Hin Dot is a strange dive site for its location, but a fantastic one in every other respect. It offers multi-level diving, interesting topography and some exciting marine life, yet being so close to the pier and beaches of Ton Sai Bay of Koh Phi Phi Don means that it is often overlooked by Phi Phi diving boats. They are too focused on going to dive sites further away, where they can offer two dives close to one another and avoid boat traffic. However, for those coming from Koh Lanta, there’s nothing at all wrong with stopping at one of Koh Phi Phi’s best diving sites, whenever they decide to. Choosing when the time is right to dive at Hin Dot is vital, though. Being in the bay of Ton Sai, dive operators have to consider quite a bit more than when deciding to drop divers into the water elsewhere. Here at Hin Dot, dives should only take place when there are no passenger ferries leaving or departing, as these can pose a significant danger to anyone at or just below the surface of the water. Their sheer size and lack of maneuverability is compounded by the time any message from the sea would take to get to the boat’s captain. In addition, the location inside the bay increases the effects of tides, which contribute greatly to underwater currents.
Taking everything into consideration, Hin Dot is a wonderful dive site, and due to the aforementioned reasons, does not get the credit or diving visitors it deserves. However, it does get lots of visitors who are not divers, and here we’re talking about large fish and plenty of other interesting members of the marine life community. Starting with the large and more exciting fish, divers at Hin Dot are very likely to see one or more Leopard Sharks (Stegostoma fasciatum) which are docile and harmless creatures that are used to divers and not particularly bothered by them. These normally rest on sandy sea beds during the day, as they hunt at night for shellfish and other creatures. Here at Hin Dot, the seabed is quite deep, and even too deep for newly-certified PADI scuba divers. Depending on the tide, the spot that is measured and who you listen to, the maximum depth at Hin Dot is 28-30 metres. Another shy and nocturnal shark that is sometimes sighted at Hin Dot is the Nurse Shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum). Unlike Leopard Sharks, these can often be found sleeping in the day in large groups, but sadly this is rarely the case in Thailand.
The other fish and invertebrates likely to be found at Hin Dot make up an interesting mixture of large and small, as well as resident and visiting. There are schools of fish which swim around the Andaman Sea, visiting different locations for food and shelter. These often include Trevally (Carangidae) and several species of Snapper (Lutjanus). Of a similar size, but more likely to spend their lives alone here, are Lionfish (Pterois) and Triggerfish (Balistoides). Just about everyone likes Nemo, and divers at Hin Dot shouldn’t be disappointed to find a few different species of Anemonefish (Amphiprioninae). They live at depths which are quite shallow for divers, but a little too deep for those snorkelling. Anyway, there’s no attraction for snorkellers at Hin Dot, mainly because of the lack of any reef within five metres of the surface.
The topography of Hin Dot is quite spectacular, and its true beauty can only really be appreciated in crystal-clear water. Visibility varies here between a disappointing <10m. and more than 25m. on a good day. The dive site consists of three chimney-like structures, and is often called Chimney Rock by some. The three pinnacles peak at different depths, allowing divers to enjoy the different ecosystems of marine life at each. Those who are only certified to dive to 18m can still see lots, as the deepest pinnacle’s top is at 16m, with the middle one at 12m and the highest just over 5m deep. It’s a great place to enjoy a dive that is likely to have some interesting fish and invertebrates, and unlikely to be busy with other dive groups. One just has to appreciate that Hin Dot can only be enjoyed safely at certain times of the day or month.