Diving at Hin Daeng and Hin Muang
Red Rock and Purple Rock
Diving in Hin Daeng and Hin Muang is, for many divers that are familiar with Thailand, the best there is outside of the Similan Islands. Mostly these 2 huge, remote, deep water rocks are discussed in terms of the frequency of sightings of manta rays and whale sharks but they promise a lot more besides.
With exceptionally colourful soft corals, vast schools of trevallies, as well as barracuda, reef sharks and countless species of reef fish, Hin Daeng and Hin Muang are 2 dive sites which provide an excellent and convenient option for shorter liveaboard trips. The area lies within Thailand's Mu Koh Lanta National Marine Park.
Hin Daeng (Red Rock) - This is a submerged boulder pinnacle where, looking at the bare rocks above water, you would have no idea that it is such a beautiful dive site below water. Healthy soft corals in various shades of red are all around here and plenty of small scale action goes on. One of the most impressive sights is that of a silver wall of trevally cruising past.
However, diving at Hin Daeng is not always about paying attention to the foreground since there are frequent sightings of graceful mantas swooping by and overhead. There will be no mistaking the presence of a whale shark should you be lucky enough to be there at the right time since the tank banging and mood of excitement will alert you to the arrival of this most awesome fish.
Hin Muang (Purple Rock) - Here you will find Thailand's highest vertical wall, bejewelled with vibrant purple soft corals. One side of the submerged rock levels out at around 60 metres and the other disappears into the abyss. Vast carpets of anemones cover shallower sections of the reef while sea fans cling precariously to the steep walls.
Hin Muang is good for big fish, but also for macro life. Don't be surprised to see a photographer focusing on some tiny critter on the rock, happily oblivious to a manta ray soaring overhead. Grey reef sharks and leopard sharks are often seen patrolling the depths. Due to its relative greater depth, Hin Muang lies in waters beyond the reach of the Thai diving masses and so tends to be less crowded.
How to Dive Hin Daeng - Muang
Hin Daeng and Hin Muang diving trips are available in several ways. 1 option is to take a liveaboard dive safari; either a trip covering all the best of Thailand's west coast which also includes sites in the Similans and Richelieu Rock, or alternatively you can take a shorter trip which focuses on this southern area and includes the best diving around Phi Phi Island.
Daily speedboat trips from Phi Phi can also whisk you down the 90 km or so to visit these sites.
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Diving in Hin Daeng and Hin Muang is between November and April when the weather is at its most stable.
Good for: Large animals, reef life and health, underwater photography, visibility and advanced divers
Not so good for: Wrecks, beginner divers, snorkelling and non-diving activities
Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 15 - 40m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface conditions: Can be rough
Water temperature: 27 - 30°C
Experience level: Intermediate - advanced
Number of dive sites: 2
Distance: ~100 km southeast of Phuket (5 hours), 90 km south of Phi Phi (2½ hours)
Access: Liveaboards from Phuket, and day trips from Phi Phi
Recommended length of stay: 1 - 2 days
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