Diving & Snorkelling
Diving and snorkelling day excursions to the Similan and Surin Islands are immensely popular but, if you can, go for a liveaboard. The islands are around 70km from the mainland (1½ hours by speedboat), so liveaboards allow you a more relaxing trip sans masses of day trippers. Dive shops offer liveaboard package trips from around 19,000B for three days and 35,000B for six days, and day trips for 5000B to 6000B.
Day trips normally involve two dives. On the multiday trips, you’ll sink below the sea’s surface up to four times daily in what’s commonly considered one of the world's top 10 diving realms. While both the Similan and Surin Islands have experienced vast coral bleaching in recent years, Richelieu Rock, part of the Surin Islands Marine National Park, is still the crème de la crème of the region’s dive sites, frequented by whale sharks from March to April. Ko Bon and Ko Tachai are rewarding Similan sites due to the traffic of giant manta rays.
Most dive shops welcome snorkellers on selected day dives and liveaboards, and tour operators offer day trips from 3700B. Open Water certification costs between 10,500B and 16,650B, depending on where you dive. Beginners can join one-day Similans Discover Scuba trips for around 6000B. Rates exclude the 700B national park diving fee.
The Similan and Surin dive seasons runs from mid-October to mid-May, when the national parks are open. Trips in April and May are weather dependent.