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The Ultimate Guide to Diving in the Similan Islands

The Ultimate Guide to Diving in the Similan Islands

If you’re a diver in search of diversity and variety, you’ll find that Thailand’s Similan Islands is a holy grail! It’s made up of nine different islands with various diving sites that you need to experience at least once!

Each dive site will cater to a specific kind of diver so if you want to know more, our guide to Similan Islands diving will give you the low-down on which sites you should visit. Let’s go ahead and dive right in (pun intended!).

Things to Know

Time Zone: Indochina Time (GMT+7)

Currency: Thai Baht

(Check the current exchange rate)

Language: Thai

Location: Similan Islands

Best Time to Go

The best time for you to visit the Similan Islands is from November to February. During this period, the weather is generally cool and comfortable with little to no probability of rain which means your diving plans won’t be hampered as much.

Of course, you shouldn’t expect the cool season here to actually be that cold as Thailand is still a tropical country and will mostly be sunny and warm during these months.

Visiting during the dry season (March to May) also has its advantages (e.g. less chance of rain) but you might find it hot most days. The good news is that you can always just go for a swim or continue diving in the cool waters of the area just to feel refreshed!

How to Get to Similan Islands

Boat: If you’re coming from southern Khao Lak in Tab Lamu Port, you can reach the Similan Islands if you take a speedboat or a boat. The speedboat will get you there faster (around 70 minutes) while a boat will take you to the island in 3 hours. 

You’ll notice that most divers go for the boat option known as live-aboard. This is usually availed through a charter agency that will bring you and other divers straight to the dive sites of the island.

Plane: On the other hand, if you’re coming from Bangkok, then the quickest and most convenient way to reach the islands is via plane. You can catch a flight from Bangkok to Phuket and then take a boat going to the Similan Islands. 

Bus: Lastly, the most budget-friendly transport option to the site is by taking a combination of bus and boat. You need to ride the night bus to either Khao Lak or Ranong before catching a boat to the Similan Islands.

This will take you around 12 hours but it will also give you the opportunity to take in the sights and immerse yourself further in the local culture as you meet the locals and as you stop on the road to grab some Thai dishes.

 Koh Similan


Koh Similan, also called Island No. 9, is the main and largest island and the one you’ll probably first visit on a trip to the Similan Islands. This island can offer you and other divers tons of snorkel and dive sites along with beautiful beaches and nature trails.

Donald Duck Bay is an area we highly recommend you visit once you get to Koh Similan. It’s named as such thanks to a Donald Duck-shaped rock on the bay but it has tons of other things for you to check out aside from this rock formation.

You and the kids can have fun swimming in its white sand beaches. After enjoying the cool waters of the beach, you can then explore the nearby jungle where you may encounter some wildlife like lizards, bats, squirrels, and monkeys.

Most importantly though, this island has various diving sites for divers of all skill levels. So it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a diving pro– you’ll find the perfect dive site once you’re on the beautiful island of Koh Similan.

Koh Bon


Talu or Koh Bon, referred to as Island No. 11, is located in the northwest of the site and is one of the latest additions to the group of islands that you can visit. To get to this location, you’d have to travel for an hour from Koh Similan.

It may be a small island but you’ll find that it has beautiful white beaches and various dive sites. However, most of these dive sites are recommended for advanced divers as the said sites will have you go deeper than most.

If you do get the chance to dive at Koh Bon, you’ll see some corals and stone pinnacles. You might also spot some moray eels, sharks, and manta rays– a spectacular experience you’ll surely remember for the rest of your life!

Koh Tachai


Located between the central archipelago and the Surin Islands, Koh Tachai is another island with tons of diving sites for all skill levels. If you’re a non-diver, then you can also enjoy and have the time of your life here just swimming in its beautiful white beaches.

The eastern portion of the islands is a bit rougher and is perfect if you’re an advanced driver who wants to spot some manta rays and leopard sharks during your dive. Around the island are shallow diving sites that you can try out if you’re a newbie diver.

If you really want to spot some exotic marine life, though, we recommend that you check out “The Pinnacle” on the south side of this island. It’s considered one of Thailand’s best diving sites and you’ll get the chance to see sharks and barracudas!

Lastly, you can also check out the dense jungle along this island’s beach. We recommend that you hire a guide for this so that he or she can lead you through its hiking trails and ideal viewing points, and talk about the island’s wildlife and history.

 Koh Miang


You can think of Koh Miang as the hub of the Similan Islands. Here, you’ll find Similan Park’s headquarters and Honeymoon Beach, home to a local Navy Station, first aid centre, medical rescue, and coast guard.

If you walk to the northern part of the island, you’ll get to its main beach where you can swim and enjoy the day away on its white sands and crystal blue waters. You can then follow a dirt path leading to a smaller beach that serves as a diving site for the island.

