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Dive Trips

Within the Phi Phi National Marine Park a wide variety of unique dive sites including the stunning Bida Islands are less than twenty minutes away. With such a wide range of options it's possible to create custom designed dive excursions along with our knowledgeable staff, who use their local knowledge of tides, boat traffic and weather conditions to create solutions to meet every guest's personal goals. Dive sites ranging from 5 meters to 30 meters provide a mixture of topographies from sandy bays to coral wonderlands and dynamic rocky playgrounds that ensure divers a multitude of quality diving experiences.

In order to bring a unique glimpse of what guests can expect to experience when diving with Zeavola, we invited local editor and dive columnist Isaac Stone Simonelli to join our team beneath the ocean's surface. Combined with photographs from our featured photographer, Khun Kofuku Sandoicchi, we are confident the taste of saltwater and the images of beauty will leave our guests ready to splash into the Andaman with our experienced team.

How are our dive trips organized?

Depending on a number of divers we will board either a single or a double engine speedboat for our daily dive trips. For smaller groups we can also dive off a Thailand's unique longtail boat. Our groups are always kept small, ensuring safety and enjoyment of our divers. Dry towels, a la carte lunch, fruits and drinking water are provided for every guest. Friends and spouses of our divers are invited to join our diving excursions where they can simply relax on the boat or even observe our divers while snorkeling themselves. As some dive sites are more scenic above and below the water we will offer our recommendations on which trips are worth joining.
 

Selected dive trips


Palong

Descending to the shallow plateau that runs the length of the site from Palong Bay to the famous Maya Bay, our team immediately spots one of the many Hawksbill Turtles that frequent the area. The turtle glides along the bottom and then starts to head for the surface. The natural red streaks on its shell become more and more vibrant as it shallows up and passes over the sharp sunrays that cut through the water.

Only five minutes into the dive, we turn our attention away from the surfacing turtle and start to head down the gently sloping coral-covered reef to the 18m bottom of the site. A pair of skittish Blacktip Reef Sharks scatters as we approach – quickly they disappear into the blue, leaving us with only the corals; Gorgonian Sea Fans and Sea Anemones. A closer look at the anemones reveals a small family of Pink Skunk Clownfish, while other "homes" close by house several other species of Clownfish. Farther down the site, closer to Maya Bay our guide pauses at a large purple Barrel Sponge Coral with five Coral Banded Shrimp inside.

Within what feels like no time at all, our dive computer signal that it's time to start thinking about gently ascending. Back on the plateau for our 3 minute safety-stop we spot two more turtles grazing among the soft corals and tropical fish – a perfect way to end a spectacular dive.

Palong Facts

Depth 5-18m; Visibility 10-30m; Variety of tropical fish species including Angelfish, Batfish, Clownfish, Octopus, Triggerfish, Gobies, Nudibranchs, Lobsters. Hawksbill Turtles, as well as Blacktip Sharks and Leopard Sharks are often sighted.

Loh Samah

The four of us hit the bottom at about 25 meters and immediately blue spotted rays start popping out of the sand. Ray after ray leaps from its camouflaged position and flies away, it's "wings" flapping in the clear Andaman water.

Already we're torn between scanning the sands for more rays and searching the coral covered wall for nudibranchs. The wall is plastered with young blue and yellow softer corals that stretch all the way up to the surface; cracks and crevices abound, hiding little treasure troves of cleaner shrimp, banded shrimp and cleaner fish.

As with all good things in life there is a perfect compromise to be found, we take advantage of both worlds by swimming along the sandy base of the wall, dividing our time between searching the sands for docile, majestic Leopard Sharks and uncovering tiny macro fauna gems on the wall itself.

The wall slowly bends South heading toward Maya Bay, famous for hosting Leonard di Caprio, in The Beach .

Suddenly, the vertical wall gives way to oddly shaped boulders, deep-wide crevices, swim-throughs and caves – a wonderland for new and advanced divers.

Eyes following the outline of the dynamic topography, we're unaware of the Leopard Shark sleeping on the sandy bottom. Not until our guide stops us and points down did we see the beautiful creature. Calm, she lets us approach, her gills continue flapping, her eyes are now open, but she doesn't move.

With our dive time running low, we are forced to leave behind one of the true treasures of the Phi Phi Islands and head to the surface.

