Dive with us! to the Similan Islands in Thailand on the Junk Liveaboard
Similan Islands Thailand
Similan Islands Liveaboard Diving Thailand
The Similans are normally our first stop on the high season liveaboard tour. The Island grouping lies 60 nautical miles North West from our home port of Patong and 35 miles due west of the closest pier at Tap-Lamu. The Similan Islands in Thailand are thought to have inherited their name from the Malaysian word *sembelan* (ITALICS), which means nine, as the Similans consist of a grouping of nine granite boulder Islands arranged in a South to North access. All the Islands have Thai names but even your Captain will refer to them by number, starting with Island #1 in the South and finishing ten nautical miles in the North with Island #9. Above the water topography is stunning, lush vegetation topping the Islands gives way to granite boulders or white sandy beaches, surrounded by clear blue water. But it is what lies beneath the water that allows the Similans to lay claim to being one of Thailand and Asia's top scuba diving liveaboard destinations.
As the Similan Islands are out on their own in the Andaman Sea, and with very little run-off coming from the relatively small Islands, you can expect good to great visibility when ever you are here. The dive sites themselves can be roughly divided into whether they are East-coast sites or West-coast sites.
East-coast sites tend to be sand covered fringing reefs predominantly made up of hard coral. The reef plateau's are around 5-10 metres deep and from here you have gentle slopes heading down to the reef edge at around 20-25m. The Eastern sides of the Similans also tend to have more gentle currents. This makes the Eastern dive sites ideal for both divers of all levels and snorkelers too. On Eastern sites you can expect to see a huge variety of coral reef fish. On sand passes look out for garden eels, blue-spot mask rays and the endemic blue-spot jaw fish. Specials include harlequin and robust ghost pipefish, short pouch pygmy pipehorses and hawksbill turtles.
West-coast dive sites, on the other hand, are a little different. Here giant granite boulders tumble to the sea bed easily reaching depths of 40m. The more exposed side of the Similans can be prone to stronger and more unpredictable currents. The currents have kept the boulders free from a build up of sand, leading to boulder dive sites with a variety of canyons, tunnels, swimthroughs, archways and caverns. It can be more challenging diving but hopefully the increased chance of larger pelagics makes up for that. Also keep an eye out for andaman sweetlips, dogtooth tuna and anglerfish.If you like liveaboard diving then you have to visit the Similan islands in Thailand.