Phuket diving sites

Phuket Diving Site

Anemone Reef Diving Site

Hin Jom, meaning submerged rock, derives its English name from the profusion of lime green and sky blue magnificent anemone's that cover this pinnacle. It’s about 600 meters to the north of Hin Musang. As the Thai name makes clear, no part of the pinnacle is exposed, and underwater the rock drops off more dramatically to a depth of between 20-27 meters until reaching a bottom of sand and oyster shells. Anemone fish and clownfish use the anemone's for protection and provide this Phuket dive site with all the colours you could wish for.

A dive at Anemone Reef usually starts with a descent to the bottom of the pinnacle. You can then slowly circle your way up the reef until you reach your safety stop level at the end of your dive. Sometimes the currents make it difficult to circumnavigate the reef in which case your guide will lead you on a zigzag route up one side of the pinnacle to avoid heavy finning against the current. Which ever way Anemone Reef is dived, it's a spectacular diving spot.

On the eastern slope of the pinnacle you can find large examples of lemon sea fans. Barrel sponges dot the lower slopes, and you can often find big, well-fed bearded scorpionfish resting inside their open barrel rims. These creatures are masters of camouflage and adopt crazy patchwork markings of white and pale pink, to match the granite rocks of Anemone Reef. Common lionfish and spotfin lionfish are always in attendance, either floating freely or hiding around the barrel sponges to avoid the currents.

Large schools of fish are everywhere on Anemone Reef, including various families of snapper, grouper and fusiliers. Splendid soldierfish congregate together in the many cracks and crevices which are also a haven for smaller critters such as the yellow tiger-tail seahorses. These guys are normally found around the lower reaches of the pinnacle and you need a good eye or a skilled dive guide to spot them.

Koh Racha Noi Diving Site

This beautiful uninhabited island is surrounded by hard coral reef, with huge granite boulders descending to depth at the north and south points. With Similan-like formations, the best visibility of all local sites, and the greatest chance of seeing manta rays and whales sharks, this Phuket scuba diving site is probably the best outside the Similan Islands and Hin Daeng, and is Dive The World Thailand's local favourite.

Racha Noi South Point is great diving for experienced divers. The dive starts with a free descent to 18 metres where you'll find yourself on a large rock formation surrounded by deep water. The fish here are larger and schools of tuna and jacks sweep past. Mantas are really quite common here too. You can also be fairly certain to find some blue-spotted stingrays resting near the reef. The depth and presence of strong currents and surface swells make South Point inadvisable for beginners. For this reason, this particular Racha Noi site is more regularly visited on Phuket liveaboards than on day trips.

In the small bay at the northern point of Racha Noi are some of the healthiest coral formations in Thailand. Diving along in the shallows, you'll find large patches of delicate green sheet corals, porites and formosa bottle-brush corals. Red octopus are plentiful and make for engaging encounters. Moving north, out along the eastern edge of the bay, large boulders take over the scenery. Once out of the bay confines at the extreme north point, currents often come into play, and here you're likely to see large groups of slowly circling chevron barracuda.

Shark Point Diving Site

Shark Point is part of a Marine Sanctuary and is justifiably the most popular of the local dive sites. Named after the docile Leopard Sharks that are often encountered resting on the sandy seafloor here. The official Thai name for this site is Hin Musang or 'Shark Rock'. Approaching from the sea Shark Point appears as a tiny rock outcropping of no particular interest but beneath the surface lies a vast multicolored reef teeming with marine life.

Hin Musang derives its name from the leopard sharks that are resident there, making it one of the more popular spots for in scuba diving in Phuket. These docile creatures grow to approximately 2½ metres, are nocturnal, and sleep on the sandy bottom at the edge of the reef during the day.

The main attraction here, in addition to sharks and vast schools of tropical fish are the colorful soft corals and sea fans that decorate this huge limestone pinnacle. The reef can be broken into three main sections and most divers could spend several days at least exploring the many interesting facets of the site which is arguably the most popular of all the local day-diving sites. Currents can be brisk at this site but they tend run parallel to the reef sections and allow for an excellent drift dive back to the dive boat.

Bamboo sharks can also be found hiding under coral ledges but there's a lot more to see here than just sharks. Lionfish and scorpionfish are all over the reef, the latter being incredibly well camouflaged against the coral. There are many different types of pufferfish including the cute little yellow boxfish. Moorish idols and the very similar looking bannerfish can be seen on every dive. Blue-ringed angelfish and emperor angelfish are also common.

As Shark Point is made up of more than 1 pinnacle there is always somewhere on the reef to shelter from any currents, so you can dive here any time of the month.

