The Anemone reef is one of the most popular dive sites in Phuket. This reef is about halfway to Phi Phi (17 miles/28 km east of Chalong Bay in Phuket – from where all dive boats leave for the day).
The dive site has a maximum depth of 100 feet (30 meters) and is most suitable for advanced divers. It’s often combined with nearby dive sites like Shark Point and the King Cruiser wreck. Both sites are for advanced divers, and therefore you won’t find many operators that will take Open Water divers with them on the day trip.
Anemone Reef dive site brief
- Access: From boat
- Maximum depth: 100 feet/ 30 meters
- Visibility: 16 – 66 feet / 5 – 20 meters
- Dive time: 45 – 60 minutes
- Certification level: Advanced Open Water
- Current: medium to strong
- Type: pinnacle, deep dive
About the Anemone Reef in Phuket and Phi Phi
Anemone Reef got its name from the abundance of anemones covering the rock pinnacle. In shallow areas, divers have to swim through a carpet of lime green and sky blue anemones.
Interestingly, the dive site’s local Thai name is “Hin Jom” which translates to “underwater rock”.
The combination of both makes this spot a great scuba diving location.
The top of Anemone Reef lies approximately 16 to 18 feet (5 – 6 meters) beneath the water’s surface, while its sandy bottom is situated around 82 to 100 feet (25 – 30 meters) deep. This diving site runs north-south in the same direction as the currents flow.
The highest peak of the pinnacle doomed the fate of the MS King Cruiser in 1997, when the car ferry accidentally hit the rocks, leaving the hull so damaged that the ship sunk within a few hours to the bottom of the sea just a few hundred feet away. Now, the sunken shipwreck is an artificial reef and the most visited dive site in the area.
Dive plan for the Anemone Reef in Phuket
After spending about 2 hours on the boat ride from Phuket to the Anemone Reef, you are ready to jump in.
Whether you begin your dive at the shallow or deep end of the reef, depends on the current. Usually, under normal conditions (currents running from north to south) you can descend in the north and start with the deeper part of the dive site. Anyway, in the shallow part, at the top of the peak, is a mooring line for an easier descent and ascent.
The depth ranges from 16 to 100 feet (5 – 30 meters) at the Anemone Reef. The visibility can vary between 16 feet (5 m) to a maximum visibility of 65 feet (20 meters).
At the southernmost end of this pinnacle lies a channel between small, jutting reefs. When currents are mild, this passage can be a thrilling swim-through.
When conditions are normal, divers finish up at the northern part and conduct their safety stop around the peak at 16 feet (5 meters). You can also use the mooring line here to stay close to your group. It can get crowded at this dive site.
What’s to see at the Anemone Reef in Phuket & Phi Phi
You will regularly see vibrant schools of snapper, yellowtail barracuda, as well as anemonefish and clownfish hovering around the pinnacle. Additionally, you may spot groupers, oriental sweetlips, and juvenile harlequin sweetlips crawling among corals or crevices.
In the shallow waters of this area, you can sometimes spot vibrant nudibranchs and even occasional anglerfish.
As you reach the deeper areas, you will find soft corals and sea fans. If you’re lucky, tucked away within this aquatic flora are a number of captivating creatures such as seahorses and ghost pipefish.
Last but not least, Leopard Sharks could be occasionally seen in the sandy bottoms – although this might be rare.
Which dive site is better: Anemone Reef or Shark Point?
Both Anemone Reef and Shark Point offer unique and exciting diving experiences. If you’re interested in exploring colorful rock formations and a variety of marine life, Anemone Reef is the better option. However, if you’re hoping to encounter leopard sharks and other diverse marine life in crystal clear waters, then Shark Point may be the ideal choice. The best thing is, that you usually don’t have to pick between the two. On a two-tank or three-tank dive, you usually visit both in combination with the King Cruiser wreck.
What certification is required to dive at Anemone Reef?
Technically, Open Water certified divers can visit Anemone Reef and stay at a depth of a maximum of 60 feet (18 meters). However, most dive boats visit Shark Point and/or the King Cruiser wreck as the second and third dive spot for the day. Both sites are only for advanced divers. If your operator aims for Phi Phi dive sites, Open Water divers may be able to join.
Related dive sites
If you are interested in seeing sharks or other bigger animals, Marina Bay & Maritas Rock are great for sharks. Racha Noi South Tip is famous for manta rays. Overall, Racha Island has great dive sites to find marine life. On the contrary, macro life lovers should dive at Koh Dok Mai.