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simis

Similan ISlands

Dive Sites

Similan Islands

The Similan Islands are also home to some of the most interesting and diverse dive sites in Thailand, making it a number one spot for scuba divers who visit the land of smiles. A top holiday destination, Khao Lak is ideally located for visitors wishing to combine relaxation, Thailand’s well renowned hospitality and an activity packed trip diving at the best dive sites. With a great array of different dive-sites, and of course many different ways to dive each of them, the Similans are so diverse that visitors return again and again, each time discovering something new. From soaring underwater rock pinnacles to flourishing hard and soft coral garden reefs to giant boulder formations and swim-throughs, the dive terrain is unique at each dive-site. Marine life indigenous to this particular area of Southeast Asia abounds, with sightings of rare species, both large and small, common. The underwater world of the Similans provides a myriad of subjects for the passionate photographer, both macro and wide-angle.

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Similan ISlands

Dive Sites

SIMILAN ISLANDS DIVE-SITE GUIDE

With a great array of different dive-sites, and of course many different ways to dive each of them, the Similans are so diverse that visitors return again and again, each time discovering something new. From soaring underwater rock pinnacles to flourishing hard and soft coral garden reefs to giant boulder formations and swim-throughs, the dive terrain is unique at each dive-site. Marine life indigenous to this particular area of Southeast Asia abounds, with sightings of rare species, both large and small, common. The underwater world of the Similans provides a myriad of subjects for the passionate photographer, both macro and wide-angle.

CHRISTMAS POINT Similan Island 9

Christmas Point Map

Site Name: Christmas Point
Other Names:
GPS / Location: Northwest of Island #9 Koh Bangu (rock breaks surface)
Skill Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Depth: 5 – 30m+
Currents: Moderate to strong
Topographie: Large granite boulder garden, large overhanging granite shelves, bright, colourful soft corals.
Highlights: Different from other granite boulder dive-sites, in that the rocks appear to be more eroded, forming interesting and unique shapes. Can be barren in spots, however, worthwhile to watch for coral gardens, leopard sharks, ribbon eels.
Marine Life: Leopard sharks, Barracuda, Napoleon Wrasse, Ribbon eels, Manta rays, white tip and Guitar sharks (occasional), Boxfish, Pufferfish, Moray eels
How to dive this site: Depending on current direction, descend either on SW side of rock breaking surface, follow contours down to max depth, then head NE, or vice-versa.
Our tips: Best as a morning dive. Major stretch of the dive-site is located at 24 m, so watch NDL’s, or use Nitrox. Best avoided in strong currents, however, protection may be found behind the rocks. Napoleon Wrasse are shy, but inquisitive. Avoid direct observation and watch from the corner of your eye, so as not to scare them away.
Photo tip: Wide-angle for rock formations, rubble bottom for macro enthusiasts.

NORTH POINT Similan Island 9

North Point Map

Site Name: North Point
Other Names:
GPS / Location: North of Island #9 Koh Bangu
Skill Level: Beginning to advanced
Depth: 8 – 30m+
Currents: Mild to moderate
Topographie: Large granite boulders highlighted by abundant soft corals. Leafy brain, slipper and lip coral gardens. Some swimthroughs.
Highlights:
Marine Life: Turtles, Parrotfish, Lionfish, Dog-Faced Pufferfish, Clown Triggerfish, Barracuda, Giant Sea Cucumbers
How to dive this site: Descend mooring line and swim directly through canyon in northerly direction to max depth 30 m, shallowing up to canyon at 15 m, continue on south for extensive coral gardens.
Our tips:
Photo tip: Wide-angle for rock formations, rubble bottom for macro enthusiasts.

