Similan Islands tours are best done from Khao Lak, but they also depart from Phuket. Long before Khao Lak became a popular tourist destination, the Similan Islands were a secret paradise that divers and snorkelers shared.
What are Similan Islands tours famous for?
The Similan Islands, a group of 11 islands, are world-famous and best known as a divers and snorkelers paradise. It’s one of the best diving sites in the world. Large areas of hard and soft coral reefs, a tremendous diversity of underwater life, crystal clear water, and white sand beaches, all make this a hot spot for tourists. If you want to have a memorable underwater experience, be one with the mighty sea and all of its life, this is it.
How do you get to Similan Islands?
The best port to depart from is the Tablamu pier. Most excursions will leave from here by large speedboats and get you to the islands in about 70 minutes. On a slow boat, it will take 3 hours.
Keep in mind, the Similan Islands National Park opens from mid-October until Mid-May. Outside this period, the park is closed.
The most practical and common way to get to the islands is by booking a trip at your hotel, a travel agency in town, or booking one online. The arranged tours include a full-transfer service from your accommodation to the Similan Islands and back.
Can you stay in the Similan Islands?
If you desire a true tropical paradise, you can find accommodation in the Similan Islands. It is possible to stay on 3 of the 11 Similan Islands. There are bungalows, hotels, and campsites. To get this premium opportunity, you pay a higher price compared to the average Khao Lak accommodation.
Can you snorkel on Similan Islands tours?
Snorkelling tours around the Similan Islands give you one of the best and most affordable experiences in the world. It’s a safe and convenient way to admire the deep blue wonders.
Many shallow coral reefs around the Similan Islands provide the perfect conditions for diving and snorkelling. With an abundance of marine life, you’ll have the chance to meet some of the most exotic creatures. You can see a list of the wildlife at the end of this post.
Ready to go snorkelling? You can book this All-In snorkeling day excursion online. Cancellation, insurance, meals, transfers, park fee, equipment, and more, are included.
How many islands are there in Similan National Park?
Today, the Similan National Park is an archipelago of 11 islands in the Andaman sea. They are situated 70 km off the coast and cover an area of 140 sq. km.
“Similan” is a Yawi (a Malayan dialect) word that means nine. That’s because the Similan National Park originally had nine islands. In 1998 they included two more remote islands; Ko Tachai and Ko Bon.
Here is the complete list of Similan Islands:
- Island 1: Ko Huyong
- Island 2: Ko Payang
- Island 3: Ko Payan
- Island 4: Ko Miang (Park Headquarter is here)
- Island 5: Ko Ha
- Island 6: Ko Payu
- Island 7: Ko Hin Pousar
- Island 8: Ko Similan
- Island 9: Ko Ba-ngu
- Island 10: Ko Bon (also known as Ko Talu)
- Island 11: Ko Tachai
The two main islands are Ko Miang and Ko Similan.
When are the Similan Islands Open?
The Similan Islands open each year between Mid-October to Mid-May. Usually at or around 15 October to 16 May.
The closing of the National Park is mainly due to the heavy monsoons, turning the sea into rough waters. On the other hand, it gives the coral reefs time to recover from mass tourism.
Why is there a National Park fee for Similan Islands tours?
Over the years, the Thai government has limited the number of tourists allowed to visit the park. Currently, the limit is around 3000 visitors a day. Before the limitations, the islands received as high as 7000 visitors a day.
The National Park fee is to ensure the protection and maintenance of the park. The entrance fee is 500 THB for foreign adults and 300 THB for children, 100 THB for local tourists, and 50 THB for local children. All agencies that go to the Similan Islands have to include this fee. Be aware, that some offers exclude this fee to keep the initial offer low, but they surprise you during the booking process.
If you’re looking to book a day trip for snorkelling, make sure the price includes the entrance fee, or it will catch you by surprise. To make it easy, we recommend this All-In day trip, which you can conveniently book online. All the details of the trip you’ll find on the page.
What life can be found underwater in the Similan Islands?
The national park offers a wide diversity of underwater life. The rich waters give you the best chances to see a wide variety of life. Here’s a glimpse of what you could find:
manta rays, whale sharks, whitetip reef sharks, blacktip reef sharks, leopard sharks, blue-spotted ribbon-tail rays, spotted eagle rays, bow mouth guitarfish, shovelnose guitarfish, hawksbill sea turtles, olive ridley sea turtles, leatherback sea turtles, green sea turtles, giant morays, fimbriated morays, grey face moray eels, great barracudas, green hump-head parrotfish, ribbon eels, giant trevallies, frogfish, seahorses, sea snakes, octopuses, and much more!
If you are a fan of sea turtles you may be lucky to find them on your Similan Islands tour. However, you could also visit the Sea Turtle Conservation Center in Taplamu, south of Khao Lak.