Similan is a Yawi or Malay word, which means nine or a group of nine islands. Similan is a small group of islands comprising nine islands stretching from north to south, respectively, namely: Koh Bon, Koh Bayu, Koh Similan, Koh Payu, Koh Miang (two adjoining islands), Koh Payan, Koh Payang, and Koh Huyong. Occupying an area of 32,000 acres, it was declared as a national park on September 1, 1982 and the park office is located on Koh Miang. Similan is highly praised for its beautiful scenery, both onshore and underwater. It is situated 70 kilometers from Phang-nga town. Best time to visit is between November and April.

Interesting attractions in the National Park include:

Koh Similan or Koh Paet is the largest island of this group. It has a distinctive horseshoe-shaped bay and the average depth of the water is 60 feet. Underwater is full of rock formations and coral reefs in several shapes and forms such as deer, leaf, brain, and mushroom. The latter one is the most unspoiled coral found in the country. Its white sand beach is beautifully soft and very stunning. Diving around here is the must as it allows you to touch the real underwater world that full of fish and corals. To the north, lies a striking large rock formation with astonishing shapes such as boot and Donald Ducks head. The upper part of the beach is an ideal looKohut point with a rock of a sailing boat shape.

Koh Ba-ngu is the ninth island of the Similan group. Its strange shape can be looked in different ways including a skull. Underwater scene is as beautiful as a coral reefs valley with deep gorges and various sizes of fish.

Koh Huyong, the island offers the whitest and longest beach of all the nine islands. During turtles’ egg laying season, from November to February, there would be tracks on the beach made by turtles come onshore to lay eggs, resembling centipede tracks.

Koh Miang is the second largest island among the group. It is where the office of the National Park is located. The island offers a scenic beach suitable for camping.

Diving Spots: There are several diving spots suited both snorkeling and scuba diving. The famous scuba diving spots including rock formations that lie to the west of Koh Tachai where whale sharks can be seen, Koh Bon, Christmas Point rock formation, Fantasy rock formation, and Ao Kwang En (to the east of Koh Paet), etc.

Snorkeling spots are scattered around these islands. The suggesting spots are sailing boat rock, Ao Kwang En, and behind Miang Island.

Accommodation: There are bungalows and tents as well as restaurants available on the island. For reservation, contact Mu Koh Similan National Park, tel: 0 2562 0760, www.dnp.go.th

Opening hours: 9am-5pm

Admission: 500 baht for adult and 300 baht for children
Contact: Mu Koh Similan National Park, Mu 1, Thap Lamu, Tambon Lam Kaen, Amphoe Thai Mueang, Phang-nga 82120, 076-421-365, 076-595-045, 02-562-0760
Getting there: Thap Lamu Pier, located 70 kilometers north of Phang-nga at Amphoe Thai Mueang, is the nearest point to Similan. A boat trip takes around 2 hours. There is no regular boat service for travelers to the island. Boats leaving from Thap Lamu are suitable for chartered with the rates range from 30,000-40,000 baht, depending on various factors. It is sometimes possible for individuals to hitch a ride or pay a reasonable fraction of the rental cost on a boat chartered by a group. This method is by no means certain and should be an option only for the adventurous that have time to spare. Visitors may contact the park office at Thap Lamu (Tel: 0 7659 5045) for further information.

A boat trip from Patong Beach, Phuket takes around four hours. Visitors can contact Seatran Travel Tel: 076-219-391/2. Diving companies in Phuket also organize a three-day trip ranging from 9,000 to 25,000 baht depend on the level of luxury, food and accommodations.

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