Best Similan liveaboard dive cruises 2016
Located in the heart of the Andaman Sea, the archipelago of the Similan Islands is a regular on the liveaboard routes in Thailand. The archipelago consists of nine granite islands with lush green flora. The underwater landscape of the archipelago is unique. As you explore, you will pass by large granite rock formations, then to coral gardens and end up on a jaw-dropping colourful wall.
The reputation of the Similan islands is such that they are considered as some of the most beautiful dive sites in Thailand, and overall in South East Asia.
When to cruise dive the Similan Islands?
The tropical climate of Thailand makes the water temperature fairly constant year round. Therefore, scuba diving as well as other water activities are possible all year. The Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand are alternating peak seasons. Indeed, the ideal season to visit the Andaman Sea is between November and May, while for the Gulf, it will be the rainy season, and vice versa.
Dive cruise boats visit the Similan Islands between November 1st until mid-May. Such dates are matching the Marine Park’s opening season.
Cost of cruise diving the Similans
Marine Park Entrance Fee
The entrance fee for the Similan Islands Marine Park – as for the archipelago Surin islands – is 500 BAHT – $ 15 USD for foreign adults and 300 BAHT – $ 9 USD for children.
Scuba divers must also pay a $ 200 BAHT per day – $ 6 USD per day for diving.
Warning: Richelieu Rock is considered part of the Surin Archipelago.
Example for a dive cruise visiting the Similan Islands + Richelieu Rock:
500 THB – entry fee to the Similan Islands
500 THB – entry fee to the Surin Islands
200 THB x number of days of diving
The average cruise is 4 days, would make 1800 THB – 52 USD.
Pricing of dive cruises in the Similan
Diving cruises are usually pretty cheap and very accessible in Thailand, even on the most beautiful sites such as the Similan Islands. Prices of liveaboard packages start at $ 100 USD and can cost up to $ 325 USD per day with many boats between USD $ 100 – $ 200 USD per day and only a few in the highest portion.
Make sure you always lookout for promotions; some travel agencies offer really cheap liveaboard special offers, or last-minute packages. Otherwise, it is advisable to take your flight into Phuket, which has an international airport. Then, if your liveaboard dive cruise departs from Khao Lak, this is a short bus ride away (about 2 hours) and costs just 90 TBH. This transport is usually included in the cruise price.
How long is a Similan dive cruise?
The duration of the Similan dive cruises are various. Some last only 3 nights, 4 days while a the most popular ones lasts between 5-6 nights, 6-7 days. Finally, a few liveaboard will offer longer cruises with an 8 to 10 days’ itinerary. Longer dive trips to the Similan are quite rare and when they happen, they usually include the Mergui Archipelago in Burma, which located further north.
Cheap Liveaboard VS Resort
Here, you should read ‘Liveaboard or tent?’. Indeed, there is no resort on any of the Similan Islands. Accommodation is possible only in tents or in bungalows and everything is under the supervision of the National Park. Alternatively, you can take a resort in Khao Lak and make day trips to the Similans. Of course, this option will cost a certain price and you will lose a lot of quality time with all the going back and forth hassle.
The liveaboard option has proved itself as being an exceptional way to discover the islands of the Similan Archipelago as well as the Surin Islands. On a cruise dive boat, everything is designed so that the only thing you have to do is enjoy your dives and admire the scenery around you.
Now, gear up! Dive!