King Cruiser Wreck Diving Site

The King Cruiser wreck is 85 metres long by 25 metres wide, and has 4 decks with large passages and window holes. The wreck is resting in an upright position on 32 metres, with the captain's cabin the shallowest area at 12 metres. This depth, together with the frequent strong currents and low season rough seas, makes the diving here unsuitable for beginners.

The King cruiser was a steel boat and the large cargo hold used to be considered safe for penetration. However, in August 2003 the floor of the stern top deck collapsed through onto the main deck and more recently both the midsection and the bow areas have deteriorated significantly, so penetration is no longer safe. As you dive around the wreck you will be aware of the constant sound of creaking joints, lending a sense of impending doom. Let's hope the wreck will survive and remain a source of enjoyment when scuba diving in Phuket for some years to come yet.

On 32 metres at the stern you can see the twin propellers with lionfish swimming around them and there is normally a nurse shark sleeping in the angle between the sea bed and the open cargo ramp. The toilet area at the rear of the main deck is home to the largest lionfish of any of the local sites. The wreck is home to literally thousands of scorpionfish which are perfectly camouflaged with the rusting steel and barnacles so, if you have to hold on to something, look closely before you touch. Towards the bow, near the wheel house there are 2 frequent visitors to the wreck who seem to delight in intimidating divers as they hang on the line for their safety stop. 1 is an enormous great barracuda and the other is a large and friendly hawksbill turtle, who will nibble your hoses given the chance.

Lots of fish have been attracted to the wreck so far, as well as eels and zillions of crabs. It's location near to Shark Point has undoubtedly had something to do with it's rapid population growth.

Phi Phi Island Diving Site

The Phi Phi Islands are one of the most dramatically beautiful locations in the world. The scenery from the surface is absolutely stunning; colossal emerald green monoliths rising straight from the sea and soaring to heights of more than 500 meters. Underwater, these towers shape a rugged, interesting environment for scuba divers, and over time the elements have created caves, overhangs, and swim-throughs in the soft limestone rock.

Other dive profiles include vertical walls that plunge from the surface to over 25 meters. On these walls growing in every nook and cranny are found a profusion of soft corals, large orange-colored fans, black corals, and long stringy sea whips. There are several unusual types of coral that can only be found in the waters surrounding the Phi-Phi Islands including a one meter high white coral bush that is shaped like a Christmas tree complete with little ornaments.

The Phi Phi Islands offer a remarkable variety of dive sites concentrated in a small area. One of the most popular dive sites is located at the Southern tip of the small island of Ko Bida Nok. In a shallow bay on the Eastern side of the island are found huge gardens of stag horn and star corals and incredible numbers of colorful reef fish. In spite of diving visibility often being limited to 5-20 meters the Phi Phi Islands are likely to remain among the most popular diving locations Southeast Asia.

Koh Dok Mai Diving Site

This small, jungle topped island is located on the way to Shark Point from Phuket and is considered one of the best wall dives in the area. Doc Mai is a huge limestone rock that rises steeply out of the sea.

On three sides the sheer walls occupied with a different creature in every nook and cranny drop straight down to the sea floor.

The west side is a gently sloping hard coral reef with an abundance of colorful sea life decorating its underwater cliffs. This dive is noted for its variety of reef fish and an opportunity to view some of the resident Moray Eels.

The east-side of the island is a virtual garden of yellow tube corals and you can explore some of the small caves along the base of the wall. This is a fairly short dive as you can easily swim around the entire island, and it is included on many on day-trips to Shark Point and Amemone Reef.

Bigger fish such as leopard sharks and grey reef sharks are occasionally seen here and Indonesian bamboo sharks are becoming a more common sight beneath coral heads following a recent breeding program by the Phuket Marine Biological Research Centre. Octopuses are also common on the walls and if you look up you can normally see crocodile long-toms swimming close to the surface.

Koh Racha Yai Diving Site

To the south of Phuket lie the twin islands of Koh Racha Yai (big) and Koh Racha Noi (small) which offer significantly better diving than do Phuket's western beaches. Almost all diving operators offer one day trips to both of the islands (although not on the same day) and some offer a two day live-aboard trip every week.

Racha Yai's best diving is off its east coast which makes it especially attractive during Phuket's off-season in the summer. Although visibility varies, it can be as good as 25 meters or more. A typical dive is a gentle drift along a sloping rocky face that is sprinkled with hard coral forests of many, many varieties.

Especially prominent are stag horn corals of blue and tan. Many times there are large schools of false barracudas hovering over the reef, while on the reef itself you'll see octopus and cuttlefish in addition to the more common tropical species. Divers of all levels of experience and snorkelers can visit Racha Yai with no usual hazards as the diving is easy and gentle. Water depths range between 3-30 meters.

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