The Similan National Park is open from October until May, and the best way to explore these islands are by liveaboard. A Similan diving cruise will last from 4 days up to 1 week and brings you to the best diving Thailand has to offer. Although not a Similan Dive site Richelieu Rock, as well as Tachai, are included on this page because it is part of each Similan liveaboard itinerary we offer. Some of these dive sites are part of the Myanmar diving schedule when you departure from Khoa Lak.
1. Anita’s Reef
Anita’s Reef starts at about starts at 5 meters with a sloping bottom that gently goes to a depth of 30 meters. In the shallow part, you find hard coral reefs that or full of small reef fish hanging around. Also Look out for moray eels and lionfish that hide between the corals and rocks.
When you start to get deeper, the reef starts to become more a sandy area with every couple of meters a coral bommie. These bommies are full of soft corals gorgonian sea fans and big barrel sponges. In the deeper parts, you will find several coral bommies with giant sea fans. For the marine life, you will look for the smaller critters as nudibranchs, shrimps and frogfish. Some periods of the year, you get huge schools of glassfish hiding around the reef. This is when you can hang around and enjoy the show while trevallies, and rainbow runners try to catch a few.
As you swim from one bommie to the other, there are still plenty of fish to see. Like blue spotted stingrays, garden eels and small partner gobies. With 20 meters of visibility and a mild current, this Similan dive site is ideal to start your liveaboard trip.
2. West Of Eden
West of Eden is a more challenging dive site on the Similan islands. It starts quite gently in the bay with a hard coral reef where you can see a turtle hanging around.
When getting to the edge of the bay, the scenery starts to change to massive granite boulders. These boulders start from about 10 meters to a maximum of 30 meters. In between you have channels of about 5 meters wide and comfortable can swim trough. Have a look on the sea floor as well as on the walls for nudibranchs. The massive sea fans also can hide some different critters like ghost pipefish. Also, ribbon eels and fire gobies are in the deeper parts of this dive sites.
When diving West of Eden also make sure to look out into the blue where you can spot trevallies and other big pelagic fish. Very rare but also mantas have been spotted here. Because of the thermoclines that bring in the colder water, wich is common on this Similan dive site.
3. Breakfast Bend
Breakfast Bend is a great drift dive that starts with a sloping bottom at 3 meters to 10 meters. This area is full of hard corals and brings lots of reef fish. Also on this Similan dive site, you can spot turtles, Napoleon wrasses and humphead parrotfish. When you go a little deeper, you will see bommies with soft corals and is a great place to spot some smaller critters. In the early morning dive, you might want to swim away from the reef where you have a good chance to see some reef sharks cruise along.
4. Sharkfin Reef
This Similan dive site got its name because of the rock that just sticks out of the water and looks like a sharks fin. Sharkfin Reef is the longest Similan dive site that stretches out over 1 km in length. This makes it another great drift dive. Sharkfin Reef mainly consists out of big granite rocks piled on top of each other and patches of hard corals. Around there you will see some humphead parrotfish and if you are lucky a leopard shark resting on the sand. When you look carefully on the rocks, you most likely see blue dragons crawling around.
5. North Point
The start of your dive at North Point starts at about 20 meters where you can make a free descent or follow the line. While following the line, you get already a nice view over this Similan dive site what consists out of a maze of granite boulders. You will start deep and eventually make your way up to the hard coral reef where you finish your dive. While diving around in the granite maze have a look in the cracks for little shrimps. Also look in the sand for red and purple fire gobies as well as pipefishes. One fascinating pipefish can be seen here, and that is the pygmy pipe horse a little animal and very hard to find.
When you end your dive, there is a hard coral reef where you can make your safety stop while looking around for turtles. Also, leaffish and stonefish have been found here.
6. Boulder City
Boulder City is a cluster of boulders and is a more advanced Similan dive site. The shallowest part is at about 12 meters wich goes to the sandy bottom that starts at 35 meters. Early morning dives are here best to do because of your no decompression limits and it is the best time for shark encounters.
On the surface area of the boulders, is a bed of soft corals as wells as giant gorgonian sea fans. Look around for nudibranchs and pipefish as well as Napoleon wrasse and humphead parrotfish. At the deeper areas make sure you keep an eye out for bigger pelagic fish such as travelies and with a little luck manta or eagle rays. The sandy regions around the boulders are most common for sharks such as black and white tips and leopard shark. For this dive site, it is advisable to use Nitrox.
