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Diving at the Surin National Park

Surin Islands &
Richelieu Rock
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Some of Surin Islands Dive Sites



National Park Administration



Perfectly intact corals



Anemone Crab



Anemone Fish


Surin Islands (November - April)

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Some of Surin Islands Dive Sites


The two main islands Ko Surin Nuea (North Island) and
Ko Surin Dtai (South Island) are about the same size and form, separated by a very flat, extended channel, which is only about one meter deep at low tide. As the tides wash fresh seawater between the two islands every day, reefs have recovered rapidly after coral bleaching in 2010. Now they offer again excellent diving and snorkeling conditions. Especially the hard corals bloomed in recent years and are home to countless animal species.
The entire archipelago of Surin covers an area of more than 320 km² and also includes the great diving area at Richelieu Rock, where Manta Rays and Whale Sharks can be spotted.

Diving
If you want to see some of the best diving and marine life, the Surin Islands are the place to be.
Here are some of Thailand's most untouched and extensive reefs and corals. Here you will find turtles and fish species that aren’t found at the Similans or elsewhere. Some of the fish species are the Bumphead Parrotfish, the Napoleon Wrasse, the Yellow Masked Angelfish, the Barramundi Cod and the Tomato Anemonefish.
If you decide to go diving at the Surin Islands, you do not have to worry about having to share the area with too many tourists.

Marine life
The Surin Islands were designated as National Marine Park in 1981 and are an UNESCO development. Marine biologists pay the utmost attention to this park and its surroundings, which is obvious. If you dive here, you will find some of the most pristine coral reefs and marine life in Thailand.



Underwater, there is a great variety of creatures, such as Pickhandle Barracuda, Cardinalfish, Five-line Snappers, Twin Spot, Large Humpback Bream, Blue Spotted Pinefish, Mantis Crabs, White Tip Reef Sharks, Ghosted Pipefish of all kinds, Manta Rays and Whale Sharks, just one to name a very small selection.

The Surin National Park also includes the Richelieu Rock, one of the best dive sites in the world.
The diving season lasts from October to May, although many recommend a visit between December and April. The rest of the year is usually rainy and windy and the Marine Parks are closed.

For diving beginners, try divers or beginner courses, the Surin Islands (except Richelieu Rock) are the perfect place. The water depth is on average between five and thirty meters, the water is warm and almost always calm. There are about ten dive sites near the islands which are suitable for all diving levels.


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Diving with Whale Sharks



Feather Star



Giant Grouper



Green Turtle



Beautiful Corals on the rocks



Manta Ray



Cuttlefish



Anemone and Clownfish



Golden Damsel


Richelieu Rock (November - April)

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Diving with Whale Sharks


This place is Thailand’s premier dive site and one of the best places in Thailand to see Big Pelagics, macro treats like Harlequin Shrimp and incredible corals all at one site. This huge pinnacle climbing from the depths of the Andaman Sea attracts scuba divers from around the world. The incredible concentration of biodiversity at one single site makes Richelieu famous throughout diving circles.

There are only two safe ways to visit Richelieu Rock – Day trip boat or Liveaboard.

The trips depart Khao Lak in the mornings and return by evening during the six month season. As Richelieu Rock is exposed, with no protected moorings … day trips can often be canceled due to bad weather.

Usually, liveaboards include at least two dives at Richelieu Rock as part of their itinerary and may add more dives here if guests wish. The most difficult decision for underwater photographers is which lens to dive Richelieu with!! Of course, a wide angle lens is best for whale sharks but there is incredibly good macro photography to do here too.

Where is Richelieu Rock?
Richelieu Rock is part of the Surin National Marine Park, yet located about 18 kilometers east of the islands themselves. Richelieu Rock is just barely exposed at the lowest of tides-thus a navigational hazard for those boats not equipped with a GPS navigation system.
Situated 200 kilometers Northwest of Phuket and only 70 km from Khao Lak – the rock is far closer to the Burmese (Myanmar) border than it is to Phuket.

Diving Richelieu Rock
Located in the middle of the sea, Richelieu Rock provides no shelters for the boats. So there are only a few day trips that visit there and many liveaboards that include this site as part of their routes. As there is no protection most descents are usually done right off the back of the boat – not tied up.

Aiming for a depth down of 30-35 meters for both maximum time and pleasure! Many of the outlying boulders have incredible treats for intrepid visitors. A slow circle of a site should bring you close to your safety stop by the end. As there is a current and very little protection – this is definitely a site for using a surface marker buoy.



