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scuba diving similan islands


When we talk about divesites in Khao Lak we usually think about the stunning Similan islands and the sites a bit further North, such as Koh Bon and Koh Tachai, which are all part of the Mu Koh Similan National Park.

However, it would be a mistake to forget mentioning the exciting wreck dives at thethree wrecks, which can be found not far from Khao Lak harbour.


The Boonsung Wreck, Sea Chart Wreck and the Premchai Wreck are fantastic dive sites with unbelievable amounts of fish and variety of marine life.


There are not many other dive sites that offer the experience of being completely surrounded by schools and schools of fish. Sometimes there is so much fish you will be having a hard time to actually see the wreck and your fellow divers.


Here you can find out more about our daily wreck diving trips from Khao Lak.


Scuba diving the Similan Islands – What to expect


Most scuba divers, however, are visiting Khao Lak not for the wrecks but for the Similan Islands, which have long been known as one of the best diving in the world.


The 9 islands are protected as a national park, which also includes Koh Bon and Koh Tachai two islands a bit further to the north.


The islands themselves are absolutely stunning. With their white sandy beaches and granite boulders surrounded by crystal clear turquoise water the views above the water are as beautiful as it gets.

similan islands scuba diving


Underwater it is a similar experience.


Visibility is usually more than 25-30+ meters offering a great view on the rock formations, boulders and coral gardens, which would be best described as an exciting playground for divers.


Dive sites on the east coast of the islands are fringing reefs with hard corals, gorgonian sea fans and patches of soft coral in between. They start shallow and usually end in around 25-30m.


Some of these sites have been hit by coral bleaching a few years back and thus have been closed for divers to give the corals time to recover.


However, most dive sites remain open and there are still more than 20 different divesites to choose.


Many of them on the west coast and tips of the islands.


Spectacular rock formations with boulders, tunnels, swim throughs and lots of fun


The main attraction of diving the Similans islands for many divers are the dive sites on the western sides of the islands as well as the southern and northern tips, which are all open for divers.


Dive sites here tend to be a bit deeper, below the recreational dive limit of 40m, with stronger currents on some days and offer an exciting mix of boulders, wall diving and coral bommies.


This makes them better suited for advanced divers but with the right dive plan everyone can enjoy a dive here.


What can you see diving the Similan Islands?


Dive sites such as Elephant Head Rock, Deep Six, Christmas Point or North Point are nothing less than spectacular with tunnels, swim throughs and canyons.


But of course you can also see corals here, soft corals, large sea fans and table corals.


scuba diving similan islands


Marine life is plentiful with the typical reef fish, moray eels, scorpion fish, octopus, cuttle fish as well as a good chance to spot pelagic hunters, such as giant trevally, tuna as well as reef shark.


With a bit of luck there might even be a manta ray or whale shark passing by.


How to dive the Similan Islands?


All dive sites of the Similan Islands are offered by Sea Bees either as a scuba diving daytrip from Khao Lak or one of our Thailand liveaboard tours.


Dive sites north of the similans are only accessible during one of our Thailand liveaboards.


Dive sites north of the Similan Islands – Best experienced by live aboard

Koh Bon and Koh Tachai north of the Similans but also part of the same national park.


Despite being less well known than the Similan Islands the leave nothing to be desired.


In fact for many divers they are the actual highlights in this part of the Andaman Sea.


Koh Bon is a cleaner station, which attracts plenty of manta rays, which come here from January to May. During these months it is very rare not to encounter at least one of these gentle giants during your dive there.


diving similans manta ray


But not only manta rays can be found here. Also the occasional whale shark, eagle rays, tuna, wahoo and other larger predators are a common sight.


But it*s not only the bigger fish that divers love about this dive site. Soft corals here cover large parts of walls, the western part of the reef is full of hard corals and in between lives an incredible variety of reef fish, mooray eels, octopus and other interesting marine life.


Koh Tachai is an island, which offers similar views as the Similans, with beautiful sandy beaches, crystal clear water and granite boulders. As the island is closed for daytrip tourists it is very quiet and serene.

Below the surface the main attraction here is a dive site called Twin Peaks or The Pinnacle.


This completely submerged pinnacle starts at 12m below the surface is a dive site that can produce vicious currents, which makes it a site more suited to advanced divers.


The location in the middle of the ocean attracts an incredible abundance of fish. Here divers have  a good chance to spot leopard sharks, manta rays and whale sharks, which is one of many reasons why the site is especially popular with experienced divers and the dive guides.


leopard sharks diving thailand


The Surin Islands are another marine national park close to the Burmese border. The park consists of 5 islands and is still relatively unknown, despite attracting small numbers of daytrip tourist which arrive by speedboat.


Scuba divers can dive at the islands coral reefs and spot the rare napoleon wrasse and bumphead parrot fish.


The main reason for scuba divers to come to this part of Thailand still remains theworld famous Richelieu Rock. Discovered by none less than Jacques Costeau it is still one of the top 10 dive sites in the world.

Richelieu Rock is a almost completely submerged rock formation that only breaks the surface during low tide. As it is the only reef far and near it it beaming with life and also is a cleaner station for the pelagic giants of the ocean.


While around 20-25 years ago some dive centers offered a guarantee to see a whale shark here, it is more the incredible abundance of marine life that attracts so many scuba divers to this site. And of course, the chances to spot one of the largest fish around is still not too bad.


Best time for whale sharks here is between February to April. But the diving is spectacular any time of the season.


whale shark diving similans


Schools of fish, barracudas, mating cuttlefish, frogfish, sea horses, harlequin shrimp and many, many other rare critters can also be seen during every dive.


The only way to dive at Richelieu Rock is during a liveaboard safari. Since the site is so far away from everything else the boat stays there for a whole day allowing plenty of time to explore every part of it.


Best time to dive the Similans and the northern dive sites


The best time for diving here is during the main tourist season from December to April, with best chances of mantas and whale sharks from February onwards.


The nationalpark is only open from November to mid May. Therefore we also operate only during this time.


From mid of May to end of October we recommend to have a look at our offers for scuba diving in Phuket.


Our offers for divers in Khao Lak –  Daytrips to the Similan Islands and the local wrecks


As described above Khao Lak offers a lot of options and dive sites for scuba divers.


We offer daily dive trips to the Similan islands as well to the local wreck dives.


Here you can find more information about our scuba daytrips to the Similans and our wreck diving tours from Khao Lak.


Liveaboard diving at the Similan islands


From Khao Lak we operate the MY Genesis, which alternates 3 day / 2 night trips to the Similans with a north tour to the Surin Islands, Richelieu Rock, as well as Koh Bon and Koh Tachai.

More information about the Khao Lak liveaboard tours.


From Phuket we offer a 6 day/6 night dive safari, which starts at the Similan Nationalpark and travels all the way to the Surin Islands and Richelieu Rock.

More information about our Phuket liveaboard tours.


You would like to join one of our next trips? Than don`t hesitate to contact us now to find out more.

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