Similan Islands dive site
Location: Just off the southern point of Koh Haa (Similan Island #5)
Depth: 7-35 m
Type: Fringing reef plus boulder formations
Level: Suitable for all levels of diver
Hideaway bay is often the first dive on a Similan liveaboard. It makes an easy check dive, it’s also good for night dives. Snorkelers also like the bay.
It’s an interesting dive site because it combines some of the best features of Similan diving. Some parts of the dive being mostly large boulders and other sections being fringing coral reef. There are also some man made underwater statues.
Visibility is generally above 20 metres and currents are mild, so this dive site is suitable for all levels of diver.
The maximum depth is 35 metres and the reef comes up as shallow as 7 metres.
Hideaway bay is often referred to as Barracuda point (different dive companies use different names). However schools of barracuda are not that common here. The odd solo giant barracuda may be spotted out in the blue.
The southern section of the dive is the deepest which is where the large boulders are. The deeper boulders have sheer clean surfaces with little coral growth but as you move shallower the rocks have soft coral, gorgonian sea fans and sea whips attached as well as sea stars, urchins and sea cucumbers.
Blue spotted Kuhl’s rays can be seen in the sand, as can black spot garden eels. Batfish are normally in evidence along with emperor angelfish. Clown triggerfish are a popular spot because of their beautiful colouring. Black tip reef sharks can also be seen if you look away from the reef.
Moving further north divers come to the sloping reef at around 20 metres. There are colonies of staghorn coral, with brain coral, lettuce coral and fire coral among other varieties. Christmas tree worms and crinoids add splashes of colour.
The reef is home to schooling bannerfish, moorish idols, lionfish, trumpet fish and dog faced puffer fish. Oriental sweetlips are often seen sheltering under a table coral. Checkered snapper and blue lined snapper are common as are bicolour parrotfish, blue powdered surgeon fish and butterfly fish.
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.
A typical Similan liveaboard itinerary is 4 days 4 nights and also includes Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock. Shorter 2d1n or 3d2n trips are also available.
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.