Similan Island National Park

The Similan Islands of the West coast of Thailand is one of the most famous archipelagos in the Andaman Sea, specially because of the wonders hosted in the clear blue water all around it.

This group of islands is considered one of the 10 most interesting dive areas on our planet, and has also popular destination for yachts.

Each of these islands is recognized by a number as well as a name. These are, running from south to north: Koh Huyong (No. 1), Koh Payang (No. 2), Koh Payan (No. 3), Koh Miang (No. 4) plus near by Island No. 5 & No. 6, Koh Payu (No. 7), Koh Similan (No. 8) and Koh Bangu (No. 9). Hin Pousar, or “Elephant Head Rock”, is sometimes designated No. 6 by some in the past.

Barracuda Point

Barracuda Point is a good example of the two types of Thailand Diving sites found at the Similan Islands.

In the North you can find a slopping white sand sand bank covered with soft coral bommies and healthy staghorn corals.

If you take a moment and have a closer look on the sandy bottom you will find hundreds of garden eels and many Kuhl’s Sting Rays.

In the South East corner is where large granite boulders can be found adorned with sea fans and sea whips.

Strange as it may seem barracudas as seldom seen here! Generally the marine life found here consists of pipefish, batfish, nudibranch’s and chance to see grey & white tip reef sharks. This is the only dive site in the Similan Islands where the jaw fish has been found.

Barracuda Point Dive Site facts:

  • Location: Similan Islands – 500m due east of Koh Miang Island no.4
  • Site Depth: 0 – 35 meters
  • Site Visibility: 20 – 50 meters
  • Currents: Mild / Strong
  • Difficulty Rating: Easy diving

Beacon Reef

The Northern side of Beacon Reef is made up from many small granite boulders, which sitting on the white sandy bottom that makes the Similan Islands a famouse dive destination.

It is possible to see jenkins whip rays here, along with the large quantity of blue spotted sting rays.

Look out for the orange spot pipefish can be seen in between the cracks of the rocks.

Lunar wrasse, parrotfish and red coral trout are here by the dozen. Purple & red fire gobies can also be seen here. Gorgonian’s and sea fans cling to the sides of the rocks covered with soft corals.

Beacon Reef Dive Site facts:

  • Location: Similan Islands – Near Koh Similan Island no.8
  • Site Depth: 0 – 35 meters
  • Site Visibility: 20 – 40 meters
  • Currents: Mild
  • Difficulty Rating: Easy diving

Breakfast Bend

Breakfast Bend is a diving site in the Similan Islands that was named because it is usually the first dive before breakfast.

This dive site consists of a series of large boulders, which are typical for Similan, surrounded by gorgonian fans and soft coral.

I in the shallow arears of the reef, close to the island, large areas of table coral can be found. This is an excellent dive site for seeing the occasional manta ray, white tip reef shark and eagle ray. Here you will also find pipefish and loads of nudibranch’s.

Breakfast Bend Dive Site facts:

  • Location: Similan Islands – South Eastern side of Koh Bangu Island No.9
  • Site Depth: 0 – 35 meters
  • Site Visibility: 20 – 40 meters
  • Currents: Can be strong
  • Difficulty Rating: Easy Diving

Deep Six

Here at Deep Six large boulders are found making there way into deeper water of the Similan Islands, which makes it a excellent diving site for advanced divers.

The boulders have hard coral on top and all around them, also plentiful soft coral.

In the deeper part of this dive site you find plenty of huge sea fans and big barrel sponges. The marine life to be found here are trigger fish, turtles, manta rays, the occasional frog fish and in the shallows large schools of convict surgeon fish.

Watch out the currents can be strong! If your dive master picks the wrong time for diving than you won’t make it to the real “Deep Six”.

