Dive the Similan Islands national park located in the Andaman Sea.The islands are also part of Phang Nga Province of southern Thailand.
These Islands are home to a rich array of marine species and unforgettable dive sites, making them a perfect destination for those who love to explore the underwater world and see something new every time.
In fact, the Similan Islands National Park is not only one of the most popular diving sites in all of Thailand, it was also named one of the top 10 diving destinations in the world by National Geographic Society.
The Similan Islands are composed of nine individual islands, which are:
- Ko Bayu
- Ko Bon
- Ko Similan
- Ko Miang
- Ko Payu
- Ko Payang
- Ko Payan
- and Ko Huyong.
Collectively, these islands provide some of the most famous dive sites on the planet.
Why Divers Love to Explore the Similan Islands
Divers love exploring the Similan Islands because there are so many different dive sites to choose from, including those that provide beginners with a gentle dive among delicate and beautiful reef systems. And there are also plenty of sites that are exhilarating for experienced divers, thanks to their varied landscapes.
There is also a huge variety of fish species living in the waters surrounding the Similan Islands, so for the nature lover and the underwater photographer, it doesn’t get much better than this.
If you are an advanced diver, you may want to explore the sites throughout the western coast of the Similan Islands. These have variable currents and can be more difficult because of their deeper depths.
Divers of all levels can enjoy exploring the Similan dive sites on a Liveaboard, or they can instead opt for day trips or short overnight trips. No matter what you choose, though, one thing is for certain: you will never forget the experience.
When to Dive in the Similan Islands
The Similan Islands are no year round dive destination. Due to rough and potentially dangerous weather conditions the Similan National park is closed from mid May to the end of October. Please be warned and be aware of dive operators who offer you to take you to the Similans outside the season.
Many diver say that the best time to dive here is between December and January. Between February and March the water and air temperature will rise and brings perfect calm seas. Daytrips and Liveaboard trips generally leave from Khao Lak
Marine Life in the Similan Islands
The Similan Islands are popular among divers from around the world because of the large variety of fish and corals that reside there. You will have the opportunity to see a variety of other marine species, including Manta Rays, Whale Sharks, turtles, sharks, rays, and of course little critters like seahorses, nudibranchs and harlequin shrimp. All of this is in addition to hard and soft corals, of course.
Best Dive Sites in the Similan Islands
Beacon Reef – This is the site of a large reef that borders the entire eastern side of Koh Similan. You will begin at a depth of about 5 meters and then follow it down to a sandy bottom at 40 meters deep. Take in all of the hard corals, and then make your way to the wreck called “Rareung-Chon” or “Atlantis X,” which sank in 2002. You will find the wreck in the middle of the reef system.
Richelieu Rock – This world-famous dive site is one of the best in all of Thailand and is great for all levels of divers who want to experience this giant underwater rock formation that is teeming with sea life from tiny seahorses to giant whale sharks.
Elephant Head – This is, by far, one of the very best dive sites in the Similan Islands. Massive granite boulders provide the diver with ample swimthroughs. Channels and gorges can also be found at depths of 40 meters or more, and the currents can become strong, making it a great site for advanced divers looking for something different.
Boulder City – This popular dive site is found off the southeast coast of Koh Payan. You can explore the many boulders and pinnacles, covered in a variety of beautiful soft corals and sea fans. In terms of marine life, it is quite diverse here as well, with the occasional sharks stopping by, as well as manta rays, a variety of shrimp, small and large fish, and turtles.
Anita’s Reef – Also known as Barracuda Point, this site features huge boulders that serve as fun swim throughs, and you can also find a wreck called the Tuna Wreck on the sandy bottom.
Boonsung Wreck – The Boonsung sank two decades ago, and it is now one of the most popular wreck dives in the Similan Islands. The wreck is between 18 and 20 meters deep, and it is mostly covered in sponges and barnacles, with just a few corals here and there. You will also see schools of a variety of fish species, from bigeye trevally to porcupine fish and squid. And you might get lucky and see the leopard sharks that frequent this site as well.
Would you like to dive the Similan Islands? Feel free to contact us. We have multiple partners that offer dive packages and scuba lessons.
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Blog written by: Rutger Thole who used to be a scuba scuba instructor but he got stuck in a suit a couple of years ago. Now he is on his way back, as a the founder of bookyourdive he travels and dives as much as he can.