Posted on : 13-12-2010 | By : Brian | In : Scuba Diving
Tags: Andaman Dive Sites, Features, Hin Daeng, Hin Muang, Thailand
Two of the more popular dive sites in Thailand, Hin Daeng & Hin Muang are usually dived on the same day due to their close proximity to each other. In fact they are so close you can swim from one to the other no problem. The names of these sites derive from the colour of the soft coral and anemaones found on them, Daeng in Thai means red and Muang means purple. As you approach these dive sites there is a little anti-climax as all you can see from the surface is a rock sticking 3m clear of the surface. If you have been diving around Phi Phi or the Bida Islands and enjoyed the scenery in between your dives then this will be a stark contrast for you.
The 3m rock mentioned above belongs to this site and as soon as you enter the water the anti-climax of your arrival at the dive site soon fades as you are confronted with a drop over 60m deep. This southern side of Hin Daeng is the steepest and deepest drop off in all Thailand’s dive sites and should only be attempetd by those more advanced divers. Coral life is a little sparse on this rock but this is not why you come to Hin Daeng and Hin Muang, its the pelagic life. When dive shops offer you the chance to see large paegics like Whale Sharks and Manta Rays this is most like th site to which they wil bring you. If the depth of 60m scares you then you can stay on the eastern side of the rock and swim about the rocky outcrops. This area has a maximum depth of about 40m or so and you can still see some amazing paeligcs like Batfish and Barracudda.
This large rectangular shaped rock (200m long, only 20m wide) also drops off into deep waters but the most interesting part to this dive is usually in the shallow waters of 25m or less. In contarst to the relative barrennes of Hin Daeng the top of Hin Muang looks as though it’s covered in soft corals and anemone. In fact if you dive when there is a current it can be difficut to find a bare piece of rock to hold on to. Hin Muang is in my opinion the best place to spot and swim with large Manta Rays as the gentle giants seem to like to play with the divers bubles. Given your relative shallow diving you can stay and dive with them for longer as they slowly swoop above your head as your bubbles rise up. After watching them for some time me and some friends think that the bubbles must tickle the Mantas or give them some enjoyment because they activley seek out divers who have bubbles above them, unlike most other sea cretures who swim away from the bubbles.
Thailand has many great dive sites but these 2 are about the best for spotting large pelagics. The down side is the travel time from either Krabi or Phuket but the easy way to aviod this is to spend time on Koh Lanta. Dive operators from Krabi and Phuket usually only do these sites from a speed boat as this is the only way to get there and back in a day. My personal opion is that speed boats are not great dive vessels, but thats another topic. Your best option is Koh Lanta as it is the closest to Hin Daeng and Hin Muang and also has many other wonderfull dive sites clsoe to the island. Although you should be super advanced to dive these two rocks many other dive sites from Koh Lanta are more than suitable for the beginner. In fact one of the best dive sites to do PADI open awater courses is very near here.
I hope this post has given you a little insight into some Thailand dive sites and i look forward to bringing you more.