Trip Planner

Items Collected: 0

Plans Created: 0

Search Blogs

By Destination Keywords :

Submit Your Blog

A PHP Error was encountered

Severity: Notice

Message: Undefined offset: 3

Filename: community/blog_detail.php

Line Number: 61

Downloadable Maps

Live-aboard diving in Similan

Posted on 29 Feb 12

By WorldTravelJoy

Similan is a group of islands in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Phang Nga Province. The name Similan means “nine” and it is an archipelago consisting of nine islands, covered in tropical jungle, white fine sandy beaches and washed by crystal clear blue ocean.  It is widely known for its one of the top ten dive destinations in the world.   The areas of dive sites have an average depth of 40 metres.  There are a number of rock formations, coral reefs, sea fans and several shapes and forms resembling such things or objects, which result in the names are to be called among divers.  The diving expedition to all islands can only be done through live-aboard boats.  The dive sites are divided into East and West side in accordance with underwater topography varying from sloping coral reefs, sandy patches, and swim-throughs, which make Similan, is as different as chalk and cheese.  Highlights of the eastern part of the islands are the hard coral gardens in the shallows.  The most famous dive site is East of Eden; a large boulder rises from the sea bed and blanketed with soft corals, partially there some cavern for adventure divers.  This site is not suitable for a less experienced diver who needs well-controlled buoyancy.  Across to the western side counting the northwest are one of the more challenging dive sites in Similan on account of strong surge and current such as Deep Six (Island Six), a huge sunken granite boulder blessed with white sandy beach on the eastern side.  It has a wide coral reef of 200 metres with some large coral heads 20 metres in depth.  Another well-known boulder above the water Elephant Head Rock, its name came from the unusual natural form of rock.  This great site creates an awesome experience in swimming through the tunnels and arches.  Adjacent is Hin Pusar (Island Seven), a small group of submerged pinnacles with an extensive of soft corals, good visibility down to 40 metres. The last island, Island Nine or known as Christmas Point but the most scenic location for well-experienced divers only.  A massive boulder formation breaking through the surface features astonishing scenery below range over the multilevel of depth. With the strong current, depth as well as rock shelf, it is a great chance to spot a diversity of marine life, coral reefs, sea fans, and a perfect place for underwater photography.   Similarly, other sites not mentioned above are remarkable.  Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock are located in the northern side recognised for its most abundance marine life, renowned dive sites to spot gigantic regular visitors like Manta Ray and Whale Shark.  Contrariwise, Island One has the longest and stunning white sandy beach but it is prohibited to enter, as the beach is a place where turtles lay their eggs.  Fishing is a further illegal activity that has been closely watched by rangers in Similan National Park.  Not every island has a beach zone, however, diving remains the main activity.  Island Two and Three are cliff boulders covered with coral reefs particularly Island Three is a great wall dive site that has a large quantity of vivid colour of sea fans and school of barracuda.   Among the nine islands, Island Four is the only island that has hospitality services.  It is the second largest island in Similan and is where national park office and tourist information centre located.  The island has two connected long white fine sandy beaches; significantly appropriate for several activities whether dipping yourself in the clear blue sea water, snorkeling to catch a glimpse of underwater creatures around the reefs or trekking on a trail in the woods, all can be done.  Freely spend days and nights on the island with fully managed services of accommodation, restaurant, and activities by the national park.  In contrast to Island Four, Island Five is a tiny rock that is known not only for its checkout dive location but also a home of Garden Eel.  When it comes to Koh Similan (Island Eight) the largest boulder of all, it has an area of 5 square kilometres with the highest peak of 244 metres above the sea level.  The northern side of the island is a curved bay or the local calls it Horseshoe Bay, rich in coral reefs and plenty of small fish, the best place to admire the beauty and enjoy sun, sea and sand on Similan Island.   The incredible contrast in Similan between colourful coral reefs and underwater species habitually put the smiles on divers’ face, a memorable colour distinction.  For underwater photographers and lovers of marine life, even though Similan is not a “big fish” paradise, but the common living animals discovered here are the usual suspects Lion Fish, Ghost Pipe Fish by luck found in a pair, Eagle Ray often swung by on a sandy patch, a single Giant Barracuda appeared in a split of time, all time favourite Nudibranch with some occasion of mating, a hunting Octopus, White Tip Shark hiding in the cave, a beautiful Seahorse sheltered under seagrass beds, and Leopard Shark taking a nap on the sea floor.    Undersea adventure is every diver’s expectation to find sea animals but it is not always as it seems, typically caused by various factors of undercurrent, cross-current, and riptide.  Nevertheless, the reflection of sunlight set on a horizon complements a rough day below the surface - on a clear day before the darkness hours, the changes of skyline colour as a sun goes down, no major obstacles, zero pollution, feel the sea breeze in your face with relaxing sound of ocean waves in the background… a picturesque scene while on board is like a postcard from heaven!   Diving is one of the greatest experiences to all mankind, no matter how many times one has been there done that repeatedly at the same destination, the occurrence is realistically different owing to the natural causes of climate change and undeniably effect from us.  As a token of an appreciation, a start to help save our little planet is from you!   Climate: March and April are the hottest period with the average temperature range from 30 to 36°C. How to get there:  The easiest access to Similan National Park is from Kao Lak.  There are boats depart daily during the visit season between the month of November to May.  Numerous dive operators operate diving schedule on live-aboard boats departing from Kao Lak, Koh Lanta, Phuket and Ranong which lasts a couple of days out in the ocean.   What you should know:   ·      Similan is great for: Small animals, underwater photography, snorkeling, and value-for-money dive packages ·      Water Temperature: 26 - 29°C ·      Experience Level: Intermediate - advanced ·      Not so Great for: Non-diving activities ·      Visibility: 20 - 40m ·      Currents: Moderate to strong occasionally ·      Travel season: Between November 15 to May 15 yearly. The national park is closed to the public through the off-season from June to October as a result of practical southwest monsoon.  However, the tourist high season is from November to April.  Whether visiting Similan for diving or not, the weather is at its best between February to April and this is when Similan Islands are less crowded.        

View Full Blog