors of Richelieu Rock.
Since there is just so much to see at this dive site, the guides usually schedule more than one dive here. You will appreciate the chance to experience all these attractions, plus schools of mackerels and barracudas, more than once.
The island Koh Tachai is located about 20 nautical miles south of Richelieu Rock, and is another dive site with good chances for spotting manta rays. The dive site is a submerged mountain, with a maximum depth of 14-35 m (42-105 ft) and occasionally strong currents.
The tip of the reef is a magnificent collection of hard-corals, while the deeper regions consist of boulders and attached gorgonian. Usually, leopard sharks can be found resting on the bottom while schools of barracudas and batfish are passing by.
Koh Bon is just a short journey north of the Similan Islands and undoubtedly the best place for spotting manta rays. The dive leads along the ridge of a submerged mountain, covered with soft-corals, to a depth of about 35-40 m (105-120 ft). Manta rays are frequently spotted above the ridge or further south in deeper waters. Also, leopard sharks rest in the daytime in deeper waters.
Only about 100 m (300 ft) north of Koh Bon is a submerged mountain tip, reaching from a depth of 18 m (54 ft) down to about 50 m (150 ft). Only experienced divers should enjoy this deep dive, with regular encounters of manta rays and sharks.
The Mergui Archipelago, consisting of over 800 uninhabited islands, lies on Burma’s southern border to Thailand in the Andaman Sea.
Off-limit to foreigners for over 50 years, divers now have the rare opportunity to explore pristine dive sites with untainted coral reefs and a fascinating fish variety.
The white, sandy beaches on the islands are equally immaculate and virginal.
Western Rock is located about 80 km (50 miles) away from shore and features gently dropping reefs, dramatic drop-offs, and several impressive rocks.
A tunnel, leading right through the middle of the island, is a favourite place for nurse sharks. Western Rock is one of the best sites for spotting sharks. White-tipped and black-tipped reef sharks, bull sharks and grey reef sharks can regularly be encountered here.
Black Rock is one of the most spectacular dive sites of the Mergui Archipelago with its variety of large fish, including silver-tip sharks, white-tipped and black-tipped reef sharks, grey reef sharks, manta rays, and eagle rays.
Burma Banks, located 180 km (ca. 110 miles) northwest of the Similans, rise from a depth of over 300m (900 ft) to about 15m (45 ft) under the surface. The Burma Banks dive sites boast a visibility of up 60 m (180 ft) and are famous for their silvertip sharks and other large fish.
The small fleet of safari boats that Aqua Divers has to offer provides all the comfort and amenities to earnestly enjoy the safaris and their spectacular diving. All boats are tailored to the needs of our divers, with comfortable double-cabins, pleasant lounges, and sun decks to relax between dives, complemented with fantastic Thai-food and international food. Combined with appropriate safety equipment and procedures, the quality of diving in small groups with experienced multi-lingual instructors/guides and excellent service guarantee an unforgettable diving vacation.
We arranged routes and schedules so that Aqua Divers guests can explore the best dive sites in Thailand and Burma on 3-day, 4-day, or 7-day safaris.