The A To Z Of Southeast Asia – S

Scuba diving in the Similian Islands

The Similian Islands offer some of the best scuba diving in the world with a number of top class diving sites with options suitable for all levels of experience and qualifications.

Main picture by Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten on flickr

The area has some stunning coral reefs and accompanying reef dwellers and also offers incredible macro diving as well as the opportunity to spot some of the most sought after marine life including whale shark, manta ray and sharks.

Peak diving season is December to March when conditions are at their best. The Marine National Park is closed from May to October. Most dive sites have low to moderate currents, water temperatures are pleasant all year round and visibility is generally very good.

We also have a more in-depth look at dive sites in the Similian Islands plus other dive locations in Thailand, Bali and the Gili Islands plus general information on the sport, learning to dive and diving during Covid-19

East of Eden

Located to the east of Koh Pa-Yu (similian Island No.7) is this dive site suitable for all divers with depths between 5 and 40 metres and excellent visibility. The area can get busy at times due to its popularity.

The coral here is incredible with enormous boomies, staghorn coral, blue coral and fan corals.

Parrotfish credit Thomas Quine on flickr

Marine life includes frogfish as well as fusilier, barracuda, parrotfish, trevally, Napoleon wrasse, grouper and leopard shark.

West of Eden

Also suitable for all levels of diver this site has become more popular as divers look for alternatives to the crowds at East of Eden and is situated to the west of Koh Pa-Yu (Similian Island No.7). Also known as West of Six.

Depths range from 12 to 35 metres and has some excellent shallow water coral as well as granite boulders with hard and soft coral, gorgonions, feather stars and giant sea fans.

An excellent site to see ribbon eel, ghost pipefish, grogfish, yellow goatfish, trevally, moray eels, octopus, barracuda and turtles.

Deep Six

Deep six is situated just north of Similian No.7 and is one of the deeper sites in the area with huge granite boulders forming a v-shaped ridge that falls from 5 metres down to 40 metres.

Coupled with the depths, strong currents mean that this is a site for more experienced divers only. The shallower depths of the site were damaged during the 2004 tsunami, although the coral is starting to recover, but the deeper you go the more rewarding this site can be.

Whitetip Reef Shark credit Bernard DUPONT on flickr

The site includes many beautiful soft and hard coral and sponges. Marine life includes dogttoth tuna, trevallies, fusiliers, rainbow runners, whitetip reef shark, leopard shark, blue-spotted stingray, spot boxfish, rabbitfish, surgeonfish, grouper, butterflyfish, gobies, blennies and nudibranch.

Turtle Rock

Turtle Rock lies to the west of Similian Island No.8 and features coral and reef together with a sandy bottom at 25 metres. The average depth of the rocky area is 15 to 20 metres making it suitable for divers of all experience levels. Currents tend to be gentle and visibility very good.

The area has Kuhl’s stingray, sweetlips, moray eels, angelfish, garden eels, snapper, grouper, turtles, lobsters and nudibranch.

Elephant Head Rock

Getting its name from the rock that protudes out of the water and is said to resemble a half-submerged elephant.

The site is home to huge granite boulders with incredible tunnels, swim-throughs and caverns. Currents can be very strong and treacherous meaning that this is a dive site for more experienced divers only. Depths range from 16 to 50 metres and visibility is generally excellent.

Hawksbill Turtle credit Rickard Zerpe on flickr

The site has plenty of whitetip and blacktip reef and leopard sharks, barracuda, stingray, moorish idols, banner butterflyfish, titan triggerfish, Andaman sweetlips, purple fire goby, wrasse, turtle, octopus, shrimp and nudibranch.

Sharkfin Reef

Found at the southern end of Similian Island No.3 Sharkfin Reef is a long submerged rocky ridge which breaks the surface at low tide to resemble a shark fin. Most of the site is less than 20 metres deep and can be dived by all experienced levels. There is a drop off to water as deep as 40 metres for more experienced divers.

The ridge is covered in gorgonian seafans and hard corals and attracts cube boxfish, clown triggerfish, half-moon triggerfish, Napoleon wrasse, stingray, leopard shark, surgeonfish, batfish, bannerfish and bumphead parrotfish.

Similian Island Dive Sites. Credit

We also have a more in-depth look at dive sites in the Similian Islands plus other dive locations in Thailand, Bali and the Gili Islands plus general information on the sport, learning to dive and diving during Covid-19

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Published by flyingdogtravel

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