7. Honeymoon Bay
Honeymoon Bay is an ideal place for liveaboards to use a mooring for the night. Also, it has a reef where you will do a sunset or night dive.
The reef is a gently sloping bottom that starts at 5 meters to a maximum of 26 meters. Because it is the 4th dive of the day, you do not go deeper than 15-20 meters. While diving around the hard corals and bommies make sure you take your time. On day dives you can look out into the blue and spot bigger fish, night dives are more for macro and explore every inch of the site with your torch.
When you shine your torch towards the reef, you will see hundreds of eyes light up and look at you. These are shrimps such as the Durban dancing shrimp and boxing shrimp. Moray eels and lionfish come out of there hiding during the night. Whereas you see them partly during the day, the moray eel starts swimming around to find a meal at night.
8. East Of Eden
This dive site is believed to be 1 of the best dives in the Similan National Park. East Of Eden is aligned from North to South with a sloping reef that starts at 4 meters to a maximum of 40 meters. In the North, there are clusters of hard coral reefs where lionfish, moray eels, scorpionfish and other reef fish are present.
However, the highlight of East Of Eden is Ruan Gluay-Mai also known as the orchid garden. This pinnacle covered in beautiful soft corals and gorgonian sea fans and, has a great diversity of marine life. You could spend your whole dive and be amazed by what you will see. From little shrimps as well as nudibranch are very common. But also have a look for some colourful cleaner pipefish that are swimming around in the darker areas. Schools of glassfish are often hanging around Ruan Gluay-Mai that attract bigger fish such as rainbow runners and trevallies.
In the South, you will finish your dive in the shallower parts that have a huge plain of grass-like soft corals on the sand. In fact, it looks similar to a Japanese garden which makes it a good photo opportunity. Turtles are common to see here as well.
9. Deep Six
Deep six is an extension of the main island that continues to a depth of about 40 meters. This Similan dive site is a cluster of rocks piled on top of each other and has some great swim-throughs. These swim-throughs are filled with soft corals and gorgonian sea fans wich makes some great photo opportunities.
Schools of fish hang around the boulders mainly in the current for example banner fish, snappers and fusiliers. When currents start to pick up you easy can hide behind the rock formations. Thermoclines occur here on a regular basis. In a matter of fact when that happens you or more likely to see some bigger fish as, Mantas, tuna and trevally.
Diving to the outer areas of the dive look for Kuhl stingrays and partner gobies in the sand. Reef sharks are here as well in the deeper parts. Also, the outer rocks have some interesting marine life. Such as Stonefish, spear mantis shrimp and ribbon eels.
10. Elephant Head Rock
Between Similan Island 7 & 8 is the largest pinnacle called Elephant Head Rock. When you approach this Similan dive site, you will see 3 rocks emerge above the water. Under here is a huge pinnacle that is surrounded by sand.
In the early morning dives, you have a good chance to see reef sharks in the deeper parts of Elephant Head Rock. After coming back to the site, there is a big playground with channels and swim-throughs. Make sure to follow your guide getting you around this maze.
While diving in the channel look for devil scorpion fish, ribbon eels and mantis shrimps. One of the channels is probably the most photographed area in the Similan. As there is a small window where you can make a great headshot from the other side.
While going through the swim-throughs watch out for your buoyancy as some of them are quite low. The walls have soft corals as well sea fans while marine life can vary from nudibranch and pipefish to schools of fusiliers and trevallies.
Many divers consider Elephant Head Rock one of the best dives in the Similan National Park.
11. Turtle Rock
Turtle Rock is another good dive site for sunset as wells as night diving. Because of the shallow reef that starts at about 8 meters and drops down to 15-20 meters.
The reef is made from staghorn corals and stacked rock. On the rocks, you will see some soft corals as well as sea fans. Here you see turtles, several kinds of morays, lionfish and banded sea snakes. Again as it is a sunset or night dive take your time to explore every bit with your torch so you can find several shrimps hiding under the rocks and corals. When going a bit deeper, there is sand where you can spot Khul stingrays and garden eels.
12. Beacon Reef
Beacon Reef stretches out over the Eastern side of island number 8. This makes this Similan dive site ideal for drift diving. The reef consists out of many kinds of hard corals that start from about 5 meters and steeply descends to 40 meters. On this reef, you will see lots of colourful reef fish, turtles and chevron barracuda.
A landmark on this dive site is the wreck named Rareung-Chon that rests in the middle of the reef. It sank in 2002 and fortunately, there were no fatalities.The bow of this wreck lies on 15 meters whereas the stern is at 30 meters.
