Just 84 km northwest of the deckchairs and the bustling crowds of Phuket's Patong Beach lies a gateway to another world. Koh Similan is one of the best-known island groups in the Andaman Sea, largely because of the wonders that wait beneath the clear blue waters that surround it.
Generally counted among the 10 most interesting dive areas in the world, this little archipelago has also become a favourite destination for yachts and tour boats.
Similan Island is the largest island. It has the average depth of 60 feet. Underwater is full of rock formations and coral reefs in several shapes and forms such as deer, leaves, brains, and mushrooms.
Above the water are found many diverse species such as the Nicobar Pigeon, Mangrove Monitor Lizards and more.
What is it that makes these islands so attractive? The Similans aren't as dramatically scenic as the limestone islands of Krabi or Phang Nga Bay, which many people have come to associate with the Andaman Sea. Instead, you find low-lying formations covered with thick forest.
Ironwood and gum trees are among the larger trees, while jackfruit, rattan and bamboo form part of the denser undergrowth. The islands are home to crab-eating monkeys, dusky langurs, squirrels, bats, lizards and a good variety of birds (though the monkeys are shy and rarely seen by the casual observer).
But the most striking feature of these islands, at first glance, are the huge boulders that litter the western and southern shores on several of the islands. Another highlight, as the visitor soon discovers, are the white coral-sand beaches, splendidly picturesque and often deserted.
The most interesting sights, however, are to be found beneath the waves. Some of the most spectacular coral growths in the world can be found here - and the same boulders that scatter the shores have turned the waters around the Similans into an adventure playground for divers.
Credit :: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stefcoet