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Friday, January 18, 2008

Similan Islands

The Similan Islands (Thai: เกาะสิมิลัน) is a group of islands located in the Andaman Sea, off the coast of Phang Nga Province. "Similan" is a Yawi word, which simply means "nine". This region is also a National Park, which was established in 1982. The National Park is a archipelago, made up of 9 islands.

Counting in order, beginning from the North;
Ko Ba-Ngu (Number 9), Ko Similan (Number 8), Ko Payu (Number 7), Ko Miang Sam (Number 6), Ko Miang Song (Number 5), Ko Miang (Number 4), Ko Payan (Number 3), Ko Payang (Number 2) and Ko Hu Yong (Number 1).

Additionally, there is a small rock outcrop, situated between number 7 and number 8. This area is known as Elephant Head Rock.

The Similan Islands, are home to the largest variety and numbers of Reef Fish, in Thailand. Here you will also find at least 200 species of hard coral. The Islands are renown for their stunning mass of coral, the natural beaches and the crystal-clear blue waters. This is a wonderfully idyllic place to relax aboard a boat or to enjoy the dive sites.

Ko Similan is the largest of the 9 islands. It's horseshoe shape partly encircles a small bay in the West. Along with the wonderful underwater scenery, you may also participate in some hiking. The Island has the largest granite outcrop in the Similan archipelago, which provides panoramic views across the area.

The Similan Islands are situated approximately 70 kilometers from Phang Nga Town. The best route to journey to the Similan Islands is from Khao Lak, based in the Phang Nga Province. Boats depart on a daily basis from November to May each year. If you take a slow boat to the Similan Islands, expect your journey to take 3 hours each way. If you instead opt for a speed boat, the traveling time is reduced to 70 minutes each way.

The Similan National Park, is one of the most prominent dive sites in the whole of Thailand. It offers 2 diverse diving experiences. There is a great contrast in underwater conditions, when comparing the eastern and western sides of the islands. The dive site to the west, is most famous for it's huge underwater granite boulders. The exposed boulders are clad in coral. There are many options to explore with a labyrinth of swim-throughs. Here you can reach depths of 30m. It is recommended to swim with a guide in order to navigate all of the fascinating passages. This truly is an opportunity for you to experience a thrilling dive.

On the Eastern side, the underwater boulders have been largely buried by the fine sand. The sand slopes to reveal bewitching hard coral gardens. You may also visit the popular dive sites, such as North Point, Deep Six, Boulder City and the stunning peaks located off Koh Bon and Koh Tachai. The greatest dive site, can be found in the Surin National Park. Richelieu Rock, is noted for it's exciting variety of marine life.

If you would like to book a tour to the Similan Islands, or would like more information, then please contact us. We can provide you with any information you may require.

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