BREAKFAST BEND Similan Island 9

Breakfast Bend Map

Site Name: Breakfast Bend
Other Names: Three Trees
GPS / Location: East of Island #9 Koh Bangu
Skill Level: Beginning – intermediate / good OW student site
Depth: 8 – 30m+
Currents: Occasional, slight to moderate
Topographie: Steep reef slope with coral shelves, sandy bottom, rocky outcrops. Abundant hard coral garden on SE side. Small coral bommies dotted around the site.
Highlights: Approximately 30m off the north side of the reef, heading east, three huge neighboring boulders at a depth of 24-30+ m, stark contrast to otherwise essentially sloping reef dive site. Good site to spot leopard sharks and Kuhl’s Stingrays. Various and abundant soft corals.
Marine Life: Turtles, Batfish, Red-Tooth Triggerfish, Longnose Filefish, Milkfish in the shallows, Leopard shark and stingrays on sandy areas, Ribbon eel, Garden eels at max depth, Lionfish, Barracuda, Moorish Idols, Racoon Butterflyfish, Bannerfish
How to dive
this site:
Descend in the north, parallel to three trees and flat rock formation located on island #9 to max depth at the boulders, head west back to the reef, shallow up and drift south. Northerly drift also possible depending on current direction.
Our tips: Best first dive of the day, thus the name! As the sun shines very brightly on this site early in the morning, colors are most distinct at early hours.Allow enough time and air supply at the end of the dive to explore the shallows for juvenile leopard sharks, turtles and resting Guitar sharks!
Photo tip: Wide-angle or macro, depending on preference.

TURTLE ROCK Similan Island 8

Site Name: Turtle Rock
Other Names:
GPS / Location: Northwest of Island # 8 Koh Similan
Skill Level: Beginning to itermediate
Depth: 10 -30 m
Currents: Mild to moderate
Topographie: Wide, sloping granite boulder outcrop, numerous canyons, small caves and swim-throughs. Abundant soft corals and sea fans. The site becomes more sandy at deeper depths.
Highlights:
Marine Life: Kuhl’s Stingray, Blue-Spotted Stingray, Sea Turtles, Sea Anemones, Honeycomb Moray Eels
How to dive
this site:
Depending on direction of current, drop in and ascend to maximum depth on either western or eastern side of site, zig-zag and shallow up through the boulder gardens and swimthroughs.
Our tips:
Photo tip: Wide-angle or macro, depending on preference.

BEACON REEF Similan Island 8

Site Name: Beacon Reef + Atlantis X Wreck
Other Names: Beacon Beach
GPS / Location: East of Island #8 Koh Similan, wreck located at rocky outcrop dividing the beach.
Skill Level: Beginning to intermediate.
Depth: 5 -30 m
Currents: Mild
Topographie: Sloping, rounded coral reef, extensive hard and soft coral gardens, sea fans.
Highlights: Be sure to visit the wreck at a depth of 14-30+ m. The hull of a live-aboard boat that sank in rough low-season conditions, giant batfish, the boat has disintegrated, no penetration possible, so excellent spot for inexperienced wreck divers.
Marine Life: Turtles, Lionfish, Giant moray eels, Napoleon Wrasse, Seasnakes, Scorpionfish, Batfish, Frogfish
How to dive
this site:
Good drift and sunset/night dive site. Begin at the wreck, shallowing up in N or S direction, depending on current.
Our tips: Excellent to dive just at sunset, so wreck is still visible, continue on as a a night dive.
Photo tip: Wide-angle for good wreck + diver photos, macro photography

ELEPHANT HEAD ROCK Similan Island 8

Elephant Head Rock Map

Site Name: Elephant Head Rock
Other Names: Hin Pusar
GPS / Location: South of Island #8 Koh Similan
Skill Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Depth: 0 -30 m
Currents: Moderate to strong
Topographie: Immense, stacked granite boulder pinnacle breaking the surface. Deeper on eastern side. Surface rocks look like a bathing elephant when approached from the west, hence the name.
Highlights: Numerous archways, tunnels and swim-throughs
Marine Life: Leopard sharks, White tip reef sharks, Giant Barracuda, Tiger Cowrie Shells, Frogfish, McKosker’s Wrasse, Oriental Sweetlips, Giant moray eels, Schooling Fusiliers, Lionfish, Turtles
How to dive
this site:
Huge site, explore as current comfortably allows, use the current to „free ride“ the tunnels and swim-throughs.
Our tips: Due to depth, this is often a popular morning dive. In order to avoid the crowds, consider as a third dive of the day, because it’s also very worthwhile at shallower depths and most swim-throughs are above 24 m. Explore under and between the rocks and cracks to spot juvenile white tip reef sharks and possible stingrays.
Photo tip: Wide-angle for rock formations, rubble bottom for macro enthusiasts.

