The Similan Islands are located in the Andaman Sea on the West Coast of Southern Thailand, they are rated as one of the top 10 best dive sites in the world and it’s the perfect travel destination for most of the diver around the globe. However, these islands are only open for the public from November to April due to conservation.
The Similan Islands means Nine Islands in Yawi, which is the native tongue of the area. In 2014 the National Park expanded its area by adding two islands Koh Bon and Koh Tachai under its protection, covering over 140 square kilometres and eleven islands in total.
On the eastern side of the Similan Islands, the steel slopes down to the sea floor is covered with numerous hard corals, and is home of different school of fish including barracuda and snapper, whereas the western side features colourful soft corals and magnificent topography. The Andaman Sea also creates the perfect water conditions for extremely high underwater visibility and has an average temperature of 25°C, attracting divers from around the world.
Transportation and Accommodations
There are few ways to reach Similan Islands, but all the routes require plane, car and boat, really not so easy to assess, but these are helping the wildlife protection and preservation.
Travel Map of the Similan Islands
There are day trips offering from Phuket and it is also possible to stay on three of the eleven Similan Islands in a bungalow and campsite. The island facilities are basic but clean which Koh Meang has 35 bungalows, Koh Similan and Koh Tachai provide tents to live on a campsite. Therefore, liveaboard becomes the most popular way divers choose from.
Explore the underwater wonder
There are 13 of us joined the 3 days liveaboard package offered by dive centre ‘Khao Lak Scuba Adventures’ and chartered their boat with the least carrying capacity, Manta Queen 6. After filling in all the forms and renting the gears upon arrival, we travelled to Thap Lamu Pier with 4 dive masters and got on board. Manta Queen 6 has 7 guest rooms and provides buffet with various choice for 3 meals per day.
Our journey began in Koh Bon where we sailed along the west side of Similan Islands towards the north, and passed through the famous Richelieu Rock, by sailing along the east side of Similan Islands towards the south to ended at Khao Lak. We had a total 11 dives including the night dives in 3 days.
Our first dive spot was Koh Bon West Ridge which features yellow soft corals and massive sea fans, we were even surprised by a group of huge Manta Rays there. The Similan Islands did not disappointed us, the topographic of Koh Bon North Ridge (Hin Luang) was impressive, Koh Tachai (The Dome) with granite boulders was worth to explore, there are lots of macro life such us Mudskipper, Seadragon and Cowfish hiding in the seabed of Koh Torinla, Phra Thong Wreck and Boonsung Wreck are home of the Lionfish – one of the poisonous creatures in the world, and the new artificial spot – T13 Trucks. Last but not least, the Richelieu Rock was the highlight of this trip, it is a large underwater granite pinnacle that rises steeply from a depth of around 40 meters, is one of the best Similan Islands diving spots to see the majestic whale sharks and also some rare purple soft corals, camel shrimps, a variety of nudibranchs. The Similan Islands offered us an unforgettable and fantastic diving experience, we hope that we could come back for another dive trip very soon.