It hasn’t been long since the Koh Maiton snorkeling trip off the coast of Phuket before it was time for the next snorkeling trip already. Only this time we would go a bit further; to Koh Similan. Day-trips to this group of islands are available but from Phuket it is a 1.5-hour drive to the pier followed by a 1.5-hour boat trip so a multiple-day trip was more appropriate. We booked a trip with “Seastar Happy journey” based on a recommendation of a friend but there are actually several companies offering very similar trips for similar prices.
The adventure started in the early morning when we were picked up by a minivan (included in the package) that would bring us to the starting point of this trip. On arrival at the pier it became pretty clear that this would be a mass-tourism event as already about 100 other guests were there enjoying the free breakfast-buffet. It wouldn’t take long till we got our instructions what the plan was and we could start boarding the speedboats for the 90 minute trip to the first snorkeling spot.
From there onwards it became pretty much irrelevant how many more tourists would be there as the groups quickly split up in the water and there was enough to see underwater. At each spot we visited we stayed about 45 minutes and the tour guides quickly took the lead to point everybody to the best spots available. One guide would swim ahead and if you were fast enough you could follow him while the other guide went a lot slower and towed the people who couldn’t swim behind him. Of course you could also just go your own way but that way you would risk missing some of the nicer spots available.
Once we were done at the first snorkeling spot we went onwards to the main island where everybody who had booked for a multiple-day trip got their key to their little cabin or directions to the tent they had reserved. Looking back I was happy we chose to stay in a house on the island as that gave access to AC and a decent bed. Some of the people we spoke later who stayed in a tent indicated their night was not as comfortable as they had hoped for with the loud waves going on all night and it being too hot during the night to sleep really deep for some.
The rest of the day we could pick between staying on the island and enjoying the beach there or going on the next snorkeling trip. As the beach was terribly crowded during daytime we picked the snorkeling and that was a golden choice. Besides the beautiful wildlife under water we could also enjoy the sunset from the boat and we had a nice dinner there made by the chef who was cooking huge pans of food for hours to feed the hungry tourists on the boat.
The next day there was the choice again to go for a morning snorkeling trip, an afternoon snorkeling trip, or joining both trips. We decided to go snorkeling in the morning and the afternoon we would explore the island further and enjoy the beach. That morning was great again as we stumbled on some sea-turtles, saw two eagle rays, and had some great breakfast and lunch on the boat.
As we stayed on the island the rest of the day we had lunch on the island which compared meagerly to the freshly cooked meals on the boat. The same for the breakfast the next morning which was a simple plate with some lukewarm scrambled eggs, bacon, ham, and toast.
On that last day we had to check out of the cabin around 11AM and at 2PM we boarded the speedboat again to visit the last island on the schedule. This island gave some nice opportunities for shooting pictures of the rock formations, and from the top of these rock formations, and there was some beautiful clear water in the bay where you only had to walk into the water for 5 meters to see the first wildlife swimming by.
Looking back this trip was a great way to escape Phuket for a few days and compared to the trip to Koh Maiton it was many times more beautiful and fun. It was an especially great deal when you compare the 2,900 baht costs for the day-trip to Maiton with the total costs of 7,800 baht per person for a 3-day-2-night trip to Koh Similan. And that price includes all food, the trip, pickup from your hotel anywhere in Phuket, and the cabin on the island.
Some quick tips for in case you plan on visiting Koh Similan also:
- For a day-trip this island is not well suited as the travelling time is simply too long. Go for at least 2 days (1 night) or preferably 3 days (2 nights)
- Book the cabin instead of a tent in case you are not a heavy/easy sleeper. The little extra in costs is well worth the extra comfort, for me at least.
- Avoid going during weekends or holidays as it will be many times busier then. Better go somewhere halfway the week and hope not everybody had the same brilliant idea.
- Go for the snorkeling trips in the morning as it will mean you get your breakfast and lunch on the boat which is much better quality than the food on the island.