The Similan Islands is a group of 11 islands in the Andaman Sea about 120 km northwest of Phuket, and to the west of Phang Nga Province. A national park renowned internationally for the pristine crystal clear waters that surround the islands and the pure white sandy beaches and weird rocky boulders that lay here, the Similan Islands are exceptional. The islands are rated as one of the top diving spots in the world.
Officially, access is only permitted during the peak season – the weather isn’t suitable at other times of the year, and the islands are carefully protected. From Phuket the trip can take up to three hours. The best way to see the islands is via a ‘liveaboard’ boat, as part of a diving or snorkelling trip.
Ko Similan is the largest island in the chain. Rock formations abound underwater, plus an abundance of untouched coral reefs and sea creatures. There is a number of diverse species on the island, such as the Nicobar pigeon, mangrove monitor lizards, flying fox and a lot more.
Ko Huyong has the longest beach in the Similans, but the park prohibits any tourists from landing on the island as the beach is a place where turtles regularly come to lay their eggs.
Similan National Park is particularly well known for its dive sites. Diving on the eastern side, divers will see gently-sloping coral reefs with sandy patches and small rocks between. The western side of the islands is known for its massive granite boulders underwater, with fascinating places to swim- through.
Possibly the best-known east side dive site is East of Eden, off Koh Hin Pousar. Elephant Head Rock is perhaps the most famous west side dive site with a maze of swim-throughs and an infamous reputation for twisting currents running in every direction.
Other popular dive sites include North Point, Deep Six, Boulder City and the awesome pinnacles off Ko Bon and Ko Tachai. The most significant dive site in the Similans is Richelieu Rock, known for the variety and abundance of marine life there, plus regular whale shark sightings.