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  • Deep Andaman Team

Macro Marine Life in the Similans and Beyond

While many divers book onto one of our Similan Island liveaboards or Myanmar liveaboards for their chance to see manta rays or go diving with whale sharks, others come for the combination of that mixed with the opportunity to see some of the smaller marine life creatures the Andaman Sea has to offer. Indeed, the fact that marine life in the Similans and Myanmar boasts an abundance of tropical fish, plus big pelagics passing through, and macro marine life too, provides the perfect trifecta for the best diving liveaboard!

It normally takes a little while to get into macro, but more experienced divers and especially those who are into macro photography (or even underwater photography in general), will talk excitedly and at great length about their passion for the smaller things when it comes to underwater life, and the thrill they get when they find macro subjects on their dives. After all, finding macro marine life in the first place is part of the challenge!

Similan Islands marine life does not disappoint when it comes to macro diving. There are no ‘muck dives’ here, so unlike at many other macro diving destinations, there will always be a wealth of corals, fish and maybe even the chance of larger pelagic fish on any given dive too. So it’s not simply a case of scouring a boring ocean floor until you find yourself a critter. Rather, if you look hard enough and in the right places on any of our dive sites, then you’ll enrich your liveaboard diving experience by finding a whole host of smaller fish and critters. So be sure to spend some time examining the sea bed and looking into cracks and crevices at all of the Similans, Surin, and Myanmar dive sites you visit to see if you can spot any of these macro critters. Do bear in mind that all of these species are unusual finds that move around and cannot be relied upon to stay in the same place. But we hope it gives you an idea of what you could expect when you join us for your Similans liveaboard trip.


Seahorses can range in size from 1-14 inches, but those that inhabit the Andaman Sea tend to be in the 4-6 inch range. With an upright swimming position and their trademark curved tails, you’d think seahorses would be relatively easy to spot, but they are normally incredibly well camouflaged. The species of seahorse we see on the Andaman coast are called Tiger Tail Seahorses, and top dive sites for sightings include Shark Cave and Western Rocky. Both of these sites are fixtures on our Myanmar Liveaboard trips.

Ornate Ghost Pipefish

These beautiful fish swim vertically with their mouths facing downwards and mature to a maximum length of around 15 centimeters. They are typically seen in mating pairs and are experts at floating motionlessly against a background that makes them almost impossible to see. They are seasonal visitors to Similan Island dive sites, but if you are lucky, your dive leader may just spot a couple for you.


Frogfish are certainly a bit bizarre to look at. When the phrase ‘plenty fish in the sea’ was coined, you can bet whoever said it was not thinking of these guys! There is, however, something fascinating about them. Maybe it’s the upward-facing yet downturned mouth, the way they walk/bounce across the sea bed rather than swimming, or that their body color changes based on their habitat. Whatever the reason, they can be spotted from time to time at Andaman dive sites such West of Eden, Shark Cave, and Western Rocky, and are always a hit with our guests.

The Harlequin shrimp couple in Black Rock

Reef & Anemone Shrimps

Virtually all of the dives sites in the Similans, Surins, and Myanmar are home to reef and anemone shrimps of various kinds, so always be sure to keep your eye out in corals, crevices, and anemones to find all manner of these spiny crustaceans. Durban dancing shrimp, glass shrimp, and commensal shrimp are found commonly across the area, and harlequin shrimp can be spotted at Richelieu Rock, Black Rock, and Western Rocky. And that’s just scratching the surface of the many different types of shrimp that can be found across multiple dive sites. Hours of fun for macro marine life lovers!



A favorite muse among macro photography enthusiasts, nudibranchs of all shapes and color can be found across the whole range of Similans, Surins and Myanmar dive sites. The name nudibranch comes from the Latin ‘nudus’, meaning ‘naked, and the ancient Greek ‘brankhia’, meaning ‘gills. Although the exact form of a nudibranch varies significantly from species to species (of which there are around 3000), the gills being on the outside of the body combined with some incredibly intricate and colorful markings make them mesmerizing to look at and photograph. Nudibranchs can be seen on most dive sites, including artificial reefs such as the Boonsung wreck.

Are you a fan of macro? Or do you think you could be now you know a bit more about macro marine life in the Similans and beyond? Macro life can be seen throughout the Andaman liveaboard season and our dive guides have amazing eyes for spotting small critters for you. For those who want to practice their underwater macro photography, camera hire is available.

If this has whetted your appetite for Myanmar (Burma) or Thailand liveaboard with us, please get in touch for further information. You can check boat schedules and trip availability on our website, or contact us directly at

We hope to see you soon aboard the MV Deep Andaman Queen for the liveaboard diving trip of a lifetime! Whether you are looking for a Phuket liveaboard or Khao Lak liveaboard departure we are the best option, as we arrange transfers from both locations. Feel free to read more online for more details about the Similan and Surin Islands national parks why we feel we offer the best Thailand liveaboard services.

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