Clear blue water at Similan Islands

Similan Islands – A Diving Paradise in Thailand

This post was last updated on February 17th, 2020 at 03:22 pm


The Similan Islands are known to divers around the world. The islands together form the Similan Marine National Park. It lies some 60 kilometers (37.2 miles) off the coast in southwestern Thailand. The islands are just as beautiful underwater as above water. Rainforests and snow-white beaches above the water are interspersed with coral reefs and special underwater fish.

 

There are eleven islands in total. Of those eleven islands, there are only two islands with a ranger station and accommodations; these are island 4 (Koh Miang) and island 8 (Koh Similan). The most important island in terms of accommodation and activities is island 4; Koh Miang.

 

The name Similan comes from the Malay word Sembilan which means “nine”. The special thing is that each island has its own name but everyone names the islands by the number. On island 4, Koh Miang, you will find the most accommodations.

 

TIP – There are a number of beautiful walking trails. There is the Small Beach Track that takes you to a small deserted bay where you can snorkel well. Other nice walks are Viewpoint Trail and Sunset Point.

 

Donald Duck Bay at Koh Similan Island
Not a bad place to sit and enjoy the view! At Donald Duck Bay, Koh Similan.

 

Similan Islands Numbering

From north to south the islands are numbered from 1 to 9 (without the two recently added islands). The Grand Island is Koh Similan, yet you will only find a campsite and one restaurant here. The “nerve center” is Koh Miang, which also has the most beautiful beaches of all the islands. Turtles lay their eggs on the island of Koh Hu Yong.

 

What to Do on the Similan Islands

The Similan Islands are not visited very often yet. The fact that you will also find almost no accommodations here means that there is little to do on the islands themselves. Many travelers choose a day trip to these islands and go back the same day.

 

Yet there is a lot to do. We have listed a few things;

 

1. Go Diving and Snorkeling

The park always consisted of nine islands but recently two islands have been added; Koh Bon and Koh Tachai. The coral at these two islands is still in good condition because it has had time to recover. Because of this, together with Koh Tao, it is one of the best diving and snorkeling locations in Thailand.

 

Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) in clear blue water
You can even spot a green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) at Similan island

 

The Best Diving Locations on the Similan Islands

You can dive in many places in the park. Most places can be found at the 6 islands north of Koh Miang. As a diver, you are not allowed to come to the south of the park. You must also book a diving tour because you are not allowed to dive here on your own.

 

TIP – You can even book a tour in Phuket and Khao Lak (13000 Baht, US$422, 3-day course).

 

What can you see here?

The islands and the national park will feel like a tropical paradise for all travelers. The granite boulders in contrast with the clear blue water and snow-white beaches provide a beautiful picture.

 

Divers can enjoy themselves here with views up to 30 meters underwater. In addition to beautiful coral, you will also find moray eels, reef sharks, manta rays, large lobsters, huge tuna, and turtles.

 

White sand and clear blue water
The sand and the water here is very beautiful and a great way to relax

 

2. Explore the Nature of Koh Similan

Unfortunately, the tourism here also has negative effects on the environment. The islands and the perfect diving and snorkeling locations are a popular day trip from Phuket.

 

This causes damage to the environment and in some places, the coral is severely damaged by the casting of anchors and the dynamite fishing of the locals.

 

Fortunately, the government understands this and fishing is now strictly prohibited. In addition, high demands are placed on tour agencies and the islands close in the monsoon from May to November.

 

TIP – For more information visit the official website of the National park.

 

Nature and blue water in Similan Island
Walking in nature will sometimes give you spectacular views here

 

How to Get to the Similan Islands

There is no local ferry to the islands so you will always have to go with an organization. There are a number of ways to get to the park.

 

  • Diving course – booking a diving course takes you to the park for a few days.
  • A day trip – you can also book day trips from Phuket or Khao Lak for 2,500 to 3,500 Baht (US $81 to $113.50)

 

We recommend booking a trip in Phuket. Most people leave from here, you will be picked up at your accommodation and you do not have to travel to Khao Lak yourself.

 

Best Time to Visit the Similan Islands

The park is open from November to May but the best time to visit the Similan Islands is December to March. The least rain falls in February and March when the sea is also the calmest. That also makes those months the best for diving.

 

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