Andaman dive sites: Hin Daeng and Hin Muang
IN Andaman’s rich waters, close to both Phuket and the Phi Phi Islands, lies one of the best dive sites in Thailand. For many experienced divers, this is as close down south as you can get to the beauty of the Similan Islands. Made up of two remote rocks located 40 nautical miles from the Phi Phi Islands, they are a favorite of pelagics but offer so much more.
There’s little to see above the waterline, but below the surface is a stunning showcase of marine life. Hin Daeng (red rock) drops to below 60 meters and is covered in healthy, soft coral. Its frequented by leopard sharks, whale sharks and reef mantas. Moray eels are found peeking from cracks in the rock while you can often find yourself surrounded by a wall of silver trevallies. Various species of shrimp and nudibranches call Hin Daeng home, as well as pelagic fish such as jacks.
Hin Muang (purple rock) on the other hand is Thailand’s highest vertical wall just a few meters away from Hin Daeng. Diving Hin Muang requires divers to be advanced, not only because of the depth but strong currents across its ridge. Its sheltered side is easier to dive, allowing you to better enjoy the purple coral, anemones and sea fans swaying in the water. Grey sharks have been spotted here, so keep a look out into the blue.
The great thing about diving at these sites is that while they’re accessible from numerous Thai islands including Koh Lanta, the Phi Phis and Phuket, many operators don’t conduct daily trips. This reduces the crowds and usually, there are only a couple of boats out at a time. They’re also substantially further out to sea (from Koh Lanta, a good 2 hours away) meaning an earlier departure and later arrival (often after dark) back to land. Last, due to its greater depth, both sites are beyond the certification of the diving masses that flock to Thailand.
Since going to these sites will take up a good portion of your day, one of the best ways to visit is via a liveaboard; a dive holiday that covers several sites over a week or more. On the west coast, this would include the famous Richelieu Rock and the Similan Islands. Even if you’re just planning to head out in the morning and return by nightfall, you’ll be rewarded with a great diving experience and one of the most beautiful sunsets in Thailand.
If you liked this, check out our list of Asia’s best diving destinations