Similan Islands dive site
Location: North east corner of Koh Bangu (Similan Island #9)
Depth: 8-30 m
Type: Hard coral reef
Level: Easy to intermediate. Currents can be strong at times.
Batfish bend is a less visited dive site in the Similan islands. But Batfish Bend has plenty to offer and a dive here will probably be free of other divers.
As with all Similan dive sites the visibility is always excellent. Often divers do not realize how far they’ve descended because the water is so clear at depth.
Batfish Bend is a nice dive in the morning when the sun is in the east, and the powerful rays light up the reef. This is a good first dive on a transit day, before cruising north to Koh Bon and Koh Tachai.
It’s pretty obvious from where this dive site gets it’s name. There are huge schools of longfin batfish here. They aren’t concerned by the arrival of bubble blowing divers into their territory. Instead they’re very inquisitive and approach divers’ masks for a better look. They make a wonderful photo opportunity against the brilliant blue background.
The large hard coral reef beds have a wide variety of coral types, including staghorn, hibiscus, wire, encrusting fire coral and brain coral. Table corals are huge.
Turtles can often be found ripping away at the coral. Parrotfish also spend their days munching on coral, they leave clouds of sand behind for goat fish to sweep through. Titan Triggerfish can often be seen with a mouthful of staghorn coral, or sea urchin. With all these fish eating away at the reef it’s amazing that it’s in such good condition.
Other fish to look out for on Batfish Bend are raccoon bannerfish, oriental sweetlips, harlequin sweetlips, humphead unicornfish, soldierfish, powder blue surgeonfish and squirrelfish.
Napoleon Wrasse are sometimes spotted here. If you see one it means the park rangers are doing their job because Napoleon Wrasse have been hunted aggressively in Asia.
Leopard sharks can be spotted resting on the sandy bottom, just at the edge of the reef or around the boulders in deeper areas.
Gorgonian seafans cling to the boulders and feather stars cling to the sea fans.
Currents can whip around the rocks at times and it’s almost impossible to fin against them.
The boulders also act as cleaning stations for larger fish such as dog tooth tuna and chevron barracuda.
How to dive the Similan Islands
You can dive the Similan Islands by day trip from Phuket or Khao Lak, or by liveaboard. Liveaboards are ideal given the size of the area, the variety of dive sites, and the distance from the mainland.
If you don’t mind longish transfers then Similan diving day trips with 2 dives run five days per week from Phuket.
The Similan Islands diving season is from 15 October to 15 May.