Richelieu Rock

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Richelieu Rock (called Hin Plo Naam in Thai) is a dive site in Thailand in the Andaman Sea about 200 km northwest of Phuket. It is part of the Mu Koh Surin marine park although being about 18 km east of Surin Island.

The horseshoe-shaped reef discovered by Jacques-Yves Cousteau[1] is known for its purple corals as well as diverse marine life ranging from small fish and harlequin shrimp to large pelagics like whale shark, manta ray, barracuda, and grouper.

Discovery and name[edit]

Richelieu Rock was discovered as a recreational scuba dive site by diving pioneer, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, with the help of local fishermen.[1] The origin of the name is disputed. Some say it was named by Cousteau after the red colour of Cardinal Richelieu's robe due to the red to purple colours of the soft corals on the reef.[2] Others claim it was named after General Richelieu, a commander in the Royal Thai Navy.[3]


The reef lies at 09°21′46″N 98°01′19″E / 9.36278°N 98.02194°E / 9.36278; 98.02194 in the Andaman Sea, about 80 km northwest of Khao Lak off Thailand's Ranong Province and about 18 km east of Surin island. There are no islands in the immediate vicinity of the reef.

Whale shark at the Andaman sea

Marine life[edit]

Partly due to its unique geology as a solitary pinnacle standing out from around 50 m depth to just under the surface it is said to attract a variety of different pelagics of all different sizes. Reports claim regular appearance of snappers, bannerfish, lionfish, triggerfish and shovelnose rays.[1]

Several sources also report sightings of filter feeders like manta rays and whale sharks, scavengers such as barracudas though fishing is said to have made their appearance less frequent.[4]

Dive site[edit]

Richelieu Rock is considered by many to be one of Thailand's most iconic dive sites.[5] It is usually accessed by diving boats during several day cruises, as it is too far off the coast to be reached by usual dive boats. There are speedboats that can go to Richelieu Rock as a daytrip.[4] or liveaboards. Richelieu rock is part of the Surin national park and is closed from 15 May till 15 October.[6]


The limestone pinnacle rises from the sea floor depth of about 50 m up to just underneath the surface at low tide.


  1. ^ a b c "Thailand Scuba Diving". PADI. 
  2. ^ "World's Top Dive Sites: Richelieu Rock". Aquaviews and LeisurePro. 
  3. ^ "Wicked Diving - Similan Islands, Komodo and more...: Richelieu Rock - the history". Khao Lak Diving. 
  4. ^ a b "Richelieu Rock day trip". Paul Landgraver.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Richelieu_Rock_day_trip" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  5. ^ "Destinations / Thailand". Sport Diver. 
  6. ^ "Richelieu Rock diving information". Richelieu rock diving. 

External links[edit]