The Similan Islands are in the Andaman Sea and geographically belong to the Phang Nga province, Thailand. The archipelago consists of nine small islands. The Similan Islands are uninhabited, it is a wildlife reserve. In our opinion, they are the most beautiful islands in Thailand, and one of the World’s Top Ten by right. You can count on a truly memorable holiday there, a gorgeous view of huge volcanic boulders, on the white sand beach, palm trees and crystal clear turquoise water with its amazing underwater world.
The Similan Islands became a national park in 1982, the flora here is still virgin. Giant volcanic boulders impress with its grandeur. On the whole, the islands remind the Seychelles. Nowadays, there are few places in the world where you can see the untouched wild life in its pristine beauty.
The Similan weather is favorable and comfortable for a beach holiday. The average temperature all the year round is +27°C to 30°C, humidity is about 80%.
There are two seasons: the dry season and the rainy one. Tours to the Similan Islands are available only in the dry season (November to May). So, in the rainy season from May to October the islands are closed for visitors.
Tourism ban in the rainy season is a very important political and ecological decision of the Thailand authorities to preserve the wild life of this unique reserve. Within a monsoon period the islands can fully restore their flora and fauna after an influx of tourists to appear in the next season at their best.
How to get to the Similan Islands
You can get to the Similan Islands only by water. Helicopters and planes do not fly there. The easiest way to get there is with a group of tourists as we did. Or you can hire a divers’ boat, rent diving equipment and enjoy the underwater beauty of these heavenly islands. Wealthy travelers go there by a charter or private yacht.
Walking around Phuket near Karon Beach we had spotted occasionally a travel agency with all sorts of tours and excursions. There were Phuket sightseeing tours including temples and parks, theatrical and dancing performances: everything for leisure loving tourists. And for adventure seekers they offered sea fishing, elephant and quad riding, and visits to the nearby islands. We bought the Coral Island and the Similan Islands tours.
You can buy a day or two-day Similan tour. A day trip includes snorkeling around the Similan Islands and a visit to two islands where you can have lunch and walk around. A two-day tour presumes an overnight stay in a tent or bungalow.
We took a day trip without overnight stop. At 6 in the morning a bus took us from the hotel and in about two hours we got to the Thap Lamu pier. There our guide met our tour group and put us up to the safety rules and telling about the travel program. In an hour or so we got to Ko Similan by speed boat.
Dangers of the travel
The travel agencies do not like telling about dangers of speed boat travel, let it remain on their conscience. But we want to warn you.
First, it is quite a long way across the Indian Ocean. The farther away from the mainland, the stronger the waves are. Of course, the captain tries to maneuver and "catch the wave", but he cannot avoid strong shocks. Pregnant girls and poor health people (e.g. back problems) should refuse such a trip because it can be dangerous for your health and cost you dear.
Moreover, it swings a lot on the way. Many passengers felt sick, someone literally fell on the floor. If you have a sea sickness, take some pills with you or refuse such a trip.
What to take with you
We took a snorkeling mask and special shoes for coral sand which served us very good later on the island. Therefore, we advise you to take a snorkeling mask too and, if possible, fins. Actually, a guide provided masks and fins on the boat, it was included in the price. But we had doubt it was a healthy way: nobody knows how the mask was washed or whether it was washed after a previous guy from the previous tour. And all snorkeling accessories on our boat were pretty worn out.
On departure our guide gathered all shoes and piled into a plastic: you should not wear jandals aboard for you may slip. And you should take into consideration that many captains live on their boats, so you have to observe the Thai traditions and take off your shoes like Thais do at home.
Overnight on the Similan Islands
The islands are practically uninhabited. There are no hotels or comfortable houses but a few bungalows in the traditional Thai style, with a toilet, shower and air conditioning. For wild life lovers they offer tents for two or four people. The conditions are the same for all: a shared toilet and a shared shower room. The accommodation is included in the Similan Islands two-day tour price.
Similan Islands facts
- The Similan Islands were formed more than a hundred million years ago due to the tectonic plate movement.
- The flora and fauna is very diverse, there are more than two hundred species of corals. However, many corals were destroyed by the tsunami in 2004 and you can still see the consequences on the not large water surface .The archipelago is a habitat for over thirty species of birds.
- The pride of the Similan Islands is their sea animals including giant turtles which can reach one meter length.
- The Similan Islands are the best place for diving and snorkeling in Thailand.
Things to do
The largest and most visited island Ko Similan is popular for its beautiful granite boulders, lush vegetation and an observation platform overlooking the blue lagoon, white sand and tropical forest.
Everyone can find here something new and interesting to do. Some people spend time on the beach, walking on the snow-white clean sand of Côte d'Azur. Some are attracted to the beauty of the underwater world and spend time in the sea snorkeling among the incredible array of different fishes and other unusual sea creatures. Others walk in the jungle, climb boulders, admire the pristine wild life.
There are some limitations on Ko Similan, as in all other state reserves. Any activities that may harm the nature are forbidden: no litter, campfires or corals collecting from the seabed. Rangers patrol the islands along its perimeter and can fine anybody for 1,000 baht or more for any violation. Be careful and respect the places you visit.
The Similan Islands are strikingly beautiful in their perfection and can create a cozy atmosphere for everyone. Each year they attract people from all parts of the world to impress with bright colors, virgin nature and stunning views. We strongly recommend you to visit these paradise islands, they can not leave anyone indifferent. And if you like tours, save the Similan Islands for last because they surpass any other exotic place with their charm and beauty.