The Best Similan Islands Dive sites are only accessible on Similan Liveaboards as they are some distance from the main land, normally to far for speedboats to travel, the ” The better Diving sites are at Surin Islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai, Richelieu Rock, here’s some information of the top sites for Scuba diving in the Similans and Surin Islands”.
SIMILAN ISLANDS DIVE SITE INFORMATION
The Similan Islands National Marine Park of Thailand has 9 uninhabited tropical islands in the Andaman Sea offer Divers over 20 first class scuba diving sites in one of the worlds top diving areas. Located 65km off the coast of Phang Nga province, you will find the most diverse diving in Thailand. Famous for their white sand beaches, fringed by extensive coral reefs in crystal clear blue water with a rich variety of fish life, the Similan Islands are covered by tropical rainforest with large granite boulders creating unusual rock formations. Underwater, the granite boulders continue, now covered with hard and soft corals, offering numerous swim-through, gullies and canyons.
SIMILAN ISLANDS – ANITA’S REEF
Is a paradise for the keen photographer. The Reef is spread across 2 Islands, it starts from the southeast Island of number 6, and it runs down south to Island number 5. This dive site is mainly reef slopes starting at 5 metres, descending to roughly 28 metres. All level of divers are welcome on this dive site from beginner to pro. In the shallows, the reef compromises of beautiful coloured reef gardens with huge pore corals, staghorn corals and small pinnacles scattered over white powdery sand, producing an amazing abundance of marine life that frequent these pinnacles, such as Yellow Boxfish, Long nosed Hawkfish and lots of soft corals attached to the pinnacles all different varieties and many different colours.
SIMILAN ISLANDS – BEACON POINT
Lies on the south tip of island # 8 and is one of the deeper sites running down to over 40 meters. This is a great place to look for stingrays, including the common blue spots and mask rays to the larger spotted fantails and Jenkins rays. With large boulders and the occasional White tip reef sharks swimming round the boulders, try to look and see if you can spot the blue ribbon eels poking their heads out from their sandy holes.
SIMILAN ISLANDS – BOULDER CITY
Located at the southeast coast of Island No.3, this dive site has a huge array of gigantic boulders scattered all around white sands. The top of the boulders are submerged to a depth of 12/18 metres, the bottom of the boulders go down to depths of 30/40 metres. Most of the boulders are covered in soft corals such as Tube corals of all different colours, huge giant gorgonian sea-fan corals swaying in the currents and hard corals like staghorn scattered around the rocks.
If you look into the crevices and holes you will hopefully spot macro life like Dancing Durban Shrimps, Pipefish, Red Fire Gobies and many different style of nudi-branch, you can also see Napoleon Wrasse, Humphead Parrotfish and many different marine life that the Similans has to offer, again if you look into the blue sometimes you will encounter Pelagics such as Manta Ray’s, Eagle Rays and The Great Barracuda.
Due to the depths and currents on this truly amazing dive site, only experienced divers should dive this site, when diving this site, divers should stick close to the rocks to avoid swimming against strong currents in mid-water, lastly Boulder City is perfect for the first deep dive of the day.
SIMILAN ISLANDS – CHRISTMAS POINT
located northwest of island number 9, (Koh Ba Ngu). It is advised only experienced certified divers dive this site due to depths ranging from 10 metres down to 40 metres and its strong prevaililing currents. The topography of the site, consisting of giant granite boulders, wall diving and lots of amazing swim-throughs.
The boulders spread all around the site, so depending on the currents you can start your dive at different places around the site. The marine life you are likely to encounter, are, Black Tip Reef Sharks, White Tip Reef Sharks and Leopard sharks all swimming at depth around the boulders, the Leopard sharks normally lie on the sea bed, be care ful not to swim over them as you will scare them and they will hastily swim away.
Hopefully you may find the hugely impressive, elusive Napoleon Wrasse swimming around the boulder rocks, also look out into the blue, here you will witness schools of Blue Fin Trevally patrolling around the boulders hunting for schools of Glassfish, Great Barracudas as well, swimming in the blue fantastic sight to see. As you go shallower you will witness beautiful corals like Giant Gorgonian Sea Fans, spanning sometimes 2 metres in width, down to tiny Christmas Tree Worms all different colours, all attached to boulders swaying in the current.
Most Reef fish are at this dive site that the Similans has to offer ranging from Groupers, Gobies, and Kuhl´s Stingray. As this dive site is deep please stay close to the rocks and check your NDL frequently.
