The Similan Islands

The Similan Islands are commonly rated as one of the top 10 dive destinations in the world. The islands are located 100 km (sixty miles) Northwest of Phuket and have been a Marine National Park since 1982. The Similans are comprised of 9 granite islands running North to South with numerous small rock outcroppings, white sand beaches and tropical jungle. Spectacular dive sites in warm, clear waters make this a diving paradise. The Similans provide a huge variety of diving topography and boast the richest variety and abundance of reef fish in Thailand.

Seas are calm and dives are at moderate depths, suitable for all levels of divers. The shallow bays and magnificent coral gardens provide for amazing snorkeling experiences as well.

In general, the east coast dive sites are hard coral reef dives, with some soft corals and a huge variety and abundance of marine life. The diving is fairly relaxed, with weak currents and 30m visibility. These sites feature lush coral gardens with sea anemones and a host of colorful reef fish. Seas are calm and dives are at moderate depths, suitable for all levels of divers and also for snorkellers.

Western dive sites feature enormous granite boulders, descending down to 60 meters with swim throughs and tunnels, making the diving more challenging. Stronger currents provide nutrients for a colorful variety of soft corals and seafans.

During southern Thailand's hot season in February, March and April, the rising sea temperature causes a boom in plankton levels. This in turn attracts whale sharks and manta rays to be drawn to the Similan Islands to feed.

All this has made Similan Islands dive sites like "Elephant Head", "East of Eden" and "Christmas Point" justly famous. A world of giant underwater boulders, caves, canyons, narrow passages, some 500 species of hard and soft corals and an amazing variety of marine life including leopard sharks, guitar rays, whale sharks, manta rays and turtles is waiting to be explored. Photographers take note that the Similan Islands are also well known for such photogenic critters as ghost pipefish, sea moths, frogfish, ribbon eels and nudibranchs. Whatever your pleasure, the Similans will satisfy your desires and give you the diving trip of a lifetime.