The word “Similan” for the group of islands in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Thailand actually derived it’s name from the Malaysian side of the border. In the Malay language “Similan” or rather “Sembilan” meant the number nine as there are nine islands in this chain. However, the word “Koh” means islands in the Thai language so to sum it all up, Koh Similan means nine islands. The view of these chain of islands runs from the direction of north to the south in the Andaman. The whole are of Similan is a dedicated marine national park which is the reason why development of the islands are kept to a minimum and this place is still very much a paradise lost and a diver’s Shangri-la.
The main Similan Island tour is based on the marine activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling. Getting to the Similan Islands are by speed boats which will bring you to the main island of Miang. On Koh Miang you will find the small town center where hotels, restaurants and National Park office is located. There is also a tropical forest on this island where you can do a spot of exploring and can be considered one of the Similan tourism things to do. If you are lucky, it will not be hard to spot monkeys, squirrels, a rich variety of migratory birds and the illusive gibbon. Miang Island is also the start off point for the smaller islands where the peak of the Similan activities happen.
As Similan is a mere 84km from Phuket Island, you will find a majority of the visitors to this great paradise are day-trippers. The Similan Islands are noted for the clear waters, excellent diving locations and white sandy beaches where even snorkelers will have a great time. Marine life is in abundance and though there are many tourist who flock here the large area of the place makes it seem as though you are the few visitors. So it comes as no surprise that a Similan holiday includes a Similan snorkeling tour among it many Similan things to do itinery.
Snorkeling in Similan is a highly recommended activity for those who are not used to diving gear. There are day trips as well as overnight trips where you can live aboard on a cruise boat that comes fully equipped with snorkeling equipment, meals onboard and a guide that will bring you around. Spending a night out at sea in the calm waters of the Andaman among the islands is a great outdoor adventure and few places can rival that of the Similan Islands. The Similan Island tours will bring you to Koh Payu, Koh Ba Ngu, Koh Payan and Koh Hu Yong as well as Koh Similan.
Similan snorkeling will yield many species of marine life including sea garden eels, leapord sharks, manta rays, sea turtles, trigger fish as well as shoals of wrasse and other smaller fish. There are also an abundance of corals such as seafans, brain corals and table corals that can be seen in the shallow waters. Other Similan activities include rock climbing, trekking and of course lazing by the many beaches!
It is recommended that you book a Similan Island tour in advance as the islands are only accessible during the off-monsoon season of April to November. Similan tour bookings can be done through a tour agent or agent site and there are many Similan snorkeling packages available from Similan halfday snorkeling trips to Similan fullday snorkeling trips and Similan liveaboard snorkeling trips. Departure points to the islands are from Phuket and Khao Lak or Miang.
So if you want to visit one of the few paradise left where there is still so much to see and experience in nature, very much untouched by man and spend a great adventure holiday …make sure you put the Similan islands on your travel wishlist destination!