The Similan Islands is a small and remote archipelago 60km off the west coast of Thailand, not far from the border with Burma (Myanmar). It is by far the best place for scuba diving in Thailand, and many regard it as among the best in the world. This is reinforced by the large number of dive sites that can be enjoyed by all levels of scuba diver, and reached by both day trips and liveaboard diving safari cruises.
The warm and clear sea water is easy to dive in for up to four hours per day and attracts lots of colourful and interesting marine life species of all shapes and sizes. What many come to the Similans for is the opportunity to dive with Whale Sharks and Manta Rays. Although sightings are far from guaranteed, from February to April there is usually a fair chance of spotting them. In fact, the best place to see large pelagic species such as sharks and rays is the two uninhabited islands & one underwater pinnacle just a bit north of The Similan Islands. Koh Bon, Koh Tachai & Richelieu Rock are the country’s three prime dive sites, and teeming with exotic fish, invertebrates and even the occasional marine reptile. The Similan Islands & Koh Bon are part of the Similan Island National Marine Park, and Koh Tachai & Richelieu Rock are in the Surin Islands National Marine Park.
It’s possible for those who have never dived before to try Similan Islands Liveaboard diving, but equally possible for those who are diving professionals or very experienced to enjoy a deep, drift or deco dive while spending time underwater with species not found anywhere else in the world. However, the majority of Similan diving passengers who visit the Similan Islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai & Richelieu Rock are certified scuba divers with some experience at depth and in mild to medium currents. Most of our customers are AOW (Advanced Open Water) or higher, but there are generally more Open Water Divers than Divemasters.
What makes the Similan (& Surin) National Marine Parks so special? The distance from the mainland ensures that there is no pollution in the air or water, everyone feels ‘away from it all,’ but it’s not too far away in case of an emergency or to go there by day trip. The reefs are in excellent condition, and there are enough dive sites to accommodate all the Similan Island Liveraboard boats during the high season. It’s also quite easy on most dives to keep everyone happy. At most Similan & Surin Islands dive sites, it’s possible to drop experienced and professional divers off for a deep and exciting dive then move just a few hundred meters to let the less-experienced divers enter the water at a less-challenging point. 45 minutes to an hour later, everyone is ready to get back on the boat with plenty to talk about and smiles. When taking everything into account, such as value, great diving for everyone, and the logistics & options for getting there and back, there really is very little to beat the Similan Islands (and its neighbouring dive sites) in Thailand.
For Similan liveaboard diving and day trip diving go here www.similandivingtours.com