...Highlights: whale sharks, manta rays, turtles, great macro life/ marine diversity, schooling fish & big pelagics, non diving activities...
...Diving environment: wall diving, caverns, advanced divers, off the beaten track...
In the Andaman Sea, to the north of the Thai border lie the largely undisturbed seas of Myanmar. Since the area was only opened up to tourism in 1997, divers who choose to liveaboard dive in Burma feel a great sense of privilege at witnessing the awesome sights above and below the surface of the Mergui region (also known as Myeik) that has remained untouched for years.
Many divers board Myanmar liveaboards to explore the Similan Islands, but if you venture further north into Burma's Mergui Archipelago, what will you find? Firstly you will have the opportunity to dive and cruise far from the average tourist's beaten track. Picture yourself onboard a ship cutting through the silence on flat-calm crystal seas, past uninhabited, secluded islands without another vessel in site. Burma scuba diving safaris offer rewards beyond its excellent dive spots. Show more
Black Rock - An 80 metre wide islet, Black Rock stands in a northwest to southeast position, with steep banks all around, and with a wall on its west and south west sides. Many divers' favourite spot in the Mergui Archipelago, Black Rock will have your your heart pounding from spectacular passes of whitetips, silvertips, and black-tip sharks. Show more
The scuba diving here is by liveaboard safari boat only. There is no other way to take in enough of the dive sites, which are sometimes spread far and wide, than to board a cruise from Phuket, Khao Lak or Ranong in Thailand. To find a cruise that's right for you and for more information on all the travel information you might need to visit Myanmar, see our Burma liveaboard section.
There are a number of different options available here. Safaris that depart from Ranong and explore only the southern sections or northern sections of the Mergui Archipelago require at least 5 nights cruising. Boat charters that travel up the Thai coast through the Similan Islands before crossing over into Burmese waters, take at least 7 nights. If you really want to feel like you are on a complete Burma liveaboard safari then we recommend you take a dedicated Myanmar cruise to discover the whole of the archipelago. These trips require a minimum of 10 days.
October to May sees the main Burma diving season and this is the only period of the year when the liveaboards operate. At this time of year, the seas are calm, the skies are clear and even the most remote dive sites are accessible and enjoy great conditions. For optimum diving conditions in the Mergui Archipelago we recommend you visit between the months of December and April.
February to May tend to witness the most frequent manta ray and whale shark sightings, attracted by feeding opportunities represented by the plankton blooms that occur at this time of year. As you might imagine visibility is reduced since the water is so nutrient-rich. These nutrients bring in the plankton feeders and explain why the hard corals reach such impressive sizes and there is such an array of life, both large and small, at the dive sites.
Water temperatures do not vary hugely during the season from a generally cooler 26-27°C early in the season to a balmy 30°C around the end of the season. The visibility also tends to improve a little towards the latter half of the season.
Review our map below of the Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar (Burma) and its location in the world. Here, you will find information on how to get to Myanmar.
Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 5 - 50m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface conditions: Can be rough
Water temperature: 25 - 28°C
Experience level: Intermediate - advanced
Number of dive sites: >50
Distance: ~280 km north of Phuket (14 hours), 60 km west of Kawthaung (3 hours)
Recommended length of stay: 5 - 10 days