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Mergui Archipelago

Dive Map Mergui Western Rocky Three Islets Black RockNortgh & South Twin Little Torres Tower Rock West Cannister
The 800 islands that comprise the Mergui Archipelago lie just off the coast of Burma (Myanmar) 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. Those areas that are now well known to dive operators offer some exceptional diving.

The more exposed sites normally enjoy excellent visibility and plenty of pelagic encounters, while sites closer to land hide numerous smaller delights for macro-lovers.
Barracuda Nudibranch Eagle Ray Reefscape
 
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Manta Ray Almost as soon as you enter Burmese waters, you come to a site known as Western Rocky Island. This small island, almost directly north of Thailand’s Surin Islands, has a tunnel stretching from one side of the island to the other. The tunnel, which is about 30m in length and 20-25m deep, is home to large Nurse Sharks and can be dived by experienced divers. There is great wall diving here and areas where larger pelagics can be seen, including numerous shark species.

Further into Burmese Waters, North & South Twin are two very popular sites. Boulders covered in beautiful soft corals create numerous canyons & overhangs. Ribbon Eels can be found here and Spanish Dancers are sometimes seen, especially at night. In the blue, there is a chance to encounter Eagle Rays & Mantas. Leopard Sharks & Nurse Sharks are seen here & Bull Sharks have been encountered too.

A little to the east is Three Islets. Here, a large cave hides Nurse Sharks & occasional Grey Reef Sharks. The north-east side of the site is a great place to look for smaller life, such as Ghost Pipefish & Seahorses. Fantail Rays can be seen here too & reef-life is prolific.

Further north again, Black Rock and Tower Rock are most definately big fish dives. Manta Rays are commonly seen at these sites, and their smaller cousins, the Mobula or Devil Ray often cruise by in large schools. Eagle Rays also pop in to pay a visit and schools of Fantail Rays occasionally fly by to join the show. Sharks are seen here too, including Leopard Sharks, Silvertips & even Bull Sharks. West Canister, at the northern end of the archipelago, is another great spot for Manta Rays.

Megui isn’t all about the big fish however. At sites such as Little Torres, Freak Island & High Rock, plenty of smaller life can be found. Frogfish, Stonefish, Ghost Pipefish, Sponge Crabs, Harelquin Shrimps & Seahorses are all there to be found by the eagle-eyed diver.

  Soft Coral
Shark
Cave
Frogfish
 
Dive Bases Icon Dive Bases Reefscape

There are no dive centres within Burma. Instead, Liveaboards from Thailand visit Mergui between November & May, often combined with visits to Burma Banks to the west and the Similan & Surin Islands, in Thailand to the south.

There is a hefty marine park fee payable to the Burmese military government to visit the Mergui Acrhipelago.

  • Phuket
  • Khao Lak

Dive Map PhuketDirectory Find Dive Centres & 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 & unspoilt.

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 Centres & 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  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  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  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  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.

 
Burma Banks         
Burma

The Burma Banks in the Andaman Sea are around 200km off the coast of Burma (Myanmar), north-west from the Similan Islands. Rising up from the depths, these mountain-tops form a series of plateaus, where shark encounters are the order of the day...

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It's a tough world out in the seas & oceans. But its not all bad news for the smaller fish that are vulnerable to attack. They have devised a whole host of cunning strategies to avoid ending up as someone else's lunch...

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