Thailand's reputation as a diving destination is long-established and its western coast, met by the Andaman Sea, is where scuba divers flock to experience its finest dive sites.
Mostly the drawcard for divers is the reputation of the Similan Islands. Take a closer look, however, and you will see that there are other wonderful dive sites here that deserve your attention, Hin Daeng, Hin Muang, Koh Ha and Koh Phi Phi.
This area is found to the south of Phuket Island and within the Mu Koh Lanta National Marine Park. Their proximity to Phuket means these sites can be dived via a short liveaboard trip, making them attractive to divers restricted by time or budget.
Hin Daeng is a favourite site for manta rays and even a whale shark to pass by. It is a submerged pinnacle covered with vibrant soft corals ringing its crown. Hin Muang is a much larger dive site and tends to be less crowded. Here you can dive Thailand's highest vertical wall and marvel at a vast carpet of anemones. Hin Muang is good for both big stuff like mantas, grey reef sharks and leopard sharks, schools of pelagics, but also for macro life too. [More details on these dive sites: Hin Daeng and Hin Muang].
The Phi Phi Islands are one of the best known destinations in Thailand, being amongst the most picturesque islands in the world. These islands and nearby Koh Ha are surrounded by many interesting caves and overhangs. Smaller marine life proliferates here such as clouds of glassfish, seahorses and shrimpfish, as well as leopard sharks and blacktip reef sharks. [More details on these dive sites: Phi Phi Islands, Koh Ha].
Liveaboard Diving Safari Options in Hin Daeng-Hin Muang
There are different options for diving this part of the Andaman Sea. Most divers who visit Thailand experience these dive sites as part of a liveaboard safari called Similan, Richelieu Rock & Hin Daeng which takes in sites including Hin Daeng, Hin Muang, Koh Ha, Phi Phi Islands, Shark Point and Koh Dok Mai as well as the Similans, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock. These cruises are for 5 or 6 nights.
If you are short of time or on a low budget, you can join a liveaboard tour to Phi Phi Islands, Hin Daeng & Hin Muang. These trips are usually only 3 nights in duration.
Currents can be strong but both Hin Daeng and Hi Muang offer plenty of shelter. Divers should be comfortable in the water and be able to manage some current. Hin Muang can at times represent quite a challenge since the current undergoes an increase in strength as it passes over the top of the rock.
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November and April is when the weather is at its most stable at Hin Daeng and Hin Muang. May to October is the rainy season and these remote sites are closed at this time of year during to frequent rough seas and rain.
Water temperatures range between 27-30°C throughout the year, February to April being the warmest time. Visibility is normally good (20-30m) and is only adversely affected during the wet season. The most likely time of the year for manta ray and whale shark encounters is from February to April, when the sea is at its calmest and there are fewer divers around.
Liveaboard Ports of Departure for Hin Daeng and How to Get There
Similan, Richelieu Rock & Hin Daeng liveaboard cruises which include Hin Daeng and Hin Muang as part of the itinerary use the ports of Chalong in Phuket or Khao Lak (1½ hours ride north of Phuket). Charters to Phi Phi Islands, Hin Daeng & Hin Muang usually depart from Patong or Chalong (both in Phuket).
Departure ports are detailed for every trip in the 'Departures & Prices' section of each of our liveaboard boat pages. They will also be sent to you during the inquiry and booking process. Hotel-boat transfers are often provided free of charge from all of Phuket's main beach areas (Patong, Kata and Karon). Transfers from other areas may be subject to a small extra charge.
Most visitors arrive in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, and connect onwards on a domestic flight to Phuket but there are also a few international airlines that fly direct to the island. Flights to Phuket from Bangkok are frequent, take just over 1 hour, and are inexpensive. More information on: How to get to Thailand.
We recommend you take out insurance to cover diving and travel activities, including trip cancellation. See our insurance programme for a competitive quotation:
Places to Stay
If you plan on staying in Thailand before or after your Hin Daeng liveaboard diving safari, you'll find a huge range of accommodation options on hotelscombined.com's website, our affiliated hotel reservation specialist. Browse their website to find options that you're interested in, use their on-line chat to seek answers to your questions, and then simply use your credit card to make your booking:
Every booking carries their 'Low Price Guarantee' to ensure you always get the best value for money.
If you prefer, it's possible to dive at most of these sites by staying at a resort and making daily trips, from: Phuket or Phi Phi Islands.
Useful References for Liveaboard Cruises in Thailand
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