The waters of southern Thailand are home to many fantastic diving destinations, but none are more impressive than Richelieu Rock. A dive in Richelieu Rock is a dream for underwater explorers. Located 18 kilometres from the East Surin Islands, and 38 kilometres west of the Thai mainland, Richelieu Rock is one of the world’s most famous dive sites.
Richelieu Rock features a rock formation whose peaks are completely submerged in the water during high tide and visible again during low tide. The formation is horse-shoe shaped and lying in the middle of the ocean. Therefore, there’s nowhere to moor boats. However, the location of this rocky island is a connection point between Thailand’s coast and the distant islands in the open ocean. We can find myriad sea animals here, from small ones to very large ones. Majestic whale sharks have been known to frequent the site, even though the encounter is not a certainty. Richelieu Rock undoubtedly is one of the best dive sites in Thailand.
From the sandy bottom, the rocks are decorated with shelves, caverns, cracks, and caves. These are all covered with sea anemones, sea fans, barrel sponges, and soft corals of all kinds, which give the rocks a stunning array of colour. Divers will experience the continuum of colour all the way through multi-level diving that goes down to a maximum depth of 35 metres.
The pristine purple and pink soft corals are a haven for many smaller marine species, especially small critters such as harlequin shrimp, mantis shrimps, frogfish, porcelain crabs, tiger tail seahorses, nudibranch, and many more. Great and chevron barracuda, yellow snappers, mackerel, soldierfish, groupers and giant groupers swim around the nooks and crannies of the rocks, searching for their next meal. For those who wish to see larger marine animals, Richelieu Rock Dive Site never disappoints! Diving here between February and April will bring you more opportunities to meet with manta ray and whale sharks. If lucky enough, divers may see a manta ray gliding close to the main pinnacle while it is filtering plankton out of the water. Cuttlefish and octopus are also often spotted in the area.
The diversity of marine life and geography at Richelieu Rock is astounding. Going on a liveaboard is a great choice for all divers because each diving session offers unique aquatic scenery, all of which are incredible! One dive simply isn’t enough. Although, a day-trip to Richelieu Rock is possible, a liveaboard is a much better option if you want to get the full experience.
Richelieu Rock Diving is perfect for both beginners and experienced divers who will be stunned by its natural underwater scenery. You can dive as an Open Water here, but the current can sometimes be a bit unpredictable. So, beware of the changing currents.
Deep Dive or Advanced certification allows you to explore the full depth of the site.
So, get your diving equipment ready. Incredible flora and fauna, and the underwater experience of a lifetime await you at Richelieu Rock.