The Beauty of the Similan Islands
Lying some 84km to the northwest of the bustling crowds that proliferate Phuket’s Patong Beach a gateway to a different, and in some respects, more vibrant world awaits. Koh Similan is among the best-known groups of islands located in the Andaman Sea, in large part by virtue of the wonders that lie beneath the crystal clear blue waters that gently lap upon the white, sandy shores.
This little archipelago is representative of one of the top 10 diving spots worldwide, and, for good reason, it’s a favorite destination for tour boats and yachts alike. Do note, however, that the Similan Islands are open to the public between mid-October and mid-May, although the dates are variable, so be sure to check prior to embarking on your voyage.
The word “Similan” comes from an old Malay word, “Sembilan,” which literally translates to “nine.” Each individual island at Similan has its own number and name. More recently, the islands that make up Similan have grown to 11 strong.
The Highlights of the Similan Islands
For those who have yet to be enchanted by these islands, the question arises, “What is it about the islands that’s so attractive?” It’s true that the exotic designation is not quite as dramatically scenic asKrabi or Phang Nga Bay. Rather, you’ll find that the Similan Islands are alow-lying congregation of limestone outcrops that are covered by densely packed forests.
Among the larger tree species are gum and ironwoods, while the under blanket comprises thick outgrowths of rattan, jackfruit, and bamboos. The islands are populated with dusky langurs, crab-eating monkeys, bats, varieties of lizards, squirrels, and a plethora of bird species.
Animals aside, there’s no doubt that the most striking feature, however, is that of the colossal boulders that proliferate the southern and western shores on a number of the islands. A further highlight, as you’ll soon discover upon your arrival, are the white sand beaches. All of them are splendidly picturesque and frequently entirely deserted. The place makes for nothing short of a tropical haven.
Nevertheless, as beautiful as it is above the crystal clear waters that surround the islands, it’s what is to be found below the waves that makes for the most spectacular sights. Even though relatively recently a number of coral species have suffered on account of the level of global warming, Similan Islands still hosts some of the most breathtaking coral growths to be found on the planet.
Those exact same rocky outcrops that scatter the shores have managed to metamorphose the waters around the Similan Islands into a wonderfully adventurous playground for divers and snorkeling enthusiasts alike.
Diving enthusiasts are invited to visit Khao Lak Explorer Dive Center for an experience never to be forgotten.
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