Why a live-aboard boat is the only way to see AND dive Thailand’s stunning Similans

Travelling is as much about the people you meet as the places you visit. And nowhere has that been more true than on our awesome live-aboard experience on a boat in the breathtaking Similan Islands – one of the world’s best dive sites.
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This one goes out to Brittany, Adam, Nick, Jasmine and everyone else aboard Khao Lak Fun Divers! You guys are all awesome.
We spotted the Similans on a BBC nature series all about Thailand; we were mesmerised by the hermit crabs using discarded tin cans as shells because greedy tourists are taking their more traditional armour away as keepsakes! (If you’re in the UK and follow the link you can still watch it – but only until Monday 7th Feb!)
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The islands also happened to look outlandishly stunning, so we promised to try and make it there during our trip.
It’s perhaps not as remote as we envisaged; hundreds of tourists take the 60km boat trip from Khao Lak daily to snorkel in the crystalline turquoise water and get up close and personal with Nemo and his mates.
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Thankfully we were able to get away from the crowds and enjoy a slightly more cast away experience.
You can stay on one of the islands in basic tents or bungalows, but we think bobbing around on a boat under the stars in the middle of nowhere beat it. Also the diving was out of this world.
Although because of the time of year there weren’t any whalesharks or manta rays these waters are so famed for – Chris was lucky enough to get up close and personal with a sea turtle.
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We got to spend some time on the hermit crab beach anyway; claw prints speckled the white sand which was as smooth as flour; the colour of the water in the bay really can’t be done justice to in a photo; here’s our attempt though!
Here’s why we think a liveaboard is the best option:
  1. You can only stay on the islands as part of an overnight snorkelling trip. If you want to dive, it ain’t happening. Dive trips only take place on live aboard boats or as a day trip.

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  2. Chris does scuba but James would rather just snorkel, and we found one of the only companies to offer both on the same boat was Khao Lak Fun Divers. James got to go off on his own speedboat to specific snorkel sites while the divers headed to deeper waters elsewhere. Other combi deals would have had James just bobbing around above the divers; this way we both got to experience the best of the mind blowing tropical fish and corals. The divers all said the clarity of the water was incredible.

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  3. You meet some awesome people on a liveaboard. Brittany, Adam and Nick from the States (but living in Vietnam/China) weren’t only brilliant company; they introduced us to an amazing card game called Exploding Kittens, and possibly the world’s most confusing board game Catan. It was amazing to get to know such a brilliant group of people (including the dive masters on the boat – Jasmine was a legend!) Our newfound friendship even extended to dry land when I ended up getting on stage with a Thai covers band in a great local bar called the Happy Snapper!

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So while watching the sunset over the beautiful Similans would have made lifelong memories anyway, spending it with amazing new people made the whole experience even more wonderful.

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