Similan Islands

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Similan Islands Travel Essentials


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Ideal duration: 1-2 days

Best Time: November to April Read More

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"It's what's beneath the waves"

Similan Islands Tourism

Similan is an archipelago of 11 small islands located around 120 km from Phuket in the Andaman Sea. They are part of a protected National Park focusing on the conservation and protection of wildlife. These are one of Thailand's most stunning places, with splendidly picturesque white sand beaches and pristine blue waters. Similan Islands is a popular day trip from Phuket and Khao Lak and can only be visited through a guided tour. It is currently not possible to visit the island on your own. Similan is open from 15 October to 15 May only. However, the exact time varies each year. Around 4000 visitors are allowed to visit the islands in a day.

The eleven islands of Similan have a name and a number each. These are Ko Tachai (No 11), Ko Bon (No 10), Ko Ba Ngu (No 9), Ko Similan (No 8), Ko Payu (No 7), Ko Miang (two adjoining) (No 4, 5 and 6), Ko Payan (No 3), Ko Payang (No 2), and Ko Huyong (No 1). Of the eleven, Ko Miang and Ko Similan are open to tourists, while Ko Tachai and Ko Bon are specifically for scuba divers. As a National park, there is a 500 Baht entry fee for adults and 300 Baht for children. Ko Miang is known for its iconic large boulders overlooking the stunningly clear water of the bay. Ko Similan is great for snorkeling, with a chance to see turtles swimming around the boat.

The Similan islands are considered to be the best diving spot in Thailand, with coral reefs over 5000 years old and extensive marine life, including sea turtles, rays, moray eels, and whale sharks, and a large community of tropical fish. The island is also home to birds like sea eagles, kingfishers, and Nicobar pigeons. It is also known to have a great range of trees in the thick forest, like ironwood, gum, jackfruit, and bamboo.

Things to do in Similan Islands

1. Diving and Snorkelling

Diving and Snorkelling
One of the renowned and top diving areas in Thailand, Similan Islands attracts flocks of divers from all across the world because of its spectacular underwater scenery and abundant marine life. The be (Read More)st part about diving here is the water conditions that the Andaman Sea creates, making it visible and perfect for snorkelling and diving. The temperatures underwater reach up to 25 degrees Celsius, which makes it easier to dive even without the wetsuits on. The diving season at Similan Island goes from October through May.

2. Hike to Donald Duck Bay on Ko Similan Island

Hike to Donald Duck Bay on Ko Similan Island
Ko Similan (Island No 8) is the largest island and the first stop on a trip. It is popular for Donald Duck Bay and Sailboat Rock with a viewpoint offering breathaking views. The climb to these viewpoi (Read More)nts is a bit steep and narrow. The island also has great diving and snorkeling sites, nature trails and beaches.

3. Relax At Miang Island Beaches

Relax At Miang Island Beaches
Miang Island (No 4) is usually the last stop on the trip to Similan Islands. It has enchanting sites for relaxing like Honeymoon Bay and Princess Bay where you can swim, sunbathe and click stunning pi (Read More)ctures. The area is also home to some rare colorful collared doves, monitor lizards and flying foxes, that can be spotted on a hike through the lush jungle.

Must Know Before You Travel to Similan Islands

  • Speedboat Tour: The only way to visit Similan Islands is by booking a local speedboat/guided tour from Phuket or Khao Lak. It includes snorkeling, food and return transfer. National Park Fees is also included in many packages.
  • Thap Lamu Pier, in the Thai Muang district of Phang Nga Bay, is the nearest launching point to the Similans. It takes around 1.5 hours to reach here from Phuket and the boat to Similan takes another 1.5 hours.
  • Liveaboard Cruise: Divers and fishers can visit Similan by joining a liveaboard cruise from Phuket or Khao Lak, which generally runs for 4 days.
  • Sailing Cruise: Yatch tours and catamaran cruises are also available from Phuket. You can book bareboat sailing charters or sailing-diving cruises.
  • If you are interested in snorkeling, consider booking a snorkelling-focused tour. The general tours only have short snorkeling stops.
  • Avoid booking very cheap boat tours unless you are on a strict budget.
  • Accommodation: You can no longer stay on any islands of the Similan Island National Park. There used to be some camps and bungalows on 2-3 islands earlier, but they have been demolished.

