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The Similan Islands

The bay at Similan Island 8

The Similan Islands archipelago (a cluster of small islands) rises out of the Andaman Sea some 50 km west of Khao Lak.

The islands boast some of the most beautiful scenery to be found anywhere on earth – and were declared a Marine National Park in 1982 after a one-year exploration by the Thai Government.

Honeymoon Bay in the Similan Islands

The word ‘Similan’ means ‘Nine’ in the dialect of the Malay language spoken in the southernmost provinces of Thailand – and there are nine, densely-wooded islands that form the archipelago.

Each is fringed with distinctive rock formations, powdery white sandy beaches and picture-perfect turquoise waters.


Ranked as one of the Top 10 dive sites in the world by the National Geographic Society, diving is the main attraction of these islands, and every trip to the Similans provides a new diving experience.


Huge granite boulders, caves and swim-throughs produce a fascinating underwater landscape and are home to a variety of marine life, from microscopic organisms to sea turtles and giant Manta Rays.

Scuba diver with a turtle

The most important of all dive sites in the Similans, which is actually part of Surin National Park, is Richelieu Rock, famous for its incomparable variety and abundance of marine life – and even Whale shark sightings are frequent here.

Whale shark and bubbles

Big Eye Snapper

A school of Big Eye Snapper sweeps over a reef off the Similan Islands


Access to the Similan Islands from Khao Lak is usually from Thap Lamu pier in South Khao Lak. The trip takes three hours each way on slow boats or 70 minutes via speedboat.

 During the months November-May ‘live-aboard’ dive boats also head to the Similans. These boats depart and return from Khao Lak and stay for several days around the islands.

More information regarding liveaboard and dive operators in the Khao Lak region.


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