Thursday, March 02, 2006

Diving in Thailand

My sister has been living in Bangkok for the past few years, so I decided to go visit here and her husband with my brother. If you SCUBA dive, you can't go to Thailand and not get some diving in.

Before leaving on the trip, I spent some time researching Thailand diving on the Web. I was of course familiar with Phuket, but I wasn't sure if it was the best dive site or if it was just the most over-developed. Who likes to dive with 20 other divers in the water?

In the process of my search I learned that there are a number of interesting dive sites around Krabi, the city on the coast of Southern Thailand that is closest to Phuket. One of the favorite places to launch dives from is Koh Lanta, an Island just off the coast.

There are two dive sites, Hin Mouang and Hin Daeng, which are considered to be among the best dive sites in Thailand, which are a fair distance out in the Andaman Sea, but are apparently worth the dive.

Hin Mouang

Hin Mouang, which derives its name from a dense covering of Purple soft corals, is a submerged rock, in the Andaman Sea south west of Ko Lanta in southern Thailand. Hin Mouang, and Hin Daeng which is nearby, are considered two of the best SCUBA dive sites in Thailand. The rock itself is approximately 200m by 20m and is shaped like an immense loaf of bread. Hin Mouang and Hin Daeng have an incredible amount of marine life and are feeding grounds for pelagic fish. Divers can see large underwater pinnacles, huge shoals of fish, manta rays, beautiful anemone carpets, soft corals and gorgonia, and the unusual bryazoan - clumps of white, straw-like growths. Hin Mouang is one of the few places in the world where divers may encounter whale sharks.

Hin Mouang is located at: GPS Coordinate: Lat. 07 09 129 N. Long. 098 49 242 E.

Hin Daeng

Hin Daeng is a huge underwater rock protruding three metres above the surface, in the Andaman Sea southeast of the island of Lanta in south Thailand. Hin Daeng and Hin Daeng are considered to be among the best SCUBA diving sites in Thailand. The southern side of Hin Daeng descends to over 60m and on the eastern side where the slope is gentler, two long ridges descend out into the blueness. Hin Daeng's Red Soft Coral is lush and tall. Divers may see leopard sharks, grey reef sharks, morays, barracuda, octopus, crayfish, shrimps. Nurse sharks are sometimes found in the south west cave (around 10 m) and whale sharks and manta rays also visit.

Hin Daeng is located at: GPS Coordinates: Lat. 07 09 126 N. Long. 098 49 297 E.

I'm looking forward to diving these sites. When I get back, I'll update the blog and say how it was. Maybe even some photos.