DEEP SIX Similan Island 7

Deep Six Map

Site Name: Deep Six
Other Names:
GPS / Location: North tip of Island #7 Koh Payu
Skill Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Depth: 15 – 30m+
Currents: Moderate to strong
Topographie: Steeply sloped granite boulder outcrops in a double-horseshoe pattern around the north tip of the island. Numerous swim-throughs, canyons and tunnels. Soft coral gardens and huge sea fans at shallower depths.
Highlights: Giant barrel sponges, gigantic sea fans. Swim-throughs at 12 – 18 meters. Some obvious tsunami damage visible, but recovering at a rapid rate.
Marine Life: Occasional Manta Rays, White tip reef sharks in the depths, Frogfish, Kuhl’s Stingrays, Dogfish Tuna, Giant Trevally, Lobster, Shrimp, Hawksbill Turtles, Nudibranches
How to dive
this site:
Depending on current direction, descend on either NE or NW side of the island and follow current around the tip, incorporating as many swim-throughs as possible. In a very strong S current, descend on NW side and follow current S to include West of Eden dive-site.
Our tips: Good first dive of the day, due to depth of site.
Photo tip: Good wide-angle or macro, depending on preference.

WEST OF EDEN Similan Island 7

West of Eden Map

Site Name: West of Eden
Other Names:
GPS / Location: West of Island # 7 Koh Payi
Skill Level: Beginning to advanced
Depth: 7 – 30m+
Currents: Mild to moderate
Topographie: Jumbled granite boulder gardens, numerous sea fans and soft corals. Lots of small canyons and crevices.
Highlights:
Marine Life: Hawksbilll turtles, Nudibranches, Ghost Pipefish, Frogfish, Red and purple Fire Gobies, Schooling Glassfish, Black and White-Tip Reef Sharks at lower depths
How to dive
this site:
This is an excellent drift dive site. Drop in and ascend the maximum depth on either the northern or southernmost tip of the the site and go with the current, while shallowing up to small coral gardens and bommies.
Our tips: If time and air supply allow, and currents allow, include Deep Six in the dive.
Photo tip: Good wide-angle or macro, depending on preference.

EAST OF EDEN Similan Island 7

East of Eden Map

Site Name: East of Eden
Other Names: Japanese Gardens
GPS / Location: Southeast of Island #7 Koh Payu
Skill Level: Beginning to intermediate
Depth: 7 – 30m+
Currents: Occasional, moderate to strong
Topographie: Steep, sloping, extensive hard coral reef, shallow hard and soft coral gardens
Highlights: Coral bommie „Whole Roll of Film“ / National Geographic film
Marine Life: Ornate Ghost Pipefish, Sea Turtles, Snappers, Fusiliers, Schooling glassfish, Nudibranches, Frogfish, Tomato Anemone Fish, Lionfish, Trumpetfish, huge abundance of reef fish! Huge seafan
How to dive
this site:
Descend on N end of site on smaller bommie to depth of 25 m, shallow up in S direction along hard coral reef, end and ascend at large bommie on S point of site. Or, descend directly on large bommie and follow current.
Our tips: Descend on bommie, swim over sand in slightly SE direction to less-frequented, smaller bommie located approximately 20 m off reef for more diverse marine life. Excellent site for beginners, students and fish enthusiasts. Popular night-dive site.
Photo tip: Excellent wide-angle and macro-photography opportunity, concentrate on the bommie, where you can literally spend the entire dive.

ANITAS REEF Similan Island 5

Anita’s Reef in located along the east side of Similan Island Five. The dive site streches from the small gap between Islands Five and Six to the southern tip of Island Five.

Most of the dive site features coral bommies dotted along a gently sloping sandy bottom. Towards the south there are several huge granite boulders, typical of many Similan dive sites.

