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diving
guide
The Hideaway - Ko Miang Song (#5)   and   Deep Six - Ko Payu (#7)
Similan Islands
 
dive sites

The Similan Islands are one of the top diving locales in the world. The following is a summary of the credited sites.
Also please view our map section.
Rocky Point - Ko Hu Yong (#1)

This site is located just off the most southeasterly tip of the island and offers a submerged ridge of jumbled granite boulders from the surface down to at least 40m. There are numerous ledges, archways, caves and crevices.
Depths from 12 - 40m. Visibilty 18 - 24m.
Hard corals and feather stars cover the shallower rocks, while soft corals wire corals and gorgonian sea fans reside at the deeper depths. Tree corals and barrel sponges abide in profusion.
There are predators such as dogtooth tuna, various species of jacks, leopard sharks, blue-spotted stingrays, and occasional white-tipped reef sharks. Surgeonfish, snapper and large groupers are always present.

Southern Shallows/Rocky Point Bay - Ko Hu Yong (#1)

Small site off the southern tip of the island. The hard corals are near pristine and very healthy, and the reef slopes gradually down to a sandy bottom at 24m.
Abundance of colourful reef fish even at shallow depths of only 3m, including various parrotfish and convict surgeonfish. Look out for flame basslets and blue-spotted groupers deeper. Depths from 5 - 24m.

Coral Gardens - Ko Hu Yong (#1)

This large fringing reef stretches the length of the long sandy beach on the north east of the island. The reef gradually slopes down to a sandy bottom at 24m, from a near-surface depth where some corals are even exposed at low tides.
Depths from 1 - 24m. Visibilty 12 - 24m.
Aptly name site with extensive coral gardens. The main feature is a wide selection of hard corals including staghorn and large boulder corals, but some of the deeper bommies also support impressive soft corals.
Fish species include blue-spotted rays, garden eels, schools of snapper, squads of tuna, aneomone fish, and various damselfish and butterflyfish.
Interesting night/dawn/dusk dive.

Western Shallows and West Point - Ko Hu Yong (#1)

These two sites off the west coast of Ko Hu Yong are offered by some dive companies.

Shark Fin Reef - Ko Payan (#3)   (Hin Phae)

This reef begins at 1.5km south east of island #3, and actually encompasses two quite different sites (Shark Fin Reef and Boulder City) at each end of the reef. The reef is a long rocky ridge running in a northwest to southeast direction. Shark Fin reef derives it's name from it's resemblance to a shark fin as the narrower portion of the ridge pierces the water surface.
Depths from 1 - 30m. Visibility 18 - 25m.
It is suited as a multi-level dive with interesting scenery all the way down. There are mountain-coral bommies, staghorn and other hard corals, with large sea fans, barrel sponges and dendrophyllia tree corals at the deeper depths. There are many reef fish. Look out for the occasional Napoleon wrasse which sometimes visit the site.

attractive coral at East of Eden, Ko Payu Parrotfish

Boulder City - Ko Payan (#3)   (Hin Phae ridge extension)

This site is a further 1.5km south east of neighbouring Shark Fin reef. Although part of the same underwater ridge as Shark Fin, the main dominant feature of Boulder City are the huge granite boulders providing interesting archways and swim-throughs.
Depths from 12 - 35m. Visibility 18 - 25m.
The site has numerous large sea fans, scattered hard corals, spotfin lionfish, jewel basslets, and blue spotted rays. You may also see bumphead parrotfish, Napoleon wrasse, and leopard and whitetip reef sharks. Large stingrays and whale sharks are also sometimes sighted.

Stonehenge - Ko Miang (#4)

This is a relatively deep site a couple of hundred meters off the northern tip of Ko Miang. Large granite boulders are strewn over a white sandy floor at an average depth of 30m. The best parts of the site lie between depths of 18 to 40m. At 20m one encounters hard corals, sponges and feather stars. In the canyons between the boulders and along the sides of the ridge, there are numerous sea fans, together with large barrel sponges, and gorgonian wire corals. Spiny lobsters and soldierfish hide in the deep crevices. Zebrafish, Damselfish, butterfly fish, jacks, pinjalo snappers, turtles, and, at deeper depths, leopard and other reef sharks are all quite common. Tuna, angelfish and unicorn surgeonfish are also usually in the vicinity.
Depths from 18 - 36m. Average depth 30m. Visibility 18 - 24m.

Sea Eagle Cove - Ko Miang (#4)

This is a small bay on the east of the island, and adjacent to Bungalow Bay which contains the National Forestry Department bungalows.
Depths from 5 - 20m. Visibility 18m. Interesting dawn/sunset/night dive.
The reef slopes down to a sandy base at 20m. Quite extensive and numerous corals are to be found, together with groupers, butterfly fish, parrotfish, zebrafish, lionfish, numerous crustaceans and more.

powder-blue surgeonfish redtail butterflyfish

Bird Rock - Ko Miang (#4)

Off the southern tip of the island there is an underwater ridge which drops sharply to 40m.
Depths from 18 - 40m. Visibility 18 - 24m. This site is not visited by many dive companies.
The sea fans are very large here. There are occasional sightings of leopard sharks at 35m.

