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Off the coast of Koh Bangu and the Similan Islands

Listed under Snorkelling in Thailand.

  • Photo of Off the coast of Koh Bangu and the Similan Islands
  • Photo of Off the coast of Koh Bangu and the Similan Islands
Photo of Off the coast of Koh Bangu and the Similan Islands
Photo by flickr user taso.viglas
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With pale sandy sea floors and delicate reefs of hard coral on one side and rocky boulder strewn jungles of soft corals and fans on the other, the Similan Islands provide a diverse environment for divers and snorkelers. Nine islands make up the Similan Island chain which are arranged in an arch, their rocky mountained western sides protecting the white beaches of the eastern sides from the monsoonal weather.

I’ve been here a couple of times and snorkelled and dived off seven of the nine islands, but most people consider the northern islands to have the best sites. Koh Bangu, the northern most island has one of the best snorkeling spots for varied fish life on it’s eastern side, a arch of reef called Breakfast Bend laden with sea fans, staghorns growths and coral outcrops. This is where the sun hit’s the water first in the morning and if you come out early you can see smaller fish become larger fishes breakfast. Reams of glassfish shelter amongst the sea fans from predatory lion fish or snapper. There is also a school of butterfly fish who are known to skirt the reefs eastern edge. Around the bottom of the reef you may see rays and you will definitely see eels. I’ve seen eagle rays and stingrays. Around Koh Bangu’s western side amongst the boulders and crenulated rock formations that typify the western sides of the Similans you’ll be more likely to see forests of black tree corals and sponges, hiding places for lobsters and octopi.

For divers Christmas Point on Koh Bangu is an interesting shallow dive, with dramatic arches, huge sea fans and lots of fish, predominantly blue fin trevally and jacks. The swim through at the end is a highlight. This is a good dive for experiences snorkelers wanting to go a bit deeper.

Written by  Daniella May.

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The Similan Islands

The Similan Islands are a group of nine granite islands off the coast of Thailand which offer excellent access to several large coral bommies covered with sea fans. The area is rife with sea life and there are some rare and unusual fish to be seen. The groups eastern area features easier dives along hard coral gardens and rocky gorges while the western side has more adventurous dives featuring rounded boulders and dramatic rocky formations covered in soft corals. If you would prefer to meet some larger animals you can visit nearby Burma Banks or Shark Point, where you can see Leopard Sharks and large eels.

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