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Scuba Diving in Thailand Islands - Koh Similan

Updated on October 3, 2010

Similan Islands in Thailand

Thailand is one of the most magical places in South East Asia and a mecca for diving. Thailand's Islands offer up some of the prime locations in the world to scuba dive and see amazing coral and marine life whilst diving. The Andaman Sea allows Thai divers to get away from the larger crowds of other islands such as Koh Tao and Koh Samui. One of the prime diving spots in this area are the Similan Islands.

The Andaman Sea offers caves, reefs, dropoffs and more. Whilst the islands still engage in Thailand's exciting vibrant nightlife, food and culture. To get to the islands from the mainland, the most common way is from Phuket via live aboard dive boats. There is some amazing diving to be had in the Koh Surin national park and also Koh Similan, which we will focus on here. The great thing about diving in Thailand is the relatively cheap prices combined with the incredible dive spots.

Koh Similan National Park Dive Sites

The Similan group of Islands are about 60 miles off the coast of Phuket and offer some stunning white sands across its nine islands. The top dive sites are Fantasea Reef, Elephant Head while Beacon Beach Reef is popular with snorkelers. The islands are commonly split into two, East and West based on sides of the islands not location. The East tends to be the sandy beaches and corals, whilst the West is characterised by large rugged boulders rising up from the sea and some incredible swim through diving sites.

Due to this the Eastern side of the islands offer dive sites with reefs and walls descending relatively gently down to a rocky and sandy sea bed. These areas are also great for snorkeling or novice divers as the sites tend to be fairly shallow and sheltered. Marine life whilst diving is especially abundant too, while even snorkeling you would see a lot in the smallest areas. Thailand is great for these types of dives.

Thailand's Islands offer some amazing diving and vistas
Thailand's Islands offer some amazing diving and vistas

The Western shores however are better if you are an advanced diver. This is due to the amazing giant boulders underwater. These can go down to 40 metres plus and are an incredible sight to see. Currents provide life for the ecosystem which makes bold coloured corals and lots of life. The further you get away from the shore the better! More boulders, pinnacles, colourful fish and coral that will blow you away...and best of all, less divers.

If you come to the Similan Islands between March and April you also have the chance to see large visitors such as whale sharks, rays and barracuda. But whatever time of the year you visit, there will be some incredible marine life to see on your dives.


The Similan Islands offer up some of the best diving available in Thailand. The Islands are varied and offer many different types of diving for divers of all experience levels. There are also some great live aboard boat tours too which mean you can really get out on your own and away from the diving crowds. With hundreds of species of coral, many species of fish, warm climates throughout the year and great food for when you are onland, it is easy to see why people flock to Thailand's Islands to dive. And the islands of Koh Similan National Park are arguably the best.

What are your favourite places to dive in Thailand?

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    • Prisana profile image

      Prisana Nuechterlein 

      7 years ago from Thailand and Colorado

      The Similan Islands is by far my most favorite place to dive in Thailand! Great Hub! For divers who have yet to experience live-aboard diving, I highly recommend taking a live-aboard trip to the Similans. Sadly, Fantasea Reef is now closed to divers. I really missed it on my last trip this past January. When was the last time you went diving in the Similans?


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