One of the best diving spots in the world is the Similan Islands Marine National Park, located in the Andaman Sea, 70 km west of the Thai province of Phang-Nga. An unforgettable experience is guaranteed for both divers and those who join them. Here are amazing landscapes and full of all kinds of amusing animals. Children are just delighted!
The name Similana comes from the Malaysian word for nine – sembilan. It means the nine islands that form the archipelago. Each of them has a local name, but usually they are designated by numbers, counting from south to north, in this order:
- Koh Mu-Yong;
- Koh Pa-Yang;
- Koh Pa-Yan;
- Ko Miang;
- Koh Payu;
- Koh Hok;
- Koh Pabu;
- Koh Similan;
- Ko Ba-Ngu.
Archipelago coordinates: 8 ° 28 ‘to 8 ° 50’ north latitude and 97 ° 37 ‘to 97 ° 49’ east longitude.
The total area of the National Park is 140 sq. km, of which only 15 sq. km fall on land. On islands 4 and 8 there are representative offices of the park administration.
National Park Rules
Similan National Park has a fee for entry and daily diving in its territory. For Thai citizens, the payment is 100 baht per adult and 50 baht per child, for foreigners – 500 baht per adult and 250 baht per child. For diving, the daily fee is 200 baht per diver, regardless of nationality and age.
The general rules of conduct in the National Park are extremely simple:
- do not litter;
- keep quiet;
- not to hunt, not to destroy plants and animals in any other way, and not to do anything that can harm the flora and fauna;
- to be aware of the importance of the surrounding nature, the need to preserve it for oneself and other people.
Divers are prohibited:
- to touch anything underwater;
- away from islands or rocks to rise to the surface without a signal;
- to ascend to the surface near any watercraft, except for your own safari ship.
- nothing supernatural: just remember that you are in a protected area, where the safety of every living creature is important, including yourself.
The tourist season lasts from November to April. During this period, the air temperature is from +32 to +35 ° С, the average water temperature is +28 ° С, humidity is 83%. From May to October, the islands are ruled by the southwest monsoon. At this time, you cannot swim or dive because of the strong waves.
Diving and snorkeling
Coral reefs in the Similan Islands are abundant and diverse. Their growth is facilitated by clean water, comfortable temperatures and a large amount of plankton. Scuba diving and even just snorkeling can see barracuda, black reef and leopard sharks, parrot fish, lionfish, giant jellyfish and rays.
In the eastern part of the archipelago, you will find snow-white sand and a wide variety of corals descending to a depth of 35-40 m.
The western part is famous for large granite boulders, randomly lying on top of each other. They form an impressive underwater landscape with tunnels and arches. Due to the unpredictability of the current, only certified divers can dive there.
Things to do ashore
The islands have viewing platforms, the ascent to them is easy, and the views are magnificent. The rocks to the west are a favorite spot for tourist photo shoots. But the main thing, of course, is live communication with nature! This is who you can make friends with on Similan:
- Sea turtles. Here they lay their eggs, so you can see tiny turtles that have just hatched. On one of the islands, huge underwater turtles Bissu breed – adults reach up to 100 kg of weight.
- Chicken crabs. Appear after sunset and cluck full after eating.
- Hermit crabs. Sometimes, instead of shells, they drag bottle caps on themselves.
- Flying foxes, as well as island wild rats, Bengal monitor lizards, pythons (if you’re lucky), huge toads the size of a shoebox, spiders, lizards, snakes and all sorts of millipedes. All this beast is not poisonous!
- Many beautiful birds. Looking out for them in the thickets or watching them in the sky is a separate pleasure!
Any animals on the islands should not be grabbed or fed, in the interest of your overall safety.
Accommodation in Similan
Currently, residence on the islands themselves is not allowed, so there are two options:
- to come for one day;
- to stay overnight in a floating hotel or on a safari ship. Places must be booked in advance, in high season demand is very high.
How to get to the Similan Islands
Those who are not looking for easy routes take a bus or taxi from Bangkok or Phuket to Thap Lamu pier, from which ferries leave for Similan. The ferry takes about 4 hours.
But the easiest way is to contact us: we will help you draw up an interesting program for one or several days, we will arrange a transfer for you from any hotel in Phuket and back. Keep in mind that the speedboat ride to the archipelago is at least twice as fast as the ferry. Just contact us in one of the messengers, and we will definitely agree!