The Similan Islands are located 100km Northwest of Phuket and are best dived by joining a liveaboard out of Phuket. With snow-white beaches set against picturesque granite outcrops above the water and spectacular dive sites in often crystal clear water below, it is not surprising that the Similan Islands are ranked as one of the finest dive destinations in the world.
Declared a National Park in 1982, the Similans are comprised of nine islands, which run roughly North to South, and numerous smaller rock outcroppings. Please note that the islands are a seasonal destination and are only available to dive between October and May each year.
Similan Island itinerary dive sites
Nearly all of the nine islands the make up the Similans are defined on their western sides by huge underwater rock formations, eroded over the millennia by the action of the sea. These stone giants are home to an amazing variety of marine life and provide divers with swim through passages, caves and gorges. The East side of the Similan Islands support thriving reefs with some 500 species of hard and soft corals and an amazing variety of marine life that includes leopard sharks, guitar rays and manta rays.
Koh Bon is an island located 18km northeast of the Similan islands. Surrounded by reefs, the west tip of Koh Bon has established a reputation for its manta rays that may breed off the island. Whale sharks are also occasionally seen off Koh Bon. Diving down the west ridge divers may encounter big schools of trevallies and tunas as well as marble rays and leopard sharks. On the way back to the shallows schools of yellow snappers and oriental sweet lips make Koh Bon one of the best dive sites in Thailand.
Koh Tachai is located north of Koh Bon. The dive site is surrounded by granite boulders, which support big gorgonian fans and barrel sponges. Divers regularly encounter sleeping leopard sharks and rays in the reefs sand base, whilst the top of the reef supports an incredible variety of hard and soft corals.
Richelieu Rock is a submerged pinnacle located 12km east of the Surin islands. Only one metre of the rock appears above sea level at low tides. Below sea level the dive site opens up in to one of the worlds finest dive sites. There are schools of barracudas, big-eye trevallies and batfish clouding the pinnacle. Sergeant majors, long nose emperors, snappers, rainbow runners and cobias provide extra colour to the dive. Big potato cod, marble rays and schools of over two hundred blue spotted stingrays are regularly seen. Rare white spotted shovelnose rays and whale sharks are the highlight for many divers on Richelieu rock. The latter are typically seen from February to April.
Please note that liveaboard itineraries can change without notice. The itinerary will depend on several factors including, but not limited to, weather, diving ability of guests & the number of other boats already present at the various dive sites. All dive sites visited are subject to weather conditions and are at the discretion of your dive guides and vessel captain.
Diving in the Similan, Surin Islands and Richelieu Rock
The Similan Islands lay claim to some of the finest dive sites in Thailand. Thriving reefs with abundant hard and soft corals highlight the dramatic terrain. The islands' east and west coasts provide contrasting styles of diving within a relatively small area. The East coast is marked by fine coral reefs, whilst the west coast offers dramatic drift diving through granite outcrops.
North of the Similan Islands the dive sites of Ko Bon, Ko Tachai and Richelieu Rock enjoy a deserved reputation for their big pelagic sightings. Richelieu Rock in particular attracts both whale sharks and manta rays in good numbers over the diving season.
MV Scuba Adventure Sample Itineraries
Flights are available with the following carriers:
- Thai Airways, via Bangkok
- Singapore Airlines via Singapore
- Malaysian Airlines via Kuala Lumpur
- Qatar Airways via Doha
Flight time: Approximately 16 hours. Stopovers city stays can be arranged in Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur
Departure tax: N/A
Passports & Visas
Passengers travelling to Thailand must have six months valid on their passport from the date of return to the UK.
British citizens do not require a visa for tourism stays of less than 30 days. For longer stays, please check the FCO website. Other nationalities should consult their consular office.
Vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure. For the most up to date advice please consult your travel clinic or GP. Further information regarding vaccinations for travel to this country can be found at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk and from your local healthcare provider. There are no compulsory vaccinations for travel to Thailand, but we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A and polio.
Thai Baht ~ £1 = THB 48 and $1 = THB 30
Euros and USD widely accepted and easily exchanged. Visa and MasterCard accepted in hotels and restaurants. ATMs available at airports and widely throughout Phuket and Krabi.
- Area: 514, 000 sq. km
- Population: 61.47 million
- Language: Thai (English is widely spoken)
- Time: GMT + 7
- Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz.