Diving around Koh Similan

 
 
Koh Similan is a group of islands that offers some of the best diving in Thailand and the world. Many divers argue that what makes the diving so great at Similan is the big variation in the underwater environment found here. No other place in the world offers such a variation in the same dive area.

The Similans are located approximately 100 kilometers north-west of Phuket. There are a total of nine granite islands covered with tropical jungle and surrounded by chalk white beaches and crystal clear blue water. The name Similan was derived from the Malaysian word for nine, "Sembilan", which was used long ago by Malaysian fishermen when they called the islands "The Nine Eyes". Today, each "eye" of the nine islands has a number as well as a name. For example Huyong, island number 1, is the southern most island in the chain. 

Today the area is a national park and is protected as a reserve. The National Park Authority have camps on two of the islands; Koh Similan, island number 8, which is the largest and Koh Miang, island number 4. The last few years these islands have gained much attention from the royal family who themselves are eager divers and outdoor people.

The archipelago runs north to south and either side of the islands you will discover a completely different underwater environment.

The east side has beaches and hard corals that drop down to a depth of around 30 to 40 meters, where the sand then runs out across the bottom. On this eastern coast, drift dives gently carry you along the huge coral walls. In several places you will find cliffs covered with wonderful soft corals. Diving on this side is easy and underwater navigation is a simple task, following the walls of the islands in their natural formations.

The west side offers a bit more excitement since the currents can sometimes be more challenging. Huge rock pinnacle formations and outcroppings are color fully decorated with spectacular soft corals which sometimes are so dense you are unaware that there is granite below!! Amongst these amazing rock formations you will find world class gorgonian sea fans spanning over 3 meters in places. An enormous selection of fish and other species make up for some very interesting diving. Below you will find an overview of each of our favorite sites which you will have a chance to experience. 

Elephant Rock

 
This is probably the most "famous" dive site at the Similans. The name comes from a formation of three rocks that break the surface, with the largest of the rocks resembling an elephant head. You will be amazed at seeing fish and corals in all the colors of the rainbow, from every world class fish and reef guide.

Christmas Point

Christmas Point is a dramatic series of underwater pinnacles. The best area of the site is around 24 meters where you will be in awe at the coral gardens of soft and hard coral variety. The dive comes to an end close to the island with exciting tunnels formed by large rock formations. Often you can see some of the bigger pelagics taking a "siesta" in the crevices.

 

Snapper Alley and Gorill Bay

This is a typical east-coast dive and one of our favorite sites from which we like to start of our dive trips. The light is incredible early in the morning, hence the name. The hard coral is aboundant and healthy. At depth where the coral ends and the sand take over "Garden eels" rule and Leopard sharks are often spotted

Fantasy Reef

Many a divemastersí favorite, Fantasea Reef boasts enormous rocks, some as large as houses, create a spectacular underwater landscape that attracts large amounts of fish. The curious and beautiful looking Clown Trigger Fish is often seen at 15 to 20 meters of depth. Large stingrays are also often seen congregating on the sandy bottom. Richelieu Rock

This large underwater granite pinnacle rises steeply from a depth of around 33 meters. It barely breaks the surface making it a navigational hazard for many boats. The dive site is spectacular with a large number of anemones, sponges of all shapes and sizes and soft corals the color of the rainbow lining the rock. The star of the show, however, is the amazing whale shark which is often spotted here.

Andaman Reef

Andaman Reef is patrolled by large numbers of reef fish and shoals of barracuda, trevally, jacks and other pelagics. Huge coral heads scatter the sandy bottom and healthy staghorn coral provide shelter for hunting groupers, moray eels and Lionfish. It is an excellent site for the underwater photographer with plenty of macro shots available.

Koh Bon and koh Tachai

The best diving at these dives sites are below thirty meters, where the colors turn to hues of blue. Bring a torch, however, and the soft corals really come alive. Mantas are often seen in the current and Turtles and Leopard Sharks are regular visitors as well.

 

 

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