Diving Similan Islands
Diving Similan Islands

Diving Similan Islands – Khao Lak – are the best diving Thailand has to offer and as you might expect from diving in such a terrific environment as Thailand, the diving here is world class. This year alone has seen a massive increase in pelagic fish, with Whaleshark sightings up 75 % on last few years and Manta Rays, well they have been seen more times than they have not.

Diving from Khao Lak is made very easy because the pier where all the dive boats leave for the Similans is only ten minutes away from most resorts in Khao Lak. The trip out to the Similans from Khao Lak takes approximately two hours, although this does depend on which boat and the conditions of the seas.

MV Giamani - Thailand Liveaboard to Similan Islands
MV Giamani Liveaboard

Similan Islands Liveaboards

A Thailand Liveaboard trip is the best way to dive the Similans including the diving hot spots Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock.

  • Liveaboard Season: November to April.
  • Liveaboard Class range from low budget to High End.
  • Duration: from 2 days / 1 night to 6 days / 6 nights

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Scuba Diving Khao Lak - The Wet Cat
Diving with Wet Cat

Scuba Diving Khao Lak Day Tours  

Staying in Khao Lak area and like to dive the best dive sites that Similan & Surin Islands has to offer?

  • Daily Trips from Khao Lak – November to April.
  • Max 16 Diving Guest!
  • Fast & comfortable Diving Catamaran!

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Similans are a group of nine islands, although three are now closed for environmental reasons, also a little further north we have Koh Bon, which is famous for Manta Ray sightings and this year there has been too many sightings to list.

Another dive site a little further North still is called Koh Tachai Pinnacle, juts two hundred metres off the island of Tachai itself, is the most amazing spectacle of marine life you will see anywhere in the country.

A series of submerged large boulders, some of which are as big as a house, are home to a vast array of predatory fish, like the large schools of Chevron Barracuda and Yellow Tail Barracuda, it is possible to swim inside the school of these magnificent fish and watch them first hand. Witness the hierarchy systems they use to control the younger fish in the school, watch them hunt at close quarters. Simply put, this is what diving is really all about, a fascinating and awe inspiring experience.

Peacock Mantis Shrimp
Peacock Mantis Shrimp

Of course, no description about diving around the Similans would be complete without mentioning the number one dive site in Asia; Richelieu Rock. Richelieu has a very interesting history and much confusion surrounds how it actually got its name in the firsts place.

Go on any liveaboard and you will be told stories of how Jacques Cousteau first discovered the dive site aboard Calypso (his dive and expedition boat) back in the seventies. How he was so impressed by the clarity of the waters and the abundance of marine life, which lives amongst this amazing group of boulders, that he stayed in the area for over two weeks, diving it every day.

The story goes he named the site after Cardinal Richelieu, after the character from the three musketeer novels. He was a French clergyman, noble and statesman, he wore beautiful red attire, and Cousteau was reminded of this by the spectacular colourful soft corals that cover the dive site.

However the truth is a little different, way back when Thailand and Burma were not the best of friends, and when the English and French were at loggerheads over Phuket, the ruler of Thailand HRH King Chulalongkorn asked the Danish Navy if they could help him improve his marine taskforce. They sent an experienced and talented sailor to Thailand in the role of an advisor to the Royal Thai Fleet.

His name Andreas du Plessis de Richelieu and he is the one who made the border between Thailand and Burma more distinguishable. Richelieu Rock is almost on the border of the two countries and is a potential hazard to all marine vessels, especially at high tides. This was was a very busy shipping route at the turn of the century, in fact, even today, large ocean going vessels still uses this route.

Hawksbill Turtle Similans
Hawksbill Turtle Similans

There were many arguments and political incidents between the two nations with regards to these borders and shipping routes. So Rear Admiral Richelieu agreed with the Burmese that this small seamount would become the border between the two sea faring nations. And that is how Richelieu Rock got its name, and you can tell your granny that too.

The diving here is the best Thailand has to offer, and has been mentioned in the top ten dive sites of the world many times. It is possible to do day trips to Richelieu rock or as part of a liveaboard trip, either way any diver that comes to Thailand, especially the Andaman coast (Khoa Lak and Phuket), would not do themselves justice if they did not dive on Richelieu Rock.

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