Certainly one of the best dive sites in Thailand, Richelieu Rock is an isolated pinnacle about 10km east of Surin Islands and 100km NNE of the Similan islands. The very top of the rock is just visible at low tide, but submerged at high tide. Below the surface Richelieu Rock is approximately horseshoe shaped consisting of several groups of rocks, pinnacles, overhangs and small caves. It drops most steeply on the north and west side, while the south side slopes more gently on the “inside” of the horseshoe. Maximum depth is about 35 meters, but it can be dived mostly at 20 – 28 meters.
Due to the currents sweeping over this pinnacle, there’s not so much hard coral, but plenty of soft coral. The currents can be strong, but it’s easy enough to find shelter on one side of the pinnacle or another, as it covers a large area. It’s too big for one dive, most liveaboard trips will include at least 2 dives here.
(above) Richelieu Rock Dive Site Map
Marine life at Richelieu Rock is bountiful. This large rocky pinnacle is the only sheltered area between the Surin Islands and the mainland. A great place for photographers, both macro and wide angle. Such small critters as seahorses, ghost pipefish, harlequin shrimp or frogfish can be found. The rare tomato clownfish lives here and mating octopus are often spotted.
Pelagic fish surround Richelieu. You will almost certainly find big schools of trevally and barracuda and other schooling fish such as snappers and fusiliers. Plus, what many divers hope to see are the giants of the ocean – whalesharks are seen here, as well as manta rays. No promises, but there is a good chance!
Richelieu Rock is on the route of most Thailand liveaboards. There are occasional day trips possible from Khao Lak, but it’s a long way for 2 dives! Richelieu is still one of the best dive sites in Asia (even if you don’t get lucky enough to see a whaleshark!)
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Similan Islands Liveaboards (Thailand)
MV Andaman Tritan operates trips in the Similan islands and Richelieu Rock, and is a comfortable and very reasonably priced wooden hulled liveaboard boat launched in October 2002 and totally refurbished in 2014. She is 24.5m long and 5.5m wide. D [...]
Prices starting from 6125 / day
Sawasdee Fasai was launched in 2016 running trips through the high season to the Similan islands and Richelieu Rock. This is a very large (37 meter long) liveaboard with plenty of space for relaxation. There is a big aircon indoor saloon area on [...]
Prices starting from 7175 / day
The Dolphin Queen Khao Lak based liveaboard will suit those wanting a lower price Similan Islands trip. If you're backpacking or on a tight budget, this could be the one for you. Despite being a low price, Dolphin Queen is professionally run with [...]
Prices starting from 4900 / day
Bavaria is a new liveaboard launched in late 2015, based in Khao Lak and offering a mixed schedule of 3 or 6 night trips in Thailand and 6 night trips in Myanmar. The boat was designed by her German owner who has many years of experience here in [...]
Prices starting from 6900 / day