Loh Samah Facts

Depth 5-18m; Visibility 10-30m; Variety of tropical fish species including Angelfish, Batfish, Clownfish, Octopus, Triggerfish, Gobies, Nudibranchs, Lobsters. Hawksbill Turtles, as well as Blacktip Sharks and Leopard Sharks are often sighted.

Nui Bay

Surrounded by the majestic limestone walls and karsts topography of the bay it is difficult to imagine the need to even go below the ocean's surface for a peek at the extraordinary. However, sitting on the wood edge of our long tail boat with a tank already strapped on our backs, there wasn't a chance we weren't going to see this spectacular location beneath the water line.

Our small group rolls back and splashes in on the shallow side of a towering stone edifice in the middle of the bay. Only 5 meters below the surface we move into the current and immediately spot a stony faced Scorpion Fish unflinching as we carefully glide over it.

Slowly our team makes its way to the deeper side of the site. Hidden among the corals and rocky face of the wall are a variety of nudibranchs, appearing like small emeralds, rubies and saphires scattered around the dive site. Vibrant blue water dragon nudibranchs, one of the most flamboyant and bizarre species of the order appear by the dozen.

Pulling our faces away from the sand at the gentle metallic sound of our guide tapping his tank, we look up and see the elongated caudal fin of a Leopard Shark disappearing out into the blue.

Moments later a school of shrimp fish awkwardly bobs past and the landscape begins to change. Enormous coral covered boulders replace the sandy sea floor along the wall, leaving endless opportunities of uncovering more eels and more macro fauna on our next dive.

Nui Bay Facts

Depth 5-18m; Visibility 5-15m; Variety of tropical fish species including Lionfish, Scorpion fish, Cuttlefish, Barracuda and Butterfly fish, Moray Eels, Nudibranchs and even the occasional shy Leopard Shark can be sighted.

Koh Haa

With 30+ meter visibility we thought only existed in fiction, our group floats at the surface waiting to make an 18 meter descent to the ocean floor at the entrance of "The Cathedral". Below us the colossal cave opening soaks up the sun's light, leaving an entire world ready to be discovered – one sweep of the torch light at a time.

Submerged, we skip the beautiful reef that fades into the sand at about 30 meters. Instead, we search the rocky cave entrance for Nudibranchs, Ornate Ghost Pipe Fish and Tiger Seahorses. A handful of the tiny gems fall under our torch lights, a frilly Black-margined nudibranch is the first find, quickly followed by a pair of warty blue and yellow Phyllidia varicose.

Penetrating deeper and ascending to about 12 meters we are now level with a large swim-through that offers an alternative access to the open ocean. We hover in the swim-throughs opening; the sapphire blue of the ocean is framed by the jagged edges of the cave entrances on both sides.

The brilliant blue of the ocean seeping into the thick blackness of the cave is mesmerizing. We had jumped in with the hope of spotting one of the many pelagic wonders, such as Manta Rays and Whale Sharks that are known to pass through the site, but now facing the entrance of the cave watching divers' silhouettes bob against the blue entrance, the desire to spend our bottom time doing anything else evaporates.

Nonetheless, back in the blue for our safety-stop we keep a keen lookout above and below – just in case. But in a world where there are no guarantees to sighting the charismatic monsters of the sea it was obvious from the small groups emphatic "OK" hand signals that the majesty of "The Cathedral" itself was enough.

Koh Haa Facts

Depth 18-30m; Visibility 30+m; Variety of tropical fish species including Parrot fish, Ornate Ghost Pipe Fish, Cleaner Wrasses and Gobies. Octopuses and a variety of crustaceans are also abundant. Pelagic fish such as Manta Rays and Whale Sharks can also be found in one of the 12 dive sites.

Bida Nai

We drop in on the northwest coast of the tiny rocky island of Bida Nai with the plan of working our way south past the corals shelves, looping back around on the eastern side of the island and surfacing over the shallow sand beds on the northeast corner.

Table corals and other hard corals decorate the gently sloping reef below us as we make our way from 5 meters to the bottom of the site at about 30 meters. A pair of Threadfin Butterfly Fish makes their way through a maze of Staghorn Coral, avoiding a medium sized Moray Eel poking its head out of one of the many crevices created by the corals.

The coral slope becomes steeper and steeper until it suddenly transforms into a stunning 30 meter wall. We roll onto our backs – blowing bubbles, we watch section of colorful soft corals disappear behind dense schools of glassfish. Above us, the entire kaleidoscope of fish and corals disappear into the bright light of the sun as it hits the water's surface.

