Similan Islands Travel Guide

Photo of Similan Islands

Similan Islands Overview

Lying c100km northwest off the coast of Phuket and c50km from Khao Lak, the Similan Islands (Mu Ko Similan National Park) are a group of 9 small and, so far, entirely undeveloped islands famed for their world class scuba diving and snorkeling sites. Blessed with long sandy beaches, the inviting turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea and stunning unharmed coral reefs, they provide the perfect setting for exploring the vast marine life and enjoying countless lazy summer nights.

 
Whilst the prime activity is discovering the underwater delights, the islands, of which all are named, however are more commonly referred to by numbers 1 to 9, are home to a vast array of fauna and flora, with the union of coral reef and evergreen forests allowing for wildlife to range from whale sharks to rare birdlife to a large group of reptiles and amphibians. Consequently, days can be spent wandering the islands and uncovering something new upon every turn of corner.
 
Being a group of islands, the only way in and out is by boat and tours depart frequently from Phuket, Krabi, and Khao Lak. The boat trip in usually takes around 3 - 4 hours, therefore, as a day trip may be a little rushed, overnight stays are the best way to get the most out of the islands. The best time to visit the Similan Islands is March, although anytime between December and April will provide a magical experience. Important to remember that, because of the monsoon season, the park closes between May 15th and early November.

Things to do in Similan Islands

Scuba Diving the Similan Islands

Considered to be in the worlds top 10 diving sites, the Similan Islands are arguably the best spot in Thailand, possessing a range of contrasting reefs, of which all are home to a fascinating collection of ocean life and coral. Whats more, with 20-30 metres of visibility and mild currents, it is a place suited to all levels of diving.
 
Diving tours are in abundance from Phuket, Khao Lak, Koh Lanta and Krabi, including the following:
Scuba Cat Diving offering day trips, over nighters and up to 4-days on board, departing from Patong Beach, Phuket.
Wicked Diving offer overnight and liveaboard tours for either purely scuba or purely snorkelling from Khao Lak.
Krabi Divers in Aonang offer tours to suit all ages and abilities.
 
Snorkeling in the Similan Islands
With stunning beaches, warm water and a plethora of pristine colorful coral, the islands are the perfect place to enjoy hours of leisurely snorkeling, encountering turtles, rays and even whale sharks. Either take to the waters from beachside or take the plunge from an overnight tour.
 
Hiking/Trekking in the Similan Islands
Although far from being expansive and mountainous, the islands, being rich in fauna and flora, are still a great place to explore on two feet, with islands 4 (Koh Maeng) and 8 (Koh Similan) having a number of short nature trails and viewpoints, from where lucky walkers may catch a glimpse of the Nicobar pigeon or a hairy legged mountain crab.

Hotels in Similan Islands

Without any hotels or resorts on the islands, accommodation is limited, although there are 20 or so bungalows and a number permanent tents available, all operated by the National Park.

 
Bungalows on Island 4 overlook Princess Bay and go for about 2000 baht per night, whilst tents fetch 570 baht per night. There is also an area on Island 8 where visitors can pitch there own tents for a small price.
 
For all reservations and information about bringing your tent, contact Mu Ko Similan National Park on (66) 2562 0760.
 
The other option for visitors is to stay aboard any of the overnight boats or diving liveaboards that depart for excursions from Khao Lak and Phuket.

Similan Islands Weather

Similan Islands Travel Resources

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This page was last modified on 18 Mar 2011 by Matt