Ariel view of Anita's ReefAn ariel view of Anita’s Reef

Although a relatively small dive site, it is possible to continue diving into Hide Away Bay on the west side of Island Five or drift north west along the side of Island Six.

ABOUT ANITA’S REEF

Anita’s Reef is one of the easiest dive sites in the Similan Islands. It is often the first dive, or ‘check dive” on a Similan liveaboard safari. There is often no current on the site, but even during the stronger tides around full and dark moon it makes for a simple drift dive with the current.

Divers with Bannerfish at Anita's ReefDivers admire Bannerfish at Anita’s Reef

Anita’s Reef is an ideal location if you wish to try diving or are completeing the first few dives of your open water course. The main entry area between Islands Five and Six is shallow, maximum depth is 3-5m. It’s not only an ideal, safe starting point for a dive but also a nice area for snorkelling.

The dive site is popular with more experienced divers too. The visability is usually very clear, revealing colourful coral bommies, large sea fans and patches of tubestra coral and sea whips in the deeper areas. There are frequent encounters with Napoleaon wrasse, moray eels, banded sea snakes, lionfish and sometimes large turtles.

Anita’s Reef features one very large coral bommie teaming with life. Soft corals, hard corals and fans form a colourful backdrop to a huge variety of fish. One of the Similan’s healthiest eco-systems and definitely not to be missed on a dive.

The southern point of the dive site presents the most interesting areas for advnaced divers. Huge granite boulders lay at a depth of 30m and there’s always a few sting rays here resting on the sandy bottom.

ANITA’S REEF DIVE SITE MAP

Anitas Reef Map

ANITA’S REEF DIVE SITE INFORMATION
SITE NAME: Anita’s Reef
GPS/LOCATION: Off eastern side of Similan Island 5 (Koh Ha)
SKILL LEVEL: Beginner
DEPTH: 2 – 26 m
CURRENTS: Still to moderate
TOPOGRAPHY: Sloping sandbank, scattered bommies, hard coral reef on northern side of site, granite boulder outcrops.
HIGHLIGHTS: Huge bommie covered in sea fans and soft corals, schooling glass fish, huge marine life diversity. (depth 13-18 m). Huge sea fans and soft corals
MARINE LIFE: Garden Eels ,Kuhl’s Stingrays, Peacock Flounder, Longnose Hawkfish, Flying Gunnard, Banded Sea Snake, Napoleon Wrasse, Turtle, Ornate Ghost Pipefish
HOW TO DIVE THIS SITE: Descend on N end of site on smaller bommie to depth of 25 m, shallow up in S direction along hard coral reef, end and ascend at large bommie on S point of site. Or, descend directly on large bommie and follow current.
OUR TIPS: For a deeper dive, descend on S tip of #5 over rock outcrop to maximum depth, shallow up in a NE direction. For shallower or later dives, descend on N side between islands #5 and #6, head E, descend along reef, then shallow up in a S direction.
PHOTO TIP: Excellent for both micro-photography. Good site to observe the marine life unique to sandy terrain

ANITA’S REEF DIVE BRIEFING

Welcome to the Anita’s Reef at Similan Island Five.

Anitas Reef is on the north side of the Similan Islands 5 and 6. Being on the east side, the dive site is a sheltered reef that slopes with some patches of coral scattered over the large sandy area.

Soft corals at Anita's ReefStunning soft corals at Anita’s Reef

We will be entering the water to the north of the site, about 40 metres away from the two islands. This area is around 7 metres of water, it is the perfect place for a check dive and to blow the cobwebs from your equipment. We then proceed across the shallows for approximately 40 metres to ensure everyone is happy.

When everyone is confidant and comfortable in the water we begin to descend down the sandy slope. We will approach the first corals at about 12 metres and will circle the structure and explore the reef before moving off over the sandy bottom. In this area you can keep your eye out for the Garden Eel and also the many Kuhls Stingrays that will be half buried in the sand.

