SIMILAN ISLANDS

posted in: Dive sites, Thailand | 0

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The Similan Islands are a group of nine islands off the west coast of Thailand, at the heart of the Andaman Sea, in the Indian Ocean. They are about a 100 kilometres North from Phuket and 70 kilometres away from Khao Lak.

These islands are in the top-10 scuba diving and snorkelling destinations, famous for their white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and a unique marine fauna and flora.

If you go and discover these islands, you will enjoy breath-taking views, beaches surrounded by palm trees, coconut trees, cliffs and incredible ancient rocks. And do not forget the families of eagles swirling in the air to welcome you!

Visiting the 4th and 8th islands will also allow you to meet unusual animals, such as monkeys, crabs and lizards.

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Know more!

– The name « Similan » comes from the word « 9 » in Malay, which reads « Sembilan », the number of islands that constitute the archipelago.
– Each island has a Thai name, but for practical reasons, they are numbered from 1 to 9, from South to North.
– The Similan cover a surface of 128km² including the island of Koh Bon. The island of Koh Tachai, the last island in the North towards the Surin Islands that covers 12km² and was made part of the Similan Islands in 1998.
– You will not find a living soul on the virgin and wild islands, apart from on the 4th and 8th islands, where the park guardians, also called rangers, live. It is possible to stay on these two islands for one or several nights, but be careful: there is a limited number of places available and booking must be made a month in advance through the Park office.

– The 1st and 3rd islands are dedicated to the preservation and reproduction of turtles! This is why diving and snorkelling are forbidden in their waters.
– The park is open 7 months a year, from mid-October to mid-May, because of the rainy season that takes place between June and September.
– The average outdoor temperature is 27°C throughout the year, and the average water temperature is 28°C.

Diving sites

On the diving sites, we can find a lot of granite rocks of many original shapes, allowing us to explore tunnels, rifts, arches and many other types of passages.

Visibility is mostly excellent, despite odd thermoclines that can reduce the temperature by 2 or 3 degrees for several minutes. Locals call this phenomenon the green monster!

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ANITA’S REEF or Hin Muan Deaw (islands n° 5 and 6 – Kho Ha)

 

Minimum/maximum depth: between 5 and 8 metres on the plateau with a sandy slope down to 30 metres.
Current: low to moderate.
Level: beginners, and ideal for re-adaptation dives!

What there is to see:
– The famous rock covered with violet and rose soft corals and alevins that gave its name to the site: “Hin Muan Deaw”. In Thai, this name means “one single complete layer for this rock”. It is pretty much a treasure! You can often find seagrass ghost-pipefish, diverse species of prawns and lots of sea fans.
– If you go deeper, on the sand, you can meet bluespotted ribbontail rays, Kuhl’s stingrays and even entire carpets of garden eels.
– The plateau is covered with dead corals, ideal to observe the changing colours of octopuses and scorpion fish.
– In any case, always keep an eye open towards the big blue, hunting ground of the bar jacks and the tunas!

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WEST OF EDEN (island n° 7 – Koh Payu)


As per its name, this is one of the favourite sites among the diving instructors in the Similan, because of its heavenly feeling!

Minimum/maximum depth: 8-9 metres at the edge of the reef, with a wide sandy slope going down to 30-35 metres and leading to a flat sandy bottom.
Current
: low/ moderate to strong.
Level: Beginners are welcome. Experienced divers.

What there is to see:
– Fields of hard corals, octopuses, moray eels, bar jacks, clownfish and porcelain crabs.
– Cream and orange sea fans, multicolour soft corals surrounded by entire shoals of yellow-striped snappers and surgeonfish.
– Nudibranchs, frog fish and all kinds of prawns will delight the macro lovers.
– But let’s not forget our friends the turtles, inhabitants of the site who love swimming around the boat and delight the divers and snorkelers! 

 

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ELEPHANT HEAD ROCK ou Koh Hin Pusa (Between islands n° 7 and 8)


Minimum/maximum depth: from the surface down to 40-45 metres.
Current: strong.
Level: experienced. This site is not accessible to beginners.

What there is to see:
– You will be able to see pelagic fishes such as barracudas, silvertip and blacktip reef sharks and tunas. 

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CHRISTMAS POINT (island n° 9 – Koh Bangu)

Minimum/maximum depth: from the surface down to 35-40 metres.
Current: strong.

Level: experienced. This site is not accessible to beginners.

What there is to see:
Christmas Point is a site with a spectacular architecture with its intertwined granite blocks that constitute tunnels and arches.
– White and orange sea fans and multicolour soft corals.
– Pelagic fish, Napoleon fishes, turtles, and often, triggerfish!

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NORTH POINT or Rocky Point (island n° 9 – Koh Bangu)

Minimum/maximum depth: bay between 8 and 12 metres and then a sandy bottom down to 35 metres.
Current: moderate to strong.
Level: intermediate. Beginners are welcome if the current allows it.

What there is to see:
– Silvertip reef sharks, Napoleon fish, turtles.
– Macro: seaweed pipefish, ghost-pipefish, nudibranchs.
– Resident clown triggerfish!

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DEEP SIX (island n° 7 – Koh Payu)

Minimum/maximum depth: tip of the block at 2-3 metres above the surface, but the accessible part is between 8 and 12 metres, down to 30-35 metres.
-Current
: moderate to strong. Opposite currents.
-Level: intermediate.

What there is to see:
– Hunting bar jacks, shoals of tuna.
– Silvertip reef sharks, bluespotted ribbontail rays and Jenkins’ whiprays, Kuhl’s stingray, turtles!

 

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TURTLE ROCK (island n° 8 – Koh Similan)

-Minimum/maximum depth: 7 to 10 metres, down to 30 metres.
-Current:
 low to moderate.
Level: beginners.

What there is to see:
– Marbled groupers, silvertip reef sharks, sometimes residing giant guitarfish and giant morays.
– Many clownfish.
– Macro: ghost pipefish, nudibranchs and seaweed pipefish.

 

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BREAKFAST BEND (island n° 9 – Koh Bangu)

-Minimum/maximum depth: plateau between 8 and 11 metres, then sandy bottom at 18 metres.
Current: moderate to strong.
Level: beginners and intermediates.

What there is to see:
– Exotic fish, butterflyfish, angelfish, triggerfish, parrotfish, fusiliers, groupers, snappers, green turtles, little blacktip sharks.

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Desire to dive ?

Come and join Globe-Divers for 2 beautiful dives at Similan Islands starting from 5100 baths (moreless 115€).

Book your dives from now using the following questionnaire!

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