Similan Islands Dive Sites
Best Similan Islands Dive Sites Quick Links
The Similan Islands are the jewel in Asia’s diving crown!
Consequently it's not surprising that Similan Islands Dive Sites are some of Thailand's and Phuket's best diving.
The Similan Islands Dive Sites are simply awesome: the fish and marine life are something which must be seen to be believed. The clarity of the water, makes you want to jump in splash around like a little child. And with the Temperature being 29-30 degrees Celsius on average, you will find the waters suitable for everyone. You can literally can stay in the water all day.
And if you are diving on a Rebreather then you probably will, or at least for 6 hours of it.
Similan Islands Facts
The Similan Islands is an Archipelago of 9 Islands, found 70 km West of Phang Nga Province. This makes them approximately 100km from Phuket. The name Similan is comes from the Malaysian word for the number 9, which is “Sembilan / Sembelan.”
In 1982 The Similan Islands, and in turn the Similan Islands Dive Sites, were designs the 43rd National Park of Thailand. And covered an area totaling 128 sq. km.
Then in 1998 The National Park added Koh Tachai, thus making it 140 sq. km altogether. Notably only 15 sq. km of the National Park consists of actual land. Consequently, the Similan Islands are generally uninhabited. The exceptions being Similan Islands No. 4 & 8 which have fully staffed National Park Offices.
The individual islands all have names. Though generally we refer to them by their numbers; Island No.1-9, which run from South to North.
The Similan Islands Dive Sites differ on their Eastern and Western Sides
The Eastern side dive sites are generally white sandy ocean floor with many large fields of hard and soft corals. These go down to depths between 25-40m.
The Western side dive sites are large stacked granite boulders creating some amazing topography. This consists of swim-throughs, tunnels, archways and generally stunning seascapes. Additionally, there are also large fields of hard corals. However, the sand is more “rough / rubbly,” rather than fine sand. Also the currents can be more unpredictable on the Western side making the diving a little more challenging. This is especially around Full and New Moon.
What months can you dive The Similan Islands?
The National Park is officially open from November 01st - May 30th. This exact date however can vary by a few days.
The monsoon season is between June and October. During this time of year, the winds change direction which means the West Coast can be subject to wind. There can also be more rain than usual, hence the National Park closes.
We usually say the “Phuket Liveaboard Season” is beginning of October to the end of May.
The good news for divers is that the Phuket Dive Sites do not close at any point during the year. This means you can dive Phuket all year round.
Liveaboard Dive Trips to The Similan Islands Dive Sites
The best way to dive the Similans is by Liveaboard Trip, although the Similan Islands dive sites can be visited on a 1 day dive trip.
Similan & Surin Island Liveaboard Trips normally last 4 days / 4 nights and offer around 10-20 dives. Luckily there are many operators to choose from with budgets to suit everyone.
PLEASE NOTE: Indepth Dive Centre is not affiliated to any Liveaboard Operator and so we have impartial view. As such we believe we can offer you the best unbiased advice for the best Liveaboard for your budget, current certification level and level of experience.
After working for almost 20 years with these Liveaboard Trips we have huge amount of experience about which boats are suitable for which people. And in addition, which dive sites will give you the best possible chances to see that Fish you have always wanted to see. Yes, you know what we are talking about!
Remember: Not all Dive Boats are the same. Talk To us we know the business and we are here to guide you get the best possible Liveaboard experience. We offer a more clinical first-rate service because we want you to enjoy your time and hopefully come back. It is that simple.
Any Questions, queries, comments or ideas send them to us we will get back to you as fast as we can.
Can you take any PADI Course in The Similan Islands?
Yes of course it is possible to do courses on a Similan Islands Liveaboard. As some of the best diving in Thailand it makes perfect sense to combine the two. And in addition, because the Liveaboard Life is nice and slow, a Liveaboard makes a perfect learning environment.
Remember most of the Similan Islands Dive Sites are deeper than 18m. Therefore, if you have not taken it already, The PADI Advanced Open Water Course is a must. This is because one of the dives that you do is The Deep Adventure Dive. Once you have completed this dive, you will be qualified to dive to a maximum depth of 30m. This is perfect for diving The Similan Islands dive sites.
Incidentally if you want to deeper than 30m, then you would need to take your PADI Deep Diver Specialty course. This is a total of 4 dives and trains you down to 40m, the maximum depth of Recreational Scuba Diving.
The 9 Islands which make up the Similan Islands are:
Similan Islands No. 1 – Koh Hu-Yong
Koh Hu-Yong is the 2nd largest Island and is roughly 8 km South of Similan Island No. 4. and as a beautiful white sandy beach on the Northwest side of the Island. Sadly this Island is currently closed to all visitors and divers. This is because it is a turtle breeding / protected area.
Similan Islands No. 2 & 3 – Koh Pa-Yang and Koh Pa Yan
Currently Ko Pa-Yang and Ko Pa Yan are also closed to visitors and divers. The Islands are made up of granite cliffs and boulders and as such there is no beach. At the time of writing Similan Islands No. 1-3 are closed in an effort to protect the underwater environment. However, Southwest of Island No. 3, there 2 two excellent dive sites: Shark Fin Reef and Boulder City.
Similan Islands No. 4 – Koh Miang
On the Eastern side of Islands No. 4 is Honeymoon Bay, which is not only a dive site, but it also has a great beach that people can visit.
There is also a path runs through the Island to another beach on the Western Side, which is called Princess Bay. On this path there is also a trail up to a view point. This is quite a hard walk, in other words it is steep and you will need shoes, but it is perhaps only 15 minutes? But you will be rewarded with some excellent views of the Eastern side of the Similans. This Island is also famous for Nicobar Pigeons and Hairy Legged Mountain Crabs. Furthermore, there is limited accommodation available in the form of basic bungalows and tents.
Similan Islands No. 5 & 6 – Koh Ha and Koh Hok
Koh Ha and Koh Hok are to the East of Similan Islands No. 4. There are no beaches just granite rocks, however the diving is excellent. To the East of the Islands there is Anita’s Reef and on the Southwest corner there is the “Tuna Wreck. Both Islands are small and are uninhabited.
Similan Islands No. 7 – Koh Pa-Yu
Ko Pa-Yu has a combination of granite boulders, cliffs and Sandy beaches. Unfortunately the Eastern side, with the East of Eden, is currently closed to divers and snorkellers. However The Western Side, with West of Eden, and the Northern Tip, Deep 6, offer some excellent diving opportunities and beautiful topography. This island is also uninhabited.
Similan Islands No. 7 & 8 - Hin Pusa / Elephant Head Rock
Hin Pusa / Elephant Head Rock is located between Islands 7 and 8, approximately 1 km South of Island No. 8. These boulders are also known as Elephant Head Rock, as the most Easterly rock is said to resemble an Elephants head. This is arguably the best dive site in the Similan and Surin Islands.
Similan Islands No. 8 – Koh Similan
Ko Similan is the largest Islands in the Similans and is where main National Park office is located. This is also where the National Park fees are paid. On the Northwest corner of the Island is a large bay and sandy beach known as Ao Geurk or Donald Duck Bay. Yes, the rock shaped like Donald Ducks Head', hence the dive site name. You can dive or snorkel here and there is a very good chance to see a Turtle from the dive boat. In addition to the Donald Duck Rock there is also the he famous “Sail Rock” here. And you can also climb up here with great views out over the bay and to the West of the Similan Islands. There is very basic tent accommodation a restaurant.
Thankfully there are no actual resorts anywhere within the Similan Islands.
Similan Islands No. 9 – Koh Ba Ngu
Ko Ba Ngu is the most Northerly Island of the Archipelago and the diving around here is excellent, although it varies widely. The Eastern side consists of sloping sandy reefs, while the Western Side is huge granite boulders. By the way in the South there is a bay which is excellent for snorkeling.
Mantas can often be found around Christmas Point.
What are the Similan Islands National Park Fees?
Being a National Park there are fees to pay when you enter the Similan Islands National Marine Park.
NOTE: The National Park Fees are NOT normally included in the price of your dive trip. And as such the Fees would be collected on the boat. Please refer to our Liveaboards Quick View Page. As here you will find all the Liveaboards that we work with. At the bottom of each Liveaboard Boat page there is a Tab called "What's Included." Each individual Boat's National Park Fees collection policy is clearly written there.
At the time of writing National Park Entrance Fees are as follows:
Similan Islands – Koh Bon – Koh Tachai 400 THB
Richelieu Rock – Surin Islands 600 THB
Additional daily diving fee per day in these areas 200 THB
(Similan Islands/Richelieu Rock/Surin Islands)
Therefore on a 4 day / 4 night trip, (3 days Similans / 1 day Surin & Richelieu Rock), you would expect to pay 1,800 THB total for the trip.