1YoT: Diving Thailand’s Andaman Coast

Here is our last Thailand post, this one covering the five dives Inna did while we stayed in Koh Lanta. As I mentioned previously, I snorkeled twice here, and saw a sea snake and lots of fish. Inna saw so much more though, and she had the camera, so she recorded it all, the best of which we will present in this post.

To start, we should say that the diving here was amazing; Inna says it was as good as Cozumel, which puts it right up at the top of the best dive sites in the world. Better than Bali, better than the Great Barrier Reef, these sites (Koh Bida, Hin Muang, and Hin Daeng) were the best Inna visited on our entire year of travel.

In fact, there was so much good stuff here, simply listing them all will be overwhelming. So instead we’ll divide this post into categories. First up: the reef.

The Reef

The reef here was nothing short of amazing. Warm water, crystal clear visibility, vibrantly alive, and teeming with live, everywhere we looked there was something and it was all amazing.

inna

Here is Inna, in the water. This will be our only above water shot, so take a look at the background and check out the surroundings, because they were gorgeous.

The reef here was spectacular, with gorgeous colors, formations, and all sorts of things to see.

Of course, the best part about reefs is the life it supports. Here are some creatures that live directly on the reefs Inna dove to.

crown of thorns starfish

The most awesome reef-creature Inna saw was this guy, the crown of thorns starfish. These guys were so plentiful here that I even saw several while snorkeling, this despite the fact that we didn’t see these guys on any of our other dive/snorkel excursions.

Fish

Reef creatures are nice, but how about sea life that moves? The reefs had this in abundance, and the fish in particular were incredible.

  • 0:01 Titan Triggerfish, Longfin Bannerfish, Redcoat Squirrelfish, Regal Angelfish, Wrasse, Checkered Snapper, Grouper
  • 0:05 Half-moon Triggerfish
  • 0:09 Yellowtail Fusiliers
  • 0:30 Nemos (Clown Anemonefish) including a baby!

Check out all the fish at the 0:01 second mark alone. Every single one is unique, and having them all in one place was spectacular.

Want to meet some of these guys up close? Here is a lined butterflyfish (left) and a longfin bannerfish (right). You can even seen the bannerfish’s face; he looks like he was out of Finding Nemo! 

camo flounder

Above is a flounder, a master at camouflage. Can you see him?

Here are some other camouflaged fish, not as impressive as the flounder but cool nonetheless.

Here are even more fish Inna recorded with her camera. Clockwise from upper left, they are: a boxfish, a redfire goby going in for some food, a grouper (in a nest?), and a Clark’s anemonefish (cousin to Nemo, a clown anemonefish).

Schools of Fish

The fish at these reefs were amazing, but for the most part the other reefs we visited had these fish as well. Those sites however did not have giant schools of fish, which these had plenty of.

The above are just three of the many schools of fish Inna saw while diving. Be sure to check out the second video in particular; in that one Inna literally swims through the school!

sorcerer school of fish

What is this? A sorcerer manipulating fish with the wave of his hands? At what dive level do you learn this?

Sea Turtles and Manta Rays

And now, the really good stuff. Inna and I had already seen manta rays at Bali, but the ones here were bigger and better. First and foremost, these guys were smart: smart enough to not be scared of divers, even smart enough to be curious about them. This curiosity drove them to swim up close, so close that Inna could look into their eyes and also feel them breathing. It was like she made a connection with them (or they made one with her). The way she described it, it sounds like one of the most powerful experiences Inna has had while diving.

 

We have so many manta ray videos, they could fill this entire post. But the above three are our favorites, so we’ll keep it at that.

  • 0:01 Manta Ray
  • 0:54 Sea Turtle

Here’s one more manta ray video, this one also featuring a sea turtle. Sea turtles are so cool, it is always exciting to see them, and this one specifically makes for a great segue to the next section of our post:

Other Cool Sea Creatures

Inna saw so many cool animals while diving here, a much larger variety than anywhere else on our trip. And she didn’t even the sea snake I saw while snorkeling, so that’s one more animal you can add to the cool creatures featured below!

moray eel

Moray eels are always an amazing sight, and Inna saw five of them on her Thailand dives. Some of the snorkelers in my group saw one as well, but I didn’t. Oh well…

  • 0:01 Seal Faced Pufferfish, Sand Lizardfish(?), and a Wrasse
  • 0:23 ?
  • 0:36 Moray Eel

Here’s one of the other moray eels Inna saw, this one captured on video.

sting ray

Sting rays may seem like mini-manta rays, but they are very different. Most strikingly, manta rays glide through the water while sting rays flutter, and watching the flutter is super-cool. I actually saw one of these guys at the Great Barrier Reef, but only Inna saw them here.

Here are some more fluttering animals, these caught on video so you can actually see the flutter. These creatures are called cuttlefish, but despite having ‘fish’ in their name, they are mollusks and are related to squids and octopi, not fish.

tubeworm thingie

Inna and I have no idea what this animal is. It is definitely one of the weirdest animals Inna has recorded on her dives.

jellyfish

This is a jellyfish. A huge one. WTF is a jellyfish doing that large and looking like this?

In Conclusion

At this point, we’ve made it through all the sea creatures Inna recorded while diving in Thailand. But there are still two more videos we want to share: one short and one long, both containing a little bit of everything we’ve described above. These videos are great at showing just how amazing the diving here was.

  • 0:01 Blue Triggerfish
  • 0:10 Lots of fish
  • 0:30 School of really small fish
  • 0:42 Manta Ray
  • 0:58 Golden Damsel
  • 0:10 Lined and Redtail Butterflyfish
  • 0:54 School of Yellowback and Bluedash(?) Fusiliers
  • 1:19 Wrasse
  • 2:05 School of really small fish
  • 2:24 Golden Damsel
  • 4:07 Java Rabbitfish
  • 4:31 Yellowback Fusiliers
  • 5:01 Blue Sea Star
  • 5:12 Golden Damsels and ?
  • 5:20 Moray Eel
  • 5:33 Powder Blue Surgeonfish and big ?
  • 6:25 Redtail Butterflyfish
  • 6:34 Clark’s Anemonefish chasing each other
  • 7:12 Orangelined Triggerfish
  • 7:23 Wrasse and ? eating off the reef
  • 9:10 Manta Ray
  • 9:29 School of really small fish
  • 9:42 Snapper
  • 9:51 Schools of Yellowback Fusiliers and another really small fish
  • 10:34 Longfin Bannerfish
  • 10:44 Giant Pufferfish
  • 11:48 Porcupine Fish

There is so much good stuff in that last video, the Clark’s anemonefish, orangelined triggerfish, giant pufferfish, and porcupinefish in particular. I think it is a great video to end our Thailand dive post, and with it our entire Southeast Asia dive tour. Thanks for all the great underwater adventures Southeast Asia! You were the best!

With this, we finally reach the end the Southeast Asian portion of our trip. Inna and I spent almost three months here and we loved it so much; we can’t wait to go back! But until then the rest of the world awaits, and next on our list is India! I’ve already written a little about India in some previous posts, but now we’ll go into detail, and show lots of pictures (blog post coming soon)!

 

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