Hideaway - Ko Miang Song (#5)

Situated off the south east of the island. Depths from 12 - 32m. Visibility 18 - 24m.
Drift diving is appropriate.
Wire corals and sea fans cover the granite boulders of the seabed at 30m, where large stingrays are to be found. The shallower depths have hard corals, and many varities of reef fish. Batfish are common.

Ko Miang Sam (#6)

Another interesting drift dive site, off the north west of the island.
Depths from 10 - 20m. Visibility 18 - 24m.
There are large areas of hard coral, with highlights of sea stars, red sponges and feather stars in the mid-section. Golden damselfish, fusiliers, scorpionfish and batfish are plentiful.

Fanfare Point / Deep Six - Ko Payu (#7)

This site off the northly tip is an underwater ridge extension of the island.
Depths from 10 - 42m. Visibility 18 - 24m. Quite a good multilevel dive with excellent marine life.
There are interesting passageways between the large granite boulders, which are covered with large barrel sponges, wire corals, feather stars and sea fans. There is plenty of fish life including the mottled red and yellow sea star (Linckia multiflora) but some of the best features are at 30m plus, at which depth one will also encounter reef sharks.

Morning Edge / East of Eden - Ko Payu (#7)

Morning Edge borders the easternmost point of the island, for a few hundred meters, and is probably one of the most spectacular sites within the Similans. Despite it's relatively compact size, it offers very beautiful underwater scenery, with an excellent blend of abundant filter feeders and acropora and other hard coral species, which encompass sea fans and soft tree corals and crinoids.
Perhaps the most scenic area is at the bottom of the slope at 32 meters, where there are prolific soft corals, huge sea fans and foloise corals teeming with bluestripped snappers, bigeyes, wrasse, parrotfish, and yellow-tailed goldies
Depths from 3 - 34m. Visibilty 18 - 24m.

Oriental sweetlips at Elephant Head Rock Golden damselfish at Deep Six (Ko Payu (#7))
Elephant's Head Rock - (Hin Pousar)

This is another very highly rated site, lying 2.5km north of Ko Payu(#7). It is quite an extensive site and features huge granite rocks, clad with thorough growths of hard corals, sea anemones, sea fans and soft corals, rising from depths approaching 40m. Some of the rocks reach well above the surface, and depending on your vantage point they somewhat resemble the head and upper back of an elephant. The boulders provide a complex, yet easily navigated, series of tunnels and archways.
You will encounter a spectrum of reef fish and also small critters such as mantis shrimp, purple dragon nudibranches and jawfish. Also look out for butterflyfish, Moorish idols, clown and clown triggerfish, oriental sweetlips, angelfish, large stingrays and whitetip reef sharks.
Depths from 8 - 38m. Visibility 18 - 24m.

In addition to the aforegoing, off the southern tip of Elephant Rock lies a granite pinaccle, often referred to as Elephant pinaccle, stretching from a depth of 15m down to 42m. This is another interesting site with a varied and rich selection of fish life, hard and soft corals including a pink carpet of soft tree corals, feather stars and sea fans.

Beacon Point/Beacon Beach South - Ko Similan (#8)

This is a good multilevel dive with interesting features at every depth. This south easterly reef is actually an extension of the lengthy sloping dropoff running parallel to the eastern coast (Beacon Beach), and very comparable to the latter except that the coral at Beacon Point is superior. There is abundant healthy hard coral along the shallow reeftop and the steeply dipping dropoff, and clumps of gorgonian sea fans and wire corals on the sandy floor. Fish life is prolific with an abundance of the usual reef fish. Stingrays, leopard sharks and small reef sharks are also encountered. With favorable currents, it is possible to make a drift dive from Beacon Beach (some three hundred meters to the north).
Depths 6 - 36m. Visibility 18 - 24m.

foxface rabbitfish egg cowrie

Beacon Beach - Ko Similan (#8)

This site features an initial sandy reef flat at 8m followed by a steeply dipping hard coral reef to 30m, and lies 100m offshore. It runs parallel to the eastern coast (southern section), and is named after the navigation beacon that overlooks it. The reef is not as scenic as at other sites, but there is a good range of colorful fish. Reef fish include several varities of wrasse, hawkfish, damselfish, pufferfish, butterflyfish and parrotfish. Also look out for large groupers and snappers, moray eels, and several crustaceans.
This is a relatively novice site with generally easy conditions, and is often used as an introductory dive to the Similans.
Depths from 6 - 32m. Visibility 18 - 24m. Night/dawn dives are popular.

Some operators also offer Turtle Gully which lies 2.5km north of Beacon Beach. The topography here is quite different, with numerous coral spurs and gullies. Turtles are often seen in these gullies.

