Similan Islands National Park

Similan Islands National Park

Similan Islands National Park
4
Top ways to experience Similan Islands National Park
The area
Best nearby
We rank these restaurants and attractions by balancing reviews from our members with how close they are to this location.
Attractions
1 within 6 miles

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.0
1,520 reviews
Excellent
895
Very good
270
Average
156
Poor
91
Terrible
108

Wolfgangfaraway
Phuket, Thailand178 contributions
Mar 2021
If you visit by private yacht, you are allowed 2 entries per year.

Application for commercial yachts for a permit to visit the Similan Island National Park require paperwork about 5 cm thick and takes a minimum 3 month.

Should you want to visit before you receive the license, then the fees are double!

You can only stay overnight at this National park if you are scuba divers. Visiting tourists, who want to just snorkel, or bird watchers, or just sailors are not allowed to stay overnight at this national park, they have to leave and anchor at least 5 nautical miles offshore (at 80 meters deep waters)
Written March 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Coco L
Hong Kong, China261 contributions
Jan 2020 • Couples
We stopped at this island during our diving trip. It’s a nice place to relax, swim and have a small hike.

We were lucky to see many fish during our brief snorkelling there though our local guide said that’s usually not the case. If you are after snorkelling, this is not a guaranteed place.

Though they do have stunning sea view and nice sandy beach. There is a shop in the island for snacks and drinks.

Like most islands in Thailand, the place is quite busy. When we left by 11am, it was already jam-packed.
Written January 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Even K
1 contribution
Feb 2023 • Friends
Don,t go there! Expensive, lunsch was awfuk and full of flies. Tourists all over, taking photos to their next Instagram-post (wtf have we bevome as people?).

No garbage routine at any boat’s. A lot of garbage at det beach, in the water and even the sea transport to the island’s.

Trust med, we just went there. Don’t go. The only positive thing: amazing sand. Bit small plastic pieces in it.

Should have closed the whole thing, cleaned it, and ban people going there. Tourist trap number one. You will regret going there.
Written February 18, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ali A
Plattling, Germany76 contributions
Dec 2019 • Family
Very beautiful places, the islands are amazing. Sometimes very crowded. But if you are not limited in time, then you can find very beautiful and secluded places.
Alone with nature, unique feelings. but everything passes through the appearance of a crowd of people.
Written January 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Oona Komi
Helsinki, Finland5 contributions
Feb 2023
Beautiful place where you can snorkel with sea turtles and big fishes. A successful trip and we liked it a lot. During the day, we were able to snorkel in several different places and got to two different beaches. There are a lot of tourists already in the morning. A small minus is that our guides fed and played with the turtle, which is why it got right on people's skin. Even the big fish were used to people and swam really close. We saw two sea snakes on the beach and decided to stop swimming there.
Written February 3, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

QN Q
Bangkok, Thailand255 contributions
Oct 2020 • Friends
First time to visit here, I can’t to explain how beautiful of Similan island.

We make the decision to come here. We stay in Phuket and buy the ticket from We Love Andaman including transfer van and trip to the island.

Raining since the van pick up from hotel until we arrived to the pier. But first step to Similan island the weather change, mostly sunny. I think no one can’t to imagine how we feel.

Beautiful beach, clear blue water, clean white sand and have many place that we can take a photo especially a stone boat (a sail rock), the symbol of Similan islands.

Swim in the infinity blue pool that is the special of this trip, never forget to go back again.