More on Similan Islands Travel

Traveller Tips

  • Single-use plastic and foam boxes are not allowed on Similan Island.
  • Smoking is only allowed in designated areas on the island.
  • A permit is required to fly drones at Similan Islands.
  • It is encouraged to use only reef-safe sunscreen to avoid damaging the corals. The ingredients to avoid include  Oxybenzone and Octinoxate.
  • Carry motion sickness pills since the speedboat journey to Similan is long and bumpy. Also, the rear of the speedboat is more stable than the front.
  • There is only one souvenir shop on Ko Similan operated by the National park itself, selling very limited products.

Suggested Itinerary for Similan Islands

There are multiple tours organized by many tour companies, whether it is a day tour, 2 night one-day tour, 3 night 2 days tour, or more.

Here is what a typical 2-day tour would look like -

Day 1
  • Most of the tours have round-the-trip transfers and traverse through Ba Ngu Island on a speedboat, which is great for diving, snorkeling, and swimming.
  • Post this activity, visitors can enjoy a Thai lunch at any of the restaurants nestled on the islands.
  • After savoring a delicious meal, head to Miang Island, which is an amazing site for witnessing wildlife and also for snorkeling and diving.
  • After an eventful day, end the day by witnessing a stunning sunset, following up with a nice dinner.
Day 2
  • On the second day, visitors can either relax by the beach, sipping tasty drinks or go dive and snorkel again on the islands via speedboats.

Best Time to Visit Similan Islands

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Similan Islands Photos

Similan Islands, Thailand
Diving on the Coral Reef, Similan Islands
Underwater World, Similan Islands
Magnificent Sunrise View, Similan Islands

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FAQs on Similan Islands

What is famous about Similan islands?

  • It has some of the best Snorkelling and scuba diving spots in the country.
  • Scuba Diving is quite affordable compared to the rest of Thailand.
  • There are many dive sites to choose from. Some dive sites even offer divers to go to below 30 meters.
  • As these islands are otherwise known as the rainforest of the sea world, divers can expect to see abundant marine life that is sure to stun every sea explorer.

What is not so good about Similan islands?

  • Because of climate change and pollution, corals are deteriorating quicker than ever.
  • The island shuts down from May until mid October.
  • Because of the new rules assigned on Similan Islands, entry-level courses for diving such as Discover Scuba Diving or Open Water courses have been banned. The divers must be certified way before they enter the park.

What is the best time to visit Similan islands?

The best time to visit the Similan Islands is from December to early January. The park remains closed from May 16th till 14th of October and in any case, travelling to the place during this time is a big no-no for the rough weather conditions. The least number of rains and the smoothest ocean is found during late-February and mid-March.

Temperature, although, starts to rise, but the sea remains calm and the evenings are balmy and pleasant. During the summer months, snorkelling and diving is a great idea. However, during monsoons, i.e., in September, there will be no day trips to the island because of the weather conditions and if any agency promises you the same, be very wary of it! Once the monsoon is over, the island is open for the tourists. So, you need to be sure of its timings before booking your holiday.
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What is the local food in Similan islands?

Only two small islands being available to visitors, the tourist options in the Similan islands are very less. The mass tourism pressure is increasing, but there is hardly any space. There are very few restaurants on Koh Miang and Koh Similan that serve seafood and some fast food.
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What is the best way to reach Similan islands?

There are daily dive trips to Similan islands from Phuket, Khao Lak and Ranong.
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What are the places near Similan islands?

The top places near to Similan islands are Khao lak which is 67 km from Similan islands, Phuket which is located 109 km from Similan islands, Krabi which is located 152 km from Similan islands, Phi phi islands which is located 159 km from Similan islands, Surat thani which is located 192 km from Similan islands

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