Siam Bay at Racha Yai has always had a pleasant hard coral reef but in 2006 that reef was enhanced by a government funded project to place underwater statues in the bay. The statues were commissioned to attract divers back to Phuket after the December 2004 tsunami. Divers are now back in abundance and the statues have become a favourite novelty dive and photo opportunity.
The various statues sit a short distance from the edge of the coral reef on the sandy bottom and there is a mooring line down to them making descents easy. The average depth on the bottom is 18m, the maximum depth is 22m. Visibility is usually clear.
There are two large elephant statues that divers can sit on for photos. One elephant has it’s trunk raised. There is a large oyster shell and a Thai sala (pavilion). There is also a big temple gate protected from evil spirits by a mythical giant sentry called a Yak in Thai.
The statues are all within easy finning distance of each other so divers can check them all out before moving off over the reef. Be sure to swim between the elephants legs, it’s considered good luck in Thai. Also have a look in the elephant ears where white eyed moray eels have made their homes.
From the statues your guide will set a compass bearing of 120 degrees and guide you over the sand towards the reef. While swimming over the sand look out for blue spotted sting rays that try to hide from view by burying all but their eyes in the sand. You’ll also see black spotted garden eels. Also check for bent stick pipe fish. Yes they do look like a bent stick and are only about 10cm long, not the most exciting fish you’ll ever see but pretty rare.
On the edge of the reef is a large and stone fish. These ugly and very poisonous fish are also a rare sight unlike their scorpion fish cousins which are numerous.
The reef is mainly staghorn and table coral. Schools of fish include snapper, fusilier, yellow tail barracuda and banner fish. Trumpet fish and flute fish hover over the coral, titan trigger fish aggressively guard their territory. Dog faced puffer fish and porcupine fish are also common.
More Racha Yai dive sites: https://sanookscuba.com/racha-yai/