Dive into the beautiful coral reefs of the Similan Islands
For those of you out there reading this article, allow us to begin by saying that the Similan Islands, that we are about to write about in this article, are a group of islands in the Andaman Sea in the southern part Thailand, which also include the national park, Mu Ko Similan.
But what is so special about the Similan Islands, you may ask yourself? Why is it one of our favorite places for island hopping and scuba diving?
Come along with us; discover what makes these islands such an interesting and fun place to visit, and learn about how much our private yacht, the AJAO, can improve this experience even further.
What to do on the Similan Islands
The Similan Islands national park, Mu Ko Similan, is open for visitors every year from October 15th to May 15th. Some people travel to the Similan Islands just to relax and lay at the beach, taking in the tranquility that surrounds the area. Others come to explore the spectacular underwater world and the amazing reefs.
Each of the islands features a wonderful white sand beach with crystal clear water. There are many beautiful landmarks to discover on all the islands and many natural rock formations invite to a memento or two.
There are many beach activities you can partake in once there. That includes snorkeling, exploring the shallow waters surrounding the islands, and admiring the coral reefs, of course.
Mu Ko Similan is a national park and it’s abundant wildlife is protected both above and underwater providing us with a great experience
Similan Islands Diving Experience
The main attraction on the Similan Islands are the coral reefs. Imagine a lush and full forest underwater, where the trees are looking like stone. That might sound like something coming straight out of a Sci-Fi story, yet the view is astonishing and due to the different types of coral you can find here, you will be sure to see something unique everywhere you turn your head.
Richelieu Rock, maybe the most well-known dive site is teeming with yellow, red and purple soft corals. With a little bit of imagination, they look like colorful broccoli and cauliflower.
A great way to explore this fascinating world is to go scuba diving. AJAO comes with state-of-the-art diving equipment and it doesn’t matter if you are about to take your first breath underwater or if you are a seasoned diver, our instructors will make sure you have a fantastic time.
A very wide variety of marine life is waiting for you down below the water while scuba diving, like for instance the strange looking Frog fish, known for their camouflage ability; almost rivaling that of the Octopus.
If you are lucky you might even be able to watch the majestic whale shark in its natural habitat. Seemingly effortless the swim against the current munching on plankton.
Another noteworthy marine species to look for are the numerous kind of Rays. From the common Manta Ray, to the Eagle Ray and even the funny looking Bowmouth Guitarfish – you’ll be able to spot them all here.
Another fascinating aspect of marine life is the symbioses certain animals undergo here. Symbiosis is when 2 different species depend on each other, like a partnership or a long-lasting association. In Symbiosis, there is always a larger one named the host and a smaller one called the Symbiote. The host protects the symbiote and the symbiote cleans or takes care of the host in other ways.
There are 3 types of symbiosis, mutualism, where both parties benefit from the relationship, commensalism, where one party, usually the symbiote, takes more than it gives, while not being harmful to its host and parasitism, where the symbiote, now called parasite, completely exploits the host, to a degree where the host could actually die.
Alright, let’s go on.
The Mantis Shrimp
A very interesting type of animal you can find at the Similan islands is the Mantis shrimp. This animal doesn’t only look like it could be a monster in a movie, it also behaves this way.
There are 2 kinds of Mantis shrimp each with their own weaponry. There is the spear kind, where the pincers have evolved into a spear-like shape in order to impale or straight up kill unsuspecting prey in the blink of an eye, and the “fist-type”. The fist-type is the most fascinating. It launches its pincers, which are formed like fists, with so much force at its prey, it can be compared to shooting a gun out of a bullet, really.
This phenomenal acceleration actually causes super cavitation in the water around the shrimp’s appendage, which not only produces light, but also causes the water to boil. In fact, the concussion wave is so powerful that even if the humble shrimp misses its intended target, it will often knock out or even kill its prey nonetheless. To put this in relative human terms, if we could accelerate our limbs at a mere tenth of the speed the Mantis shrimp can, humans would be able to throw a small ball into earth’s orbit.
The other stunning fact is the enormous force the Mantis shrimp delivers. Compared to its size; the shrimp can deliver a whopping 1500 Newtons of force with its strike – compare this with the average human punch of about 2200 Newtons – and you get an idea of how hard the Mantis shrimp punches.
What truly makes Mantis Shrimps so outstanding, is their vision. While we humans have 3 color receptors, Red, Blue and Green, Mantis shrimps have an overwhelming 17 color receptors. They see colors we can’t even imagine and their eyes beat any man-made optics.
Don’t worry though, while these creatures seem scary, they are only around 10 cm long.
The perfect spot for Bird watching
Bird watchers, or birders as they call themselves, love the Similan Islands. There are numerous birds to admire here. From the collared Kingfisher to the Green Imperial Pigeon, the Little Heron and many more.
You won’t have problems finding birds to admire here and you’d be surprised about all the color diversity and appearance of those avian awe. Bring a bit of patience, as the birds like to hide around in fear of predators, but once you find the right spot, you could spend days here watching and witnessing all these wonderful animals in their natural environment.
On the AJAO, we have all the equipment you need to watch these birds optimally without disturbing them.
Get the full Similan Islands experience with the AJAO
Normally, when visiting the Similan Islands, you are bound to transport and tour schedules. Having a private yacht at your disposal on the other hand, guarantees you the full experience at your own terms and conditions. You decide when to do what on these beautiful islands, and when to call it a day! Not being bound by schedule is one of the big advantages the AJAO offers. You can spend a whole week here or just a day – the choice is yours!