Similan Islands

The Similan Islands, located of the West coast of Thailand are home to some amazing beaches, great snorkeling and the most famous dive spots in Thailand. Thus, the Similan diving liveaboard trips we offer are a treat to all levels of divers and marine life enthusiasts. Marine life is the densest and healthiest in the entire kingdom while the islands themselves remain uninhabited – preserved for visitors only. The underwater scenery ranges from the gentle sloping reefs of the eastern facing dive sites to the dramatic and wild boulder sites of the west. Passing pelagics like Manta Rays and Whale Sharks make visits throughout the year and hundreds of species of reef fish can be found each day (on each dive?!). The scenery above the water makes these islands just as deserving of a visit – with some of the most amazing sunsets and sunrises you will ever experience.

Update: Our 2013-14 season was the best Similan Diving season in more than a decade with frequent Whale shark and Manta Ray encounters! We collected a huge amount of data for the Shark Guardians about populations, counts and sightings – and we hope you help us in the upcoming season too! The Similan National Park is closed to all visitors from May 15th to October 15th of each year. Be aware that any tour operator of dive shop offering tours outside of these dates are violating the law, paying bribes to park rangers and do so with no regard for your life – no emergency services are offered during these dates!

Best Time to Visit

Similan Diving - chilling with a turtle http://wickeddiving.com/wd-locations/similan-islands/While the park is open from October 15th through May 15th, the most popular time to visit is in December and Early January and you will need to book your diving trips and accommodation accordingly!

However the least amount of rain, and the smoothest water is in late February through Mid-March. Temperatures start to rise, but the seas are very calm and the evenings are nearly perfect! There is always the chance of a bit of rain, and you will certainly need your sunscreen…but this is certainly the best time to join a Similan Liveaboard

History

At various times in the past – with sea levels fluctuating by as much as 150m with the advance and retreat of the polar ice-caps – these islands have been under water, battered by storms, covered with marine growths, visited by creatures long extinct. More recently the islands were part of the traditional route for Sea Gypsies as they plied the seas from India to Malaysia each year. Only in the 1980’s did the brilliance of the park and the need for protection occur – and they were declared a National Marine Park and have since gained their notoriety.

Weather

Weather is a major factor in the life of these islands located in the Andaman Sea. Afternoon thunderstorms and sprinkles occur almost year-round but during the dry season (November through April) this is a welcome respite from the warm days. The Islands themselves receive only 1/3 the precipitation that the mainland gets. Only at the beginning and end of the season as the weather patterns change do we experience storms that can affect the conditions. The annual monsoons render the park closed from May 15th to October 15th of each year. It is illegal to visit during this time – but it’s also a bad idea!

What to do in Similan Islands

Activities

  • Snorkelling the Similan Islands: face to face with diverse fish and beautiful reefs
  • Similan Islands Diving: thailand’s most famous dive sites and incredible marine life
  • Hiking/Trekking: short trails and beautiful scenery
  • Bird Watching: Nicobar Pigeons, White-tailed Tropicbird, many Sea eagles and Kingfishers.
  • Sun Bathing: Uninhabited islands and white sand beaches – ‘nuf said!!

Where to Stay

Staying on the Similan Islands can be done three ways. You may stay in the Tents or bungalows provided by the Similan National Marine Park, on a diving liveaboard or on an overnight touring boat.

Khao Lak is the closest landfall to the Similan Islands and is a growing and very safe resort town. Accommodation style ranges from budget to some of the most luxurious boutique hotels in the world. Whether staying for a single night or for lots of beach side “recovery” time before and after your visit, Khao Lak is the perfect place to stay.

Getting There

The only way to get to the Similan Islands is by boat. The range of boats is quite wide – from luxury yacht charters to the decks of fishing boats. Call us crazy, but we reckon the best way to visit the islands is aboard a large safe dive boat ;) There are daily dive trips departing from Khao Lak from mid-October through May when the parks close for Monsoon season.

See our Khao Lak page for more details about arrivals and departures.