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Diving in The Similan Islands

The Similan’s are undoubtedly famous in diving circles. They offer the best of Thailand’s diving all neatly parcelled up around their nine islands. Best enjoyed by liveaboard, you can dive in magnificent, clear waters and spot manta rays and whale sharks.

Diving in The Similan Islands

Quick facts

The best way to dive in The Similan Islands is from a liveaboard boat. The majority of trips leave from Khao Lak, but there are departures from Ranong and Phuket too. The recommended length is a four-day four-night trip, but there are shorter options available. If time is your enemy then from Khao Lak 1 day, two days and three days trips are available.

The diving is rich and plentiful with larger pelagics being regularly seen between February and April. Current does exist and while novice divers are welcome most operators would like to see an advanced certification or require that you book to take the course aboard. Sites vary from towering boulder city-like-scapes to soft coral reefs pulsating with life. The visibility is usually excellent and the abundance and variety of marine life hard to overstate.

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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USD 601Per trip
USD 526Per trip
USD 557Per trip

What to see

The big ticket draw here is the chance to see manta rays and whale sharks which is most likely to occur between February and April. Don’t let that stop you coming at other times, though. There are plenty of colourful reef fish to dazzle you along with giant barracuda, jackfish, batfish, snapper, fusiliers and so much more. Camouflage critters include scorpionfish, stonefish and octopus. Cuttlefish scoot around and put on a colour display. Lionfish menacingly float around, and a range of morays seem to threaten from their holes. Pipefish, seahorse, shrimp, nudibranch and other quirky macro delights wait to please.

Calendar

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Most likely sightingsPossible sightings

Area

Mostly referred to as the Similan Islands, Mu Koh Similan National Park is a group of nine islands in the Andaman Sea off the west coast of Thailand. They lie 31miles (50km) west of Khao Lak.

These islands are famous for diving and names like Koh Bon and Koh Tachai bring images of manta rays to the minds of divers. Turtles come to the islands shores to lay their eggs and, as such, many islands are off limits to visitors. There is supposed to be no fishing in this region, and visitors must pay park fees to enter. The monsoon conditions shut the park from mid-May to late October.

While the best way to explore the delights of the Similan Islands is by boat trip, if you want to stay it’s possible to book space in the national parks tents or bungalows. If you visit on a boat trip, these will take you ashore on the pristine islands that you are allowed to explore. Expect white powdery sand and a castaway feeling.

Other attractions

If fish aren’t your thing then maybe birds are; the islands offer some great bird spotting.

Getting there

The closest place to the Similan Islands is Khao Lak. Trips do leave from Phuket and Ranong too.

UTC+07:00

Time zone

THB

Currency

+66

Calling code

220-240 V

Electric volt

A, 

B, 

C

Plug type

HKT

Main airport
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