Deep Six Dive Site facts:

  • Location: Similan Islands – Northern shore of Koh Pabu Island no.7
  • Site Depth: 0 – 40 meters
  • Site Visibility: 20 – 50 meters
  • ***Currents: Can be strong
  • Difficulty Rating: Advanced diving

East Of Eden

East Of Eden is a spectacular reef in Similan Island. In the north a gentle slopping reef can be found with a mixture of soft and hard corals.

To the south there is a series of bommies, one very large which is completely covered in coral and surrounded by gorgonian fans.

This bommie has been featured in a television program by National Geographic. On this dive site it is common to see the long nose emperors, travellies, and trumpet fish hunting in a school together.

East Of Eden Dive Site facts:

  • Location: Similan Island – South east of Koh Pabu Island No.7
  • Site Depth: 0 – 35 meters
  • Site Visibility: 20 – 50 meters
  • Currents: Mild to strong
  • Difficulty Rating: Easy diving

Elephant Head Rock

Elephant Head Rock is probably the most “famous” diving site in the Similan Island. The name comes from a formation of three rocks that break the surface. The largest of the rocks resembles a elephant head. Under the surface it is like diving in an enormous aquarium, with the rocks forming a natural amphitheater.

Fish and corals in all the colours of the rainbow are present at this dive site. The rocks form large and small tunnels, plenty of great swim-through’s. The variations are enormous! This is one of the most exciting dives around Similan. A must – watch out for the mantas!

Elephant Head Dive Site facts:

  • Location: Between Similan Island No. 7 & 8. 20km west of Khao Lak
  • Site Depth: 5 – 40+ meters
  • Site Visibility: 5 – 30 meters
  • Currents: Mild to moderate
  • Difficulty Rating: Intermediate diving

Shark Fin Reef

Shark Fin Reef is a good example of the two types of Dive sites found at Similan.In the North you can find a slopping white sand bank covered with soft coral bommies.In the South East corner is where large granite boulders can be found adorned with sea fans and Sea Whips.This is the only dive site in the Similans where the jaw fish has been found.

Shark Fin Reef – Dive Similan Site facts:

  • Location: Similan Islands – Southeast of Koh Payan Island no.3
  • Site Depth: 0 – 40 meters
  • Site Visibility: 20 – 50 meters
  • Currents: Mild / Strong
  • Difficulty Rating: Easy Dive at Similan

Stonehenge

Stonehenge is a deep dive site. You dive between large towering rocks forming valleys and swim through’s. Around the base of the rocks on sandy white bottom sea fans and barrel sponges grow. Plentiful on this Thailand Diving site are bearded scorpion fish, unicorn surgeon fish and large angel fish. Take a look out for tuna, trevally, and barracuda which visit this site.

Stonehenge – Dive Similan Site facts:

  • Location: Similan Islands – South easy of Koh Payan Island no.3
  • Site Depth: 0 – 40 meters
  • Site Visibility: 20 – 50 meters
  • Currents: Mild / Strong
  • Difficulty Rating: Easy Dive at Similan

Surin Island National Park

Most famous dive site inside the Surin National Park is Richelieu Rock, which is part of every liveaboard trip that visits Surin.

Other well known sites within the park are Koh Toralina and Turtle Ledge. Many also quote Koh Tachai and Koh Bon as part of the park, however they belong officially to the Similan National Park.

Koh Bon

Koh Bon is completely different from other Similan diving sites. Koh Bon belongs to the Similan National Park, but is not part of the Similan group. Koh Born Islands is located about 15 NM noth of Similan Island No. 9.

At this diving site you will find a line running west from the island. “The Ridge” is covered with small soft corals and surrounded by a mixture of hard and soft coral.

Large schools of fusiliers, snappers and travellies are also very common here. Also commonly seen here are leopard sharks, white tip reef sharks, and manta rays.

A bit north of the island you find another dive site called “Koh Bon Pinnacle”.

