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Why You Should Dive the Andaman Sea

Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar

Dive into the Andaman Sea among the sharks and the rays.

Make your way to the edge of the corals to investigate the minute marine life.

Hop back aboard your boat for a bite to eat as you gaze out across the crystalline waters.

Enjoy scuba diving in Myanmar.

Mergui Archipelago in the Andaman Sea

At Myanmar’s south end lies the scenic magnificence of the Mergui Archipelago.  The region consists of some 800 islands varying in size and population.  Ripe with hotels and resorts, the archipelago is gradually becoming a popular Southeastern Asian destination.

While some people come to the island paradise for a little R&R, many others visit for its legendary scuba diving.  The crystal-clear waters and variety of marine life provide an ideal setting to strap on some scuba gear and head deep into the Andaman sea.

Scuba Diving

Not recommended for beginners, many of the Mergui Archipelago’s more popular dive sites require a significant amount of experience.  Depending on the site, you can expect to see anything from sizable sharks to diminutive crustaceans.  Listed below are a couple of the Mergui Archipelago’s hot spots:

Shark Cave Reef

One of Mergui’s more popular sites, Shark Cave Reef often promises what its name suggests.  A variety of small, grey sharks can be seen hovering around the entrance of the caves.  Paying careful attention to avoid them as you drift on by, you will have the opportunity to check out colorful corals, cuttlefish, harlequin ghost pipefish, and tiger-tail seahorses.

Those with high-quality underwater cameras will consider the site a gem as a variety of species cling close to the cavern’s walls.  Make sure that as you’re snapping away, you try your best to avoid the passing sharks.

Credit: Derek Keats Credit: Derek Keats

Black Rock

Known as the deepest dive site in the archipelago’s waters, scuba diving Black Rock can prove an immensely rewarding experience.  The open waters and abundance of coral make Black Rock an ideal site from which to spot a variety of larger fish.

Keep a watch out for rays, sharks, barracudas, and a slew of other species.  Dive towards the corals to spot smaller fish such as puffers and scorpionfish.

Credit: Derek Keats Credit: Derek Keats

Diving Charters

After deciding to scuba dive in the Andaman, you’ll have to figure out just how you’re going to go about it.  Charter tours based off the mainland city of Kawthaung.

Liveaboards are the most popular option for those looking to maximize their diving time.  Trip lengths can range anywhere between three and seven nights.  Look to pay anywhere from $350 to $1200 per person depending on how many days you plan on diving as well as what company you choose.

Credit: Thespis377 Credit: Thespis377

When To Go

While the scuba diving season in the Mergui Archipelago runs from October to May, consider planning your trip between December and April while conditions are optimal.

Climate

Temperatures are consistent throughout the diving season with lows of 72°F (22°C) and highs of 95°F (35°C). The water temperature stays around 81°F (27°C).

Getting There & Around

To reach the starting point for most dives, fly to the Kawthaung Airport from Yangon. The airport is only a short drive away from Kawthaung.

Average Costs

  • Mid-range accommodations: $40-60
  • Meal: $1-5
  • Beer: $0.50

Do’s

  • Get certified before arriving to scuba dive.
  • Liveaboard diving if you want to get out to all the best sites.
  • Bring that high-tech underwater lens.

Don’ts

  • Aim to go to the more popular sites as a beginner.
  • Get in the way of occasionally irritable sharks.
  • Plan on finding a charter trip during the off-season.

Fun Facts

  • One of the archipelago’s main industries is pearl fishing.
  • The archipelago is features in the Bond film ‘Thunderdome’ starring Sean connery.
  • Salone Island serves as the main tourist island with a selection of beaches and resorts.

Feature Image Credit: ctsnow

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