In a recent Similan update it was announced that the opening of the Similan Islands Marine National Park is to be brought forward to 15th October 2013. This will add an extra couple of weeks to the up-coming Similan diving season. This news comes as a surprise to the Similan diving community as these famous Thailand dive sites are not usually open until the 1st November.

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Manopat Haueungkaew, the Director of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Conservation, has explained that this new opening date will help to generate more income from Tourism in Thailand. This point is reiterated by Nat Kongkesom, the Director of the Similan Islands National Park, who confirms that the primary reasoning for the new opening date is specifically to increase income from tourism.

Similan diving and snorkeling operators have had to get used to date changes over the past few years. This year operators were prepared for the strict opening date of 1st November and had their schedules drawn up. With this new Similan update regarding opening time, operators will need to adjust once again.

Concerns have been voiced that these extra 2 weeks will see an increase in damage to the beautiful Similan Islands ecosystem found out in the Andaman Sea. We believe, however, that the main focus of concern should be placed on customers safety.

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Similan liveaboards set to resume Similan diving activities a little earlier – ©Ric Parker

Kongkesom claimed that “good weather” starts to encroach around mid-October, when in actual fact this is the very point when we see the Thailand Monsoon weather system takes a turn. During October, and sometimes into November too, the weather in the Similan Islands changes from heavy rains and strong winds to the more people friendly hot sun, still seas and cool breezes.

This advice that mid-October is when the weather starts to get better is misleading and could lead holiday goers to unfortunate circumstances out at sea. This leads us to believe that these new “guidelines” may not have been thought out properly and trips during these dates should be approached with caution.

When planning your Similan Liveaboard trip be sure to research the weather at the time of year you are wanting to dive in the Similans. You can learn more about Similan diving conditions on our website here. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need help to make a booking.

Anna Pering