Richelieu Rock


Famously regarded as one the best dive sites in Thailand, Richelieu Rock is actually a horseshoe-shaped rock submerged in the open ocean that you can visit if you want to see some exotic marine life in its natural environment!

The uniquely shaped rock is made from limestone and if you dive on this site, you’ll see different schools of fishes moving in and around the rock formations. Schools of jacks, glassfish, and fusiliers are some of the wildlife you can expect to see here.

You may also spot some groups of batfish and barracuda just hanging out around the rock and if you dive into the calmer area inside the rock formation, you’ll spot some ghost pipefish, seahorses, and some yellow snapper.

Most of Richelieu Rock’s trips will give you around two dives but we recommend that you do multiple-day dives when you get to the site. With the sheer number of wildlife you’ll see with each trip, we guarantee that every dive will be different.

Three Trees


Here’s another dive site you’ll want to visit if you want to see some wildlife, specifically turtles! It can offer you and your group a unique diving experience and challenge as the dive site starts sloping down to the reef before ending in a flat sand floor.

Once you reach the sand floor of the diving site, you’ll find several rock formations and corals. Here, you’ll get the chance to spot some turtles, sharks, trevallies, barracudas, and some manta rays.

Christmas Point


Christmas Point is located in the northern part of Similan Islands and is one of the most popular dive sites that you shouldn’t miss. Just like the other diving locations on the island, it features submerged rock formations and boulders– but with a twist.

Instead of just moving around these boulders, you get to experience swim-through diving, which literally means you can swim right through the different structures of the dive site. This means that you can explore all there is to experience underwater. 

Shark Fin Reef


Aptly named Shark Fin Reef for the elongated ridge that juts out of the water’s surface and looks like the fin of a shark, this dive site is another famous location for you to check out if you want to explore underwater. 

The elongated ridge actually spans a long distance making small caves, cracks, walls, and platforms that you can freely explore. While moving around these structures, you might also get to spot some marine life like stingrays, leopard sharks, and parrotfish!

Where to Stay in Similan Islands

Khao Lak Sunset Resort

Address:  26/7, Moo 7, Petchkasem Rd., T. Khuk Khak, Khao Lak A. Takuapa Phang-nga 82190, Thailand

Phone: +6676485075  

Pricing: $

Book Now

This budget-friendly yet beautiful resort is the perfect hotel for you and your family if you want to stay right next to the beach. Aside from getting great access to the white sand and clear blue waters here, you’ll also get a great view of that Thai sunset!

You’ll get clean newly-renovated rooms here and as far as facilities go, we’re sure you’ll appreciate the hotel’s swimming pool if you just want to kick back and chill with the kids. It’s also located near some stores and shops where you can score great finds.

Don’t forget to try out the food items here, especially the green curry chicken and down those with some of their signature mojitos! 

Mai Khaolak Beach Resort & Spa

Address: 9/16-17 Petchkasem Rd, Moo. 1 Pakweep Beach Khaolak, Phang-nga 82190, Thailand  

Phone: +6676592000  

Pricing: $

Book Now

We highly recommend that you check in at the Mai Khaolak Beach Resort & Spa if you’re travelling as a group and if you want good value for money. The rooms of the resort are quite spacious and can fit your entire family comfortably.

The hotel also has some of the best amenities for this price range. You and your kids can enjoy the refreshing waters of its swimming pool before working out at the hotel’s fitness centre.

If you booked the all-inclusive package, then you’re in for a treat as you can enjoy a great breakfast spread every morning before you head out for the day’s dive. The other meals offered throughout the day may not be as extensive but they sure are delicious! 

The Andi Mani Khaolak Beachfront Villas

Address: 7, 9 Moo 2 Lam Kaen, Thai Mueang District, Phang-nga 82210, Thailand 

Phone: +66970525497 

Pricing: $$$

Book Now

The Andi Mani Khaolak Beachfront Villas may be a bit pricey, but we’re sure you’ll get your money’s worth thanks to the amazing experience it offers. First, you get beautiful and modern rooms that are strategically designed to get the best views of the beach.

You can also choose to stay in the property’s garden and relax in the refreshing pool right beside the beach. If you then decide to head out and swim, you’ll get access to some of the resort’s comfortable and relaxing sunbeds.

The hotel also features some local dishes that you shouldn’t miss. They offer local Thai salads, sauteed vegetables, and fresh seafood that can give you and your family a great energy boost before you start your planned tour for the day.

JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa

Address: 41/12 Moo 3 Khuk Khak, Khao Lak, Takua Pa District, Phang-nga 82220, Thailand 

Phone: +6676584888  

Pricing: $$

Book Now

If you’re travelling with young children, this resort is going to be an amazing adventure for them! This hotel has one of the most beautiful gardens and pool complexes in the area where you can check out five different pools depending on your preference!

