The Best Diving in Thailand!
The Similan Islands national marine park is widely recognized as the number 1 scuba diving area in Thailand, and most would agree that the reef and marine life is some of the best in Asia. The dive sites vary from gentle sloping hard coral reefs to wild current swept rocky landscapes. In general the Western sites are rocky, while the East coast features sloping reefs. This variety makes the Similan Islands very popular, especially for liveaboard diving trips, and every year divers from all over the world head to Thailand to sample the fantastic diving in this area.
What are the options for Similan diving?
There are around 20 dive sites in the Similan Islands. Combined with the Surin Islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock, you have well over 25 top scuba sites to choose from, many of which cover an area too large for a single dive. Richelieu Rock for example is always worth 2 or 3 dives. From Phuket or Khao Lak, you can make day trips, overnight tours or liveaboards. Over the last 20 years, liveaboard diving has become very popular here. There are many boats to choose from with different prices, comfort levels and schedules – contact Sunrise Divers – we can help you to find a trip to suit your needs.
Similan Islands – Similan Diving Sites
Elephant Head (Hin Pusar)
Christmas Point is a cluster of submerged boulders, with the exception of a pinnacle at the surface that is located on the northwest ridge of Island 9 (Koh Ba-Ngu). Underwater, there are a number of large stacked boulders that stretch from the island to a depth of 35 to 40 meters., which create an arch-like swim-through at 24 meters. The crevices are covered by colorful soft corals and sea fans. In the northeast, there is a mooring line tied to the top of the pinnacle at a depth of 14 meters. At the swim-through, giant sweetlips and groupers can be seen hiding in crevices.
East of Eden
In the morning, on the outer sand area, there is a good chance that you will be able to spot some sharks.
Boulder City / Shark Fin Reef
The marine life here is truly diverse and is similar to that of Shark Fin Reef. Sharks sometimes can be spotted around the sand bottom.
Beacon Point / Beacon Reef
A landmark of this site is a shipwreck named “Rareung-Chon”, as known as “Atlantis-X”, which rests in the middle of the reef. The ship sank in 2002, and fortunately there were no fatalities from the incident. The wreck lies on the reef slope at a depth of 30 meters at the stern and 15 meters at the bow.
Due to the lush coral, reef fish such as angelfish, butterflfyfish, fairy, basslets, as well as pufferfish, porcupinefish, triggerfish and moray eels are abundant here. Large schools of pelagic fish such as bluefin trevally, snappers, fusilliers, goatfish and longnosed emperrors can be seen here.
Leopard sharks are common and sometimes two of three of these can be seen in the same dive. Seeing whitetip reef sharks and napoleon wrasse is also possible here. Kuhl’s stingrays, garden eels, groupers and triggerfish, as well as differant sort of gobies on the sand are a common side.
This side also is home to schools of soldierfish and bluefin trevally, as well as some camouflage experts such as octopuses and ghost pipefish. Furthermore, cometfish can also sometimes be seen in rock crevices. On the northern side, large swarms of friendly batfish and yellowtail barracuda can always be found swimming around.
Many people would agree that Fantasea Reef was one of the top sites in the Similan Islands. The variety and abundance of fish life is astounding, and the fish seem very curious. There are also some great rock formations, swimthroughs and soft corals that cover a wide area.
Note : The National Park had closed Fantasea Reef for regeneration, one of many new environmental projects being undertaken. After the tsunami on December 26th 2004, this site was reopened. Not clear if it will be available in 2017. It is likely that one or two other sites such as Christmas Point or Deep Six may be closed for a while. Overall the reef quality hardly changed due to the tsunami.
The dive site descriptions above cover some of the better known sites in the 9 islands of the Similan Island chain. All the islands have names, but are usually referred to by numbers. For further information, we now have an excellent Similan Islands Dive Site book for sale at our dive shop in Phuket. Price is just 1,150 Baht. The dive site descriptions are excellent and the book also contains some very good dive site maps. See you here!
Similan Islands Diving Options
Similan Pocket Divesite
Get your copy of the Similan Pocket Divesite Guide here at Sunrise Divers.