Scuba diving in The Similans
The Similan Islands are a chain of 9 tiny islands in the Andaman Sea, about 100km/62mi northwest of Phuket. These islands are famous among divers as one of the top dive destinations in the world. The islands are blessed with some of the world’s finest beaches and are surrounded by some of the area's richest waters. The Similan Islands achieved national marine park status in 1982. The national park is closed from May 16 to October 15. In general, the east-coast sites are hard coral reef dives with some soft corals, and a huge variety of marine life. The west-coast sites are slightly more challenging due to their depths and the variable currents around the huge granite boulders, swim-throughs and giant fan corals.The dive sites off islands offer divers to explore reefs, lush corals, impressive sea fans and a variety of marine life. There are over 20 dive sites off the islands. The dive sites are suitable for all diver levels. The Similan Islands are very popular for underwater photography - it is a paradise for muck/macro diving. Most popular dive sites The most famous sites are Anita’s Reef, Fantasea Reef, Elephant Head Rock, East of Eden, Richelieu Rock, and Christmas Point. Fantasea Reef provides an opportunity to see thousands of schooling fusiliers, banner fish and reef sharks. Anita's Reef is an easy dive site that is good for divers of all levels of experience with a diverse marine life. East of Eden is very popular among divers because of a great variety of marine species that can be seen here. Christmas Point is a site filled with huge granite boulders, arches, and swim-throughs that make a fantastic playground for divers. Elephant Rock has such name because from the surface it looks like an elephant head. Below the surface there are lots of tunnels and swim throughs to explore.
When to go
The high season is from December to April, when the monsoon stays far away. The best period to visit is March, when the winds are calm and the visibility is the best. The average annual air temperature is 27C/80F, with water temperatures between 27-30C/80-86F. The underwater visibility ranges from 20-40m/65-131ft. Currents range from weak to moderate.
What to see
The islands have wonderful scuba diving: the underwater world is presented by giant underwater boulders, caves, tunnels,narrow passages, about 500 species of hard and colorful soft corals, and abundant marine life. Some of the marine species divers may see are lionfish, clownfish, turtles, guitar rays, triggerfish, barracudas, unicornfish, giant trevallies, leopard sharks, blacktip and whitetip reef sharks, and even mantas and whale sharks.