The JW Marriott is also located on the beachfront which is amazing if you plan on swimming and relaxing on the beach any time you feel like it. The hotel can also offer you some cool activities such as hiking and biking to nearby tourist sites.

Don’t forget to try the dining options offered by this resort! Their breakfast buffet has some phenomenal Thai and Western dishes on the spread while their sunset BBQ is a must-try if you want a more romantic and relaxing meal before you end the day.

Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa

Address: 555, Mai Khao, Thalang District, Phuket 83110, Thailand

Phone: +6676363999  

Pricing: $$

Book Now

This resort can offer you a relaxing and calming stay thanks to its ideal location. It’s just a five-minute walk to the beach and the surrounding hotel grounds are peppered with greenery– ideal if you want to just chill after a day’s worth of water sports and diving!

The hotel also has a great swimming pool that’s located at the centre of the property but with a great view of the beach. You can just imagine kicking back on the pool or in one of the resort’s sunbeds while you stare at that beautiful Thai sunset.

You’ll also find the food items offered in this hotel are top-notch. From the plating to the delicious flavours, their pad Thais, mango sticky rice, and other dishes are a must-try! After feasting on these, you can then burn some extra calories at the hotel’s gym!

Where to Eat in Similan Islands

The Similan

Address: P6PQ+6WM, Khuekkhak, Takua Pa District, Phang-nga 82190, Thailand 

Phone: N/A

Pricing: $


The Similan is one of those restaurants you need to check out if you want good food and great vibes. You can order some great Thai and Western cuisine (their Caesar Salad is amazing!) while you take in the pristinely maintained grounds of the restaurant!

Sawatdi Kin Khao Lak Restaurant

Address: Moo 7, Khao Lak National Park, Phetkasem Road, Tambon Khuekkhak, Amphoe Takua Pa, Phang-nga, 82190, Thailand  

Phone: +6676420243  

Pricing: $


The Sawatdii Khaolak Restaurant is perfect for you if you’re a fan of Thai food and if you’re on a budget. You can enjoy large servings of delicious local food such as their green papaya salad and fried tilapia without breaking the bank!

Chaba Yim Wan Seafood

Address: 168 Khuekkhak, Takua Pa District, Phang-nga 82220, Thailand  

Phone: N/A

Pricing: $


If you’re a nature lover, then you need to try this restaurant in Phang-nga. It’s located by the sea giving you a great view of the ocean while enjoying some of the freshest and most flavourful Thai dishes in the vicinity such as grilled fish and spring rolls!

Sakura Japanese Restaurant

Address:  Sakura Japanese Restaurant, JW Marriott Khao Lak 41/12 Moo 3 Khuk Khak Takua Pa District, Phang-nga 82220, Thailand

Phone:  +6676584888

Pricing: $$$


This Japanese restaurant may be a bit pricey but it’s certainly worth it if you’re a big fan of sushi. You’re going to love the freshness, flavour, and variety of the food and the great ambiance of the restaurant is definitely a plus!

Sandbox Beachfront Bar & Eatery

Address: Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa 555, Mai Khao, Thalang District, Phuket 83110, Thailand  

Phone: +6676363999 

Pricing: $$


The Sandbox Beachfront Bar & Eatery is a mid-range eatery that’s perfect if you just want to relax and enjoy good food. It’s a casual restaurant located in front of the beach and offers some Western and Thai fusion cuisine for you and your family to enjoy.

Tips When Diving in the Similan Islands

  • Use reef-safe sunscreen: As an eco-friendly diver, you shouldn’t use sunscreen with chemicals that can result in coral reef damage. 

Choose coral reef-safe ones when you go for a dive in the Similan Islands to protect the thriving coral reefs within the area. You should avoid those with Octinoxate and Oxybenzone as these have been shown to cause reef damage.

  • Avoid using single-use plastic: Don’t bring single-use plastic to the different dive sites as these are prohibited in national parks and the dive sites of the islands.
  • Bring waterproof phones and cameras: Make sure that you have waterproof phones or action cameras to take photos of your dive, the vast waters of the Andaman Sea, and the lush greenery of the 9 different islands you’ll be visiting.

What to Expect from Thailand Weather

Cool Season: Thailand’s cool season covers the months of November to February. During this time, the weather is just perfect for tourists as it is cool and comfortable enough.

Hot Season: The hot season in Thailand runs from March to May. The air can be especially dry during these months and this is also the hottest season here.

Rainy Season: August and September are the worst in terms of rain as heavy downpours can happen all throughout the day during this period.

Apps to Download for Your Trip to Similan Islands

Line: Call and messaging, file sharing

iOS | Android

Klook: Book tours, attractions, tickets, restaurants, hotels, and other activities

iOS | Android

Agoda:  Book hotels, flights, and other activities

iOS | Android

Google Translate: Translate various languages

iOS | Android

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