Koh Bon Dive Site facts:

  • Location: Between Similan and Surin Islands
  • Site Depth: 0 – 50 meters
  • Site Visibility: 20 – 40 meters
  • Currents: can be strong
  • Difficulty Rating: Advanced diving

Koh Tachai

The dive site at Koh Tachai is fast one of the best Diving In Thailand has to offer. A series of large submerged sea mounds, making there way towards the island.

A great dive site where it is possible to see manta rays, whale sharks, and many reef sharks.

But if they are not there then you can always rely on the small stuff. Take a look in the cauliflower hard coral for frog fish and and wolf blennies.

On the boulders, nudibranch’s and flatworms are common. All around Koh Tachai schools of hundred of thousands of fusiliers can be found. Around the mooring line it’s normal to find long fin batfish who are very curious of divers.

Koh Tachai Dive Site facts:

  • Location: Surin Islands – 13 n.mile’s Northeast of the Similan Islands
  • Site Depth: 12 – 50 meters
  • Site Visibility: 20 – 40 meters
  • Currents: Can be very strong
  • Difficulty Rating: Advanced

Richelieu Rock

Richelieu Rock was discovered and named by Jacques Cousteau. This dive sites consists of a horse shoe shaped rock that only breaks the surface on low tide.

You will see here very large schools of big eyed travellies, chevron barracuda, and snappers. On the reef itself lion-fish, scorpion fish and octopus, look in the small cracks and crevices for numerous types of shrimp, it is even possible to find harlequin shrimps. Not to forget of course the chance for whale and guitar sharks.

Richelieu Rock is considered to be one of the best places on the planet to meet whale sharks.

This place has an incredible amount of different coral reefs and formations, that drop away 35 meters straight down from the surface. It is believed that there is more than 300 different species of coral here!

Richelieu Rock Dive Site facts:

  • Location: Surin Islands – 13 n.mile’s Northeast of the Similan Islands
  • Site Depth: 12 – 50 meters
  • Site Visibility: 20 – 40 meters
  • Currents: Can be very strong
  • Difficulty Rating: Advanced

Southern Sive Sites

Hin Muang

Hin Muang (Purple Rock) is a completely submerged rock. It is very close to Hin Daeng (approx 500 meters apart). Named Purple Rock because it’s dense covering of soft Purple corals, which can be found here and is a must if Diving In Thailand.

Even though it is very close to Hin Daeng it is a completely different dive site. Its features here the deepest drop off in Thai waters.

The large rock approximately 200 meters in length is covered with soft anemones, which look like fields. There is an incredible amount of marine life to be found here among them are Ornate Ghost Pipefish, Great Barracudas, and Tuna.

Try and swim off of the rocks to spot the many Manta Rays that can be found here along with the odd Whale Shark to.

Hin Muang Dive Site facts:

  • Location: Approximately 65 n.mile’s East of Phuket Island
  • Site Depth: 0 – 70 meters
  • Site Visibility: 20 – 30 meters
  • Currents: Can be strong
  • Difficulty Rating: Intermediate diving

Hin Daeng

If you plan Diving In Thailand than you should dive Hin Daeng (Red Rock) which is a great Scuba Diving Phuket dive site.

Hin Daeng is very close to Hin Muang (approx 500 meters apart) consists of walls, plateaus and rocks. A submerged pinnacle, where three rocks just break the surface.

This is one of the very few dive sites in Thailand where you can see grey reef sharks.

Whale sharks and manta rays are also known to visit this dive spot. Here you also might see leopard sharks, great barracudas, octopus, and plenty of cleaner shrimps.

In the north there is a valley with small boulders inside which are completely jeweled with soft coral. Try and take a look in the cracks and crevices for many species of pipefish found here.

Hin Daeng Dive Site facts:

  • Location: Approximately 65 n.mile’s East of Phuket
  • Site Depth: 0 – 35 meters
  • Site Visibility: 20 – 30 meters
  • Currents: Can be strong
  • Difficulty Rating: Intermediate to advanced diving
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