Discover Thailand’s best diving spot – Richelieu Rock and its beautiful underwater paradise!
Richeliue Rock’s expansive coral landscape
Would you like to swim right next to a baby whale shark? Or dive into deep blue waters that welcome you with a plethora of colours? Like an aquatic world built for a water baby like you! Sounds like a water paradise, isn’t it? And Richelieu Rock is in fact just that! It is one of the top 10 diving spots in the world and the best diving spot in Thailand.
Rich with marine animals, pink and purple soft corals and huge schools of fish, Richelieu Rock is a world like you’ve never seen before.
Popular among scuba divers around the world, Richelieu Rock truly lives up to its name and fame. How then did this horseshoe-shaped island become the best diving spot in Thailand? Let’s explore Richelieu Rock!
Where is Richelieu Rock?
Somewhere in the middle of the Andaman sea is located, a horseshoe or crescent formation of rocks. During low tide, you can only see a gigantic submerged rock, which is popularly called “Hin Ploo Naam” also known as Richelieu Rock. Hin Ploo Naam literally translates to a “rock coming out of the water.” Richelieu Rock – part of the National Marine Park of the Surin Islands is located 34 KMS to the west of the Thai mainland and 18kms to the east of the Surin Islands.
Richelieu Rock, Thailand – Hin Ploo Naam – meaning rock rising from the water
Richelieu Rock is a natural composition of limestone rock with steep inclines and a slope full of cracks and crevices. Going down 50 meters into the seabed, the rock itself a natural habitat for anemones, barrel sponges, and soft purple corals.
So, why is Richelieu Rock the best diving spot in Thailand?
The sheer remote location at sea with an abundance of marine life and picturesque water-world below makes Richelieu Rock a diver’s heaven. The waters at Richelieu Rock see strong changing tides that create nutrient-rich plankton. And plankton is the staple diet of several large and small marine animals.
Richelieu Rock’s infamous limestone rocks covered in colourful soft corals. Courtesy: http://www.andamanscuba.com/
Several divers tell stories of hundreds of thousands of different species of fish. From clownfish and ghost pipe fish to huge barracudas, lionfish, sea horses, octopuses to whale sharks, manta rays and reef sharks. Each diver has a unique discovery to share. And each dive gives you a beautiful lifelong experience.
Can you dive with a whale shark at Richelieu Rock?
Whale Shark spotting is common at Richelieu Rock during peak season
Yes! If swimming with the sharks is what you desire and you are lucky, you could dive with a whale shark at Richelieu Rock. You are more likely to encounter a whale shark on your dive between February and April.
Scuba dive into the water, maybe even go snorkeling to see Whale sharks at Richelieu Rock
These majestic creatures, the ocean’s largest fish are gentle giants, and swimming along with them is a once in a lifetime opportunity. While you are busy admiring the whale shark, don’t miss the gigantic manta rays that simply pass you by. Lucky divers also spot leopard sharks and reef sharks.
Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Let’s dive into how to get to Richelieu Rock.
Diving at Richelieu Rock is vast, there is just so much to explore! For a fulfilling experience, an advanced diver usually takes anywhere between 2 – 5 dives to explore all the different routes. If you’re an expert diver looking for a complete diving experience; the best way to get to Richelieu Rock is on a Thailand Liveaboard.
Dive into the waters at Richelieu Rock from some of Thailand’s best Liveaboard boats.
A liveaboard is essentially a mini-yacht, a diving cruise, that becomes your home to live, relax and dive. Several diving liveaboards depart from Thap Lamu port in Phuket, Thailand, Khao Lak, and Ranong every day during the peak season.
Living on a liveaboard, besides scuba diving, is a wonderful expedition for anywhere between 3 -5 days. Open seas, ocean breeze, the sun, and an amazing dining experience! A liveaboard can house around 30 people and the diving experts help set up your diving equipment for the rest of your diving adventure. You can dive with a diving guide who travels on the liveaboard. If you are an advanced diver, simply refill the Nitrox and swim to your favorite route. Expert divers usually take 4 -5 dives to cover all the diving routes usually completing the deeper dive sites first. The best diving routes are against the north side of Richelieu Rock, the east side, and southeast side of the wall.
Courtesy: Instagram- Ashley @dreamstopassport Enjoying the sea at Richelieu Rock, Thailand
Diving at Richelieu Rock is not for everyone. Among all the dive sites in Thailand, Richelieu Rock sees strong currents and tides, and navigating this is a challenge. As a beginning diver, you could opt for the day-trips and up to 2 dives with qualified diving instructors at Richelieu Rock. These day trips depart early morning from Phuket and Khao Lak. Which gives you enough time through the day to explore the colourful corals, porcelain crabs, harlequin shrimp, and frog fish.
When is the best time to explore the marine fauna at Richelieu Rock?
Season time at Richelieu Rock is during the dry months, beginning October, right up to May. February and March being the driest months, the tides are somewhat stable, making it the best time to dive. Don’t worry about the temperature, because the Similan Islands have pleasant weather with 30 degrees over the surface. During the dive at 30 – 33 meters down into the water the temperatures drop to 25 degrees at its coldest.
Courtesy: Pinterest: spotmydive.com
Richelieu Rock is nature’s invitation to come and explore a rich beautiful world beyond the surface and skies. The diversity of marine life is amazing! Every advanced diver and beginner scuba diver ensures that Richelieu Rock, the best diving spot in Thailand is on their bucket list. Most diver’s at Richelieu Rock share, “You can see the landscape even in a single dive, but each dive at Richelieu Rock astounds you. You discover something new each time you explore the abundance of the waters!”
Get your diving gear and underwater camera’s ready. It’s time to go dive into a breath-taking experience at Richelieu Rock, one of the top 10 diving spots in the world!