SIMILAN ISLANDS – DEEP SIX
Lying on the northern tip of island 7 (Koh Pa Yu, ) here the dramatic underwater clusters of granite boulders (many are sat on top and around the centre at different levels) makie some excellent swim throughs, tunnels and canyons that make this an exciting dive. Depths start at 5 metres then drops down to 40 metres in some parts of the site. With the occasional manta ray gliding passed in the blue will make for an enjoyable dive.
The marine life you will encounter, range, from schools of Bannerfish, Humphead Parrotfish, and Oriental Sweetlips, you will also see many soft corals attached to the boulders as you swim by, very colourful and many different varieties. There are also lots of macro life that are hidden around the site, Dancing Durban Shrimps, Red Fire Gobies and the famous Clown Anglerfish hidden in the pinnacles, also in the dense lush coral you will find various small marine critters like nudi-branch of all different colours and varieties.
Currents on Deep Six site can be quite challenging due to the location, so only experienced certified divers are advised to dive on this site. At the end of the dive whilst doing your safety stop, look out into the blue and you may be lucky and encounter the elegant Manta Ray.
SIMILAN ISLANDS – DONALD DUCK BAY
Located on the north western side of Island no.8, also known as (Ao Guerk). named due to a large rock in the shape of a duck’s head. Island no.8 is also home to the national park offices. The Bay has sporadic rocks and small pinnacles scattered over white sands, each of these rocks and an abundance of reef fish, ranging from Parrotfish, many types of Groupers, Giant Moray eels, Lionfish and lots of macro life hanging in the holes around the rocks, perfect for the keen photographer, look around the shallows and you are likely to spot the resident turtle foraging around the corals looking for foodis The Bay is also a perfect location for beginner divers as the maximum depth is 20 metres, it lies in a sheltered bay, and perfect for night diving as well.
SIMILAN ISLANDS – ELEPHANT HEAD ROCK
Is probably the most famous dive site and biggest pinnacle in the Similans Islands, in the shape of an elephant’s head, hence the name Elephant Head Rock. The dive site is located in between island 7 (Koh Payu) and island 8 (Koh Similan). With three large rocks breaking the surface these granite boulders run down to over 50 meters. This is an exciting dive. The way the boulders are lying on top of each other has created an intricate web of tunnels and swim- throughs and fantastic channels, causing Giant Gorgonian Sea Fans to attach themselves on the walls. Coming out of the tunnels head to deeper water and stop at the impressively large overhangs where divers may see Black Tip and White Tip Reef sharks patrolling outside the boulders or resting on the bottom, at this depth check your NDLs. Please remember as this dive site is deep only experienced certified divers are advised to dive this site . As you make your way to shallower depths you will experience Schools of Great Barracuda swimming by, there is also many varieties of macro life that are hidden among soft corals that have attached themselves to the boulders. Due to its strong upwelling currents remember to stay close to the rocks to avoid getting blown away.
SIMILAN ISLANDS – EAST OF EDEN
A reef dive that ranges from 5 metres going down to 40 metres, its situated on the east side of Island number 7 (Koh-Pa-Yu), it runs from north to south on the east side. As you start the dive you will come across clusters of Staghorn coral and sporadic rocks scattered all over white sands, making your way over the sand look out for purple fire gobies, leopard sharks relaxing on the sea floor, Kuhl’s Stingray and Giant Gorgonian Sea Fans attached to the rocks swaying in the gentle currents.
SIMILAN ISLANDS – HONEYMOON BAY
Located to the east of island no.4 (Koh Miang), this dive site is suitable for all level of certified divers, the topography of this site is a gentle sloping reef, that consists of hard corals and bombings scattered over the sand, the average depth is between 5/20 metres. As for marine life you are likely to encounter, you will see Moorish Idols, Angel fish, Giant Moray Eels, Lion fish and many more that the Similans has to offer. Perfect for a night dive due to the shallow reef, you are likely to see Squid, Cuttlefish, Decorator Crabs and reef Crabs foraging in holes for their next meal.
SIMILAN ISLANDS – KOH BON ISLAND
Lying 12 nautical miles south of Koh Tachai island and the dive site is located around 150 meters north west of the island and has no buoy line so location is by GPS. When the captain signals its time to jump into the blue and descend down to the pinnacles. The top is around 18 meters and continues to run down to over 50 meters to the sand bottom were the docile leopard shark sleeps while white tip reef sharks patrol the reef in search of a meal.
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SIMILAN ISLANDS – KOH BON PINNACLE
These amazing pinnacles are covered with colourful soft coral trees, large gorgonian sea fans and barrel sponges running down the walls. With 5 species of clown fish in the magnificent anemones and their shrimp and porcelain crab hosts its difficult to keep your eyes of the pinnacles but a look out in to the blue can be rewarding with manta rays gliding around and the occasional whale shark. Keep a check on your air supply as its time to head back to the surface.
