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Similan Divesites and Marinelife - Scuba Diving from Khao Lak!

Similan Divesites and Marinelife - Scuba Diving from Khao Lak!

Similan Islands Marine National Park and Surin Islands are rated among the Worlds Top 10 dive destinations and by far the best scuba diving in Thailand. Scandinavian Dive Team have the pleasure of guiding you around the best divesites in Similan and Surin Marine National Park Islands on our 4 days liveaboard safari. Similan Islands 9 islands are located 60 km southwest of Khao Lak, with 20-30 minutes sailing time between them. Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock takes 2-6 hours saliing time from the Similan Islands.

Similan Islands Liveaboard safari - PADI/SSI scuba diving courses - divesites!

Similan Islands Diving Safari Divesites - Must See!

Onboard our Liveaboard Safari med MV Manta Queen and MV Vilai Samut you will do 14 dives 11 day dives & 3 night/sunset dives. You will experience all the best divesites in Similan Marine National Park Islands and Surin Islands incl. Richelieu rock. Here is a sample of the best divesites that you will dive during our Similan Islands liveaboard safari:

Divesite ->> Richelieu Rock

RICHELIEU ROCK - Since there is just so much to see at this dive site, the guides usually schedule more than one dive here. You will appreciate the chance to experience all these attractions, plus schools of mackerels and barracudas, more than once.

One of the most famous dive sites of Thailand. Richelieu Rock is an isolated pinnacle to the east of Surin Islands. Forming a horseshoe figure, the pinnacle falls steeply to the surrounding sand bottom at 35 metres depth. The south side is a bay with a slope that gently falls to the deep, while the rest comprises sheer walls, groups of rocks and numerous small caves that are home to various marine life. The majority of corals are colourful soft corals jostling against the wall, accompanied by huge sea fans, hard corals and sea anemones.

Richelieu Rock is part of the Surin National Marine Park, yet located about 18 kilometers east of the islands themselves. Richelieu Rock is just barely exposed at the lowest of tides-thus a navigational hazard for those boats not equipped with a GPS navigation system. Situated 200 kilometers Northwest of Phuket and 70 km from Khao Lak - the rock is closer to the Burmese (Myanmar) border than Phuket.
A massive underwater limestone pinnacle rising up from 50 meters to the just below the surface. Horseshoe shaped with several smaller boulders surrounding it at the depths, protection from currents is assured for the experienced guides. Steep walls and deep crevices offer both stunning scenery and great hiding places for all manner of amazing creatures.

The unique shape and location are part of what Richelieu so special. There are no other pinnacles or submerged rocks anywhere nearby so all the marine life in the area have one place to go. As this is the single pinnacle, it also generates a strong disturbance to the tidal currents. This creates strong upwellings of cold water – which causes plankton. And this plankton feeds the diverse fish and corals.


While Richelieu Rock has long been famous as the easiest place to see Whale Sharks, but a worldwide decline in numbers has really reduced the number of encounters. The frequency of encounters over the last 4 years has been about once every 2 weeks.

Disappointed? Don’t be, the Richelieu Rock has an amazing amount of diversity. Expect to see schools of chevron barracudas while larger sharks and rays can be seen in the deeper water.
Vast Schools of Snappers, Tuna, Mackeral, Jacks and Trevallies circle the site hunting and hiding from one another.

The crevices, cracks and fields of soft corals are home to such an amazing diversity of fish such as White-eyed Morays, Nudibranchs, Tigertail Seahorses, Harlequin shrimps, Ghost pipefish, Lionfish, Glassfish, Frogfish, Leaffish and even some very exotic species like Pineapplefish. Just keep your eyes open, take your time and enjoy. There is so much to see.


Depths range from 5 meters in low tide to 35 meters.
This dive site is suitable for intermediate and advanced divers.
There can be a strong current and if so the mooring line should be used to descend. Shelter can usually be found at some area of the dive site.

Richelieu Rock Hazards
You can dive here over and over and see something new. The currents change constantly, and it's not always an easy dive. But, if you have an experienced dive guide and they give a good detailed briefing, you can learn how to hide from the currents and have a very enjoyable dive.


Divesite ->> Koh Bon

Koh Bon is located about 20 kilometers north of Island 9 and features one of the only vertical walls in Thailand. The island has no beaches and is in the shape of a horseshoe – forming a protected cove that shelters dive boats and divers from prevailing winds and currents.
The main dive site is on the southwestern point and consists of a 33 meter wall facing the small cove, and a step-down ridge that carries on to depths of over 45 meters. Leopard sharks are common on the sandy flats below the wall (particularly on the eastern side). Although the soft corals are not as high-profile as they are in the Similans, the colors of the corals are radically different and include shades of turquoise, yellow and blue, besides the more common pinks and purples. With the angles on the wall, they also offer an ever changing spectrum of colors and make for some great photos around noon.