Similan is the one of must go Island the Thailand and also in the world.
Written July 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TiTree Ren
Adelaide, Australia14 contributions
Mar 2012 • Couples
I booked a dive trip to the Similan Islands in March 2012, based on its claim as one of the top 10 dive destinations in the world. This may have been true once upon a time, however, I really must question whether this status is still deserved.
While I did not visit the deeper dive sites specialising in whale sharks and mantas, the reefs around the islands themselves were disappointing. The sites lacked colour and diversity of corals, attributed to bleaching and tsunamis. Fish diversity was also low, and while some smaller reef species were common, there was a distinct lack of large fish, perhaps no surprise when you see them on display at the local markets and restaurants. On the way out to the islands we passed numerous local fishers with an array of traps, nets, trawlers, and lines to catch everything and anything. Apparently, fishing for Manta Rays has recently begun in the area. Marine Park status offers no protection against fishing as there is no policing of regulations. It would be great to educate the locals in the value of one live fish that can be appreciated by hundreds of snorkelers and divers, as opposed to being eaten once.
On top of this, there is apparently only one eco-aware dive operator that actually stores their sewage, the rest flush their effluent directly below the boat - too bad if you happen to be diving at the time, and too bad for the corals and fishlife beneath! Perhaps I have been spoilt by the quality of reef diving in Australia, but I would seriously think twice about recommending the Similans as a top dive destination.
If you do decide to take a dive trip to the islands, I suggest you opt for a 2 day trip with an overnight stay on Island #4. This gives you more diving for the effort of making the 1.5 hr bumpy ride out there and you get to experience this beautiful island once all the day trippers have gone. We stayed in a sea-view bungalow - perhaps a bit rustic but comfortable, with a great view and air conditioning - we were warned that the standard bungalows may lack cleanliness. The food at the restaurant was a highlight and great value. There are some short walks, a couple of turquoise beaches, good snorkeling (lots of colorful fish, but the coral is largely dead) and a wonderful relaxed atmosphere. No pushy shops or vendors.
Written April 1, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Teeks79
Beirut12 contributions
Mar 2014 • Friends
I am an avid diver, spending lots of my savings just to take these special trips to remote locations (relative to where I live).

I would like to add that the: SIMILAN ISLANDS ARE CONSIDERED A MARINE PARK, MEANING ITS PROTECTED AND YOU WILL NEED PERMISSION AND TO PAY THE PARK AUTHORITIES TO DIVE THERE.

The Sea is filled with fishing boats! day and night. you see them in the night time like little stadium lights all around the islands and when you come to dive in the early morning there is literally nothing to see. I went during the high season of early march 2014. And what a disaster.

I knew from day one (due to previous livaboard experiences) that this part of the ocean has been immensely over fished. And with no surprise. Most shark lovers like I, know what the Thai mafia have done to the seas of Ecuador and Costa Rica. so what would their back yard look like? completely empty.

Not one shark, not one tuna. saw a small school of chevron (yellow tail barracudas), and a small school of bat fish.

Not worth the money and 12 hour flight with all my gear (additional expenses) since I film underwater. came back with 25 minutes of raw footage as opposed to hours.

6 days, 16 dives since i canceled all night dives and the last 2 dives on the famous "Richelieu Rock" the main purpose of my trip.
Written May 27, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

singh07
Southern5 contributions
Dec 2012 • Couples
In December 2012 we stayed 3 days overnight in the Chomview bungalows (aircon) at Island no. 4 (Koh Miang) from the Similan Islands.

Although you can book it through the National Parks website, it is quite difficult to book and pay it. Therefore I used the services of Khao Lak Life. ( http://www.khaolaklife.com/ ). There will be probably more companies like them, but I enjoyed the way dealing with them and they proved to be reliable.

You can use them for a taxi ride from Phuket Airport to Khao Lak (1.300 Baht), booking the bungalows or tents at Island no. 4 or others (Chomview bungalows costs 1.800 Baht (weekdays) / 2.000 Baht (weekend) and they charge and additional 500 Baht per night bungalow for their services) and the speedboat ride to the Islands (with some snorkelling and sightseeing along the way to the Islands and back a couple of days later) for 3.500 Baht a person. Payment in advance for the bungalows through Paypal.

I must admit that it was a boatride and stay which gave me very mixed feelings.

Basically, the speedboatride to the islands is actually a daytrip, cut in two.

You will be picked up at your hotel in Khao Lak at around 07.30 AM (pick-up in Phuket is about 1 hour earlier) and be driven to the harbour in Khao Lak from which the speedboats leave. Here all the people going to the islands (both daytrippers and stayers) are brought together
and separated in different groups (orange colour, blue colour, etc.). Then (after about 45 minutes waiting for late people) a guide explains what is going to happen that day to your group. Because of the large quantity of Russians, they have special guides.

Afer this, groups of about 25-30 people will go to each boat and about 8 to 10 boats (or more) will leave for the islands. After about 1.15 hours you will arrive at one of the islands (in our case no. 8) and snorkel about 30 minutes. To be honest, this was not a great place to snorkel.
Little fish and no nice corals. Then the trip continues to island no.4, where already plenty of boats have landed. You will be thriven to the foodshed for a simple buffetlunch in a noisy and rumoures setting.

