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Liveaboards Diving Divesites

The Similan Islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai, Richelieu Rock and the Surin Islands are located to the Northwest of Phuket, about eight hours sailing, and to the West/Northwest of Tap Lamu, the Khao Lak harbour, about five hours sailing with a liveaboard safari boat or one and a half hours by speedboat (on the diving daytrips and overnight trips).

One can stay overnight at the Surin Islands but not at the Similans and there is no scuba diving gear available on the islands. This means that by far the best way to dive here is by boat, either by daytrip, overnight trip or liveaboard, with departure from Tap Lamu (Khao Lak) or Phuket.

Moray eel and lionfish together at Similans diving, Phuket.

Beacon Point is located on the Southtip of Similans island number 8 and is one of the deeper divesites till over 40 meters. This is a good divesite for different species of stingrays. With big granite boulders and an accosional whitetip reefshark patroling the rocks, try to spot the blue ribboneels when they stick their heads out of the sand. Maximum depth 40+ meter, medium to strong current.

Elephant Head is probably the best known divesite in the Similan Islands, located in between islands 7 (Koh Payu) and 8 (Koh Similan). With three big boulders breaking the surface, these granite rock formations run all the way down till over 50 meters. This is an exiting dive; not too many corals but because of the positioning of the boulders over each other a web of tunnels and swimthroughs has been created. Oriental and harlequin sweetlips, only spotted in the Andaman Sea, seek shelter from the currents behind the boulders. Keep your eyes open for the colourful clown triggerfish and whitetip reefsharks, often seen resting on the bottom. Maximum depth 50 meter, strong current.

Stonehenge is a deep dive, gigantic boulders with impressive fancorals, whipcorals and sponges in between. All the usual reeffish are present, leopardsharks, schools of tuna and trevally are frequently seen here. Maximum depth 40 meter, medium to strong current.

Overhang at Deep Six, Similans.

Deep Six is located on the Northern end of Similans island 7; as the name already indicates you can dive here till over 60 meters deep. The dramatic underwater boulders have created lovely swimthroughs, tunnels and canyons. But in the soft coral garden you will find the biggest gorgonias of the Similans. With an occasional manta ray gliding by, this is a very nice divesite. Maximum dive! depth 40 meter, medium to strong current.

West of Eden comprises giant granite boulders that create nice canyons, with walls covered with colourful soft corals and giant sea fans. Some areas are characterised by rubble and sand slope falling to a depth of 30 to 35 metres. The shallow is a fringing reef and is home to many reef fish, and have stacked granite boulders covered with hard corals, soft corals, gorgonians and feather stars. This is a favourite site for local guides as it has both types of Similan sites in one place. It´s a great place to see Ribbon Eels, Frogfish, Ghost Pipefish, Seamoths and many other colourful critters. Maximum divedepth 35 meter, medium to strong current.

Princess Bay Here we find a sandy bottom with smaller coral blocks. Nothing too exiting, good for a nightdive, especially the Western part of the bay. Maximum depth 15 meter, slight current.

Barracuda Point This divesite, also called Anita's Reef, starts at a depth of 6 meters and slopes down till around 28 meters. Coral gardens, soft and hard corals we will find everywhere in the sand and they look lovely. Here we will find all varieties reeffish. Maximum depth 28 meter, slight current.

Hideaway Bay or Hideaway Reef is a lovely divesite for a checkdive or nightdive. With a depth of 20 meters maximum this reef has some beautiful coralblocks on offer. Covered in soft corals the colours are magnificent and one of the best places for macro photographers with different species of ghost pipefish. In the sandy bottom lots of garden eels, sticking their heads of the sand together with the Thai flatfish to feed in the current. On the reef itself lots of surgeonfish, butterflies and porcupines. Maximum depth 20 meter, slight current.

Honeymoon Bay is a lovely bay situated on Similans island number 4. With an excellent beach this is the perfect place to go snorkeling or a sunsetdive on the gently till 24 meters sloping reef. In the shallow part you can spot octopus, crab and mantis shrimp hunting for food. With and occasional hawksbill seaturtle and whitetip reefshark the reef will keep you occupied all through the dive. Maximum depth 24 meter, slight current.

Bird Rock Situated on the South side of Similans island number 4 has big boulders till 40 meters. Not much marine life, but lovely boulder formations and swimthroughs. Maximum depth 40 meter, medium current.

