Best Dive Sites : Similan and Surin Islands

The best dive sites in the Similan and Surin Islands

The best dive sites in the National Parks of the Similan and Surin Islands

Nestled in the Andaman Sea off the west coast of Thailand, approximately 60 kilometers northwest of Phuket, you will find Koh Similan and Surin Islands, Mu national parks, some of the best diving destinations in the country.

Founded in 1982, Mu Koh, meaning “group of islands,” National Park Similan Islands includes an archipelago of 11 islands. Thailand established the five islands of the archipelago of Surin, the ocean border of Myanmar, as a national park in 1981.

While 90% of corals are dead here after water changes the temperature in 1998 and 2010, marine life is back to these islands. The Similans offer exceptionally diverse, ranging from nudibranchs and pipefish to manta rays and whale sharks. The water temperature fluctuates from 27 ° C to 29 ° C, so a 3mm shorty should work for most divers. The best way to see these dive sites is by diving cruise “liveaboard” although day trips are available. Here, in no particular order, five of the best diving in the Similan and Surin National Parks.

West of Eden, Similan Islands National Park

“West of Eden” is the northwest side of the island No. 7 at its northern end, where it merges with another famous dive site Similan, Deep Six. Entering the water on the west side of the island, divers down into a coral garden bommies or outcrops. Around 10 to 12 meters, schools of angelfish and snapper circulate among hard and soft corals. Lobsters hide in holes and clownfish are aggressively defend their homes.

Divers can slip between the walls of coral and granite was a little more deeply about 25-28 m, where superb sea fans dot the walls. Even more profoundly, among granite and coral channels, keep your eyes open and you might have the chance to see harpoon shrimp in their natural habitat, as well as ribbon eels hiding in crevices, small pipefish, and hordes of Durban dense and banded shrimp. As to your descent, you will see barracudas pass over, or even a curious turtle swim around you. This dive is ideal mid-day or afternoon across the waters to the west of the island, causing coral colors to life. These sites following appropriate for divers from beginners to advanced level. View our Diving Courses in Phuket.

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Elephant Head Rock, Similan Islands National Park

Of from the surface, this dive site looks like a giant head of a semi-submerged elephant with the trunk. Because he is a top open water between the Similan No.7 and No.8 islands, this dive site is sometimes subject to strong currents, so pay attention during the briefing and instructions from your guide or diving instructor. A maze of blocks swirling granite cavities through plunge connection wait for you at depths between 12 to 30 m.

You will visit this site more generally via a diving cruise on the south side of the archipelago. Upon entering the water, go down with your group as soon as possible so as not to drift past the site. Follow your guide and refuge near the rocks. Then take a break and look around at the stunning views of an “underwater city” blocks of granite peaks and valleys, all covered with gorgonians. You might find curious harpoon shrimp, moray eels and sea lions lurking in holes and crevices.

Start eastward and watch a channel in the rock about 18 m. Drift in the canal as Luke Skywalker through the Death Star in “Star Wars: A New Hope” and admire the granite crevasses on your right; an excellent opportunity to take pictures. Keep an eye on your buoyancy jacket (BCD) as you head through the caverns. Move deeper when leaving the site, you can find sea moths along the surface of the rock. In the depths, you will see a shark or two flowing beneath you, or a bed of stingrays to blue dots hidden in the sand. This site is also perfect for diving early morning, while all marine fauna awakes. The location of the diving site makes it a challenge and it is best suited for advanced or intermediate divers.

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Koh Bon West National Park, Similan Islands

Koh Bon is known for the frequent observation of seasonal manta ray. Typical to Koh Bon may vary from low to high, so pay attention to warnings from your guide or diving instructor. By entering the waters of the South Island, approach the channel on your right along you begin to head west of the site. The channel is covered with soft coral with blue, yellow and purple spots. The walls cracked limestone create homes for pipefish, ringed shrimps and nudibranchs corals.

Divers can sometimes spot the Maldivian sponge and snails. When approaching the peak, stay alerted and get current information on the present situation in lending your dive instructor. Keep an eye to the surrounding as well, for something big, like a whale shark! This makes this site an ideal dive choice in the mid-morning or late afternoon because that’s when you’ll get to see manta rays that come to feed.

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Koh Tachai Pinnacle, Similan Islands National Park

Although, unfortunately, the beautiful island of Koh Tachai itself was closed to tourists, off the coast of Koh Tachai Pinnacle – on the southeast corner of the island away from the coast – remained open to divers visiting the park marine. One of the favorite dive sites of local guides to its challenges, Tachai Pinnacle, is at the northern tip of Similan Islands Park, about two hours north of Koh Bon. Sometimes known as “The Dome of Doom” because of the currents, Koh Tachai Pinnacle can be a fickle site. This site is ideal for divers that are intermediate and advanced level.

Enter the water and get ready to get down as quickly as possible. It is not recommending to hang on the surface to clean your mask or adjust your camera. Get down on the dome between 14 and 30 m, following your guide, to make you safe from currents. The south and east sides have barracuda swirling around the sprawling granite rocks; West and North sides are covered with beautiful coral gardens. Keep your eyes open to see the hunting trevally above as well as manta rays and whale sharks to observe. There are two pinnacles slightly to the north, which certainly have the most beautiful corals in Thailand.

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Richelieu Rock, Surin Islands National Park

Probably the most famous of Thailand dive site Richelieu Rock is about 17 kilometers east of Ko Surin. Covered with corals and teeming with dense marine life, such as Koh Tachai Pinnacle, conditions may vary there. A depth of between 12-30 meters. Because this is another site in the open ocean, it is suitable for intermediate and advanced divers. Divers photographers looking for complex shots there will be in heaven.

Divers enter this spot typically from the water on the southwest corner of the summit in the shape of a horseshoe, following the guide inside rocks for them to shelter or along the coast the Pinnacle. Marine life covers intégralté Richelieu Rock, so take your time looking for small creatures. You might find a tiger tail seahorse; the harlequin shrimp even see a ghost pipefish. You will often see pharaoh cuttlefish who live there and mating; they blink while changing color, to impress their partner. Above, barracuda roam the currents like nightclub bouncers who oversee their territory.

From October to May, but especially from mid-January to mid-March, there can be whale shark appearances Richelieu. These giant fish feed by filtering the waters around the rocks that are rich in micro-organisms, so keep a look around you to surprise appearances of one of them. While this is a beautiful diving at any time of the day, Richelieu can be very busy due to its popularity. He advises that you visit the sites early in the morning or at sunset for the best experience.

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