If sometimes Thailand can make you feel like being a tourist among many others, the Similan Islands are a whole different experience. We ditched the tourist day trip for a camping trip on a desert island. Two days lost on a little paradise with only few travelers, spending our time on fine white sand beaches, with thriving wildlife, majestic seascapes and soaring views from seaside boulders.
The Similan Islands, a string of islands off the West Coast of Thailand, are clear blue diamonds in the Andaman Sea. There are nine of them, spread several kilometers apart, and all protected as part of the Mu Koh Similan National Park. Due to park regulations in place to protect nesting sea turtles and other wildlife, visitors are only allowed to set food on two of the islands : Ko Miang (#4) and Ko Similan (#8).
The secret to enjoy this piece of paradise is to stay overnight. Then you'll have the glorious beaches virtually to yourself in the golden hours before the boats begin arriving at about 11am and after they've all departed at about 3pm. Simply magic
A TWO DAYS TRIP IN THE SIMILAN ISLANDS
5:30am. The alarm rings. We jump in our bikinis, take our backpack, get a quick breakfast and head to the lobby, where a van awaits us. Two hours later, we are in Thap Lamu Pier, about to hop on our boat, destination paradise islands.
After a gorgeous (and bumpy) hour and a half journey, we spot some little islands spread in the sea. The Similan Islands. Our first stop in on the Island #4. The water is transparent, the views stunning. It would be the definition of paradise, if it wasn't for the dozens of boats on the water and hundreds of tourists queuing to take a selfie on the cute wooden swing. This crowded atmosphere could ruin our mood, but we don't really care, as we know we will soon have this wonderful place for ourselves.
Next, the boat takes us to two beautiful snorkeling spots. Afterwards, we finally head to the Island #8 -where we will spend the night. A buffet awaits us in the shade of the palm trees. Then one of the crew bring us to our lovely home for the night to come: a tent on the sand. We meet our neighbors and make some new friends, to realize later that all the boat have left with the tourists.
The magnificent beach is now deserted, left to a handful of fortunate people, jack fish and flying fish for company.
We enjoy our time exploring, hiking, swimming, snorkeling and sometimes just doing nothing at all. We can't get enough of floating in the gentle clear waters for hours.
This girls' getaway in Thailand is reaching perfection.
When the sun begins to set, a beautiful golden light appears to illuminate the landscapes in the most wonderful way. We climb up to the highest point to get a breathtaking view on the surroundings. We sit there on the hot rocks to appreciate the view, and realize how lucky we are to be here. Lost in the middle of the Andaman Sea.
We then head to the buffet for a dinner with the other few overnighters. It's all very simple. Rice, chicken and veggies. The day finishes on the beach watching the sun kissing the horizon. At 8pm, the electricity shuts down for the night. It's time to sleep, we've got plenty of beauty to see tomorrow.
It's only 6am, the heat wakes us up. Right on time for the sunrise.
If the sunset light was nice, the morning is even better. It's all quiet and stunning. There is no better way to start the day. I am seated on top of a hill with my sister and my mother, with a small wind refreshing our faces, watching this peaceful scenery. What else could we dream for?
Well, what about a morning boat trip? Clear blue sky, stunning turquoise waters, we are only ten people on the boat, with a nice music and adorable crew, cruising to the next snorkeling spot. We cannot even compare this to what yesterday's excursion. It's just us now, not even a boat on sight. Alone with the fishes and colorful corals.
All and all Similan Islands get a HUGE thumbs up. just do yourself a favor and don’t be a day tripper.
How to get to the similans islands?
There are dozens of tour companies that run trips from Phuket. We booked it from Phuket only a day before, and were lucky to get the last tent left with Similan Prodive. The speed boat ride takes about 1.5 hours. The usual itinerary is to make a snorkeling stop before getting to Island #4, spending some beach time on the island with a lunch buffet, before heading off to 1-2 more snorkeling stops and then an hour or so on the beach on Island #8. Then you spend the night there, and get one more snorkeling trip on the next morning.
How much does it cost?
For our two nights we slept on Island #8, which is stunning. The whole trip all included as part of our tour package was 4.200THB (you can bargain the price easily with the travel agency).
When to visit the Similan Islands?
Similan Islands is not open throughout the whole year. The Islands is closed in the monsoon from May to last day of October yearly. These dates are subject to change. So, is always better to make sure you plan well your visiting schedule to avoid disappointment.