Similan Islands with Thailand Liveaboards
Just 60 miles northwest of Phuket, lie the Similan Islands. The word ‘Similan’ comes from the Malaysian word ‘sembilan’ (which means the number ‘nine’). The Similan Island National Park is without doubt the most prestigious marine park in Thailand and easily accessible via Thailand liveaboards.
Running from south to north and numbered accordingly, lie these truly unspoilt granite islands. With crystal clear seas and stunning coral formations, no wonder Jacques Cousteau believed it to be, one of the best diving destinations in the world.
The islands, best experienced on Thailand liveaboards, are densely covered with tropical vegetation, offering short and easy adventure trekking through the rainforest jungles. Due to the raging south west monsoon, the exposed south, west and north sides of each island, offer stunning underwater scenery. What you see above is what you get below. Rising from depths of more than 50 metres, the sea consists of large granite boulders that lay strewn together, overgrown with hard and soft corals. This provides some magnificent Similan Islands diving, with many interesting swim throughs, canyons, archways and caves.
Protected from the raging monsoons on the east side of each island, you will find untouched, powdery white sandy beaches. Underwater, you will be able to witness, sand slopes with beautiful fringing reefs. Teeming with a large diversity of marine life, these reefs are perfect for drift diving.
Being part of the Indian Ocean network, the Similan Islands can boast more than 250 species of soft and hard corals and more than 800 species of fishes. And when the plankton blooms, you have the opportunity to see the largest of them all, creatures such as manta rays and whale sharks visit the area regularly. If you are a diver and are planning a liveaboard trip to Thailand, make sure you visit the area and try diving in Similan Island.
The Surin Islands, are also included in Thailand’s national park system. They consist of two densely tropical rainforest islands, and are the home an endemic tribe of sea gypsies called the Mokens. If you have the time, they are certainly worth a visit. Experiencing a unique tribe really makes you think what life is all about. Do we really need televisions, cell phones and motor cars? These people are still living from the natural resources of their islands and the surrounding sea. Witnessing this, the memory will stay with you forever.
Lying 10 miles to the south east of the Surin Islands, sits the world famous Richelieu Rock. Made from limestone, Richelieu Rock is a horse shoe shaped pinnacle, rising from depths of 35 metres to just break through the surface at low tide. Constantly bathed in nutrient-rich water, Richelieu Rock supports an incredible diversity of marine life, from cuttlefish to schooling Barracudas, from seahorses to whale sharks.
Not so many years ago we could have almost guaranteed a sighting of one of these enormous but friendly animals, but due to the unfortunate demand for SHARK FIN Soup, the numbers have declined. Hopefully now as whale sharks have CITES category C world protection, the biggest fish in the world will soon make his come back and then once again we will hopefully be able to guarantee a sighting of this formidable creature for you. Richelieu Rock is the perfect liveaboard dive site for repetitive multi-level diving, giving you the opportunity to extend your underwater time, so you can truly explore and experience its wonders. PS: PLEASE DON’T EAT SHARK FINS!!!