Similan Islands National Marine Park is located off the coast of Khao Lak and around 100 kilometres North West of Phuket. The Similan Islands, a group of nine granite islands covered in thick tropical jungle, fringed by white beaches and surrounded with crystal clear waters, are widely recognized as the best diving in Thailand and most would agree that the reefs are some of the healthiest in Asia.
The dive sites vary from gentle sloping hard coral reefs to wild current swept rocky landscapes. In general the Western sites are rocky, while the East coast features sloping reefs. This variety is making the Similan Islands increasingly popular, especially Thailand liveaboard diving, and every year divers from all over the world head to Thailand to sample the fantastic diving.
Day Diving Trips to Similan
Khao Lak north of Phuket Island is the Main Hub for Scuba Diving 7 Snorkeling Day Trips to the Similan Islands. Day Trips are available from November to April on a daily Basis. Bist Dive sites in the Similan Islands National park are Koh Bon Islands & Koh Tachai.
Similan Island Liveaboard Trips
Best way to dive the Similans are Thailand Liveaboard Safaris, which are available from mid October to mid of May.
Easy Day Thailand Recommendation – MV Giamani
Diving Sites in Koh Similan Islands
Elephant Head is often rated as one of the most spectacular dive sites in the Similan Islands. Elephant Head is composed of giant granite boulders which form a complex system of swim-through’s, channels and gorges reaching depths of over 40m.
From the surface, one rock resembles an elephant, which gave this dive site its name. Currents can be quite strong here, but if you know the dive site you always find shelter behind the rocks and the dive is not difficult. It is located south of Island No. 8 (Koh Similan).
Another of the Similan Islands best sites with boulders, soft corals, arches and passages spread out over a huge area on the west side of island no. 9. More than one dive is needed to see it all. Depths range from 35m to the surface. A great site to explore and get lost! White tip reef sharks are often seen in deeper sandy areas, sometimes leopard sharks and the odd Napoleon. Beautiful soft coral gardens hide between the rocks and the sand rubble bottom is great for critters like nudibranchs and ribbon eels.
Breakfast Bend is located along the Eastern side of Similan Island No. 9. The fish life here is abundant, especially damsels, banner fish, groupers and hunting trevallies who dart into clouds of bait fish. The reef drops to 25m, making it a great multilevel dive. Your safety stop can continue in the shallows where you should keep an eye out for turtles. The shallow parts of the reef are also a great night dive site.
Boulder City is a submerged site about 1 km off the east coast of island no. 3. Due to its exposed location it is possible to see almost anything on this Similan Islands dive site, including whale sharks and manta rays. If a current is running then it’s always an exceptional dive. As its name already suggests, Boulder City is a large submerged granite outcropping with huge boulders lying scattered around a flat sandy bottom.
There is very little coral growth here except for branching green cup corals on the rock surfaces and golden gorgonian fans in the cracks and gullies. However, the algae growth here is substantial, meaning a prolific amount of grazers, including both nudibranchs and fish. The masses of unicorn fish, butterfly fish and angelfish picking at the algae almost resembles cows grazing on the summer pasture. Nearly always good for some white tips,and/or leopard sharks and often Napoleons.
The northern tip of the Similan Islands archipelago, North Point offers huge boulder formations that cover a wide area. The rocks lie on 35 metres and rise to 10 metres, forming swimthrough’s and gullies between the rocks. Hard and soft corals grow between the boulders, sheltered from the current that can be strong at times.
North Point is the home to jacks, surgeon fish and fusiliers which you find here in great numbers. When the visibility is good, have a look into the blue. You may spot a big shoal of chevron barracuda that patrol North Point. In the shallows closer to the island in 8 to 14 metre depth, you find enormous flat plains of cauliflower leaf corals and finger corals. This area is home for green turtles and black and white banded sea snakes.