13. Christmas Point
Christmas Point is a cluster of submerged boulders with the exception of a pinnacle at the surface. Underwater there large stacked boulders that stretch from the island to a depth of 35 meters. Between 25 to 40 meters you find bigger pelagic fish such as great barracuda, giant trevally, Napoleon wrasse and tunas. Also, Reef sharks and leopard sharks are around this depth. In the sandy area, ribbon eels and pipefish are a common sighting.
With the stacked boulders brings some swim-throughs where you see small parts of soft corals growing as well as sea fans. When going through one of the channels or overhangs don’t be surprised when there is a big grouper or schools of sweetlips. While coming out of the swim-throughs make sure to keep an eye out in the blue occasionally there are Mantas cruising by.
The shallow part at about 10 meters the reef is made of staghorn and pore corals. Here turtles like to hang around it is a nice area to start your safety stop.
14. Koh Bon West Ridge
Koh Bon West Ridge is one of the best places to spot manta rays. For the reason that it is a cleaning station and lots of cleaning fish hang around here. The West Ridge is an extension from the island that goes to a depth of more than 40 meters. The best place is to hang around at about 20 meters just behind the ridge, so you are protected from the current. Here you can hold on to a small rock or use a reef hook. Although they are not present at every dive this still the best chance to see the Manta. The West ridge itself still bring plenty of other marine life as well. Such as yellowtail barracuda, tuna,
Although they are not present at every dive this still the best chance to see the Manta. The West ridge itself still bring plenty of other marine life as well. Such as yellowtail barracuda, tuna, fusiliers and schools of snappers. The ridge is covered in small colourful soft corals and hard corals here you can find nudibranchs and small crabs.
When getting low on deco, you can swim towards the island and in the shallow parts do your safety stop while the mantas still circle.
15. Koh Bon Pinnacle
Koh Bon Pinnacle is a Similan dive site 800 meters from the island. This dive is not always possible to do. Because the depth of this pinnacle that starts at 18 meters and drops down to 40 meters plus and when strong currents appear it is easy to miss the dive site. So only experienced divers can do this dive. When you get the chance Koh Bon Pinnacle is a beautiful dive site that is covered in yellow soft corals large barrel sponges and sea fans.
So only experienced divers can do this dive. When you get the chance Koh Bon Pinnacle is a beautiful dive site that is covered in yellow soft corals large barrel sponges and sea fans. For the marine life, you can expect manta rays, tuna, trevally barracudas and different kinds of sharks.
16. Tachai Pinnacle
Tachai Pinnacle also known as the Twin Peaks is not a Similan dive site but included in the itinerary. This Pinnacle is located 500 meters from the island Tachai and consists out of massive boulders that start at about 12 meters and drops down to 40-45 meters.
The Southern pinnacle is shaped like a dome surrounded by large boulders and a sandy bottom. When you are at 30-40 meters, there is a good chance to encounter reef sharks as well as leopard shark resting on the sand. While you go up a bit to explore the rocks, you will find flatworms and nudibranchs. Also, have a look between the soft corals and barrel sponges where giant frogfish seem to hide.
On top of this Similan, dive site are large coral bommies with sea fans and some anemone where you find skunk anemonefish and crabs.
Make sure to keep an eye out during your dive because manta rays and whale sharks are common sightings here. Also other big pelagic fish surround this dive site such as yellowtail barracuda, tuna trevally and chevron barracudas. While making your safety stop curious batfish probably hang around with you.
The second pinnacle lies about 50 meters away to the North. This is pretty similar to the bigger one apart that not many divers go here. Because this pinnacle is much smaller and the top is at about 18 meters.
17. Richelieu Rock
Richelieu Rock is probably one of the best dive sites in Thailand. On this horseshoe shaped limestone pinnacle, you can find everything from macro to Whale sharks.
The top of the dive site is just 1 meter above the water during low tide and goes down to 30-35 meters. Richelieu Rock is completely covered in pink and white soft corals as well as anemone. Watch in here for seahorses, ghost pipefish, tomato anemonefish and many other special critters. When you see a chewed of starfish there is a good chance harlequin shrimps or near. Schools of yellow snappers hang around the dive site as well as a big school of barracudas. Also, keep an eye out into the blue because Whale sharks are often seen here.
On Richelieu Rock, it is easy to make 3 dives and still you would not have seen the complete dive site.