Raya Islands and Phi Phi Islands
Experience great diving and snorkeling this summer with our fabulous weekend getaways on board MV Giamani to the Raya Islands and the Phi Phi Islands. Two different destinations to show you the best diving Phuket has to offer. From the impressive granite rock Raya Islands with their crystal clear, turquoise waters and lovely white sandy beaches to the breathtaking limestone scenery and shallow lagoons teeming with colourful tropical fish at the famed Phi Phi Islands.
Departing Phuket Every Friday
You will board MV Giamani at around 17:30 on Friday afternoon. After a warm welcome from our crew and a cool refreshing drink there is ample time to explore the boat, check your snorkelling or diving equipment and settle into your comfortable en-suite cabin before we begin our cruise to either Raya Yai or Raya Noi.
Once underway you can relax, get to know the other guests on board and enjoy the ocean view as we make our way to our first destination. If there is time we may offer a short check dive upon arrival at Raya Yai.
The captain will find a quiet, secluded bay to moor the boat for the night, ensuring calm conditions for our first night at sea. Dinner is served around 19:00, your first taste of the legendary Giamani cuisine.
Day One Exploring Raya Yai
We start our day just after sunrise, waking up to enjoy the early morning view over a light breakfast. Daylight reveals spectacular bays strewn with ancient granite boulders, topped with lush green jungle. The clear warm waters on the Andaman Sea lap around the boat luring you to take the plunge.
Raya Noi Diving and Snorkelling
The first dive or snorkel stop is always at an easy, safe location. We chose all our sites based on our guests experience levels and wishes to ensure you get the most from you time in or under the water. We usually begin at a site called Banana Bay. Starting shallow the sandy bottom slowly descends to around 20m in depth. The sea floor is dotted with nice coral structures and patches of impressive staghorn corals.
A full cooked breakfast is served on board MV Giamani after the early morning dive. Between dives or snorkelling stops there is plenty of time to relax on the boat or explore the beautiful bay to the south of Raya Noi. The bay features a perfect white sandy beach set against a backdrop of palm trees and green jungle. Towards the southern end of the bay there are a cluster of granite boulders very close to the beach ideal for snorkelling.
Dive two usually begins around 11:00. Our dive staff always pay close attention to the ocean tides and conditions when choosing our dive schedule. We strive to show you the best sites when the conditions are optimum. If conditions are favourable there is always the chance to dive the South Point of Raya Noi.
South Point at Raya Noi
This famous Thailand dive site lies a off the southern tip of Raya Noi Island. The site is totally submerged with the shallowest point at around 12m where a large granite pinnacle descends to around 20m. Our skilful captain knows exactly where divers should jump in. Descending to the deeper areas of the dive site you will find expansive rocky plateaus and channels that cut through the granite rock.
Due to strong ocean currents that sweep over the site, you will find a staggering array of soft corals and huge gorgonian fan corals that thrive in the nutrient rich water flow. The corals are home to a large variety of colourful reef fish and moray eels but it is chance encounters with larger marine species that are the highlight at South Point. Always keep an eye out into the blue, chevron barracuda are a common sight as they ‘tornado’ in large schools. If you are lucky, Raya Noi is one of the famous Andaman Sea locations to spot giant manta rays and eagle rays.
Relaxing Afternoons in Tropical Paradise
A delicious Thai lunch is served after the second dive. During the hot midday hours you can relax on Giamani’s large, outdoor shaded sofa area with a book or take a short afternoon nap.
The next dive will be at another well known site at Raya Noi. The long island is dotted with numerous bays and long, fringing coral reefs that offer a variety of diving options. It is likely you will jump in and enjoy an easy drift dive with the current.
Snacks are served after the third dive followed by more relaxation time. The final dive or snorkel stop of the day is usually to the northern end of Raya Noi.
After the dive it is time to cruise to the Phi Phi Islands. This is a nice opportunity to head to the sundeck on Giamani. You can enjoy the panoramic views, lounging comfortably in the cool evening breeze as the sun slowly sets behind Raya Noi. The perfect ‘sundowner’ setting before dinner.