SURIN ISLANDS – KOH TACHAI
Travel 22 nautical miles south of Surin, the dive site is located around 200 meters south of the island and is marked with a buoy line which descends down to 16 meters to reach the top of the plateau. From here you decide which way to go ? North or South. North takes you over the plateau to the beautiful coral garden at around 22 meters to 26meters with some of the best soft corals and sea fans in the area, which will keep underwater photographers busy.
South takes you down over the large boulders to between 36 meters and 40 meters to reach the sandy bottom looking for the docile leopard shark and large stingrays. Up above schooling great barracudas with tunas and trevallies darting down to catch the bait fish hanging around the reef. With a multitude of small creatures to look at try not to forget a look into the blue to see the manta rays gliding past and the occasional whale shark make Koh Tachai a spectacular dive site.
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SIMILAN ISLANDS – NORTH POINT
A dramatic underwater scenery of large boulders with canyons and swim throughs. As you descend down the line passed the tall fin bat fish and head through the tunnels, keep your eyes open for a pair of Napoleon wrasse. In between the large canyons grow large gorgonian sea fans with excellent soft corals hiding harlequin ghost pipe fish but a look out into the blue can be rewarding with frequent visits from the graceful manta ray passing over head.
SURIN ISLANDS – RICHELIEU ROCK
Travel 7.5 nautical miles east of the Surin islands national marine park and as the only rock formation in this area, it rises up from the seabed and breaks the surface at low tide and descends down to around 33 meters to the sandy bottom, being a natural magnet for all fish life seeking protection from their predators. The northern side has an excellent wall with lots of cracks and holes for you to look inside.
The wall is covered with coral and zig zag oysters where you can find over ten species of moray eels like the commonly spotted white eyed, giant, yellow edged, and bartail morays or the shy dragon, leopard, honeycomb and zebra morays. The west side contains mostly soft corals and sea fans with ghost pipefish and tigertail sea horses hiding in between the branches. But its here where we all so encounter large schools of silver jacks and bluefin trevallys with chevron and great barracudas too.
Renowned for its visiting whale sharks from February to May anywhere from 2 meter babys to 8 meter subadults but even without the whale sharks, this is an outstanding dive site, with large schools of different fish, including barracuda, jackfish, snapper and many other. The walls seem to move with so much life or look closely at the camouflaged scorpion, stone and lionfishes that blend in to the rock. A truly spectacular dive site no matter what the visibility.
SIMILAN ISLANDS – SHARK FIN REEF
Named due to its three pinnacles that breach the surface at low tide, making it look like shark fins hence the name Shark Fin Reef. The dive site is approximately 1Km long and it lies northwest to southeast at the southeast side of Island no.3 (Koh Pa Yan). Shark Fin Reef is a formation of Granite Boulder’s, Walls and Hard and Soft corals. In some areas of the site giant boulders sit on top of each other making perfect swim-through for divers to explore.
The site is divided into 2 sections Northern and Southern areas, the northern area has lots of beautiful soft corals such as the anemone coral as well as the giant gorgonian sea fans that attach themselves to the outlay of rocks, here you will find lots of marine life that the similans has to offer such as the Devil Scorpion fish, the beautiful Clown-Trigger fish and an abundance of reef fish. The southern side is a lot deeper with overhangs and sheer walls that fall onto the surrounding white sands, this is where hopefully you will encounter White-Tip Reef sharks, and also Black Tip Reef sharks swimming around also look out onto the sand you may spot Kuhl’s Stingray and Leopard sharks.
The currents on Shark Fin Reef range from moderate to strong running in a north to south direction. As you dive this site always be aware to look into the blue, you may see the beautiful Manta Ray swimming effortlessly by.
SIMILAN ISLANDS – TUNA WRECK
Southwest of island number 5. In 2003 the Similans National Park Authorities sank a Fibreglass fishing boat measuring 12 metres by 30 metres, creating a new dive spot, the wreck is marked by a buoy making and easy for entry and exits. The Tuna Wreck lies on its side at depth ranging from 28 metres down to 40 metres, today it’s a fantastic artificial reef. Marine life on the wreck is an abundance of reef fish that includes Pipefish, Angelfish, Clown Triggerfish and many more.
When diving on the wreck, look out for schools of long finned Batfish and schools of Blue Trevally hunting of Glassfish. Turtles are common in this area, too. Currents here are moderate, but because of the depth of the wreck, only experienced certified divers should dive this site, also please be aware of your NDL.