Hin Muang is an exciting dive, and it is the highest vertical reef wall in Thailand. The rock formation is completely submerged and has an amazing amount of marine life. The name of the dive site comes from the large amounts of purple soft corals found here and Hin Muang translated from Thai means Purple Rock.
The wall is said to look like a huge loaf of bread; or a loaf of bread that is 200 metres by 20 metres. The southern side is the deeper side and drops down with a sheer drop to about 60 metres. The eastern side has a slower descent and also goes down into the blue depths. Divers should always keep an eye on their depths as it can be easy to drop down to very deep levels.
There are large amounts of purple soft corals all over the wall but the walls are also decorated with huge sea fans in different colours. They are mainly orange, white, and red and they are covered in large schools of glassfish that hide between the fans. Passing trevallies often try their luck at grabbing one or two of these smaller fish. The shallower sections of the wall are covered in anemones and they are filled with anemone fish and clown fish. They are also brimming with macro life and photographers will not run out of subjects amongst this reef.
The big stars are the larger pelagic fish that patrols the wall. Grey reef sharks and leopard sharks are commonly spotted.
Talya Davidoff is a marine biologist, freediving champion and dive instructor. Read her personal experience about diving Hin Muang:
The top reef starts at a depth of about eight meters. It is actually connected to Hin Daeng, but this area is just to a dive between the two. Along with that, there is no surface reference for this dive site and the channel in between has some ripping currents. Therefore, don’t be fooled into thinking you can make a surface swim from Hin Daeng.
As I descend, I find that the visibility is slightly lower than expected. There is quite a lot plankton in this area which is naturally the reason for it. Mantas and whale sharks are frequent visitors to this dive.
As I start the dive it becomes quite clear where this dive site gets its name. Our Dive guide briefed us that the direct translation is Purple Rock. The main rock we are diving along is littered with a species of Iridescent purple coral. Nestled in between these corals are different types of anemones with their families of clownfish.
This dive site is also massive so I know that I won’t be able to get through all of it in one dive. Once again, this dive is deep so I am constantly checking my depth. Like all the divers around me, it is difficult not to notice the mantas drifting off the reef but I like to look at the smaller things.
Along one of the walls, I find a small Pipefish trying its best to remain inconspicuous. I can almost touch it but I never do! There are nudibranchs here that almost pose for my camera.
As I examine one, I nearly have a heart attack due to movement about 30cm away from me. It is a red octopus and is a lot bigger than I expected. Before I have my wits about me, it has already swum off, leaving me to recover.