A pack of large Trevally on the hunt appear several meters out from the wall. They cut through the turquoise water as they target school after school of fish.

Staying to the dive plan, we stick to the wall, leaving the 16 meter pinnacle off the southeast corner of the island unexplored – until next time.

Before turning the corner and heading back into the gentle current and toward the sand beds for our safety stop, our guide spots a Banded Sea Snake slithering along the bottom. It tucks its head underneath one of the rocks, tasting the water for small vulnerable fish. We pause and watch as one of the most venomous and at the same time harmless, animals in the ocean explores the dive site alongside us.

A quick check of our watches and we realize that almost an entire hour has already slipped by – time for a safety-stop. Watching the seconds before our final ascent tick down our minds have already move to the next phase of the trip… a 5-star lunch in one of our Captain's favourite lagoons.

Bida Nai Facts

Depth 5-30m; Visibility 5-20m; Variety of tropical fish species including Lionfish, Scorpion fish, Trevally, Barracuda and Butterfly fish. Blacktip Reef sharks, Stingrays, Leopard sharks and even the occasional Hawksbill turtle can be sighted.

Bida Nok

In our excitement to dive Bida Nai's big sister, Bida Nok, we are suited up and ready to go before the captain even cuts Ladda 2's powerful engines. Caves, steep precipices, swim-throughs and underwater crags create one of the most dramatic marine topographies in the Andaman Sea, and our small team is ready to start exploring.

With one "big stride" for us divers, we all step off the diving speedboat and drop down into the small underwater bay on the southern end of the island. Starting at 6 meters we head for the sand at the far end of the gently sloping reef in hopes of spotting one of the many Leopard Sharks known to be in the area.

A Trigger Fish, schools of Fusiliers and other tropical fish pass over large heads of hard corals, then emerges a Hawkbill Turtle from a grove of Gorgonian Sea Fans. Slowly it paddles through the bright orange sea fans toward a bouquet of gelatinous bubble coral. Unperturbed by our small group the turtle continues to graze on the coral, pulling small mouthfuls free with each bite.

With so much left to explore we drag ourselves away from the turtle and head for the vertical swim-through on the southwest side of the island. The top of the swim-through glows sapphire blue as we easily work our way through it.

With most of our bottom time already used exploring the almost infinite nooks and crannies, we pass by the cave entrance at about 20 meters on the northern side of the site. Enormous bright orange sea fans, as well as yellow and purple soft corals decorate the blackened entrance, a frame to the "unknown". Without being a PADI certified cave diver we can't penetrate the cave, however, a careful examination of the entrance reveals a bizarre and Ornate Ghost Pipefish inconspicuously bobbing about.

A quick check of our watches and we realize that almost an entire hour has already slipped by – time for a safety-stop. Watching the seconds before our final ascent tick down our minds have already move to the next phase of the trip… a 5-star lunch in one of our Captain's favourite lagoons.

Bida Nok Facts

Depth 5-28m; Visibility 5-20m; Variety of tropical fish species including Moray Eel, Clown fish, Lionfish, Scorpion fish, Trevally, Barracuda and Butterfly fish. Blacktip Reef Sharks, Leopard Sharks and even the occasional Hawksbill turtle can be sighted.

Hin Muang and Hin Daeng

As the dive team floats above one of the six pinnacles that compose Hin Muang, the source for the sites name, meaning "purple rock", becomes abundantly clear. The entire pinnacle is covered in a forest of purple soft corals. Peeking over the edge, the pinnacle dramatically drops off and disappears into the blue – 60 metres from the surface there is supposed to be sand down there, but hitting that depth is not necessary for the team to get the most from this famous dive site. They're really here for the chance to spot one of the many pelagic guests that often visit the site during the plankton-bloom between the end of March and the end of April.

Situated out in the open ocean, the water surrounding Hin Muang takes on a deeper blue than the sites around Koh Phi Phi, it's out in this blue that they search for the shadows of something "larger than life" – Whale Sharks and Manta Rays.

However, with no guarantees in spotting one of these charismatic mega fauna, the team turns its attention to the groves Black Corals that dot the site, searching them for Long Nose Hawkfish, Nudibranchs and Harlequin Shrimp.

