Named Jewels of the Sea, The Similan Islands (หมู่เกาะสิมิลัน) are notorious as one of the top 10 scuba diving destinations in the world. The distance from Khao Lak to Similan Islands is 65 km off the coast in Phang Nga, Thailand. Similan National Park consists of 11 islands that stretch 20 km North to South in the Andaman Sea, but the most famous one is the 8th island, aka. Koh Similan, hence the name of the archipelago. There are several unique sights to see just on the island alone, white beaches and tropical jungle above the water and spectacular dive sites in warm, clear waters below the surface.
The marine ecology in the Similan Islands is unparalleled, colourful schools of fish, coral reefs, and endangered species that welcome responsible divers like the Whale Sharks or Manta Rays. Look out for such photogenic little critters as ghost pipefish, sea moths, frogfish, ribbon eels and many different nudibranchs. The Similan Islands diving seasons begin from late October to early May. The dive sites vary from gently sloping coral reefs to deep rocky chasms and spectacular landscapes.
Similan islands diving visibility can range from 15 up to 50 meters during the diving season. Photographers take note that the Similan Islands are also a great place for muck / macro diving. Most of the dive sites in the Similan start at the depth of 25-30 meters. Therefore, Open Water divers are encouraged to complete the Advanced Open Water course during or before the liveaboard tour begins.
In general, the East coast dive sites of the Similan Islands are hard coral reef dives, with some soft corals and a huge variety and abundance of marine life. The diving is fairly relaxed, with weak/moderate currents and 20 – 30m visibility the norm.
The West coast sites of the Similan Islands are slightly more challenging due to their depths and unsteady currents. On this side, we can find the most magnificent submarine rock formations in the Andaman Sea, with huge granite boulders, and giant fan corals. This unique mixture of diving styles makes Similan Islands liveaboard and day trips a fascinating voyage of discovery that always ends too soon.
Whatever your scuba diving pleasure might be, the Similan Islands is one of the dive destinations that will satisfy your desires and give you the trip of a lifetime.