Surin and Similan Islands off the coast of Thailand in Andaman Sea is regarded as a one of the best dive destinations in the planet.
Similan is a group of 9 islands and Surin is further north closer to Burma (Myanmar) than Thailand.
Richileu Rock between Surin and Similan is regarded as the best dive site of the region.
Where are Similan Islands?
Similan is 70 kms off the coast of Phuket towards west. The only way to reach the islands is by boat from Phuket or Khao Lak.
How to explore?
The whole area is under national park and best explored in a live aboard. The trips are costly and so it is better to start saving now.
Alternatively day trips are available from Khaolak ( remember that trips depart from Khao Lak and not Phuket). The best option is to stay in beautiful calm Khao Lak and explore the islands over couple of days and also enjoy few days of dive and snorkel.
Khaolak to Phuket takes 2 hours and depends of the traffic condition. So to travel with ease and leisure, stay at Khao Lak.
When to visit?
The park is closed in monsoon between May and October. Rest of the year is always great.
Where to Stay?
In Khao Lak there are many hotels and resorts. Choose any hotel on the beach and expect the best hospitality. The area is relatively small and you can walk to the market from the hotels. You can easily spend a week in Khao Lak exploring the islands.
Book hotels in advance if you are visiting in peak season like Christmas and New Year.
How to reach Khao Lak?
We booked taxi from Cheaper Than Hotel run by the guy called BOSS. Very good service and prompt replies. No better way than this to reach and depart Khao Lak.
Best things to do –
Divng and snorkelling day excursions to the Similan and Suring islands are extremly popular. Even better is to go to the live-aboard trips. The islands are 1 1/2 hours by speed boat. Live aboards offer a more relaxing trip without the mass tourism.
Day tours to islands of Similan and Surin is also very popular.
Else relax on the never ending beaches and enjoy the sunsets.
Note of Caution – The diving in this region is famous. The top dive sites get sold out very fast. Always better to pre-book the dives. Most dive shops have online presence and payment can be made via paypal etc.
Also the area does not offer OW certification in most cases. So better to get certified somewhere else. Most divers are AOW or Nitrox divers.
Life under water is amazing in Surin and Similan Islands.