Text: Rachel Kwek Pho­tos: Tourism Au­thor­ity of Thai­land

Asian Geographic - - Front Page -

Com­pris­ing 11 is­lands and cov­er­ing 140 square kilo­me­tres, Mu Koh Sim­i­lan Na­tional Park is an idyl­lic des­ti­na­tion with clear turquoise wa­ters and abun­dant wildlife. One can swim along­side many species of sharks, tur­tles and fish at the many dive sites in this divers’ par­adise hailed as one of the top dive lo­ca­tions in the world. Due to the fragility of the ecosys­tems in the park, it is des­ig­nated as a pro­tected area and some of the is­lands are not open to vis­i­tors. Only isal­nds 4 and 8 are open to vis­i­tors. While you can get from one is­land to an­other via paid boat rides pro­vided by the Sim­i­lan Is­lands Na­tional Park, sched­ules are not fixed and it might be more ef­fi­cient to en­gage the ser­vices of a lo­cal dive com­pany. There is no ac­com­mo­da­tion within the park. Where: Phang Nga Prov­ince, 70km off the coast of the An­daman Sea, 120km north­west of Phuket and 50km west of Khao Lak Get­ting there: Take a car, taxi or bus to Khao Lak or Thap Lamu Port, the main gate­way to the is­lands. Then, take a speed­boat, which will take 60 to 80 min­utes, or other ves­sels avail­able through travel ser­vice providers. Trav­ellers can also take a boat owned and op­er­ated by the na­tional park ( 4 hours, 1500 baht or about USD45); this ser­vice is not avail­able from May 17 to Novem­ber 14 dur­ing the mon­soon sea­son when the park is close.

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