Koh Bon Rock Marine Life

Koh Bon Ridge is one of the best places to see manta rays, almost all year around. This last year featured Mantas almost everyday from mid-December until April. Frequent, but not daily sightings for the rest of the season!

In addition to the large marine life, be prepared for the little stuff too! Great Nudibranchs litter the cracks of the wall and exciting treats like Pipefish, Hawkfish and even Frogfish are here.
Koh Bon Diving

Diving Depths of 1- 35 meters (1-100 feet), with most time spent on the ridge at 20-25 meters (70-85 feet). Visibility runs about 20 meters (75 feet) but gusts of cold water, with associated plankton blooms are not uncommon. Currents can be mild to strong, depending on tides.

Divesite ->> Koh Tachai

Koh Tachai - A fantastic site! A collection of submerged rocks which begins at 12 meters and extends beyond 35 meters to a vast sandy area. To the south of Koh Tachai island this site lies exposed to strong tidal currents which can often make the dive a rather lively if challenging one.

It is recommended that the buoy line at the south of the site be used to enable descent, as often the surface current can be stronger than at depth. Use the current to navigate around the site, staying close to the rocks and the sea bed. If necessary swim across the current rather than directly into it. Beware of downward currents. To its advantage the marine life at Tachai Plateau is varied and abundant.

In contrast to the manicured feel Richelieu Rock has to it, Koh Tachai feels 'wilder' with teems of schooling fish descending en mass to feed on the rich beds of corals. If the current is too strong stay on the line and watch as the Emperor Fish, Chevron and Great Barracuda, Yellow-tailed Barracuda and a variety of Trevally race around the site, while smaller fish including rainbow runners and Fusiliers zig-zag away from hunting giant Trevally, barracuda and tuna. The navigation of the site depends on the current, but work your way around the edges, and come towards the center to shallow depths.

Koh Tachai Marine Life
Groups of Snapper can be found resting on the top of ledges, Octopus can frequently be seen amongst the corals. Various types of Anemone host Clownfish around the site. Red-Banded Cleaner Shrimp work under coral ledges
Manta sightings are common and Whale Shark sightings are occasional. Frogfish, Ghost Pipefish and Juvenile Angelfish, Trumpetfish and Cube Boxfish can also be found by those with a keen eye. Work back to the mooring line for the safety stop.

Koh Tachai Diving
Depth is from 12 meters down to beyond 35 meters.
Koh Tachai Dive Hazards
It is also common to have virtually no current inside the bay but a ripping current on the outside. Experience level: while beginners can do this site, it is recommended that the diver be intermediate and above due to lack of beaches, potentially strong currents and popularity of the site.

Divesite ->> Sharkfin Reef

SHARKFIN REEF - Situated roughly 1 kilometer south-east of Island 3, Shark Fin Reef is a 900m long slab of granite, the top of which can be seen at low tide in the form of three small pointed rocks which give the divesite it’s name – a very similar look to a gigantic sharkfin!
Running in a south-east to north-west direction the site is usually sheltered from strong currents and consists of enormous granite boulders tumbling from the surface all the way down to 35m on the southern side and 25-30m on the northern side, with smaller rocks and boulders scattered in between over the main slab itself. In the shallow north-west area some of the boulders look almost man-made with near-perfect right-angled faces. If you continue a few hundred meters South Easterly you'll end up at Boulder City.

Shark Fin Reef - Marine Life
Leopard Sharks are often seen in the deeper southern areas, blacktip Reef Shark have also been seen. The Sandy patches along the bottom are home to a plethora of kuhl’s rays, Porcupine rays and a few other rays! Look in the holes and cracks for Giant Moray Eels, heaps of trigger fish (non-aggressive). In the north-western section large adult Cube Boxfish are everywhere and enormous schools of Fusiliers travel in and over the top of the reef to stop and quickly be cleaned by the Striped Cleaner Wrasse which wait at the top of the reef.
This is one of the few sites where you can see one or two huge Humphead Parrotfish. These impressive creatures are both harmless and peculiar. Weighing in at 100 kilos plus, they are pretty big too!
Very unusual nudibranchs litter the shallows, but only for the keen eye. Another good deep site for spotting manta rays.

Diving - Shark Fin Reef
Diving depths range from shallow to 40 meters (0-120 feet) with most diving done in the 15-25 meter (50-75 feet) range.
Visibility tends towards the good side, with average being 20 meters (70 feet).

