70km off the coast of Thailand you find the Similans National Marine Park, an archipelago consisting of 11 islands and covering an area of 140km². These islands hosts some of the most spectacular coral reefs and marine fauna found anywhere around Thailand and is widely considered the absolute best diving available in the country.
We have been visiting the park since both before the pandemic started and regularly throughout the past few years. Here's our top reasons why we LOVE diving there right now!
#1 You'll never get to see it this empty again
Covid hit the tourism industry of Thailand hard, with an estimated 3 million jobs lost. This also had a huge impact on the scuba diving industry, where sadly many companies have gone out of business. This has resulted in both fewer divers and boats visiting the Similan islands compared to normal.
There are still amazing tour operators that will give you an incredible experience. We even work together with a few selected operators that offer some of the best trips you can get!
At some point covid will end and tourism will return to something possibly resembling what we had before the outbreak. In other words, the time to go is now! And with the recent adjustments to immigration policy, entering Thailand is now quite easy for vaccinated tourists. For entry requirements, please visit https://www.thaiembassy.com/travel-to-thailand/how-to-travel-to-thailand-in-2021
#2 The marine life is incredible
Since the start of the pandemic there has been fewer boats going out to Similans, but judging by the feedback we have from those going the marine life there is making a comeback. There have been observations of shark species like Bull and Tiger sharks, which are both considered highly uncommon for the area.
There has also been a major change to the health of the local reefs. Fewer visitors, less boat traffic and less pollution is all good news if you're a coral.
So if the marine life wasn't good enough before (It was!) it is now even better with new incredible encounters for those lucky enough to have them.
#3 Your fellow divers will likely be Thai
Scuba diving was never that popular in Thailand in the past, that's until a few years back when the younger generation started to pick it up. Since then the industry has changed a lot, with some boat companies almost exclusively catering to Thais.
Many tour operators changed their markets and got more Thais to go dive on liveaboards. And this is a great thing! In my experience Thais are really great to hang out with, they are kind and friendly and will give you a warm welcome if you are a foreigner visiting the country.
It's also a great way to make friends with locals and learn more about the country and the culture.
#4 The price
Liveaboard diving in Thailand has always been considered safe, good value and cheap! And you might be thinking it's because the boats aren't that nice? Or that the service isn't great? Wrong and wrong. Although there are companies catering to all price levels, from budget to luxury, they all offer great value and incredible service.
Due to the current situation some companies have also dropped their prices a little to help divers make it easier to choose going on liveaboards. We have the best prices available for a few of those operators, you can find them here!
#5 You get to help a struggling industry
Thailand's tourism sector is still merely a fraction of what it once was, and those still holding on are barely keeping their heads above water. Supporting these companies now means they will still be around in the years to come, which is good for everyone.
In supporting the industry at this crucial point, competent and skilled workers are allowed to do what they do best. I've witnessed many talented divemasters, instructors, boat masters, captains & boat crew having to let go of their jobs and seek employment elsewhere.
So if you really needed another reason to go diving, well there you go!
Now everybody knows liveaboards are awesome. Yes you heard me. Waking up to the warm sunrise, eating and scuba diving all day and socializing at night is a dream combo for most scuba divers and there are always exciting trips going out. The dive sites you get to visit are mostly too far away to comfortably visit on day trips, at least for me spending 2 hours on a speedboat each way isn't my idea of fun.
And with the beautiful selection of liveaboards available in Similan islands, there is something for everyone!
We hope you get to visit and explore this beautiful part of Thailand and please don't hesitate to contact us so we can help you make your liveaboard dreams come true. Happy diving!