Fantasea Reef - Ko Similan (#8)

This dive rates as one of the best in the Similans, and lies about 150m off the North West coast. A series of massive granite boulders, at depths of 10m to 30m, provide numerous caves, arches and swim-throughs. Aside from the excellent gorgonians and sea fans and a host of critters, the abundant and varied fish life is exceptional. Fish species include giant morays, lionfish, ribbon eels, purple fire gobies, unicornfish, blue palette surgeonfish, blue-spotted coral groupers, oriental and Andaman sweetlips, black snappers and several types of angelfish.
Depths 8 - 40m. Visibility 18 - 24m. Currents are sometimes strong.

Clark's anemonefish blue-ring angelfish

Turtle Rock - Ko Similan (#8)

Lying off the north of the island, this is a fringing reef at the southwestern edge of Campbell's Bay/Donald Duck Bay. It derives it's name from a giant rock formation on the surface, resembling a turtle. Granite boulders slope down to a sandy bottom. Anemones, fields of staghorn and other hard corals, feather stars and soft tree corals can be observed at around 12m, with vibrant Gorgonian corals at 20m. Fish life is abundant, including encounters with coral trout, blue-ringed angelfish, longnose filefish, and damselfish.
Depths 10 - 28m. Visibility 18 - 24m. Easy to intermediate dive.

Campbell's Bay/Donald Duck Bay - Ko Similan (#8)

This picturesque bay, with it's beautiful white beach backed by rock formations and dense vegetation, is a popular anchorage for live-aboards. The site is known by several names including Shoe Bay (Ao Guak in Thai), and the eastern side of the bay (The Boulders) is the most favoured. Although not always regarded as a prime site, it is still very popular. Moorish idols, coral sea snakes, big groupers, zebra and lionfish, triggerfish, parrotfish, sweetlips, snappers, rabbitfish and butterflyfish shelter twixt the many canyons, arches and caves. Also to be observed are juvenile barracuda, anemonefish, and wrasse. Some of the coral has unfortunately been damaged, but there are expanses of hard coral and coral heads on the ridge and seabed, with sea fans on the boulders and caves.
Depths 8 - 24m. Visibility 18 - 24m. Easy dive. Good snorkeling. Night dives are popular.
A preserved intact skeleton of a sperm whale is on show at the nearby ranger station.

There are also interesting features if you venture very slightly beyond the Boulders in a northeasterly direction.

Christmas Point - Ko Bangu (#9)

The granite boulders of Christmas Point break the surface off the northwestern side of the island. This good mutli-level site exhibits swim-throughs and a network of passageways, typical of a west coast dive, and the marine life is comparable to Fantasea reef. The very wide variety of underwater life includes soft corals, crinoids, egg cowries, ornamental boxfish, blue-lined surgeonfish, predators such as yellow-saddle goatfish snappers and jacks, whitetip reef sharks and occasional mantas.
Depths 8 - 36m. Visibility 18 - 24m. Intermediate expertise required. Drift dives are popular.
A short way due east (ie. off the northern island tip) lies The Pinnacles which is visited by some dive companies.

ten-armed feather star (at Ko Bangu) coral trout

The Bommies - Ko Bangu (#9)

Situated off a small cove on the south west of the island, the site takes it's name from five coral heads (bommies) at depths of 20m and makes for a good night dive, when the bommies really come alive with many nocturnal players including moorish idols, brittle stars, decorator crabs, spindle cowries, and scrambling majidae crabs. Regulars include rabbitfish, oriental sweetlips, surgeonfish, parrotfish, bannerfish, and titan triggerfish.
Depths 16 - 24m. Visibility 18 - 24m. Intermediate expertise required.

Snapper Alley - Ko Bangu (#9)

Located at the southerly most tip of the island, where a heap of granite boulders slope steeply into the sea. Thriving soft corals, wire corals, sea fans, sponges, feather stars and black-coral trees are to be found amongst the deeper rocks. Fish life is only fair, but includes schools of five-lined snappers (from which the site derives it's name), and blue-ringed angel fish, lobsters and octopuses inside the caves and crevices. Drift dives and night dives are popular.
Depths 12 - 35m. Visibility 18 - 24m

The Wrong Place - Ko Bangu (#9)

This site consists primarily of hard corals but also has a few healthy soft corals, gorgonians and black corals. It is a good multi-level dive , and also an excellent night dive. The site lies off the eastern coast, and begins to the east of where Snapper Alley ends. There is a wealth of fish life, which includes giant morays, spiny lobsters, blue-spotted groupers, colourful butterflyfish, bannerfish, queenfish and blue-fin trevallies. This site has also been (confusingly) referred to as the Hideaway by one operator (cf. Hideaway on Ko Miang Song #5).
Depths 8 - 26m. Visibility 18 - 24m.

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** Photo Guide within navigation matrix **   -   The Hideaway - Ko Miang Song (#5)   and   Deep Six - Ko Payu (#7)

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