What’s it like on a Similan Islands day trip?
Here are some photos taken of Koh Miang (Similan Island number 4) on a day trip there in November. I am posting these to give you an idea of how many people visit the island each day. On a typical Similan Island day trip by speedboat there are two beach excursions, one at island 4 and one at island 8 (the Similan Island group has 9 islands). Island 4 has two beaches and the speedboat operators try to spread themselves out between both beaches. However when all the boats arrive around lunchtime the beaches are busy with day trippers. Anyone staying overnight at the Similan Islands, either on a liveaboard boat or in the tents at Koh Miang has an idyllic island to themselves until about 10 am and then again from 3 pm. In between that time it gets quite busy. But there are ways to escape the masses.
Here is a map of the island taken off a sign on the island. The beach at the north is the main beach where the national park tents and bungalows are located. The beach on the east coast is called Haad Lek (small beach). The two beaches are connected by a short (5 minute) trail through the jungle.
This is a typical speedboat unloading passengers on the island. An average speedboat takes 42 passengers plus a few crew when full and takes 1.5 hours to get to the Similan Islands. In the peak months at the Similan Island there may be ten of these boats unloading passengers for lunch on the beach. Once the passengers are safely on the beach the speedboats tie up off shore.
This is what the small beach looks like where the speedboats drop their passengers. Everyone tends to hang around in the same area.
This is everyone queuing for lunch.
There is a small Navy outpost on island number 4.
You don’t have to walk far up the beach to find a place to yourself. Notice how white the sand is and how turquoise the water is. Also notice that most people swim and snorkel just a few meters from shore where the bottom is sandy and there are some small fish. But if you swim out a couple of hundred metres from the south end of Haad Lek you will be alone over a pristine hard coral garden. There are some big fish here.
Similan Island view point, Koh Miang
If you really want to escape from the crowds climb up to the viewpoint. Take the trail between the beaches which starts on Haad Lek just behind the Navy station, it’s sign posted and easy to find. Shortly there is a turn off to the left, also signposted. The trek takes about 15 minutes.
It’s easy enough for anyone of average fitness but hard enough to dissuade the majority of people. There are a few rickety ladders to climb and a few ropes to pull yourself up. You could do it in bare feet but a pair of training shoes or teva style sandals is a good idea.
At the top you’ll have this view to yourself.
This camp site is on the north beach at Koh Miang (Similan Island number 4). They are booked as park of 2 day 1 night or 3 day 2 night packages.
This is the north beach at midday, the busiest time. Imagine if you are staying on the island how beautiful this beach is when the day trippers have departed.