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The Thrill of Liveaboard Diving in the Similan Islands. 

The Similan Islands, a jewel in the Andaman Sea, are not just any dive destination. They are a world-renowned paradise, home to nine granite islands declared National Park in 1982. These islands offer more than just diving adventures. They offer a chance to explore varied landscapes and vibrant marine life, making them a must-visit for any diving enthusiast.

Liveaboards in the Similan Islands take divers to the most well-known dive areas, featuring massive boulders, caves, reefs, and passages with over 500 species. The east coast boasts exceptional visibility and moderate currents, while the west offers deeper waters with stronger currents.

With diverse dive sites catering to different experience levels, a liveaboard is not just a convenient way to explore the Similan Islands. It’s a privilege, a unique opportunity to fully immerse yourself in this world-class diving destination and be one of the few who experience its wonders up close.

The Landscape of the Similan Islands 

The Similan Islands are a true tropical paradise, both above and below the surface. The mingling of white sandy beaches, crystal clear blue waters, and impressive granite boulders on land is a sight to behold. And the equally stunning underwater landscape, teeming with life, is a testament to the islands’ unique beauty and biodiversity.

Imagine scuba diving into the crystal-clear waters of the Similan Islands and coming face to face with a leopard shark, a guitar ray, or a clown triggerfish. These are just a few of the many marine species that call these waters home. The Similan Islands are a haven for divers, offering encounters with sea turtles, giant bumphead parrotfish, and the elusive ghost pipefish. It’s a world of wonder waiting to be explored.

Diving among the massive boulder formations is a wondrous experience, allowing divers to appreciate their impressive size and the vibrant marine ecosystems they support. The Similan Islands offer a unique blend of stunning topography and rich biodiversity, making them a must-visit destination for any avid diver.

Top Dive Sites in the Similan Islands

  • Anita’s Reef

Anita’s Reef, located off Similan Island No.4, boasts impressive coral formations and an underground boulder landscape that provides a sanctuary for diverse marine life. With easy currents, it offers an ideal first-dive option for most trips. Here, you can expect to see hunting bluefin trevally, yellowfin goatfish, blue damsels, and the very common shrimp gobies.

From the impressive coral formations to the abundant marine life, Anita’s Reef is a true underwater paradise. The easy currents and shallow depths make it a great starting point for divers to explore the wonders of the Similan Islands.

  • West of Eden

Also known as West of Six for its location near the northwest corner of Island No. 6, West of Eden enjoys a healthy hard coral reef and massive granite boulders. Batfish, turtles, and octopuses are ordinary residents of the Reef, while the rocky channels may reveal frogfish, ribbon eels, giant moray eels, and barracudas. 

The diverse marine life makes West of Eden a must-visit dive site in the Similan Islands. The combination of coral reefs, boulder formations, and the potential for pelagic encounters make it a truly memorable diving experience.

  • Elephant Head Rock

Elephant Head Rock is the most beautiful yet unknown place in the Similans and has fantastic swimsuits. Due to strong currents, it is a more challenging dive site. You may see whitetip reef sharks, batfish, trevally, and barracuda, which are often seen on the perimeter of the boulders. 

Despite the challenging currents, Elephant Head Rock is a true highlight of the Similan Islands. The opportunity to explore swim-throughs, encounter more significant marine life and discover fascinating macro species make it a dive site worth mentioning.

  • Donald Duck Bay

Donald Duck Bay, a popular night dive spot on the northwest corner of Island No. 8, is named after a rock resembling the cartoon character. This site is excellent for macro lovers, as the boulders are home to emperor shrimp, red round crabs, decorator crabs, triton shells, cone shells, bull crabs, red octopus, cuttlefish, and green turtles.

With abundant macro life and unique underwater landscapes, Donald Duck Bay offers a truly immersive diving experience in the Similan Islands. The opportunity to explore the boulders and encounter diverse marine species, especially at night, makes this site a must-visit for any diver.

  • Boulder City

Boulder City is a vast submerged granite formation located approximately 1km off the east coast of Similan Island No. 3. It features jumbles of boulders scattered around a flat sandy bottom, creating a unique underwater landscape. As a slightly more advanced dive site, the currents here can sometimes bring in whale sharks and manta rays, offering the chance for incredible encounters.

With its maze-like boulder formations and the potential for spotting these majestic pelagic species, Boulder City is a true highlight of the Similan Islands. Divers should be prepared for the challenging conditions, but the rewards are well worth it in this extraordinary dive site.

  • Shark Fin Reef

Shark Fin Reef is another dive site in the Similans characterized by a series of granite boulders covered in gorgonians and hard corals. This site boasts a great diversity of marine life, including Napoleon wrasse, turtles, boxfish, clown triggerfish, palette surgeonfish, blue-faced angelfish, and bannerfish.

The stunning boulder formations, vibrant coral growth, and abundant marine life make Shark Fin Reef a must-visit destination for divers exploring the Similan Islands. The opportunity to witness such a diverse array of species in one location is truly remarkable.

  • Honeymoon Bay

Honeymoon Bay lies along of Similan Island No. 4, offering a sheltered location that is a popular mooring spot for boats. This site is renowned for its night dives, when reef crabs, shrimp, lobsters, cuttlefish, and nurse sharks emerge from their crevices in search of food.

The Reef is decorated with hard corals at an average depth of 15-20 meters, and divers should watch for shy garden eels on the sandy bottom. Honeymoon Bay’s tranquil setting and abundance of nocturnal marine life make an unforgettable diving experience in the Similan Islands.

  • Christmas Point

True to its name, Christmas Point is one of the most colourful and scenic dive sites in the Similan Islands. Located on the far west side of Island No. 9, this outcropping is home to several giant archways that provide superb topography and form some of the best swim-throughs in the Similans.

The vibrant coral growth and intricate underwater formations at Christmas Point create a breathtaking diving environment. Divers can explore the archways and swim-throughs while marvelling at the diverse marine life that calls this site home, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a truly unforgettable diving experience in the Similan Islands.

Diver Tips For the Similan Islands

Liveaboard trips to the Similan Islands operate from November through May, as the islands are closed during the rest of the year. Late February often sees increased currents, attracting more significant marine life like whale sharks and manta rays.

Visibility during the diving season ranges from 25-40 meters, with water temperatures between 26-29°C. A 3mm neoprene shorty or full wetsuit is recommended, as multiple daily dives can lead to feeling cold.

How to Reach the Similan Islands

When booking a Similan Islands liveaboard, carefully check the individual itinerary and departure port. Cruises may depart from Chalong Pier in Phuket or Thap Lamu Pier in Khao Lak, Phang-Nga Province. Transfers to the port are typically provided from Phuket International Airport or your hotel.

It’s important to note that some liveaboards may depart from one port and return to another, such as departing from Phuket and returning to Khao Lak. This detail should be confirmed in advance to ensure proper planning.

For international travellers, some flights operate directly to Phuket, while others may require a connecting flight from Bangkok. Considering departure ports and transfer logistics is crucial for a seamless liveaboard experience in the Similan Islands.

To Wrap it Up

 

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