Shark Fin Reef Dive Hazards
Currents can be strong in the shallows, but the steep slope of the rocks protects you, or works in your favor. Experience level is best reserved for intermediate and beyond. While there are plenty of places to hide from currents, the lack of bottom space in the shallows (cliffs) make this uncomfortable for the beginner.

Divesite ->> Christmas Point

Christmas Point Situated on the very northwestern point of the Similan islands, you will find one of the most scenic sites in all the Similans. With massive boulder formation breaching the surface, shelfs dropping to 30, then to 40, and onwards beyond 70 meters with massive gorgonian fans the area can be breathtaking. On these deeper shelves, look for white-tip reef sharks as well as napoleon wrasse. Look closely for ribbon eels in the sandy areas. Heading back towards the shallows brings you over massive fields of multicolored bush corals to the South or several amazing swim-throughs towards the East.
In the shallower areas, you can often encounter more napoleon wrasse, trevallies and huge jacks between the boulders. While scanning through all the beautiful nudibranchs and flabellinas, don’t forgot to watch the open ocean as we often get “swim-bys” of manta’s here! Safety stop is best done among the boulders, for safety and to avoid currents.
Christmas Point Diving

Diving depths range from 10-40 meters with most of the really amazing scenery from 20-30 meters. This is definitely a dive site to bring a camera. Visibility ranges from 20-30 meters, but on good days it seems to be infinite…
Christmas Point Dive Hazards
Currents can be strong as this location is where the tidal currents wrap around the top of the Islands. Definitely check out the currents before jumping in. There can be both downward and westerly currents here. With both strong currents and depth, this is a site suitable only for more experienced divers. This dive site is not suitable for beginners.

Divesite ->> North Point

One of the best reefs in the area, with lots of vibrant colors and fish. Typical of the Eastern side of the Similans, there is a nice shallow flat area from 0-8 meters (0-25 feet) that is rich in small coral bommies interspersed with sandy patches. Plenty of fish, making the shallows great for snorkeling and beginning dives.
At about 8 meters (25 feet) down to 30 meters (100 feet) runs a gentle sloping reef that is rich in hard corals and all the inhabitants.
At the bottom, frequent visitors are leopard sharks and Kuhl's rays. A great place to find ghost pipefish!
As you head into the safety stop in the shallows, keep an eye out for hawksbill and green sea turtles. There are plenty of fish keep you entertained during the safety stop.

An excellent drift dive. Due to geography this is a dive best done early in the morning.

Diving is from 0-30 meters (0-100 feet) with average depth at 12 meters (40 feet).

Visibility is usually great - 25 meters (85 feet), unless cold water comes from the deep - thermoclines.

Currents are present but just climb onboard them and go for a ride! As the currents split in the middle of this site, it is best done with an experienced guide so you end up in the right place.

Experience level - this site is suitiable for all divers (and even snorklers!)

Marked by a red buoy which drops down to around 20 meters at the north of the dive site. Characterised by large rocks interspersed with sand and dead corals. Whip corals reach up from the sea bed, while gorgonian fan corals often with feather stars hanging from them protrude from the side of the rocks. Reef sharks can often be seen around the outer edges of the site, as can larger pelagic fish. The northern tip of the site is often characterised by a strong current which may necessitate staying close to the rocks and zig zaging through the many small swim throughs back to the shallows in the southern side of the dive site.
A high and long channel rounds from north to south, with the bottom sitting around 18 meters. Look on the walls of the rock for nudibranches and check the top of the rock for larger fish. Barracuda have been seen sitting in wait. As you work back towards the south of the dive site staghorn corals become more prominent until they cover the dive site at around 12 meters running from east to west.
In the shallows towards the end of the dive it is not uncommon to see a large school of chevron barracuda or longfin batfish above you, and on most occasions at least one of the resident hawksbill sea turtles is scouring the reef for food. Follow the current during the safety stop.
The southern most point of the site has a tiny group of submerged pinnacles in very deep water. A great place to observe small reef sharks. There is a possibility of strong surge and current. This makes it one of the more challenging Similan Islands diving sites.

North Point Marine Life
Snappers, Sweetlips, Trevallies and Tuna's all make up part of the vast menagerie of passing fish. In addition look for Frogfish, Giant Moray Eels, Leopard Sharks and White and Black Tip sharks. Nudibranchs of many descriptions line the sides of these vast boulders.
Diving North Point

Diving Depth runs from 10-35 meters (30-120 feet) with the time spent at the divers chosen depth with great features throughout visibility depends on the overall conditions but tends towards 25-30 meters. Currents can be present.
This is the Northenmost point of the Similans and the tidal currents do tend to round this point. Experience level ranges from intermediate to advanced. While shallow, beginning dives can be done along the reef, it is best to avoid as currents can be present and intimidating to the novice.

