Hello! Just got back from an amazing 5-day liveaboard to the Similan islands and thought I would share.
For those of you who prefer watching videos over reading text:
In April this year I went on a 3-day liveaboard with the same company and had such a great time that I booked this trip with them immediately after I came home!
The company I went with is located in Khao Lak, which is a little bit north of Phuket. In April they arranged a taxi for me from Phuket airport to Khao Lak, but this time round I decided to take the public bus up instead, to save a bit of money. It's about 1,300 baht for a taxi and <500 baht for a bus (including transfers from the airport, etc.). The bus takes around 2 hours and is a pretty pleasant journey. I stayed in a guesthouse called Happy House near the dive shop for the night before and after the liveaboard, which was 400 baht for a private room with a huge bed and decent bathroom with hot water.
On the evening of day 0, we had to take a minivan up to the pier at Kuraburi, which was about 2 hours north of Khao Lak. From there, it was about 4 hours to the Surin islands, where we would be doing our first dives the next morning. The itinerary was 4 dives a day, at 7am, 11am, 3pm and 7pm. On a couple of days the schedule was shifted up by half an hour so we could do sunset dives instead of night dives. We did 18 dives in total (2 days on the last day).Day 1 - Surin Islands
Sites: Koh Chi, Torinla North, Surin South, Ao Paka (night dive)
Vis was around 10-15m, which honestly was less than I had expected, and the current took us on an unintentional drift dive. Perhaps it was because of the upcoming full moon. In fact, we had the supermoon happen during our trip. More about that later.
We saw maybe a gazillion moray eels, schools of sweetlips and surgeonfish, fusiliers everywhere, and a couple of turtles.Day 2 - Richelieu Rock & Koh Tachai
Sites: Richelieu Rock, Koh Tachai pinnacle
Vis at Richelieu Rock wasn't that fantastic either, about 10m. Current was still strong. We managed to see a seahorse though, so that was cool. It seemed like it was cephalopod mating season there, because we saw a pair of octopuses getting it on during our first dive, and a bunch of cuttlefish fighting over a potential mate on our second dive. Vis at Koh Tachai was a complete 180 degree change and it was perfect. Huge gorgonian fans everywhere, lobsters, and the water was nice and calm.Day 3 - Koh Bon & Similan Islands
Sites: Koh Bon (wall side), Koh Bon (pinnacle side), Three Trees (Island #9), Donald Duck Bay (Island #8)
Koh Bon had possibly the best conditions when we dived there. Zero current with vis about 30-40m. They were my favourite dives by far. Koh Bon is covered in such pretty pastel blue and yellow soft corals. We saw a napoleon wrasse out looking for breakfast, maldivian sponge snails, and all of the usual suspects. Between the third and fourth dives, we went to the beach on Island #8 and climbed up to Sail Rock. It was an incredible view.Day 4 - Similan Islands
Sites: Christmas Point (Island #9), Elephant Head Rock (Island #7/8), West of Eden (Island #7), Anita's Reef (Island #5/6)
Interesting topography with lots of gigantic boulders that looked like they were being scooped out with an ice-cream scoop. Plenty of swimthroughs and hiding behind boulders from the current. Marine life was more or less the same as the previous days. Again, between the third and fourth dives, we went onto the beach at Island #4 and took a bit of a walk around the jungle area. Later on, after we surfaced from our sunset dive, we caught sight of the gigantic red supermoon. It was breathtaking. Luckily for us, we didn't experience any crazy currents due to the moon. Day 5 - Boonsung Wreck & Premchai Wreck
Sites: Boonsung Wreck, Premchai Wreck
On the last day, we were headed back to the pier at Thaplamu, which was about 20 minutes south of Khao Lak. There are a couple wrecks just a short distance from the mainland which serve as a nursery for all sorts of fish. The number of snappers we saw there were ridiculous, and there were a couple of very happy jacks there feeding. Vis was about 10m and we saw honeycomb moray eels, a ton of scorpionfish and a stonefish.
It was a pretty awesome trip overall, as liveaboards usually are. (Who wouldn't like doing nothing but eating, sleeping and diving?) The dive crew and boat crew take really good care of all the guests, and the food is absolutely delicious. There are so many more places to visit, but I'll probably end up going back there again!