The people staying at island will then be separated and checked in by the boatstaff. The remaining passengers have about 45 mintues to enjoy the beach. The beach is overcrowded by those daytrippers (arriving at both sides of the island) and many, many pictures were made. (The palmtree on the mainbeach is probably the most photographed palmtree in Thailand :>) ).

Directly at the beach there is no nice snorkelling, but if you swim the the 'black spots' in the sea (the corals) there is plenty of fish to see as well as along the rocks on the right side of the main beach. But, for people who have snorkelled at other nice places, it will be disappointing.

This part is for the people staying at the island no.4. After checking in by the staff, you get the key from your room. It is a short walk across a sandy place behind the beach and quite some stairs. Don't bring too much luggage, because you all have to carry it yourself. There is no staff who will do that for you. In the pretty basic rooms (which are too expensive compared to the price you pay for it. But who cares, it is all about the where you are) you will find an old bed (in mine the bottom was rotten) and a very basic shower. The is only electric (hot water, light in your room, air) from about 6.30 pm till 6.00 am.

You can get in the (only*) restaurant some breakfast in the morning, lunch around midday and dinner in the evening. Make sure you know at what times food will be sold, because
besides this times you won't get any hot food from the menu (which is small and simple). For the lovers of drinking a beer or other alcoholic beverages there will be a huge disappointment: no alcohol was sold at the island. So if you want to have some, you need to bring your own, e.g. some Thai whisky which you can mix with a cold coke. Beers is not an option, because you don't have a fridge and there are also no ice cubes. Do not believe the Thai people who tell
you that you can buy it at the island. I was told too and it simply was not true. * There is one more restaurant, but is only used for the mass lunch at midday for the crowds.

For all of you who take a device with Wifi: in the restaurant you can have a free Wifi receipt and get on the internet with your tablet or mobile phone..

Finally I would like to mentioned some items, which you should not forgot if you go to and stay at the islands: a flashlight, insect repellent, sun protection cream (30),
a garbage bag ?? (This is to put it around your bag on the boat, because it can get wet form either the people swimming and getting back on board or from the heavy rains on the way to or from the Islands). And of course some Mekhong whisky if you are into that and finally some cash because there are no items. A meal was around THB 100, an instant soup THB 60 and a coke THB 30, so you can do the maths how much you need.

After your stay, you will leave the island at about 1 pm. You have to check-out and report at the meeting point where you will be assigned to a new guide.

The boattrip then continues to island no. 7. Here the snorkelling was nice. Plenty of fish, a sea turtle, and some better looking corals (not the worlds best, but for starters it is fine). The snorkelling lasts about 30-40 minutes).

After the snorkelling the boat brings you to island no. 8 (Similan Island), where the climbing of Sail Rock is the main attraction. This is not difficult and was done by children as well as elderly people. You will walk in a row when going to the top. The view from the top is nice, however, the crowd at the rock gives you that annoying feeling of mass-tourism.

After returning at the beach there was a small break with some cakes and refreshments. After this you had to return to the boat, which headed for the mainland. After a 1 hour and 15 minutes boatride in bad weather conditons (hard rain and thunder) the mainland was reached. Here the crowds (about six, seven boats arrived at the same time) were split up over the minibuses and brought back to your hotel in either Khao Lak or Phuket.

Overall, it was a nice and easy trip to the islands, but be prepared for annoying mass-tourism during the hours that the daytourists visit the islands.

Have fun if you decide to go.
Written May 28, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rowan H
Cairns, Australia1,355 contributions
Jan 2013 • Couples
The Similian Islands are a group of 9 (similian comes from the malay word Sembilan meaning ‘nine’) granite islands around 60km off the coast off the Thailand coast north west of Phuket. Although the islands all have names they are more easily known by numbers from 1 to 9. They are known for their white beaches, beautiful clear water and diving.

LOGISTICS
You can come to the Similian islands from Kho Lak or Phuket, usually with the help of several company boats which run tours to the island. There are several package tours available from day trips, to multiple days staying overnight in the accommodation facilities on Ko Miang. All companies go to the same locations and are seen next to each other at all the same snorkelling sites so I think the only thing that varies is the price. We went with similian pro dive and found it adequate. To get you there from phuket they pick you up from your hotel in a minibus. After a 1.5 hour drive you get to the pier where you are taken for another 1.5 hours in a speedboat to various island locations. If you elect to stay on the island you will stay in either fan bungalows or tents on Ko Miang and to return will simply be added to the day trippers boat the next day or 2 days later, etc. When we first came here in 2009 we did it as a single day trip and found it to be too short as by the time you actually get to the islands it is around 10.30am and you have to leave by 3pm (total time of 4.5 hours visiting multiple islands) to get back to the hotel. Because of this we returned in 2012 for a 2 day 1 night trip and found it to be a better amount of time (I wouldn’t recommend staying any longer) although the experience was totally different.

