Thailand’s lower Andaman region, which encompasses the islands of Phang Nga Province, Burma, and Phuket, is regarded as one of the most attractive and leading diving destinations in the world. It is not uncommon for scuba diving enthusiasts to have locations like the Richelieu Rock, The Similan Islands, and Koh Phi Phi in their bucket list of major diving destinations to explore, and rightfully so because these spots have some of the most spectacular sights to offer.
The Similan Islands (100 km northwest of Phuket) consist of 9 flourishing granite islands, complete with majestic granite boulders, overhangs, and swim troughs and mild waters teeming with jacks, rays, bat fish, and leopard sharks. Koh Bon is just a short cruise up north and is the perfect spot for those who wish to get up close with giant Manta Rays. This site follows a colorful ridge covered in pastel soft and hard corals, dropping to depths of up to 35 to 40 meters. Further north is the famous Richelieu Rock, (50 nautical miles of Similans) which is one of the most renowned dive sites in Asia. It is your best chance at a rare whale shark experience because the site is known to be a whale shark magnet. Most liveaboards schedule dives in Richelieu Rock.
Twenty nautical miles south of Richelieu Rock is the island of Koh Tachai, which is another great spot for meeting Manta Rays. Despite strong currents, it is a popular site because of its mixture of hard and soft corals. The site also attracts leopard sharks, which can usually be found resting on the sea bottom, while schools of batfish and barracuda cruise around the colorful reef. Shark Point is also worth a wander, with its expansive gardens of multicolor hard and soft corals, tropical fish, leopard sharks, and clown fish.