Similan Islands dive site
Location: South east of Koh Bangu (Similan Island #9)
Depth: 5-20 m
Type: Sloping hard coral reef and rocks
Level: Suitable for all levels of diver
Snapper Alley is an easy dive because currents are rarely strong and the maximum depth is around 20 metres. Visibility is good, up to 30 metres.
The reef is made up of rocks and coral outcrops scattered around a sandy bottom. Some of the larger rocks form swim-throughs in the shallower areas near the middle of the reef. The reef includes some fine examples of table and plate corals, as well as brain coral. Christmas tree worms and crinoids add colour to the reef, as do the thousands of anthias. Sea fans protrude out from the rocks and sway in the current.
Blue spotted sting rays can be seen in the sand. So too can colonies of black spot garden eels. Reef sharks and leopard sharks are occasionally seen deeper.
Of course the reef is full of snapper, thousands of them. Snapper species include big schools of blue striped snapper plus smaller groups of checkered snapper and black and white snapper. Damsel fishes are everywhere and so are butterfly fish.
Snapper Alley makes an excellent night dive when divers can spot free swimming moray eels free swimming, plus lionfish and sleeping parrotfish. Painted rock lobster and decorator crabs which are not often seen in the day, are usually present on night dives. Octopus are seen by day and night. So are cuttlefish, who are often together in pairs.
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.