Similan Islands are located circa 100 km northwest from Phuket. The nine uninhabited islands offer some of the best scenery in Thailand. This is a natural park with wild unspoiled beaches, tropical jungle, turquoise blue water and magnificent coral reefs.
Due to monsoon season, Similan Islands park is closed from 15’th May until 15’th November.
Most tourists visit Similan Islands just for a one day tour or for a scuba diving with liveaboard tour but accommodation is also available on the Island No 4 - a tent camping and Thai style bungalows.
We visited park twice - on a one day tour and during scuba diving trip with liveaboard.
I booked one day tour with Phuket All Tours. Shuttle bus picked us up from the hotel in Patong. The journey to the pier took about 2 hours, followed by 90 minutes speedboat trip to Similan Islands. Be prepared for a long and tiring day but don’t worry, the spectacular scenery will reward you generously. All you need is a comfortable outfit, flip flops, swimwear, sunglasses, hat, sunscreen and a towel. Bottled water is available onboard the speedboat and lunch is served on one of the islands. To be honest, there is not much space on the boat - just enough to accommodate all participants - so make sure you are at the top of the queue and select seats under the canopy.
The first stop was at Island No 4 - the second largest one - with two white beaches on the opposite sides and separated by just a few minutes walk through the jungle. We arrived at a lovely, small beach with swings hanging of trees and after lunch we walked to the other side where we were enchanted by beauty of a white sand beach with crystalline blue water and big boulders submerged in it. If you want to stay on the island overnight you should pre book it first and you will be accommodated on this side of the island.
Our next stop was Island No 8 known for its famous viewpoint called The Sail Rock. Climbing it is not a difficult task but, humidity and sun takes its toll - make sure you have plenty of water with you. Give yourself at least 30-40 minutes, because people going up and down share the same path and traffic is heavy. The view is picturesque and worth every drop of sweat though.
The trip also included swimming and snorkelling around other islands for everybody interested.
The Andaman Sea is a home to some of the best dive sites in the world. The national park of Similan Islands offer beautiful coral reefs and is rich in marine life’s varieties.
The best way to visit the underwater world is to book a diving trip with one of many liveaboard boats. Trips length vary from 2 to 6 days. This is the only place in the world where you don't have to spend the whole week on a boat. It was our first time joining liveaboard so we decided to book only 2 diving days. The overall experience was so positive, we could easily stay longer. The more days you stay on a boat, the further she sails reaching more remote dive sites. We booked our trip with Phuket Dive Tours and we truly recommend the company - internet booking went smoothly and diving trips to Similan and Phi Phi islands were prepared and executed very efficiently. If you never tried liveaboard, it would be a fantastic place for your first time trip and I would recommend you to book 3 days option. Do not expect a luxury yacht - boats are spacious enough and lunch is good though.
During our two days liveaboard tour, we dived 7 times - each time in a different location and night dive included. On the western side of the islands, huge granite boulders create archways, plunging drop-offs, overhangs to swim through, making this place very interesting to dive. There are more than 20 dive sites offering school of colorful, tropical fishes, manta rays, magnificent coral reefs and sporadically, whale sharks - but don’t count on those too much.
For more descriptive overview of Similan Islands check out my two GoPro videos: Holidays in Thailand and Scuba Diving in Thailand. (my previous and next post).