Diving in the Similan Islands
When you decide to go to the Similan diving is best by liveaboard. Because in this way you can explore the best dive sites the Similan islands have to offer. Although not officially a Similan dive site Tachai Island and Richelieu Rock are part of the itinerary of most of the liveaboards. Also for a Myanmar diving cruise, Tachai and Richelieu Rock can be part of the schedule.
East and West probably best describe Similan diving. Whereas the East coast brings you, a gently sloping bottom that starts with hard corals and the deeper parts of the dive sites have bommies covered with gorgonian sea fans and soft corals. While the West Coast has huge granite boulders that are piled up on top of each other what makes some great swim throughs. That in combination of strong currents can make it some challenging diving.
Up North where you come to Koh Bon, Tachai as well as Richelieu Rock the underwater scenery changes again. Whereas your Similan diving is more focused on smaller marine life, these 3 dive sites are known for the bigger pelagic fish such as Mantas and Whale Sharks. However, you should always keep an eye out on most of the dive sites you never know where they appear. Besides a good chance for Whale Sharks on Richelieu Rock, there is plenty of other unusual marine life to be found here that you don’t get while diving in the Similan.
The Similan diving season is from half October until April/May. The reason is that of the Monsoon in the other months of the year, as well as that it gives the reefs a chance to recover during these months. Whenever you would find agents or liveaboard operators trying to sell you trips to the Similan from June to September, do not book with them because the park is not open during this period.
How to get there
A Similan diving safari leaves from either Chalong in Phuket or Tab Lamu near Khoa lak. Including in the price is the transfer from your hotel to the liveaboard and back. A transfer from and to the airport is also including the price as long as it is the same schedule as the liveaboard. Just keep in mind that you can not fly within 24 hours of your last dive.
Similan Park Fee
Because the Similan Islands are a national park there is a fee for each person entering. The entry fee is THB 500 plus a THB 200 for each day you spend in the park. An additional THB 500 entry fee is for liveaboards that go as far as Tachai and Richelieu Rock. You pay these National park fees on the liveaboard.