You can dive here over and over and see something new.



Richelieu Rock Currents
The currents change constantly, and it’s not always an easy dive. But, if you have an experienced dive guide and they give a well-detailed briefing, you can learn how to hide from the currents and have a very enjoyable dive. Experienced guides in the area prepare for this and will have you drop off the site so you can drift into by the time you have descended.

Note
Trips to the Richelieu Rock only from November to April.

This dive site is not suitable for snorkeling or introductory dives (Discover Scuba Diving)!

We are happy to arrange as well day trip tours by speed boat for non-divers to the Similan or Surin Islands.

Furthermore Speedboat Charter for diving or snorkel trips


Schedule from 1. November to 30. April

Monday Koh Tachai & Koh Bon for experienced divers - 2 dives
Tuesday Surin Islands for beginners, courses & snorkelers - 2 dives
Wednesday Koh Bon for experienced divers - 3 dives
Thursday Richelieu Rock for experienced divers - 2 dives
Friday Surin Islands for beginners, courses & snorkelers - 2 dives
Saturday Similan Island #9 for divers & snorkelers - 2 dives
Sunday Richelieu Rock for experienced divers - 2 dives

Our High-speed Catamaran brings our guests comfortably and quickly to the Similan Islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai, Surin Islands and Richelieu Rock. The regular schedule applies between 1st of November and mid-April. Before and after we try to take a tour to the Similan Islands or Koh Bon every second day - depending on weather and requests.

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Bearded Scorpionfish



Green-dash Fusilier



Giant Moray Eel



Buble Anemone


Itinerary

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Pick-up at your hotel between 7:50 am and 8:45 am - depends on the location. Our High-speed Catamaran CHARONIA departs from iQ-DIVE Pier in Baan Nam Khem at 9:00 am.

We arrive at
Richelieu Rock around 10:30 am
Surin Island around 10:45 am

Now, we conduct our first dive or snorkeling with our professional guides and right after that, we will have a 90 minutes lunch break on board. After that, we prepare for our second dive or snorkeling.
We will be back at the pier between 16:15 and 17:15 am - depends on the dive destination.
Our Taxi will take you back to your Resort.

Pick-up times
Lam Kaen: 07:50 am
Nang Thong: 08:00 am
Bang Niang: 08:05 am
Khuk Khak: 08:15 am
Pakarang: 08:25 am
Pak Weep: 08:25 am
Bang Sak: 08:35 am
Nam Khem: 08:45 am








An update to Richelieu Rock trips
Previously, if the speedboat was not able to reach Richelieu Rock due to weather/waves, we would typically divert to Koh Tachai or Koh Bon.
However, this year this option has been eliminated as Similan tickets cannot be purchased on the day. This means the operator has changed the plan to increase the chances of reaching Richelieu.

This season when the weather is not great, the boat will take the mangrove route behind Koh Kho Khao and Koh Prathong. This means the boat will only have 30 minutes in the open ocean to travel to the dive site. Then if the boat is still able to travel, but diving conditions are not safe to dive there, the boat is already much closer to Surin Islands, so we will dive there instead. It is only in the very worst of weather that we would have to dive the Boonsung wreck or cancel entirely.

Day Trip Prices

Diver - Surin Islands 2 dives - for Beginners and Courses 4.900,-
Diver - Richelieu Rock 2 dives - for experienced divers 4.900,-
Snorkeler Adult - Surin Islands only 2.700,-
Passenger Adult - Surin Islands only 2.500,-
Snorkeler / Passenger Child (5-12 yrs) - Surin Islands only 2.200,-
Minimum age 5 years

All prices in Thai Baht (THB)

Easy to pay with PayPal

Price includes
Travel Insurance, Transfer from Khao Lak hotel-boat-hotel, lunch, drinking water, soft drinks, fruits, towel, mask and snorkel, fins, life jacket, guide, and liability insurance, NITROX
(There is no right to a refund if Nitrox is not available!)

Not included
National Park entry fee per day 500 THB + diving fee per day 200 THB

Rental equipment per day
BCD 200 THB, regulator 200 THB, shorty 3mm 100 THB,
Dive computer 250 THB, LED Flashlight 200 THB, Compass 150 THB

We are happy to arrange day trip tours by speed boat for non-divers to the Similan or Surin Islands.

Furthermore Speedboat Charter for diving or snorkel trips




Dive Site Map Richelieu Rock



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 • Price List 2019-20