The Similan Islands are a string of 11 lslands off the coast of southern Thailand in Thai Muang District. The Similan Islands are located about 48km from Thap Lamu or Nam Kaen Piers in the Khao Lak area. Similan Islands translates from Malaysian to “Nine Islands”. When the islands came under the control of Thailand two more Islands were added to the marine park. The Similan Islands are home to a wide variety of marine life from the tiniest sea creatures to the largest behemoths in the sea.
I was fortunate to be part of an “inspection” tour of the Similan and Surin Islands for a local outfit called Seastar Plus. For now I will focus on The Similans. We met at Nam Kaen Pier early in the morning and were treated to a nice continental breakfast, welcome drink and refillable water bottle.
We boarded a 15 meter two level catamaran named Tao Talay 6. The cabin was air conditioned and there was plenty of room for the passengers. There was an upper deck for sunning once the boat was at anchor. The Tao Talay had one toilet near the captain’s chair. The vessel was designed to seat 70 people but there were about 30 of us onboard. Once seated we all were provided with a mesh bag containing a towel, mask, snorkel and fins. Captain Mac and three boat boys got us underway for the hour and 30 minute cruise to the Similan Islands. Our guide, Khun Way, Gave us a briefing about the day’s activities and A little of the islands history.
Our first stop once we reached the Similan Islands was the famous Donald Duck Bay on Island #8. Due to our early departure, we had the bay all to ourselves. We anchored and disembarked on the white sandy beach. A short hike followed up the rocks to the viewpoint. The trail and steps were easy to navigate and the view itself was tremendous. After about 40 minutes we got back on the Tao Talay 6 and headed to our first snorkel spot. Again we were the only ones there and spent an hour exploring the reefs and the sea life that made it their home.
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Next stop on our Similan Island tour was Island number 4 or Koh Miang. There we were greeted by the Marine Park Rangers. The tide was coming in so there wasn’t much beach to walk around but we were there for lunch. There are no cooking facilities on this Island so everything had to be brought in. We each received a Box Lunch with Seafood, Fried Chicken Rice, Thai Omlete, Pasta and Fresh Fruit. Soft drinks were provided from the Tao Talay’s coolers, which we were free to help ourselves to all day. There was also ice cold water to fill our bottles.
After lunch we got back on the Tao Talay 6 and headed to another snorkel spot in between Islands 5 and 6. Some chose to explore the reefs, others took advantage of the dive platforms on the upper deck. I took the time to relax on the over-sized bean bags scattered around the deck. Our last stop of the day was back to Island #8, Honeymoon Bay. There were a few speedboats already there but very few people in the water. Everyone jumped in and a few of us swam/snorkeled the 200 meters to the white sand beach. The Tao Talay picked us off the beach after a 20 minute break and we prepared for the ride back to Thap Lamu Pier.
There was fresh cut fruit and chocolate brownies offered to everyone. After a full day at the Similan Islands, most of us dozed off until we reached our home base at Nam Kaen. At the reception area there was a small buffet set up and ice cream to refresh ourselves after a long day. I highly enjoyed my day out to the Similan Islands and was very satisfied with the service and experience provided by Seastar Plus.
With people just starting to return to Thailand in 2021, now is the best time to visit the Similan Islands.