Similan National Park
“Similan” is a Yawi or Malay word, which means nine or a group
of nine islands. This is located in Tambon Ko Phra Thong,
Amphoe Khura Buri, occupying an area of 32,000 acres. It was
declared a national park on 1st September 1982. Similan is
a small group of islands comprising nine islands stretching
from north to south, respectively, namely: Ko Bon, Ko Bayu,
Ko Similan, Ko Payu, Ko Miang (two adjoining islands), Ko
Payan, Ko Payang, and Ko Huyong. The National Park’s office
is located on Ko Miang. Similan is highly praised for its
beautiful scenery, both onshore and underwater. It is situated
70 kilometres from Phang-nga town. Best time to visit is between
November and April.
attractions in the National Park include:
Ko Similan or Ko Paet is the largest island
in this group of islands. It has a distinctive horseshoe-shaped
bay. 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
soft sandy beach is very beautiful and diving around here
will let you see a lot of fishes and coral. To the north,
lies a striking large rock formation with astonishing shapes
such as boot and Donald Duck’s head. The upper part of the
beach is an ideal lookout point with a rock of a sailing boat
Ko Ba-ngu is the ninth island of the Similan
group of islands. It has a strange feature. Looking from one
point, the shape of a skull can be seen. Underwater is as
beautiful as a valley full of coral reefs, deep gorge, and
various sizes of fish.
Ko 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 from turtles that come onshore to lay
eggs, resembling centipede tracks.
Ko Miang is the second largest island
among 9 islands after Similan Island. It is where the office
of the National Park is located. The island offers a scenic
beach which is suitable for camping.
There are several diving spots that suit
both snorkelling and scuba diving. The famous scuba diving
spots including rock formations that lie to the west of Ko
Tachai where whale sharks can be seen, Ko Bon, Christmas Point
rock formation, Fantasy rock formation, and Ao Kwang En (to
the east of Ko Paet), etc.
Snorkelling spots are scattered around
these nine islands. The interesting points are by the sailing
boat rock, Ao Kwang En, and behind Miang Island.
Thap Lamu Pier, located 70 kilometres
north of Phang-nga at Amphoe Thai Mueang, is the nearest point
to Similan. A boat trip takes around 3 hours. There is no
regular boat service for travellers to the island. Boats leaving
from Thap Lamu are suitable for group tours and the boat rentals
range from 8,000-10,000 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 obtion only for the adventurous who 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: 0 76219391-2. Diving companies in Phuket also organise
a three-day trip. Prices range from 9,000 to 25,000 baht,
depending on the level of luxury, and include food, and accommodations.
There are bungalows and tents as well
as restaurants available on the island. For more information
contact Mu Ko Similan National Park, Mu 1, Thap Lamu, Tambon
Lam Kaen, Amphoe Thai Mueang, Phang-nga 82120, tel. 0 7642
1365 or 0 7659 5045.