Best Dive Sites - Thailand
Richelieu Rock – Surin Islands – A.K.A. Hin Plo Naam
• Max depth: 70 meters
• Level of difficulty: Advanced open water upwards.
• Visibility: 10/40 meters
• Current: Moderate to strong
• Season: October through June
The most popular dive from the Liveaboards of Phuket and Khao Lak also day boats go here too.
Richelieu Rock is the most famous dive site in Thailand and situated on the Thai side just a few miles shy of the Thai / Burmese border.
This dive site is outstanding, it is not a massive site, although most companies dive here at least’s two maybe three times on one trip -that’s how good it is.
Best described as a series of large boulders reaching down almost as far as thirty-five metres the boulders are large and form a horseshoe shape of rocks underwater, creating many nooks and crannies, which are ideal for the macro hunter.
And oh what macro life is here Pipefish are aplenty, in particular, the Janns (cleaner) pipefish, Multibar Pipefish & Ornate Ghost Pipefish, male and female Tiger Tail Seahorses stonefish and the elusive frogfish (Anglefish) just to get you started.
Now the currents here can be a little strong at times and the visibility can be a little unpredictable particularly when the tide changes. That said the viz is generally good usually from ten to thirty+ metres.
Richelieu falls off to a depth of around thirty-five metres on the outside of the horseshoe, whilst inside the protection of the site, you can find between twenty-five metres to fifteen.
There is always a mooring line and we suggest you use it for your descent and ascent if only as a visible reference. As you drop down the outside of the site you will notice how it is covered in beautiful soft corals and anemones with a large sea fan population, so check this area for small critters.
It really is spectacular and so colourful !!!
You can see almost anything found in the Andaman Sea at this dive site from the smallest to the largest creatures. It’s a photographers paradise.
Now you start to see what fish live here, keep your eyes open for (because they will be watching you) a large school of Chevron Barracudas they will be cruising in the current seemingly doing nothing until one of them darts off the reef for prey, what a spectacular site to see.
You will find a huge school of Trevallies hunting around the back of the site along with the Snappers and fusiliers adding colour as they go by. There are several different species of Angelfish such as the Blue Ringed and Emperor, keep a special eye out for the juveniles they are even more beautiful than their parents.
There is an abundance of Anemone Fish here such as the Clown Anemone and the Tomato Anemonefish. Cuttlefish and Octopus can be seen here. Lots of species of Moray Eels, in almost every crack you will see the small White Eyed morays Giant Moray, Fimbriated Morays, Zebra Morays and Honeycomb Morays.
Scorpionfish are everywhere so it’s important to be careful where you put your hands as they can be difficult to spot and have a dangerous sting.
As previously mentioned it is a very good idea to check every crack and crevice expect to see Banded Boxer Shrimps, Cleaner Shrimps and Durban Dancing Shrimps.
There are also many Peacock Mantis shrimps found to be scuttling around on the ocean floor. Richelieu Rock also has the very special Harlequin Shrimps but you have to look very closely to find these.
There is a very wide range of Nudibranch and can be found all over the site, sometimes as shallow as one metre. Japanese Pineapple fish have also been spotted here but are very rare.
If you are lucky you may also catch a glimpse of Leopard Shark or Guitar Shark at Richelieu Rock.
Oh and I never even mention the Manta ray visits and Whaleshark visits yes they are regular visitors here too.
There is something special about this site just ask anyone who has ever dived it, and the more you dive it the more you love it… Richelieu Rock it is that good.