PROS
- The beaches are undeniably beautiful with white sands and beautiful turquoise waters filled with dart. Those found on Ko Miang are particularly picturesque and on a SUNNY day (ie doesn’t look that great when it’s overcast or raining) once the tourists leave you can get pictures that make this place look like paradise. This is the number 1 draw card of this place and is a reason to visit it in itself despite all the drawbacks below.

CONS
- Dead coral and not many fish – in 2010 El nino impacted heavily on the coral surrounding these islands and that would partially explain the vast difference in coral quality we saw when we returned (in 2009 I believed the snorkelling rivaled that of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia). Essentially the water temperature went to 31 degrees and I believe at 29 degrees the coral suffered mass death and bleaching. As a result the coral you see today is now dead with fish numbers also greatly reduced. This was sad as it was beautiful in 2009. However the fact is was shattered in places suggested external damage (heat kills but doesn't break coral), most likely anchors from boats.
- Garbage (see below) - It was mindblowing the amount of rubbish that we found in the water and on the beach. This was disappointing and what was even worse was that it doesn’t seem to bother the Thais as there is no effort to clean it up.
- Overcrowded – When we first came here in December 2009 there was maybe 2-3 boats at each location. On our return in January 2013 there was maybe a dozen boats filled with tourists. Because they are all on similar schedules (start and finish at the same islands) you tend to all by clumped together. You are constantly running into other tourists are you are trying to snorkel and the beaches are starting to resemble the awful ‘maya bay’ of Phi Phi with all your photos of paradise pictures being photobombed by hundreds of tourists.
- Weather dependent – as I mentioned above the beaches only look magnificent on a sunny day where the light brings out the turquoise nature of the waters. On an overcast or rainy day it can be a bit underwhelming and you will be left scratching your head and wondering what all the fuss is about.
- Terrible accommodation – We stayed in tents on Ko Miang and although the tents were adequate (there was a rainstorm there and we did not get wet) the sleeping equipment provided is awful and I guarantee you won’t get a great nights sleep. The toilet facilities are also particularly disgusting. They lack hot water and there is no toilet paper in any of the cubicles. They are also poorly maintained with many of them containing broken doors and a couple of them had excrement on the toilet seats. By all accounts the fan bungalows are not much better and are infested with rats. Lunch provided by the company was fairly average too and I got gastroenteritis on the return trip and spent it spewing out the minivan and furthermore at the phuket international airport before my flight home.
- The Southern part of the park (Islands 1,2,3) is off limits to divers and is a turtle nesting ground meaning that you are only allow to snorkel at a few islands which largely have dead coral and are unremarkable. In addition all the other tour boats go to the same locations and it’s just a free for all of snorkelers at times. Even on longer tours they simply just return to the same snorkelling locations you have been to the day before.
- Expensive at 5500 baht for a 2 day 1 night trip where we stayed in tents and ate average food
- The islands are completely closed from May 1 to November 1

TIPS
- Bring sunscreen as you will definitely get burned otherwise
- Check the weather before booking. If the seas are >10 knots don’t go and if it isn’t sunny don’t go (if it’s overcast don’t bother)
- If staying on the island bring your own toilet paper and insect repellent (essential)
- Book a overnight trip otherwise your time on the island may be a bit too short to enjoy the beauty of the beaches (particularly once the tourist masses have gone)
- The islands are completely closed from May 1 to November 1

CONCLUSION
After making sure the sea is flat and sky is sunny consider doing a 2 day 1 night stay given the distance of travel. Despite the many problems that have arisen in the past half a decade It is still a place very much a place worth visiting although how long this is the case remains to be seen....
Written January 7, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 394
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

Similan Islands National Park - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Similan Islands National Park

According to Tripadvisor travelers, these are the best ways to experience Similan Islands National Park:

Similan Islands National Park Information

Excellent Reviews

895

Very Good Reviews

270

Similan Islands National Park Photos

3,178