Divesite ->> East of Eden

East Of Eden No visit to the Similan Islands would be complete without a dive along perhaps the most famous of all the islands’ divesites. Running along the southeastern corner of Similan Island 7, East of Eden is one of the most colourful and vibrant fringing reefs in Thailand. Featured in National Geographic, Scuba Diver magazine and hundreds of other publications; this is it!
Starting in the shallows at 6m the reef falls quite steeply in the northern section to depths of 35m or more where the sand bottom then levels out. Usually this reef is dived from north-east to south-west and it is here at the start if you head down to the deeper coral pinnacles you will often find a few pairs of purple fire gobies and a massive red frogfish hidden amongst the deeper boulders.

Heading along towards the shallower parts of the reef you will swim over enormous orange and red gorgonians sea fans, beautiful barrel sponges as well as staghorn corals, table corals and pore corals, which are home to many colourful Christmas tree worms. Keep a keen eye open as there are ribbon eels, frogfish and hundreds of other small treats in all these corals
At the deeper end of the reef, where reef meets sand (25-30 Meters) we often find scores of Kuhl’s Rays and whole fields of Garden Eels. Along the entire reef you will find all the usual reef fish going about their daily business, a myriad of shapes, sizes and colours. hawksbill and green sea turtles are very often seen at the top of the reef plateau.

Similan Islands Marinelife from Khao Laksimlan divesites

Similan Islands Marinelife

During your Liveaboard Safari we will visit and dive all the best dive sites in Similan Marine National Park Islands and Surin Islands which has the biggest diversity of marinlife species andwhere in Thailand. So no matter if you prefer the big stuff like Mantarays, Sharks, Turtles and Barracudas, or macro life such as Ribboneels, Frogfish, Ghostpipefish og Nudibranches, you will have a very good chance to have your wishes come true. We will make sure of that!. Here is a selection of the marinelife you have a chance to experience on our Similan Islands liveaboard safari:

Similan - Surin Island's Marinelife
join Scandinavian Dive Team on our Similan Islands Liveaboard - PADI/SSI scuba diving courses onboard - simlan divesites WHALESHARK

You can be lucky to encounter the Whaleshark all year round, buts more likely you will see one late in the season from Feb to April. An impressing creature, the gentle giant of the Oceans, and a lasting memory of the Similan Islands.
join Scandinavian Dive Team on our Similan Islands Liveaboard - PADI/SSI scuba diving courses onboard - simlan divesites - manta ray


Manta Rays are almost guaranteed when we dive Koh Bon's Westridge from February onwards. The oceanic rays span up to 5 meter across the wings and we will come very close to them on these dives. Mantas can also be experienced on Koh Tachai, Richelieu Rock, and late in the season also in Similan Islands.

join Scandinavian Dive Team on our Similan Islands Liveaboard - PADI/SSI scuba diving courses onboard - simlan divesites - angelfish ANGELFISH

A Blue Ringed Angelfishis a unique and beautifull fish. Angelfish are often seen swimming in pairs, and its said that they stay with the same mate their whole life. Their shape and colours are always a beautifull sight on any dive in the Similan Islands.
join Scandinavian Dive Team on our Similan Islands Liveaboard - PADI/SSI scuba diving courses onboard - simlan divesites - jacks SCHOOLING JACKS (Bigeye Trevally)

Big schools of Jackfish is a common sight when you swim away from the divesite into the blue water, especially on Richelieu Rock.
join Scandinavian Dive Team on our Similan Islands Liveaboard - PADI/SSI scuba diving courses onboard - simlan divesites - batfish BATFISH

Batfish is a curious species, that often will come very close to scuba divers for a closer look. Batfishcan be seen on many divesites around the Similan Islands, both alone and in schools.
Ojoin Scandinavian Dive Team on our Similan Islands Liveaboard - PADI/SSI scuba diving courses onboard - simlan divesites - cuttlefish CUTTLEFISH

Cuttlefish are almost guaranteed in the Similans, Koh Bon and Richelieu Rock, often seen mating especially at Richelieu, where they can be spotted on the snd surrounding the rock.
join Scandinavian Dive Team on our Similan Islands Liveaboard - PADI/SSI scuba diving courses onboard - simlan divesites - ornate ghost pipefish


A Macro photographers favourite but very well camouflaged when hiding in seafans and cracks in the rock
. Not unusual to see them in pairs swimming upside down.

join Scandinavian Dive Team on our Similan Islands Liveaboard - PADI/SSI scuba diving courses onboard - simlan divesites - hawksbill turtle HAWKSBILL TURTLE

Turtles are a common sight on our liveaboard safaris, both Hawksbill and Green seasturtles. You will see them swimming around eating from the corals but also from the oat where they will come