Thailand’s coral reefs are generally in excellent condition. Thailand’s Coral Reefs support 4,000 species of fish, 700 species of coral, thousands of plants and animals and are home to one in every four marine species. Find out how Coral Reefs in Thailand play an important role in tourism. Snorkeling and scuba diving are great ways to explore Thailand’s Coral Reefs.
1. Anita’s Reef – Anita’s Reef is a fantastic dive site on Island 6 in the Similan Islands
Another coral reef in the Similian Islands, Anita’s is a fringing reef with patches of coral mixed into patches of sand. The corals here are bommies and studded with sea fans. The coral’s reef and rocks are inhabited by noisy parrotfish, colorful clownfish, and spotted garden eels, while the sandy spots are home to stingrays. As is the case elsewhere in the Similians, visibility can reach up to 135 feet. Depths on Anita’s Reef range between 20 feet and 85 feet.
2. Koh Ma and Mae Had – also a local dive site – offer snorkelling and scuba diving trips to the nearby island
These two areas combined make up the largest reef off the Thai island of Koh Phangan. Close to shore, this fringing reef is suitable for beach scuba diving and even snorkeling, although snorkelers should venture out only on days when the surf is low to avoid being slammed onto the corals and rocks. The deepest point of the reef is a mere 20 feet, and even at high tide jagged rocks poke out from the surface of the water. Sea life here consists of playful clownfish, seahorses, rabbit fish, stingrays, and grouper.
3. Shark Point is part of a Marine Sanctuary and is justifiably the most popular of the local dive sites.
Shark Point is situated 15 miles east of Phuket, in southwestern Thailand. Named for the docile leopard sharks that live there, the reef is centered on three large pinnacles of rock. The biggest of these breaks the surface, making the reef easy to find in the open ocean. The reef is decorated with pink and purple soft corals and barrel sponges, and in addition to the leopard sharks, it serves as a home to moray eels, yellow boxfish, spiny lionfish and scorpionfish and four-foot groupers. The leopard sharks are nocturnal, so during the day, they are often found sleeping on the sandy patches in and around the reef. Visibility is usually around 60 feet, but in bad weather, it may plunge to as low as 15 feet.
4. East of Eden – dive site is one of the Top dive spots of the Similan Islands!
East of Eden is often praised as one of the best coral reefs in Thailand’s Similian Islands, if not the best. Located in the Andaman Sea between Thailand and Myanmar, this fringing reef is a rainbow of blue, purple and pinkish-white soft corals mixed with hard Elkhorns and stinging fire corals, along with plenty red anemones. Clownfish live amid the anemones, and the area is thick with snapper. Triggerfish are also known to inhabit the area, so remember to avoid swimming above them. These fish are fiercely territorial, and see that territory as a cone-like area extending above them. Visibility ranges between 60 feet and a staggering 135 feet, with the deepest parts of the reef resting in 115 feet of water.
Thailand’s coral reefs also provide vital protection for shorelines against erosion, storm and wave damage. It provides an incredible diversity of beneficial medical pharmaceuticals and contains compounds found to help fight heart disease, asthma, leukemia, viruses, cancer, and HIV.
If you haven’t dived for a while, it’s a good idea to take a refresher course and do buoyancy check in the pool before taking a dive trip out to the reef.
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