Scuba Diving in Myanmar

Myanmar (formerly Burma) is located in Southeast Asia. Its southern and southwestern parts are washed by the Bay of Bengal, the Gulf of Martaban and the Andaman Sea. Its coastline is nearly 2,000 km long. Tourists come to this uncrowded place to enjoy the pristine beauty of the depths of the sea. Prolonged isolation of the country is quite handy because Myanmar still hides many jewels not yet touched by a human. Over 800 islands are scattered in Myanmar's waters.
Divers will find rich underwater flora and fauna here. Local waters are inhabited by small tropical fish, lobsters, Murray eels. Strong currents will excite drift divers. And thrill seekers can swim with sharks. Local waters are home to 9 shark species, including whale sharks, spiny dogfish, grey and reef sharks. Some of them can be dangerous.

Reasons to Visit

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Where to go
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Experienced divers will enjoy a visit to the Shark Cave. The depth here reaches 40 metres. Rocks rising from the seafloor and sleepy starfish lying in the sea sand. The cave's walls are covered with tube corals, which colours vary from milky-white to dark blue. And its entrance is guarded by sharks: nimble grey reef sharks, good-natured whale sharks and carnivorous nurse sharks. Be careful when diving because the local currents can be treacherously strong.
Due to the low anthropogenic load, the waters here are replete with representatives of the fauna. Apart from various fantastic fish- seahorses, pipefish, reef stonefish, trumpetfish, some lucky divers could come across sea turtles and watch gentle manatees that feed on green mangle forests just like cows.
The pristine nature and crystal clear water offer great opportunities for indulging in underwater macro photography, as photographs captured here are worth submitting to the National Geographic Photo Contests. Seabed, covered with corals, sand and rocks in different combinations, is worth attention. Colourful sea anemones and starfish are scattered on the sandy floor. Coral gardens will reveal bearded shorthorn sculpins, pipefish and seahorses. And cliffs conceal labyrinths of caves, where It is easy to get lost without a guide.
The Burma Banks are one of the best dive sites. 180 kilometres of underwater plains are sown with coral reefs, and the average depth reaches up to 50 meters. Apart from aesthetically pleasing views, you will have an unforgettable experience of meeting face-to-face with sharks. 3 meters long nurse sharks are the most common shark species here. This place is attractive for experienced divers and drift-divers because the currents here are quite strong and often change direction.
The most mysterious dive site in Myanmar is Black Rock. This is a hundred meter wide island with depths reaching 60 meters. Here, you could meet rare underwater dwellers: Scorpio fish, rainbow blue angel sharks and many others. Also, the place is home to the peculiar moray eels (extra green and white-eyed moray eels), octopuses and cuttlefish of various sizes.

Diving Destinations in Myanmar

The Mergui Archipelago has some of the best places for diving. It includes the Burma Banks which are 15 to 22 meters deep, they are famous for a great variety of coral formations. You can discover 300 kinds of fan-shaped, pillar-like and mushroom-like corals, as well as gorgonians and Alcyonaria. The region is known for strong currents, and drift is the most popular type of diving here.
Fans of wall diving can polish their skills near the Black Rock and Western Rock. The place is full of vertical coral gardens and underwater caves inhabited by fascinating nurse sharks, octopuses, moray eels, spiny lobsters and tropical fish.

Memo Notes
Currency MMK - Myanmar kyat
Languages Burmese
Timezone UTC +6:30
Phone code 95
Emergency Help 999
Electricity

Type C - 230 V, 50 Hz

Type D - 230 V, 50 Hz

Type F - 230 V, 50 Hz

Type G - 230 V, 50 Hz

Dive Shops in Myanmar

Until recent, diving in Myanmar has been available only to participants of diving safaris organized by Thai clubs. Now, the Myanmar coast has its own diving clubs- Myanmar SubSea divers and The Similan Diving Safaris- with English speaking staff. They offer equipment rental and organize diving in various locations.

Сlimate & Seasonality
Spring

The air temperature in March and April reaches +29-32 °С. May brings rains and oppressive heat. The wind is strong and there are quite a few storms during this time. The water temperature is about +26-28 °С.

Summer

Summer is the wet season in Myanmar. Rains start by nightfall and may last for a few days. It is hot and muggy. The sky is cloudy and the air warms up to +40 °С.

Autumn

It still rains in September and October, and the weather is hot. The water temperature reaches +30 °С, but poor visibility and frequent storms restrict diving. The end of October brings clear and dry weather.

Winter

Winter in Myanmar is dry and comfortable, and it is the best time for diving. Practically no rains and the sea is quiet. Water visibility reaches 50 meters, and the air temperature is around +26 °C.

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The Best Dive Sites

High Rock is a cliff with a lonely tree at its top. Fans of underwater photography come here for beautiful reefs with high biodiversity represented by Indo-Pacific sergeant fish, flying fish, moonyfish, manta rays and dolphins.
Drift divers will surely enjoy the Black Rock. You will float along with the current and see manta rays, reef sharks, blue-ringed octopuses, cuttlefish and rare species of moray eels.

Health & Safety

The healthcare system in Myanmar is not very developed. The country has only state medical facilities; all private practices have been nationalized. A trip to Myanmar will require vaccinations against malaria, hepatitis and tuberculosis. There's a danger of terrorist threats, such as an ethnoreligious conflict, which happened in the western part of the country in 2012-2013. The theft rate has risen due to economic difficulties in recent years. It is better to have an experienced guide when visiting local attractions.

Dangerous Marine Life

The Andaman Sea is inhabited by beautiful but venomous Pterois and dangerous tiger, reef and white sharks. When swimming in the Bay of Bengal, be careful of venomous box jellyfish, bright Portuguese men-of-war, blue-ringed octopuses, sea snakes and cone snails.

Eat & Drinks

The local cuisine is very similar to Indian and Chinese. It uses rice, soybeans and various spices. Fans of exotic dishes may try grilled sparrows, smoked oxtails, grasshoppers and bamboo worms. Those who prefer more convenient cooking, can taste Wettha Thayet Thi Chet, which is grilled pork with fruits and vegetables (most often avocado), and Mohinga, a fish soup with noodles and curry. Another tasty dish is Khmit Chin Khin soup with shrimp and bamboo shoots.
As for drinks, you should definitely try palm liquor and punch. Tap water is not safe in Myanmar. It is recommended to drink only bottled water. Some hotels offer it for free.