Shark Fin Reef From the surface we can see three rocks breaking the watersurface. The dive you can make on either side of this extensive rockformation. The Southwest side consists mainly of a steep drop off. On the Southeastern side of this formation is a large swimthrough through which you can reach the other side of the reef. There we will find lionfish and scorpionfish in sheltered corners, surgeonfish and a great variety of other reeffish. The corals are mainly hard corals. Maximum depth 40 meter, medium to strong current.

Boulder City is completely submerged with two mooring lines, one South and one North. Following the Northline we descent till 20 meters, follwing the Southline till 30 meters. The whole dive we will remain inside these depths or even deeper, preventing this from being a long dive. But the underwater views are spectacular with big granite boulders, some bigger than a house, with swimthroughs and a really good chance to dive with big pelagics. Eaglerays and mantarays swim round the rocks while giant stingrays rest in the sand. With a big family of humphead parrotfish and napoleons living in the area plus the beautiful soft corals and gorgonia seafans this is an eye opening divesite, especially if a whalesharks comes around and takes a peak. Maximum depth 40 meter, medium to strong current.

Coral Garden Lovely relaxed reefdive. Beautiful hard and soft corals, rich in species of fishlife. Maximum depth 24 meter, light to medium current.

Rocky Point Big, spread out rockboulders with sand patches in between. A very healty fish population. Mainly hard corals, but also seafans, whipcorals and sponges. In the deeper part of the divesite a good chance of seeing barracuda and other pelagic fish. Maximum depth 35 meter, medium current.

Map of divesites North of Similans: Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock.

North of Similans Divesites

Koh Bon Wall Beautiful wall on the Southside of Koh Bon, sloping down till about 30 meters deep. Covered in mainly hard corals. Lots of different fishspecies, mainly of the bigger varieties. Further to the West the boulders continue up to about 35 meters, where we will also find whipcorals and other kinds of soft corals. In this area we often see mantarays. Maximum depth 40 meter, medium to strong current.

Koh Bon Pinnacle has no buoy line so location is by GPS. When the captain signals it's time to jump into the blue and descend down to the pinnacles. 
The top is around 18 meters and continues to run down to over 50 meters to the sand bottom were the docile leopard shark sleeps while white tip reef sharks patrol the reef in search of a meal. These amazing pinnacles are covered with colourful soft coral trees, large gorgonian sea fans and barrel sponges running down the walls. With five species of clown fish in the magnificent anemones and their shrimp and porcelain crab hosts its difficult to keep your eyes of the pinnacles but a look out in to the blue can be rewarding with manta rays gliding around and the occasional whale shark. 
But don't forget to keep a check on your air supply as its time to head back to the surface and leave these beautiful creatures behind. Maximum depth 50 meter, medium to strong current.

Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock

Koh Tachai The buoy line at Koh Tachai descends down to 16 meters to reach the top of the plateau. From here you decide which way to go North or South. North takes you over the plateau to the beautiful coral garden at around 22 meters to 26 meters with some of the best soft corals and sea fans in the area, which will keep underwater photographers busy. South takes you down over the large boulders to between 36 meters and 40 meters to reach the sandy bottom looking for the docile leopard shark and large stingrays. Up above schooling great barracudas with tunas and trevallys darting down to catch the baitfish hanging around the reef. With a multitude of small creatures to look at try not to forget a look into the blue to see the manta rays gliding past and the occasional whale shark make Koh Tachai a spectacular dive site. Maximum depth 40 meter, strong current. 

Richelieu Rock Probably Thailand's best divesite, Richelieu Rock is horseshoe shaped and just breaks the surface at low tide, descending down to around 33 meters to the sandy bottom. The Northern side has an excellent wall with lots of cracks and holes for you to look inside. The wall is covered with coral and zig zag oysters where you can find over ten species of moray eels like the commonly spotted white eyed, giant, yellow edged, and bartail morays or the shy dragon, leopard, honeycomb and zebra morays. The wall is also home to many species of shrimps from the cleaners, anemone, saron, squat and the colorful harlequin shrimps. The West side contains mostly soft corals and sea fans with ghost pipefish and tigertail sea horses hiding in between the branches. But its here where we all so encounter large schools of silver jacks and bluefin trevallys with chevron and great barracudas too. 
Richelieu Rock is also home to the gentle giant the whale shark anywhere from 2 meter babys to 8 meter subadults. The walls seem to move with so much life or look closely at the camouflaged scorpion, stone and lionfishes that blend in to the rock. A truly spectacular dive site no matter what the visibility. Maximum depth 40 meter, slight to strong current.