Hin Daeng and Hin Muang
Superb submerged pinnacles in Mu Ko Lanta national marine park
Hin Daeng (red rock) and Hin Muang (purple rock) are as good as any dive sites in Thailand. Some divers say they are better than the Similan islands and Richelieu Rock because they have the same great diving but get far fewer boats.
Hin Daeng and Hin Muang are only about 500 hundred metres apart so a liveaboard or day trip will include dives at both. They are a manta ray feeding station, but because of their open ocean location they are an aggregation point for all marine life. Visibility is usually very good here. Currents can be strong at times.
The diving season is November to April when the seas are calm. Diving is barred in the marine park from May to October, when rough sea could make the journey dangerous for small boats. In the past this area has suffered from illegal fishing when dive boats are not around. Hopefully now that these rocks are part of the Mu Koh Lanta National Marine Park the authorities will use the park fees to enforce protection.
Hin Daeng is a series of submerged rocks that form ledges and walls at varying depths from the surface down to 35 metres. The rocks are covered with soft corals, mostly red in colour, hence the dive site name. Schools of tropical reef fish cover the rocks.
Banded sea snakes are often seen, along with morays, lionfish, redtooth triggerfish, parrotfish, titan triggers, longtoms, angelfish, batfish and so on. Barracuda can be seen in the blue, plus giant trevally and dogtooth tuna. Grey reef sharks are a less common sight in deeper water.
Hin Muang is a series of large pinnacles that start 8 metres below the surface and drop down to 70 metres, the clear blue water makes it easy to find yourself deep here. The south side is a vertical drop off, the deepest in Thailand. The east side is a more gradual slope.
The tops of the pinnacles are covered with purple soft coral and anemones. Large gorgonian sea fans protrude from the wall. Anemone fish, glassfish and anthias add colour and movement as they dart in and out of their shelters, constantly harrassed by bigger fish.
With luck your get to dive with manta rays at Hin Muang. Whale sharks also pass by. Barracuda, mackerel and tuna are also seen in the blue, reef sharks are seen deep. Also look for critters in the soft coral and anemones, like nudibranch, pipefish, frog fish and leaf fish.