Mu Ko Similan

A group of 9 small islands, 50 kms. off the west coast of Phang-nga in the Andaman Sea. The National Park covers an area of 80,000 rai. Skin Diving Magazine rated them among the ten loveliest places on Earth, because of the great natural beauty found on the islands themselves the extensive surrounding coral gardens beneath the waves. The islands are undeveloped and unspoiled; numerous species of fish, crustaceans, and other forms of sea-life abound; water clarity and diving are excellent. Similan is corrupted from the Malay Sembilan and means nine. From north to south in order the islands are : Ko Bon, Ko Ba Ngu, Ko Similan, Ko Pahyoo, Ko Miang (two islands), Ko Pahyan, Ko Payahng and Ko Hu Yong. Interesting sites include :

Ko Ba Ngu is also called Hua Kalok or Skull Island. Beneath the waters, a field of grass and coral appears to be growing in a deep valley. Schools of fish are everywhere.

Ko Similan is the largest island. It has a long curving bay, and beneath the waters coral reefs remain pristine. The beach is composed of fine grain sand. Diving to is strongly recommended. At the island’s northern are bizarrely shaped big boulders; one looks like a soldier’s boot, the other is shaped like a sailboat.

Ko Miang is actually two islands connected and forms the second largest land mass in the group after Ko Similan. The National Park Office is here, and there is a fine beach where visitors can stay.

Ko Hu Yong has the Similans’ longest white sandy beach. From November to February sea turtles come up to lay eggs and their tracks may be seen in the sand.

Travel to the Similans is easy from either Phang-Nga or Phuket. Chartered boats leave from Thap Lamu Pier in Thai Muang District of Phang-Nga and take about 3 hours to reach the islands. Here is also the office of National Park located. Alternatively, trips to the Similans can be arranged in Phuket. A boat trip from Patong Beach takes 3 hours by Seatran Travel Tel (076)219391-2, 213510. Divers can contact diving companies in Phuket for scuba diving excursions. Boats usually leave from Patong Beach and Chalong Bay.

A typical dive trip lasts 4 nights and 3 days, and includes 10 dives. Prices range from 9,000 to 25,000 baht, depending on the level of luxury, and include food, and accommodations. The Similans are regarded as mainly “deep water” diving.

For those wishing to stay on the Similans: Call 1 415 827 4981 and out Thailand specialist will help you arrange you vacation.

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