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Burma Banks

Guitar Shark & Diver Heckford Bank Silvertip Bank Roe Bank
The Burma Banks in the Andaman Sea are around 200km off the coast of Burma (Myanmar), north-west from the Similan Islands. There are 6 ‘banks’ - actually the tops of large submerged mountains - Heckford, Coral, Big, Silvertip, Rainbow & Roe.

These underwater mountains were rediscovered in the 1980’s. Before this, there existence was known but their exact location was not.

Rising up from the depths, these mountain-tops form a series of plateaus, where shark encounters are the order of the day.

Reefscape Shark Shark Diver
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Shark Everything here is a little larger than life, from the huge hard coral structures to the giant groupers & reef-life, but the real attraction is the visiting sharks.

Heckford Bank is the deepest, it’s top lying in around 20m of water - and along with Silvertip Bank, this site probably offers the best opportunity to spot impressive Silvertip Sharks. South of Heckford Bank, Roe Bank is another great site.

Tawny Nurse sharks are regular visitors, paying little heed to divers as they cruise past. These 2-3 metre sharks are sometimes seen in groups of 10 or more, providing a thrill for any diver. Blacktip, Whitetip & Grey Reef Sharks are also common. From time to time, Hammerheads & even Tiger Sharks pay a visit here too. Manta Rays can be seen here too.

Currents here can be strong and the plateaus are all fully submerged in at least 15m of water, meaning diving here is for experienced divers only. Drift dives tend to be the order of the day.

  Soft Corals Shark & Barracuda Octopus Clownfish
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There are no dive centres within Burma. Instead, Liveaboards from Thailand visit the Burma Banks between November & May, often combined with visits to Mergui Archipelago to the east and the Similan & Surin Islands, in Thailand to the south.

There is a sizeable marine park fee payable to the Burmese military government to visit the area.

  • Phuket
  • Khao Lak

Map PhuketDirectory Find Dive Centre & Resorts in Phuket

Phuket is one of Thailand’s most famous & well established tourist centres. It is a large island, around 50km from north to south, and can almost be considered part of the mainland as it is connected by bridge.

The island is fairly mountainous, with numerous white sand beaches, some of them extremely busy and others fairly quiet & un-spoilt.

Dive Phuket  Dive
The dive industry in Phuket is very well established and there are literally hundreds of dive shops to choose from. Many run a combination of Liveaboard trips to the Similans & beyond, plus local day trips to sites around Phi Phi & Phuket.

Travel Phuket  Travel
There is a well-connected international airport on the island, with flights to destinations in Asia & Europe. The airport is in the north of the island, while most of the tourist facilities are in the south. While the island is busy, it has excellent roads, so getting from the airport to the resorts is no problem.

The island can also be reached by passenger ferry from Ko Phi Phi (40km) & Ko Lanta (70km). There are also land connections north to Bangkok & Khao Lak and south to Krabi & Ko Lanta.

Stay Phuket  Stay
There is a huge range of accommodation options in Phuket, from budget hotels to luxury resorts & spas. Most of the accommodation is centred around the main beaches of Patong, Kata & Karon, but there are places to stay all around the island.

Do Phuket  Do
There are numerous other activities aside from diving in Phuket. There are many beaches to explore, plus vibrant nightlife & great restaurants. It is a great place for shopping, with numerous malls selling Thai & western goods. There are many watersports available and even a zoo for kids.

Map PhuketDirectory Find Dive Centre & Resorts in Khao Lak

Khao Lak lies north of Phuket on Thailand's Andaman Coast. It is the closest jumping off point for Liveaboards to the Similan & Surin Islands. It is named after a nearby mountain and the surrounding area is a great place for nature lovers.

Dive Phuket  Dive
There are many well established & professional dive centres in Khao Lak, meeting the demand for liveaboard trips to the Similans, which is considered by many to be Thailand's top diving spot and sites across the border in Burma. In addition to Liveaboards, dive operators also run day trips to the Similans and a few local sites.

Travel Phuket  Travel
Khao Lak is around 100km north of Phuket, which has an international airport. Buses make daily trips to and from the area from Phuket, as well as Phang Nga.

Stay Phuket  Stay
There is a wide range of accommodation options in Khao Lak, from cheap hotels & bungalows to luxury resorts. Most are spread out along the main road which follows the Andaman coastline.

Do Phuket  Do
Aside from diving, the Khao Lak area is rich in natural beauty and is on the edge of a national park, with nature trails to waterfalls & caves. There are also some nice beaches and also some beautiful Buddhist temples to visit.

Mergui Archipelago         
The 800 islands that comprise the Mergui Archipelago lie just off the coast of Burma in the Andaman Sea. The islands, which can only be reached from Thailand, are only a fairly recent addition to Liveaboard itineraries, and have not yet been completely explored...

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