Listed as one of the Ten best Dive sites on earth, Similan Islands diving is quite simply the best diving Thailand has to offer. Famous for huge rocky dropoffs on the Western side, long coral reefs on the East side, and everything in between!
Similan Islands Diving
The Similan Islands are home to the best diving in Thailand – but you might not believe us…so why not read a book by the experts – they agree: Diving Southeast Asia: A Guide to the Best Dive Sites in SE Asia or these guys – who say the same thing: Guide to SE Asia.
Nearby are The Surin Islands (and Richelieu Rock), Khao Lak, just North are the Burma Banks. South of the Similan Islands are the SCUBA diving centers of Phuket, Phi Phi and Hin Daeng and Hin Muang. Right in the middle are the Similan Islands. Please check here for our list of Similan Dive Centers.
Conditions for diving are great year-round – with 20-30 meter visibility standard. However – getting there and away is pretty dangerous during monsoons! Monsoons usually occur between May and October. Each year is a little different, but dive trips are available daily from November until Mid-May.
Generally visibility is 20-30 Meters, water temperatures range from 26-28 degrees and currents are mild, except after the full moon when they are strong at some of the more exposed SCUBA dive sites – like Elephant Head Rock or Koh Tachai.
More than the just a simple reef – the Similan Islands also have the Greatest marine diversity in the country.
The Similan Islands are open ocean, so most of the more famous sites are best done by Advanced divers. If you are interested, there are several great methods for doing diving courses courses. Being based in Khao Lak or on a liveaboard is the best way to gain your certification and enjoy the dives. Of course with so many dive sites to choose from, there is always a site for everyone’s experience level.
The Similan Islands have dozens of sites for SCUBA diving . We have divided them into 4 main sections, only for ease of navigation. You can swim 20 meters and be in a whole new eco-system!
The Southern Similan Dive Sites tend to be deeper and more exposed. They are often overlooked by daytrips due to both the depth and currents.
The Middle Dive Sites feature a perfect blend of sites. With the most famous reefs and several of the really popular sites, this is where most people first learn of the beauty of the region.
The Northern Similan Dive sites are typified by several famous rocky sites and one of the best drift dives around. This is great Similan Diving
Further North, still part of the Similan National Park, but geologically separate are the Famous sites of Koh Bon and Koh Tachai.
We have also included, for ease of reference the most famous dive site in Thailand – Richelieu Rock. This is part of the Surin National Park, but should be included in any dive trip to the Similan Islands
A frequent question we get about the damage from the tsunami.
There was, in fact, very little damage to most dive sites. The deep section (beyond 30 meters) of Deep 6, Snapper Alley and some of Christmas Point were affected, but only Snapper Alley was “destroyed” and this was mostly due to geology. The diving is still great everywhere else. Due to the Similan Island’s location (50 Km offshore) they were barely affected by the tsunami – above or below water.
To visit the sites listed above it is best to join a snorkeling tour, a diving day trip or an Similan Islands Diving liveaboard. The more remote sites to the south are less likely to be visited by the daytrips so a Similan diving liveaboard is the best choice. The far sites of Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock Should be done either by a separate daytrip or liveaboard. They are not included in daytrips to the Similan Islands due their distance.
If you visit this part of the world, try to visit the Similan Islands. If you visit the Similans – try to get underwater – they are worth the effort. We’ll see you there