The island of Phuket lies in an enviable location in the Andaman Sea, giving scuba divers access to some internationally renowned diving sites, as well as several protected National Marine Parks. Thalang, with its two coastlines on both the Andaman Sea and the Malacca Strait, gives divers the best of both worlds when they visit the waters around Thailand, from the gentler, sheltered seas to the east, to the more dramatic waters in the west.
A firm favorite of all divers is the rocky outcrop known as Richelieu Rock, a unique 50-meter natural formation lying just below the surface. Discovered by sub aqua pioneer, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, it’s a favorite location for advanced divers and famous for attracting a wide variety of colorful marine creatures, including manta rays, harlequin shrimp, and shovelnose rays. The ‘rock’, as it’s commonly known, lies in the Surin National Park, around 180km off the mainland. Its distance off shore means it’s usually visited as part of a liveaboard diving trip, although some scuba diving shops in Thalang run day trips by speedboat.
The Similan Islands make up another of Thailand’s National Marine Parks, and lying northwest of Phuket Island, they’re perfect to reach from Thalang. This chain of tiny atolls is rich with varied marine life and a good number of interesting dive locations, each with something different to offer. Divers visiting this location have caves and arches, drift dives and reefs to enjoy, and the colorful coral and vibrant marine animals make it a popular location for underwater photography enthusiasts.
To the east of Phuket Island, the islands of Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi lie in the Malacca Strait between Phuket and Krabi on the mainland. These islands are largely unaffected by the tourist boom because their beaches have never been considered suitable for the building of large-scale resorts. The result is two quiet and undeveloped pieces of paradise, with some amazing beach dives to enjoy. They’re a great location for a spot of relaxed snorkeling, but for scuba diving, head beyond these two islands to Mosquito Island and Bamboo Island further east. These tiny islands have some dramatically rugged scenery above the water, and below the surface, some fabulous reefs with gentle currents that make them perfect for beginners.
Decent dive operation but this is not a luxury liveaboard. Tired decor in cabin, mattress on floor and badly leaking pipework in the bathroom. It is very basic. The crew are helpful though, the divemaster good and the dive deck well organised. The sites in Similan Islands are pleasant but average with the exception of Richelieu Rock which is very nice. All sites are very crowded with many boats around.
Been diving around Marine Park, Koh Tao and Sail Rock, Thailand with Dive Point Samui last year after attend my mate's wed in Samui and two week vacation for myself. It was a thrilling experience to dive in such beautiful dive sites and the boat is a very nice, clean and comfortable boat. Dive crew are professional, sociable, cool, fun and serious about divers' safety! Fell in love with the Thai Curry that was prepared on the boat! It is a slow boat but you can actually sleep on the boat as the...