Dinner time on MV Giamani is when our cook really shows off his culinary skills serving a delicious fusion of traditional Thai cuisines and western favourites.
It takes around 4 hours to reach the Phi Phi Islands, at which time our captain will find a quiet, secluded spot to moor the boat overnight, ensuring you get a good nights sleep.
Day Two Phi Phi Diving at it’s Best
Wake up is again just after sunrise. This will be your first opportunity to really appreciate the magnificent scenery of Phi Phi Lay, with the early morning sunlight shining bright on the towering limestone cliffs. Once you catch your breath it is time for a light breakfast as we cruise south to our first dive site, Koh Bida Nok.
A Sharky Start to Sunday
One of the advantages of liveaboard diving is we arrive at the dive sites before the busy day trip boats arrive. This means we are the first to enter the water and often we have the site to ourselves. This works in our favour as we always have something special planned for our first dive at Koh Bida Nok.
We start the dive at the shallow bay to the south of this small limestone island. Descending to around 5m depth we slowly make our way further into the bay. There is a ridge along the western edge of the bay at around 2m depth and here, in the early morning light, black-tip reef sharks patrol the shallow waters. Hanging back where the water is slightly deeper we can observe the sharks, as long as we remain calm and still they seem unperturbed by our presence.
The Other Bida
Koh Bida Nai is usually dive two after a hearty breakfast and a couple of hours relaxation time. Though close to Bida Nok, Bida Nai has it’s own variation of interesting underwater topography. There are impressive coral clad walls, sandy and rocky plateaus, rocky pinnacles and channels as well as plenty of shallow areas making this an ideal site for both diving and snorkelling. Fish life is similar at both of these sites, always varied and always abundant.
After an exciting morning diving and snorkelling around the Bida Islands it’s time for yet more delicious Thai food. By this stage of the trip, all onboard are well accustomed to the relaxation time that follows meal times on Giamani.
Phi Phi Wreck Diving
Our third dive of the day is likely to be at the Phi Phi Wreck. Originally the HTMS Kled Kaeow, this decommissioned Thai Naval vessel was sunk in 2014 to form an artificial reef. The wreck lies between 14m and 27m with most of the interesting features at an average depth of 18m making it an ideal dive for most experience levels.
Though the wreck is only three years old it is already a magnet for fish life. Huge schools of various types of snapper hide around the ship’s rudder and in the former holds and compartments. The waters around the wreck are teeming with fusiliers, rabbitfish and porcupine pufferfish. Schools of pick-handle and chevron barracuda are never from from sight, patrolling out in the blue. On the wreck itself there are plenty of scorpionfish and lionfish as well as smaller critters and nudibranchs for the macro enthusiasts.
One More Dive before Shore Leave
The final dive or snorkel stop of the day is usually along one of the coral walls on the eastern side of Phi Phi Lay. It is always a nice relaxing dive with a lot of underwater activity. As the light slowly fades it is interesting to observe the reefs transform. Butterfly and angelfish slow down their activity while moray eels, snapper and other predators stir into life anticipating their nocturnal feeding time. Feather stars begin to open up adding an extra profusion of colour to the scene. After the dive our staff will wash and dry your dive equipment and help you complete you dive log books.
Following another delicious dinner on board there is the opportunity to explore the main inhabited island of the Phi Phi Archipelago, Phi Phi Don. You can enjoy a stroll through the main shopping area of the town centre, slowly making our way to one of the nice, quieter beachside bars for a refreshing drink.
Phi Phi really comes to life at nighttime and the beachfront is a hive of activity with loud music, fire shows and party games. With diving concluded for the trip, feel free to join the revelry.
Day Three A Hearty Breakfast
During the night MV Giamani will cruise back to Chalong Bay. Wake up is a little later on the final day. Once you have checked out of your cabin our cook will serve a hearty breakfast. After that it’s time for our final goodbyes before disembarkation. You air-conditioned transport will be ready and waiting on the pier at Chalong.