Hin Daeng is often the name used by Khao Lak & Phuket-based Similan Islands dive centres and liveaboard diving boat operators when referring to four groups of diving areas located to the south and east of Phuket. Hin Daeng is the best dive site in this region, but the others are nearly always visited on a ‘Southern Islands’ liveaboard cruise from Phuket or Koh Lanta.
Hin Daeng, is actually Hin Daeng & Hin Muang. These names mean ‘Red Rock’ & ‘Purple Rock’ in Thai, and the dive sites are extremely good. They are underwater seamounts, with the peak of only one of the two able to break the water’s surface at low tides. Due to their exposed location, Hin Daeng & Hin Muang are not suitable for snorkellers and waves can sometimes be an issue, even during the diving high season. They are only suitable for certified scuba divers, and some argue that a minimum of 30 logged dives and/or Advanced certification level are necessary to enjoy them properly.
Koh Haa is a small group of five uninhabited islands which are visited by liveaboard boats from Phuket and day trip diving boats from Koh Lanta. There is excellent diving here for all levels of certification and experience, as well as a couple of beaches and some excellent snorkelling. The limestone cliffs above the surface, and swimthroughs, caverns and marine life below it make this an incredibly-beautiful place to visit.
Koh Phi Phi and Phuket need very little introduction to most people who come to Thailand to scuba dive. They are both extremely popular with tourists for nightlife, and other outdoor activities. Most of Phuket’s and Phi Phi’s dive sites are easy enough for all to explore but exciting enough for experienced and even professional divers to enjoy.
Hin Daeng and Hin Muang are regarded by some as the best dive sites in Thailand. Although The Similans and Richelieu Rock are preferred by most, this is usually because of the surrounding dive sites and islands with beaches nearby. For anyone wanting to enjoy quite extreme scuba diving out at sea, around two huge underwater pinnacles, these are ideal. The marine life is healthy and varied, and the chance of large pelagic species being seen is as good as anywhere else in this part of the world.
Koh Haa is possibly Thailand’s second-best spot for fantastic diving around uninhabited islands. It is suitable for divers of all levels of ability and experience, and even snorkellers can enjoy the healthy reefs and colourful fish. Koh Haa is located southwest of Koh Lanta, and therefore only visited by certain boats at certain times of year.
Koh Phi Phi has become a world-famous tourist island for its beauty above and below the sea, as well as the range of things to do there, including scuba diving, kayaking, climbing and partying all night long. The diving at Koh Phi Phi has always been good for all levels of diver, from those who have never tried it before to enthusiasts and even diving professionals.
While Phuket itself is Thailand’s most popular tourist destination, and there are dozens of dive centres on this tropical island in the Andaman Sea, there aren’t really very many good diving sites nearby. Phuket dive centres tend to take day trip guests to one of the four following locations; Hin Daeng, Koh Phi Phi, Raja/Raya Islands, and the ‘Phuket dive sites’ on the way to Koh Phi Phi. These are King Cruiser Wreck, Anemone Reef, Koh Doc Mai and Shark Point. Journey time normally takes an hour or more, depending on the boat.