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Koh Similan (Koh Similan National Marine Park) , Thailand Scuba Diving Guide
This is Thailand's most talked about diving destination. It is situated
somewhere 92 km northwest of Phuket in the Andaman Sea. The area, consists of
an archipelago of nine islands and some giant boulders, was declared a marine
national park in 1982 together with its surrounding water covering an area of
130 square kilometer.
Every island has a name and a number, except for island five which for some
reasons unknown to us, is only identified by a number. The only permanent
residents on these islands are the duty rangers of Thailand's Royal Forestry
Department and the Royal Thai Navy. The Royal Thai Navy is stationed in Koh
Huyong (island one) as part of the government effort in a turtle rehabilitation
Similan is famous for its large variety of small tropical fish, unspoiled
beaches, magnificient coral growth, prolific fish life, crystal clear water and
magical underwater rock formations. Big fish or pelagic visitors, such as whale
sharks and false killer whales do make occational appearances. Divers craving
for big fish actions can alway do a stop over at the nearby Koh Surin or even
further up north, the Burma Banks. To know more about diving in Koh Surin,
please visit our Koh Surin's diving guide.
To know more about diving in Burma Banks, please visit our
Burma Bank's diving guide.
On each of the nine island in Similan, topography on their east and west coasts
are surprisingly very different. East coastlines are typically sheltered
beaches with gentle current and gentle slope to the seabed. The west coastlines
are typically gaint boulders tumbling down to the seabed with tunnels,
crevices, cavern and arches for swim-through experiences. Visibility in Similan
can easily reach 30 meters on fine sunny day.
Every island in this archipelago offers world class diving, as such, all
serious divers coming to dive in Thailand should visit Koh Similan National
Marine Park at least once.
Dive Sites around Koh Similan
Christmas Point, island #9, Koh Bangru
This dive site is situation on the west coast of island #9. Typically, the dive
begin with a series of large arches at the depth of 20 meters. There are big
soft corals (such as Dendronephthya Soft Tree Coral) and sea fans along these
arches. Schools of blue-fin trevally can be found here. You will also find a
number of cleaning stations for Giant Moray Eels. These eels are being attended
to by squadrons of tiny shrimps. Oriental sweetlips also enjoy similar
treatment from cleanerfish here. The end of this dive has a series of
swim-throughs guarded by large jacks in the passageways.
Breakfast Bend, island #9, Koh Bangru
This dive site is found on the east coast of island #9. The best time to dive
here is during first break where sunlight magically light up the site for your
enchantment. Garden eels are residents here and they will dance in the current
for divers whom view them at a distance. Leopard sharks commonly rest on the
sand and occasional sightings of Napoleon wrasse can be expected.
Fantasy Reef, Island #8, Koh Similan
Situated on the west coast of island #8, this site has a huge underwater rock
formations. Water depth is between 15 to 35 meters. Here, you will find many
impressive gorgonias and huge variety of marine life. Giant Moray Eels posing
for photographer, Ribbon Eel, Coral Groupers, lion fish, sweetlip are only some
of the residents here. The site also has clown triggerfishes which are quite
approachable in these water.
Beacon Reef, Island #8, Koh Similan
This dive site lies on the east of island #8 with report sightings of whale
sharks. There are a large variety of hard corals, such as Lettuce Corals, Brain
Corals and cluster of Staghorn. There are probably more than 300 species with
plenty of nudibranchs as well. Observant divers can sometime spot the rare
firefishes (Nemateleotris magnifica) here. The other interesting residents fish
of this reef are the bigeyes (Priacanthus hamrur). Bigeyes has the ability to
switch their color from deep red to vivid silver and vice versa. This site also
has more encounters with Manta and Eagle Rays than anywhere else in the Marine
Elephant Head, Island #8, Koh Similan
This is one of the most famous dive of in Similan. The site is lies on the west
of island #8 and is made up of three unusual shape rocks jutting out of the
water. Yellow goatfishes and school of snappers always hang around here. Divers
will also find several species of lionfishes and hawksbill or Ridley's turtles
pay occassional visits to this site. There are swim-throughs possibilities at
East of Eden, Island #7, Koh Payu
This site is on the east coast of island #7. Beautiful underwater bommies sit
at depth between 12 to 20 meters. Concentration of marine life is mind
boogling. And resident frog fishes posed for divers that bring along their
trusty underwater camera.
Best Time to Dive in Koh Similan
The best time to visit Koh Similan is during the dry season which starts from
October to May, however diving is possible year round.
Where to Stay in Koh Similan
Before the Tsunami (December 2004) hit the shores of Southern Thailand, the best place to stay for
travellers visiting Similan islands is Khao Lak. Currently, most of Khao Lak hotels and Khao Lak itself are
under-going extensive repair and rebuilding projects. So travellers might want to consider staying in
Phuket, where the damage is much lesser. Divers can stay in Phuket and make liveaboard trips to Similan islands.
Please visit our Phuket's Scuba Diving Guide
for more information in of divings and accomodations in Phuket. Check back with our website to see if Khao Lak hotels
are available soon.
Khao Lak is one of Thailand newest and fastest growing tourist destination. It has the advantage of being very close to
Similan islands. Divers setting off from Khao Lak will be able to reach Similan islands within 3 hours of boat ride.
Thus day trips to Similan island are only possible here.
We have more than 5 hotels offering you rooms with great discount.
For Last Minute Reservation (Lowest Rate Guarantee)
See a complete listing of Khao Lak Hotels and Accommodations
Other Interesting Dive Sites