SCUBA DIVING RANONG
Ranong is the wettest (with an annual rainfall of 4,200 mm of rain) and least populated province in Thailand. It is one of the country’s provinces located along the Andaman Coast and is fast emerging as one of the new destinations for diving enthusiasts. It is best known as a gateway to Myanmar and for its hot springs and mangrove forests.
Ranong is known for many things including its long rainy season, but dive enthusiasts have recently discovered this gem in Thailand. The province is known as a major fishing and trading port, thanks to its proximity to the Andaman Sea. But those who are avid divers come here to seek out the thrill of scuba diving and to witness at the marvel of Ranong’s marine life.
The currents at Ranong’s dive sites are mostly mild. This makes it a suitable diving site for beginners or immediate level divers. There are also plenty of dive sites to explore, some with a maximum depth of 40 meters.
Divers in Ranong get to marvel at the sight of over 200 species of corals and more than 1,000 fish species. There are also a variety of dive locations to be explored such as caves, caverns, massifs, pinnacles, limestone boulders, swim throughs, passages, and fringing reefs.
Diving is good in Ranong. Sadly, you might find evidence of dynamiting and overfishing, such as blasted reefs. The government is currently taking great measures to stop this kind of activity and preserve the diving sites in Ranong.
BEST DIVE SITES
This is one of the best dive sites in Thailand, not just in Ranong. Richelieu Rock is part of the Surin National Marine Park. It consists of a giant pinnacle that climbs from the depths of the Andaman Sea. Several scuba divers from all over the world come to this dive site every year because of the breathtaking white and purple soft coral.
There is also a high level of biodiversity on this site that includes the elusive white shark and harlequin shrimp. If you dive from February to April, there is a good chance you will be swimming along the gentle whale sharks that thrive here.
This island is home to several notable dive sites in Ranong. Its most famous dive site would have to be the Koh Tachai Plateau. It is a favorite destination among scuba liveboard enthusiasts in Thailand. The boulders and submerged pinnacles at the dive site form excellent swim throughs for expert divers. The dive site offers an average dive site depth of 20 meters with some areas reaching up to 36 meters in depth.
The marine life that you will encounter while diving Koh Tachai includes cube boxfish, giant putterfish, yellow-backed fusiliers, big eye trevally, manta rays, leopard sharks, chevron barracuda, and whale sharks.
Koh Bon is a dive site that is notable for its abundance of manta rays. With that said, the diverse marine life is the highlight of this dive. There are also multiple areas worth exploring in this site and each one correspond to varying dive conditions. The maximum depth in some sites can reach 45 meters. Due to the strength of the current and depth of some areas, dive operators recommend this site only for advanced divers.
This dive site offers reefs with sea sponges, corals, and anemones. You will also find octopus, cuttlefish, whale sharks, and manta rays.
Western Rocky Island
This dive site in Ranong is located in the Mergui Archipelago. It is the best dive site for beginners because of the calm waters and current. The site features a firm yet smooth coral reef ridge that is home to bright reef fish. You can also spot lobsters, anemones, moray eels, and scorpion fishes at this site.
Need scuba gear?
Check out our gear reviews
BEST TIME TO DIVE
Finding the optimal time to dive in Ranong can be quite tricky due to its long rainy period (lasting up to 8 months!). The province experiences a tropical monsoon climate for majority of the year.
But if you are seeking the best diving conditions, you must book your dive trip from end of October to May. It will provide you with good water visibility up to a depth of 30 meters. The water temperature comes in at an average of 26 degree Celsius.
HOW TO GET TO RANONG
To get to Ranong, you must take a flight via Ranong Airport (UNN/VTSR). There are daily domestic flights from other parts of Thailand.
There are several options to get to Ranong by land. One of them is via train. You can book a train ticket from various parts of Thailand to the nearest train station in Ranong – Chumphon.
You can also book tickets for a mini bus or buses. There are several bus terminals that you can go to for bus rides that will take you to Ranong. The cost of the bus ride will vary according to your starting point and the bus class you have chosen.
HIGHLIGHTS OF RANONG
Ranong isn’t a destination that comes up on everyone’s list when talking about where to go to in Thailand. In fact, it is infamous for being the destination that tourists go to for a visa run. Despite that, Ranong has a lot of natural beauty waiting to be explored by those who dares to go. It has plenty of offerings that include diving, which is a sought-after activity for Thai tourists.
But diving is not the only activity that you can enjoy in Ranong, as just like any other Thailand destinations, it offers rich diversity in experience too. It is home to the fourth biosphere reserve in Thailand – Ranong Biosphere Reserve. This is established to protect and preserve the mangrove forests on the island.
Aside from the mangrove forests, Ranong has plenty of other things for you to see. The island is gifted in natural attractions such as waterfalls, hot springs, Bald Hill, and the Ranong Canyon. When it comes to national parks, you will be spoiled by the natural beauty of Laem Son National Park and Namtok Ngao National Park.
Diving is one of the primary reasons that tourists come to Ranong. However, snorkeling is another water activity that tourists love to enjoy while here. Exploring the main city road of Ruengrat Road in Ranong will also offer plenty of restaurants, cafes, and bars to choose from.
WHERE TO STAY
Ever heard of PADI Travel? Yep, you can now book your dives and rooms with the biggest name in scuba diving! Trust me, you want to book you dream dive trip with the most trusted name in the industry!
Click the button to start browsing dive resorts and destinations.
Ranong is the city and capital of the province in Thailand of the same name. It is located along the Northern Andaman Coast in the Southern Thailand.
This is the first province to be named on the west coast of Thailand and is approximately 568 kilometers from the city of Bangkok. It has a total land area of 3,298 square kilometers. The city center of the island is about 7 kilometers from the nearest ocean.
Ranong has earned its reputation as the wettest province in Thailand, together with Trat Province. This part of Thailand experiences about 8 months of rainy season. It is also the least populated province in Thailand.
Despite its compact size, Ranong has an abundance of natural attractions such as mangrove forests, hot springs, and national parks. About 80% of the province’s land area is filled with forests, while 67% of it is mountainous.
“Hello” in Thai: