Similan Islands

Similan Islands Diving
Diving in Thailand
Diving in the Similan Islands

Similan Islands


The plentiful marine life of the Andaman Sea is showcased in all its glory in the Similan Islands. Comfortably warm waters and mild currents make for dream-like conditions, where large pelagics are often spotted feeding above the bountiful reefs. While scuba diving in the Similan Islands, you will see beautiful reefs, plentiful fish and occassional big animals.




These world-famous islands stretch north-south in the Andaman Sea, 30 miles off the coast of southern Thailand. Covering an area of approximately 87 square miles, the nine islands of the archipelago, plus Ko Bon and Ko Tachai to the north, make up the Mu Ko Similan National Park

The real draw here is the manta rays and whale sharks that visit the warm waters from December until April each year. Outside these months diving is still spectacular, however, with medium-sized species patrolling the bustling reefs, and plentiful macro hiding amongst the beautiful hard corals. The Similan Islands really do offer an amazing scuba diving liveaboard experience.




The Similan Islands National Park was closed to tourists in October 2016 due to the impact of huge numbers of day-trippers, but reopened two years later and has a current cap of 3,325 visitors per day. All tourist accommodation on the islands is now closed, except for a few park-managed tents and bungalows. In addition, access to three of the islands is restricted to protect nesting turtles, and one is privately owned. As such, a liveaboard is the most comfortable, and by far the most convenient way to access all these intriguing islands have to offer.

View Similan Islands liveaboard live availability and book online at the best price.

Diving Information 

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Most of Southeast Asia’s extensive marine catalog can be found in the waters around the Similan Islands. The region’s impressive corals were declared ‘fully recovered’ by the national park authorities in 2019, and the diversity of species living on the vibrant reefs only confirms this.
A good number of shark species can be found, including blacktip and whitetip reef sharks, zebra sharks, and leopard sharks. Blue-spotted ribbon tail rays and spotted eagle rays can often be seen sweeping across the sand, and schools of barracuda, giant trevally, and Napoleon wrasse are all regular visitors.
Four species of marine turtles live in the waters around the Similan Islands, with the beaches of Ko Huyong, Ko Payang, and Ko Payan (also referred to as Islands 1, 2, and 3) recognized as crucial turtle nesting sites for the leatherback and olive ridley turtles. Divers will often be accompanied by green or hawksbill turtles when they explore the outlying atolls.
The critter-life is no less exciting, with multicolored nudibranchs, pipefish, scorpionfish, and tiny octopus contributing to the rich macro scene. 


Between December and April each year, manta rays and whale sharks stop-off on their migration to feed in the Andaman Sea’s plankton-rich waters. Individuals will often stick around for several weeks, and can regularly be sighted around the outer reefs and atolls.

The fascinating underwater topography of these islands creates an ethereal backdrop to an exotic aquarium, where granite columns and stacks appear almost fluid in structure, shimmering and melting in the dazzling sunlight that pierces the crystal water. Diving the Similan Islands is a real treat, and one of the most unique and rewarding liveaboards trips you can experience.

Diving Conditions

  • Water temperature: 83-87°F (28-30°C) year-round.
  • Visibility: Excellent, up to 150ft.
  • Depth Range: Most dives are less than 100ft.
  • Diving Difficulty: There is a range of sites suitable for all levels, and many dives are easy and quite shallow.

Dive Sites  


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Travel Information 

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How to Get There

Thailand currently has six international airports, with Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) in Bangkok being the main gateway to the country. It is easy to get anywhere from Bangkok.  


How to Dive Thailand

Liveaboards are available to explore the Andaman Sea and reach dive sites you otherwise can't reach.


Best Time to Dive

Within the Gulf of Thailand, diving is available almost year round. November is the beginning of the monsoon season in which visibility drops and heavy rainstorms can occur but by the mid/end of December things typically have gone back to normal. On the Andaman side, the dive season is more limited. Some areas are only available to dive parts of the year (like the Similians and Koh Lanta). In general October - April is the best time to dive the Andaman Sea.


Topside & Non-Diving Activities

You can try to "island-hop" to different destinations comparing their offerings. Every island has its own personality, so depending on what you are looking for, certain islands would fit best. Looking for a night on the town? Koh Phi Phi on the Andaman side, or Koh Tao in the gulf would be a good start. Prefer a relaxing evening instead? The Andamans, Koh Lanta, or Koh Samui in the gulf could be better alternatives.


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Please contact us for the latest availability of the following boats: Diva Andaman, Similan Explorer, MV Hallelujah, Dolphin Queen, Deep Andaman Queen, MV Giamani, DiveRACEMV Oktavia, and MV Pawara.


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Other Useful Information 

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Practical Information

  • Currency: Thai Baht (THB).
  • Language: Thai is the national and official language of Thailand.
  • Main Airport Code: BKK.
  • Time Zone: UTC+7.
  • Electricity: The standard voltage is 220 V and the frequency is 50 Hz.
  • Vaccines: Please check the CDC website for updated information on vaccines, health concerns, etc. It is recommended that you are up to date with Typhoid, Tetanus/Diphtheria, Hepatitis, and Polio for any trip to the tropics.
  • Visa: U.S. citizens carrying a tourist passport and in possession of an onward or return airline ticket do not require a visa to enter Thailand.

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UNderwater images

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Reviews (1)


I went on a group trip to the Similan and Surin Islands in February of 2017 on the Junk liveaboard. The trip was a really great price, the liveaboard was clean and met basic necessity, and the food and the crew were really great. Overall, I would say that the wildlife in Thailand is very plentiful, although I would not say any of the dive sites particularly blew me away compared to other destinations except for a few: Richelieu Rock, Koh Bon, Hin Daeng, and Hin Muang.

Many of the sites on the Andaman side of Thailand had very interesting underwater structure -- huge boulder reef structures spotted with cup corals -- that were very unique to the destination, but not necessarily worth the price of the trip alone. However, the 4 sites I listed above were absolutely amazing, and these 4 dive sites alone made the entire trip to Thailand worth it, despite some of the other sites being slightly lackluster.

The pinnacles were covered in abundant soft corals that housed numerous nudibranchs playing hide and seek (spotting nudibranchs is one of my favorite diving activities), surrounded by large schools of fish (both over the reef and in the blue), and sheltering abundant seahorses and cephalopods! I could've stayed on those locations to dive for all 10 days, they were so full of life and so vibrant and colorful.

To top it off, I stayed in Thailand for a few extra days to explore the area on land, and spent a few days traveling in Cambodia, as well. The region is so rich with culture and history -- combining these land activities with the beautiful diving made for one of the best trips for the price that I've taken! Don't forget to travel with your best dive buddies to make the trip irresistible:)

Visited on 03/2020 - Submitted on 03/24/2020


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