Glancing out toward the open ocean the team is struck by the sheer volume of bait fish being dive bombed by Yellowfin Tuna, Trevally, Rainbow Runners and Snappers. Despite the feeding frenzy, the school of baitfish sticks together swimming as a single cloud of life, the only breaks coming when one of the predators "punches" a whole through them, which is quickly filled with more of the tiny fish.

In the distance, beyond the circle-of-life moment in front of the team, a shadow emerges. Nobody "tings" their tank; they all just turn – waiting, watching as the shadow of a Whale Shark approaches.

The enormity of the creature, still a black swath in the distance, sends chills from their masks to their fins.

They wait.

Unfortunately, this time the creature turns before coming all the way up to the site, perhaps heading toward Hin Daeng. But even this glimpse of such a majestic creature is a sighting everyone knows immediately they'll hold on to for years to come.

Hin Muang and Hin Daeng Facts

Depth 8-60m; Visibility 15-30m; Variety of fish species including Yellowfin Tuna, Trevally, Trigger Fish, Moray Eels, Rainbow Runners and Snappers. Pelagic fish such as Manta Rays and Whale Sharks are also known to frequent this cleaning station.

King Cruiser Wreck

The buoy line disappears into the dark blue below our fins – the vague outline of the King Cruiser just a shadow. It's not until we hit the silt covered top deck at about 18 meters that it becomes obvious how much the wreck has started to fold in on itself, already the stern end of the deck beneath us is mostly collapsed into the middle deck. Having caved in, penetration dives are no longer safe. However, more and more soft corals have taken hold of the 85 meter ferry, attracting a greater number of tropical fish. As we drift over the wreckage, the stubborn eyes of well-camouflaged Scorpion Fish follow us. Dipping off the north end of the boat members of our team take turns sitting on the toilet, happily blowing bubbles during the 'photo op'.

After the quick bathroom break, the team works along perimeter of the wreck on during the surprisingly current free day. We descend past the passenger deck and land in the sand at about 32 meters. Scattered across the sand are bits and pieces from the wreck, fanning out we move among the many artifacts of this not so distant history. Despite the King Cruiser having come to its final resting place back in 1997, resonating within the debris is the feeling that the ocean is somehow helping to preserve and document this fragment of Phuket's history.

From the bow of the ferry, we take a look at our slates and start making our way back to the buoy line for our final ascent.

King Cruiser Facts

Depth 15-32m; Visibility 5-20m; Variety of tropical fish species including Scorpion Fish and Lion Fish, as well as Rabbitfish, Trevally and Barracuda.

Shark Point

Bobbing above the steep slope of Shark Point pinnacle 1, we listen to a final briefing and then drop down. A school of fusiliers zip by followed by a large starry-eyed

Our guide pauses at one of the many coral encrusted boulders that seem more like Salvador Dali paints than something that belongs in reality. Carefully, our guide searches the base of one of the Gorgonian sea fans; he waves us closer and then drifts out of the way.

Shyly looking at us sideways is a large Tiger Seahorse, its tail tightly holding onto the sea fan. The only thing that moves are its eyes as they rolls from one diver to the next, watching us take turns getting in close for a photo.

Already 35 minutes into our dive and we've only managed to skirt the east side of pinnacle 1, hardly tapping into the full potential of the site.

Letting the mild current push us south, toward pinnacle 2, we fold our arms and enjoy the ride. It's only when a Cuttlefish appears in a sandy patch below us that we have to turn into the current and kick a little to maintain our place. The current slackens as we got closer to the reef to have a look at the half meter Cuttlefish. Aware of us, its tentacles dance in front of it. Its body starts to turn from beautifully patterned dark yellow tones to lighter, whiter colors, matching the sand. Wary, but not skittish it allows us to slowly approach, its eyes watch us, with a glimmer of intelligence that gives us chills. Eventually, one member of the team gets too close and the Cuttlefish takes off.

As we reach pinnacle 2, we check our dive computers – no time to explore pinnacle 2, not to mention the rarely visited pinnacle 3 – another dive, another time.

The team hits the surface. Grinning through our masks, we've completely forgotten that we had started out looking for Leopard Sharks – something left for next time I guess.

Shark Point Facts

Depth 5-25m; Visibility 10-20m; Variety of tropical fish species including Angelfish, Pufferfish, Snapper, Grouper, Batfish, Clownfish, Triggerfish and Gobies. Sea Horses, Cuttlefish, Octopuses and Moray Eels, as well as Leopard Sharks can be sighted.