Baby sharks and their parents, slow turtles, scary sea snakes, huge moray eels, beautiful angel fish, infamous clown fish, strange nudibranches, colorful corals and the occasional whale shark and manta ray. It’s world class snorkeling and diving. It’s the Similan Islands.
North of Phuket is Thailand’s finest diving and snorkeling place, the Similan Islands. Located in the Andaman sea quite far from the coast, the water is crystal clear, reefs are colorful, and both snorkeling and diving here is outstanding with high visibility and more than 800 fish species. The Similan Islands consist of 9 islands that are all protected. This means that there are only found accommodation in 2 of the islands which make them even more tropical, exotic and amazing.
Koh Bon and Koh Tachai are two more islands even further north, as well as Richelieu Rock which is not an island but probably the most interesting place to dive and search for small macro life.
The islands and the marine national park are only open part of the year. Every year during monsoon season (May – October), they close down due to high amounts of rain, harsh winds and storms and big waves. As well as it is dangerous to visit the marine national park during this time, it’s also a time for the reef to rebuilt and have peace and quiet from the many divers to grow and get bigger and better with more fishes.
As the islands are far from the mainland, the best way to truly experience the diving here is to go on a liveaboard. On a liveaboard you stay on a boat for a few days and all you do is dive, eat, sleep, repeat. Every day. For 3-4 days – or more if you want to get even more below the surface to blow bubbles. If you are not a diver, you can do a snorkeling trip for a few days. The nights are usually spend camping on the islands which is quite an unique experience.
A sum up; Similan has the best and most interesting life below the surface. And you will not regret it if you spend some days exploring the underwater and the beautiful islands, and the nights enjoying the sunsets and talking to new friends about the many experiences during the day. And then it’s just a bonus if you are lucky enough to get eye to eye with a huge whale shark!