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Similan Islands

Secluded and far off the beaten path, the Similan Islands lie on Thailand's west coast, north of Phuket and Krabi. Set amidst the fluorescent turquoise of the Andaman Sea, the Similan Islands were declared a national park in 1982. The archipelago, comprising eleven islands (of which the eponymous Ko Similan is the largest), is in the process of being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fortunately, this natural treasure was spared damage from the 2004 tsunami, and remains a fantastic diving and snorkeling site, as well as an ideal location to hop from one island to another.

The best months to visit are March and April, and the high season runs from December through April. Please note that between May 16th to November 15th, the park is closed.

Secluded and far off the beaten path, the Similan Islands lie on Thailand's west coast, north of Phuket and Krabi. Set amidst the fluorescent turquoise of the Andaman Sea, the Similan Islands were declared a national park in 1982. The archipelago, comprising eleven islands (of which the eponymous Ko Similan is the largest), is in the process of being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fortunately, this natural treasure was spared damage from the 2004 tsunami, and remains a fantastic diving and snorkeling site, as well as an ideal location to hop from one island to another.

The best months to visit are March and April, and the high season runs from December through April. Please note that between May 16th to November 15th, the park is closed.

EXPERIENCES

EXPERIENCES

Beaches

Not all nine islands have beaches, but the ones that do have pristine and powdery white sand. One of the best beaches is located on Koh Tachai, on the northern end of the park. Swim in Similan's turquoise waters and have a picnic on the beach.

Diving and Snorkeling

Similan is considered to have the very best diving in all of Thailand. The waters are clear and teeming with sea life, including manta rays and whale sharks. Non-divers can still appreciate the reefs of Similan by snorkeling the shallower reefs.


Diving on the east side features coral reefs with slopes. The west side diving is famous for the giant granite boulders that are to be found under the water. Among the best sites are “East of Eden," a slope featuring a diverse corals; Elephant Head Rock (West Side), though the currents here are known to be a bit tricky; and Richelieu Rock, where whale shark sightings are probable.

Island Hopping

While it is possible to cruise around Similan National Park's 11 islands, visitors are only allowed to land on Islands #4 and #8, which have trails and viewpoints. Traveling on a liveaboard yacht allows one to see more of the islands, even when it is not possible to go ashore.

Nature Walks

Some of the islands are covered with beautiful tropical jungle. Hikers and trekkers will enjoy taking nature walks to examine the area's special flora and fauna.

Turtle Hatching

Although very stringent restrictions apply, one can witness turtle hatching and the hatchlings' accompanying rush to the sea on Koh Huyong. There is a turtle breeding facility here which is run by the Royal Thai Marines.

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