Similan Islands Liveaboard
The Similans Islands are noted for being the most famous diving and snorkeling area in Thailand and are one of the most popular sites among those in-the-know. Unlike other areas for snorkeling or diving in Thailand, it is open for seven months of the year from October 15 through to May 15 in an attempt to preserve the sites and in stark contrast; the weather outside of this period ensures far from ideal conditions!
Diving in the Similan Islands is a fantastic experience and for many people it’s a once in a lifetime journey where you can dive with majestic mantas or come face to face with an awesome whale shark. There are many dive sites around the islands and doing some research before you dive about where you’d like to go is always a good idea!
Some of the more popular Similan Islands diving is Elephant Head Rock and Deep Six found off Island 7 and the Breakfast Bend off from Island 9. Head northeast from Island 9 and the first stop will be an amazing one: Koh Bon. This is one of the most popular sites for day-trippers as it’s one of the most scenic dive spots in Thailand. The island has no beach but it boasts a striking ridge that stretches into the ocean and is the best place for spotting the ocean’s gentlest of giants – manta rays.
Richelieu Rock is by far the ultimate site for divers and is actually part of the Surin National Park but nevertheless is visited by most liveaboards offering Similan Islands diving. It is made up of one main giant rock shaped like a horseshoe that is dramatically surrounded by a few smaller rocks. It is totally submerged except at low tide where it juts out and breaks the surface. Most of the surrounding area is sandy ensuring that a vast array of marine life congregates here and is easy to spot including if you’re lucky enough – whale sharks.
If you are snorkeling in the Similan Islands you will get to see many wonderful sea creatures and in many cases more than the divers below. This because when we’re floating on the surface and looking we are covering 180 degrees whereas the divers have to cover 360 and thus have to eyes in the back of their head. The sighting of the larger pelagic like the manta rays or whale sharks are often around no deeper than 10 meters and often quite shallower so you won’t miss out on anything.
When we are snorkeling we tend to stay away from the hustle of the day trip boats so we tend to drop into deeper waters and head toward the land. This can sometimes be unnerving for a few people but the rewards can be endless and remember there is always a guide there who will hold your hand if necessary.
Koh Bon can be a great snorkel spot as we wait with anticipation for manta rays out on The Ridge above the divers…If we are not lucky we will head back into the bay and search out the colorful marinlife that inhabit this area. Koh Tachai is that picture postcard beach with white sand that stretches for more than a kilometer and where we will head in the late afternoon. You will often come across juvenile reef sharks in the shallows but do not worry as they are harmless to us.
Richelieu Rock for us snorkelers can be the most rewarding with the chance of seeing whale sharks swimming around the peak of the rock at high tide. This site is in the middle of the ocean with no land mass around so we have to check that it is safe for us to snorkel before heading in as it is open to the elements.
Day 0 (5d/5N & 2D/2N Departure)
Pick up times: Phuket 13:00-16:30. Khao Lak 15:45-17:30. Arrive at Thaplamu Pier for ETD 18:30 to Similan Island 4 (overnight) on MV Oktavia. En-route tour, safety briefing, equipment check and dinner.
08:00-Dive/Snorkel 1 Anita’s Reef; 11:00-Dive/Snorkel 2 West Of Eden; 14:15-Dive/Snorkel 3 Stonehenge; 17:45/18:30-Dive 4 Princess Bay (Sunset/Night Dive)
Day 2 (2D/2N Return)
07:30-Dive/Snorkel 1 Elephant Head; 10:30-Dive/Snorkel 2 North Point; 13:30-Dive/Snorkel 3 Breakfast Bend/Turtle Rock; 15:00-Speedboat Transfer to Thaplamu Arrive between 17:00-18:00 for Transfers to Phuket/Khao Lak; 17:45/18:30-Dive 4 Turtle Rock/Donald Duck Bay (Sunset/Night Dive)
Day 3 (3D/2N Departure)
07:15-Dive/Snorkel 1 Christmas Point; Transfer Pick Up Time Khao Lak 07:00-07:30 Both Arrive Thaplamu 07:45 for ETD to MV Oktavia 08:15 Arriving MV Oktavia 10:00-11:00am; 11:00-Dive/Snorkel 2 Koh Bon; 14:15-Dive/Snorkel 3 Koh Bon; 17:45/18:30-Dive 4 Koh Tachai (Sunset/Night Dive)
07:00-Dive/Snorkel 1 Richelieu Rock; 11:00-Dive/Snorkel 2 Richelieu Rock; 14:00-Dive/Snorkel 3 Richelieu Rock/Koh Tachai; 17:45/18:30-Dive 4 Koh Tachai (Sunset/Night Dive)
Day 5 (5D/5N & 3D/2N Return)
07:15-Dive/Snorkel 1 Koh Tachai; 11:00-Dive/Snorkel 2 Koh Bon; 14:15-Dive/Snorkel 3 Boon Song Wreck; ETA 17:00-18:00 Thaplamu Pier via MV Oktavia for Transfers to Phuket/Khao Lak.
NB. We try to fit 2/3 beach excursions per trip for around 1.5hrs where you can relax on the powdery sands, play a game of football or volleyball, or take a trek through to some scenic viewpoints. On the 4D/4N trips Day 1 & Day 2 are combined into one day with the best sites chosen and then you will follow on as Day 3 being Day 2 and so on…
All times and sites are subject to change due to weather and sea conditions 🙂
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