Coral bommie at Anita's Reef

At around 18 metres we then come to our next patch of reef, this is slightly larger and a good place for finding the common reef fish of the area, including lots of Grouper and schooling Banner fish as well as the Bi-coloured Parrotfish.

Moving on from this region we find the highlight of the dive: a coral head that starts from around 23 metres and rises up to 10 metres from the surface. There is so much marine life here from Longnose Hawkfish to Ribbon Eels. Also, keep a keen eye out for some very nice nudibranches. This area is well worth multi level diving up to the summit, as there are so many beautiful soft and hard corals: a photographers dream when the sun rays are blasting through the surface.

At this point it will be dependant on our air levels what we do next. We will either conduct a safety stop or swim to the shallows. After the safety stop It is always a good idea to swim away from the rock to enable the boat to pick you up.

Anitas Reef is a very nice and easy dive to start a Similan liveaboard trip.

Let’s go diving, Dive with a Smile ? by

HIDEAWAY BAY Similan Island 5

Hideaway Bay Map

Site Name: Hideaway Bay + Tuna Wreck
Other Names:
GPS / Location: West side of Island #5 Koh Ha
Skill Level: Beginning – Advanced
Depth: 10 – 30m+ (Wreck lies at 30 – 40 m)
Currents: Occasional, slight to moderate.
Topographie: Sloping reef, sandy and rocky bottom at maximum depth, shallow extensive hard and soft coral gardens.
Highlights: Tuna wreck, intentionally sunk by the Royal Thai Navy to stimulate coral growth.
Marine Life: Kuhl’s Stingrays, Emperor Angelfish, Ghost Pipefish, Octopus, Anthias, Fusiliers, Surgeonfish, Porcupine Puffer, Hawksbill Turtles
How to dive
this site:
Descend on wreck to maximum depth, shallow up heading E. If time and air supply allow, follow reef to the north and include Anita’s Reef in dive.
Our tips: Excellent site for beginners and students.
Popular night-dive site.
Photo tip: Suitable for wide-angle or macro-photography

Coming soon…

SHARK FIN REEF Similan Island 3

Shark Fin Reef Map

Site Name: Shark Fin Reef
Other Names: Hin Phae
GPS / Location: Southeast of Island #3 Koh Payan
Skill Level: Beginning – Advanced
Depth: 0 – 30m
Currents: Still to moderate, easy to dive in currents
Topographie: One large, long boulder, sandy surrounding bottom, extensive coral garden and small bommies to the NE.
Highlights: Huge granite boulder, also check out the bommies
Marine Life: Ghost Pipefish, Kuhl’s Stingrays, Humphead Parrotfish, Neon-Blue Fusiliers, Giant Barracuda, Jawfish, Sea Fans, Sea Whips
How to dive
this site:
In southern currents, protection may be found behind north side of the giant boulder; protection on the south side in northern currents.
Our tips:
Photo tip: Excellent wide-angle photography site.

BOULDER CITY Similan Island 3

Boulder City Map

Site Name: Boulder City
Other Names:
GPS / Location: 200 meters off south of Island #3 Koh Payan
Skill Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Depth: 12 – 30+
Currents: Often moderate to strong
Topographie: Three submerged granite pinnacles, surrounded by smaller boulders, sandy patches and coral gardens.
Highlights: Huge barrel sponge, very expansive dive-site, visibility usually exceptional
Marine Life: Kuhl’s Stingrays, Jenkins Stingrays, Leopard Sharks, Schooling Barracuda, Yellow-Tailed Barracuda, Humphead Parrotfish, Oceanic Trigger Fish
How to dive this site: The east-west position and the immensity of the main pinnacles provides protection in often strong currents. In a southern current, it is best to drop in on the northernmost mooring line and dive a southerly S-pattern route around and between the pinnacles, surfacing over the southernmost pinnacle at a depth of about 18 m. In a northern current, descent upon the southernmost pinnacle, following the same pattern in a northerly route and surfacing at the northernmost mooring line, is recommended.
Our tips: Best done as the second dive of the day to a max depth of 24 m, to avoid morning traffic.
Photo tip: Excellent wide-angle photography site.