Similan Islands Snorkeling
Similan Islands Snorkeling
Snorkeling in the Similan Islands is bound to bring a smile to anyone´s face, with intensely colorful and rich homes below the surface and pristine white sand beaches with tropical jungles hanging in the background, it is near impossible not to. Thailand is sure to get the hearts of any water lover with a little wanderlust racing… The picturesque beaches leading to the intensely vibrant marine life that hides just below the blue. While Thailand is on many of our must-see lists, choosing where to go within Thailand is usually the hardest part. In the Andaman Sea you can find the cluster of the eleven beautiful Similan Islands. The islands are all conveniently numbered from south to north.
These islands are home to the oldest coral reefs in Thailand and are approximately 5,000 years old. The first three islands are inaccessible to the public for the sake of preserving turtle nesting beaches. The other islands, while accessible to the public, are respected areas and accommodate few overnight visitors beyond those on the liveaboards. While all of the islands are beautiful and each worthwhile if you have the time to explore them all, the most famous of the islands are Ko Similan, Ko Huyong, and Ko Pa Yu. Part of the Phang Nga province, the Similan Islands are one of Thailand's many national parks. The marine world that the Similan Islands hosts is extraordinary and varied. The west side of the islands have large coral boulders while the east side is known for its sloping coral reefs.
Marine Life in the Similan Islands
There is no shortage of life in the waters of the Similan Islands thanks to the conditions of the Andaman Sea, which are ideal for cultivating spectacular coral reefs. You could spend weeks here and still leave feeling unsatisfied due to the immense diversity the waters host. The colors of the hard and soft colors alone are worth the snorkels. The different corals come together and form sloping reefs on the east side of the islands while on the west side of the islands form massive coral boulders, often resembling many commonplace objects (read: Elephant Rock).
Colorful reef fish dance between the corals - like anemone fish, oceanic triggerfish, titan triggerfish, and oriental sweetlips. Smaller finds of the invertebrate variety including the dazzling harlequin shrimp and many nudibranchs as well as a few larger invertebrates like cuttlefish and the impressive giant jellyfish that can be found here. Some other unique finds in the islands include sea snakes, seahorses, stonefish, giant groupers, blue-spotted Kuhl´s and endless more. Some of the larger animals that frequent these waters are turtles, white and black tipped reef sharks, manta rays, bottlenose dolphins and the occasional whale shark.
Best Snorkel Sites in the Similan Islands
Similan´s Islands snorkeling is fantastic, it is a place where there is no such thing as a bad snorkel spot. While all of the Similan Islands´ has an abundance of perfect shallow reefs for snorkelling, some of the islands have more famed spots. The island Ko Pa Yu is often a favorite among water lovers for its underwater realm, with the east side in particular having plenty to offer, and is especially abundant with shallow reefs. Really, there is no going wrong with snorkeling here and the hardest part tends to be having to choose between all of the options.
Best Time to Snorkel in the Similan Islands
The best time to snorkel in the Similan Islands is during Thailand´s high season from around November to February so as to avoid monsoons. Weather is perfect for snorkeling the remainder of the year with warm waters and air temperatures year round. The park itself closes during the low season from May to October. Since the park is only open during certain months, any time you choose to visit will be incredible. The manta rays grace the islands from March to May so if you visit during that time you may get lucky!
How Do I Get to the Similan Islands
The most common way to get to the Similan Islands is from the Thap Lamu Pier near Khao Lak. You can either go for a day trip or for a liveaboard experience. Either way, the Thap Lamu Pier is bound to be your departure and return pier. To fully experience the Similan Islands, a liveaboard is often the best option since it allows you to fully explore all that the different islands have to offer.