The jewel of the Andaman sea – Similan islands, Thailand are considered one of the top diving destinations in the world. But the truth is that this marvelous place is attractive not only for snorkelers, divers and sailors but for any passionate nature lover who wants to explore the pristine scenery or this archipelago. It is often called a getaway to a fabulous wonder underwater world. The park was established at 1982 consisting of an area of of 140 km².
Location of Similans
This unique complex of small isles is located in Andaman Sea, in southwestern Thailand. The closest ports to reach the islands are on the coastline of Phang Nga province. The most famous place in the region – Phuket island, is not so far – at only 85 km. The of Khao Lak resort is 65 km west. It may take at about 2 hours from Thap Lamu Pier, in Phang Nga province to the Similan islands with a speed boat.
When to Go
There are boat tours and yacht trips to Koh Similan from November to the end of April, during the northeast monsoon. Though the best time is from January to mid-March because at the beginning and at the end of season the sea is rough and the journey is not suitable for children and people with sea sickness. Sometimes the change in the tides may modify the tour itinerary. In comparison, Phang Nga tours are available all year round. But nothing quite compares to a journey to the exceptional underwater scenery and isolated tropical landscapes. There is no boat charters from May to October because of the weather conditions.
What to Do on Similan Islands, Thailand?
The archipelago offers many activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, photo safari as well as exploring animals on the islands and underwater world.
The chain consists of nine islands. Each of them has its specific ecosystem with thousands of species – coral valleys covered with colorful sea whips and sponges, eccentric shaped granite rocks, sea caves, submarine canyons, and lagoons. Coral gardens might be explored at depth of 4-25 m but visibility is 30 m and more.
All nine islets are surrounded by bright blue waters that host marvelous coral gardens and many exotic fish. One of the most thrilling scenes is to admire schools of fish.
Koh Similan (№ 8) is counted among top five diving destinations in Thailand.This place is famous not only for its rich marine life but for its scenery emphasized by huge granite stones. The sea is perfectly clear and visibility is great. Soft and hard coral growths such as brain corals, mushroom corals, etc., can be found around the reefs. This island attracts the tourists with floury, pure, white sandy beaches and funny stone formations like Sailing Boat Rock and Richelieu Rock. Another great diving and snorkeling site is the reef of the Koh Payu (Island 7).
The best known island is the fourth one – Koh Miang. This part of the national park is turned into an adventure playground for photographers, climbers and active people. It offers a great possibility to film the beauty of the Andaman Sea. Before that you have to climb granite rocks covered with tropical vegetation. These formations are dramatically sculpted by wind and waves.
This island offers modest accommodations. Travelers may opt for bungalows or tents on Koh Miang, Similams.
Similan Island Day Trip Prices
Although you can negotiate prices of everything in Thailand, it is hard to find prices of a daily tour to Similans national park bellow 2300 THB ($70). For a child to 12 you have to pay 1600-1800 THB ($48-50). Services include a transportation fee from a hotel in Patong beach, Karon beach, Kata beach or Khao Lack; boat trip; lunch; refreshments and snacks on board; snorkeling equipment.