Top Dive Destinations for 2013 – Andaman Sea
We have devoted the next few weeks to finding you some great spots to dive around the world in 2013, whatever your budget and interests may be. Whether you’re looking to escape the European winter, find your special island getaway or do your courses on the cheap, you’ll find the best and most up-to-date information right here about your 2013 dive adventure. Be sure to let us know if you need any more information about the areas we cover, your Divescover Customer Service Officer is here to help.
The area is so diverse with environments such as coral reefs, sea grass beds, mangroves, vertical granite walls, limestone rock formations just to name a few, meaning the marine life is also extremely diverse. With over 200 coral species and 400 different type of fish, you’re sure to see some interesting things on your dives. There are stretches of nesting areas for sea turtles, whale shark migrations, pods of dolphins cruising the water, sperm whales and maybe even a Dugong if you’re very lucky!
In the north off the coast of Burma lies the Mergui Archipelago, a group of remote islands only accessible by liveaboard leaving from Phuket, Khao Lak or Ranong in Thailand. The diving here is virtually untouched, with amazing limestone rock formations, caves, huge pinnacles, sloping reefs and coral gardens. It’s a great place to have encounters with sharks such as reef sharks, leopard sharks, nurse sharks and the Bowmouth Guitar Shark, eagle rays, cuttlefish and cool macro stuff as frogfish, pipefish, shrimp and crabs.
The Similan and Surin Islands are also popular liveaboard destinations, but are easily accessible for day trips from Phuket. They are both protected areas, so sea life is abundant with frequent sightings of turtles, rays and sharks, and all types of tropical reef fish. Koh Bon in the Similans is a beautiful coral ridge where you might spot a manta ray, or Koh Tachai for its stunning coral gardens. You’ll find some of the best dives in Thailand in this area.
Off the coast of Phuket, Phi Phi and Krabi are great sites for beginner divers and courses, also for when heavy rains set in as they are protected from the weather. There are a few wrecks in the immediate area, or a bit further out you’ll get to Shark Point and Anemone Reef which are both great site for marine life. The sites around Phi Phi are rich in corals and fish, with great visibility, it has become a popular dive location for people visiting the island.
The island of Koh Lanta is an excellent budget location, with lovely fringing reefs and the deepest drop off in Thailand at Hin Mouang or Hin Daeng where you may come face to face with a manta ray or whale shark. If you are visiting Koh Lanta for diving, it’s best if you stay in the north of the island.
Khao Lak is another great diving destination on the mainland, with pristine beaches and everything for the nature lover, it’s a great spot to get away from it all. Mu Koh Tarutao Marine National Park is an area just north of the Malaysian Border and still fairly unexplored so if you enjoy out of the way dive destinations then this is the place for you. Dugongs have been spotted in the marine park too.
The Andaman Sea is home to some interesting and exciting dive opportunities, whatever your interest or experience level. Have you found your diving paradise in the area? Be sure to comment on your favourite sites.
(By Kelly Luckman)