This world-renowned marine national park, occupying an area of 128,000 sq.km., is 50 kilometres off the west coast of Phang-nga in the Andaman Sea. Due to the plentiful natural beauty found on the islands and the abundant coral gardens and marine lives under the sea, the Similan Islands are rated by the Skin Diving Magazine of USA as one of the top ten island groups on earth.
Lined from north to south, the nine islands are: Ko Bon, Ko Ba Ngu, Ko Similan, Ko Payu, Ko Miang, Ko Payan, Ko Payang and Ko Hu Yong.
Some attractive islands are as follows:
Ko Ba Ngu
Looking like a skull, it is also called Ko Hua Kalok or Skull Island. The island is renowned for its wonderful underwater scenery with corals, aquatic plants and many schools of fish.
This is the largest island with a long curving bay and fine sandy beach. At the northern part, there are large stones of different shapes, including one looking like a boat and another like a sailboat. It is suitable for diving to look at coral reefs and colourful fish.
This is the second largest island where the office and the guesthouses of the national park are located. The island also has beautiful beaches and coral reefs.
Ko Hu Yong
Ko Hu Yong has the longest stretch of white sandy beach where sea turtles lay eggs from November to February.
The Similan Islands are open for tourists from 16 November to 15 May every year. But the best period to visit the Similans is from December through April. March is regarded as the best month with the lowest winds and clearest water.
For booking of accommodation, contact the Similan Islands National Park Office at Thai Muang county, tel. 0 7645 3272.
Getting to the Similan Islands
- From Phang-nga : Chartered boats sail from Thap Lamu pier in Thai Muang county, where the National Park's office is located. The trip takes about 3 hours.
- From Phuket : There are boat services from Patong Beach to Similan, taking 3-4 hours. Contact your travel agent for details.
Diving companies in Phuket offer choices of diving excursions which usually include food, accommodation, diving equipment and underwater guides.
The Surin Islands are located about 70 km. northwest of Khura Buri county and close to Thailand's marine border with Myanmar. Consisting of five islands, the Surin is famous for the beautiful coral reefs in shallow water and so they are excellent for snorkeling.
Two main islands are Ko Surin Nua (North Surin Island) and Ko Surin Tai (South Surin Island). The park office is located at Mae Yai Bay of Ko Surin Nua, but Ao Luek or Deep Bay is famous for its dark green water and most beautiful coral reefs and aquatic plants.
Another interesting feature of the islands is the village of sea gypsies of the Sing tribe which is on Sai En beach of Ko Surin Nua. The sea gypsies here are the last group which still maintain their traditional way of living. About 1.30 hours away from the islands are Richelieu Rocks, a spot for viewing whale sharks.
Like Similan Islands, Surin Islands are open from 16 November to 15 May and the best time to visit the islands is from December to March.
The dive operators in Phuket also have diving excursions to the Surin archipelago, but the prices are rather high due to longer distances compared to the Similans.
Getting to Surin Islands
- From Khura Buri pier, there is a passenger boat leaving for Ko Surin daily at 09.00 hrs. The trip takes over 3 hours. The same boat heads back from the island at 10.00 hrs. of the next day.
- From Ranong province, boats can be hired at the pier of Kapoe county, taking about 7 hours.
Si Phang-nga National Park is about 100 kilometres to the north of Phang-nga whose natural resources are still well preserved. It has two attractive waterfalls called Tamnang and Toantontoei.
For your personal safety and protection by law, please use the services of travel agencies holding a TAT license only.