Chinese Wall

Harlequin-Sweetlips-Plectorhinchus-chaetodonoides-at-Chinese-Wall-Bird-Rock-Koh-Similan-Thailand-Henry-and-TersiaHarlequin Sweetlips (Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides)
Photo by Henry and Tersia
Chinese Wall is also known by some centres as Bird Rock. It is visited far less than many other Similan diving sites, which is good for those who do make the effort. The dive site is located at the southern tip of Island 4 (Koh Miang) and consists of large granite boulders which form a long line south, becoming very deep. This is a good place to see lots of interesting and colourful fish, but can suffer from strong currents at times. Snorkelling can be done at Chinese Wall, but it's advisable to stay in the bay, close to the island.

  • Dive groups almost guaranteed to have the site to themselves
  • Ribbon and Moray Eels
  • Currents can make it challenging

Due to the lack of knowledge, and maybe some dive operators not wanting to try something new with a group of paying customers, Chinese Wall (aka. Bird Rock) does not get visited very much. Another reason could be that there are plenty of other easier dive sites in the vicinity. It is made up of boulders stretching from the southern tip of Island 4, leading out into the deep waters to the south. This location makes is susceptible to currents, currents which would take divers quite far in a direction diving boats don't usually sail. Those who like Chinese Wall and come here regularly claim it be The Similan Islands' best kept secret.

Honeycomb-Moral-Eel-Gymnothorax-favagineus-at-Chinese-Wall-Bird-Rock-Koh-Surin-Thailand-Ron-CaswellHoneycomb Moral Eel (Gymnothorax favagineus) Photo by Ron CaswellStarting at the mooring line, which is not too far from the island itself and attached to a block of concrete 20 metres below the surface, divers should get down as quickly as possible and check the strength and direction of the current. There are several canyons, swimthroughs and overhangs here, and they can be explored or used for shelter if the currents and surges are strong. Here divers can look for several species of Sweetlips (Plectorhinchus), Fusiliers (Caesionidae), Parrotfish (Scarinae), and Humphead Unicornfish (Naso tonganus). They are also likely to notice the attractive Clown Triggerfish (Balistoides conspicullum). There are quite common sightings of both adult and juvenile Whitetip Reef Sharks (Triaenodon obesus), with the younger ones seen among the boulders and rocks in shallow to mid-depths, and the adults mostly near the sandy seabed. Down deep at Chinese Wall the sea fans and corals are in excellent condition and the visibility is normally well in excess of 20 metres for most of the diving season. Up in the shallow water the hard and soft corals have suffered little or no effects from recent changes in sea temperatures. Divers at Chinese Wall are always able to see Giant Moray Eels (Gymnothorax javanicus), and sometimes Honeycomb Morays (Gymnothorax favagineus). There are also occasional sightings of the slim, very long and brightly-coloured Ribbon Eel (Rhinomuraena quaesita).

At the end of the dive, divers have a couple of options, depending on the currents and how much air they have left. They can surface out above the deep boulders, but need to beware of their location and make sure that their boat captain can see them. Safety sausages are a must at every Similan dive site, especially here. Another option is to stay submerged and work their way along the boulder wall, back to shallower water. Depending on the water conditions, they can choose to bear east for coral reef, or bear west for more boulders.

Chinese Wall may not be the easiest or most-visited Similan Islands dive site, but it is certainly worth considering. Dive operators take speedboat day trips out there, as well as liveaboard boats. We have access to the cheapest booking options for all the boats and tours. Click below to make a booking enquiry, or go to our interactive dive centre page, which enables customers to easily find the best package to suit their requirements.

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