Friday, October 2, 2009

Similan Islands

Koh Similan is located at Phang-Nga Province in southern region of Thailand.
Phang-Nga is province of tin mines and beautiful scenery nestled among mountains which rise up like walls around the town. The majority of the area is mountainous with very little basin area. Phang-Nga covers an area of 4,170 square kilometers, over half of which is mangrove and evergreen forest. Phan-Nga is 788 kilometers from Bangkok, bordering on Ranong to the north, Phuket to the south, Krabi and Surat Thani to the east, and the Andaman Sea to the west. It is administratively divided into eight Amphoes – Muang, Kapong, Khura Buri, Takua Pa, Takua Thung, Thai Muang, Thap Put and Koh Yao.
Tham Phung Chang is a cave located on Khao Chang behind the provincial prison. Replies of famous Buddha images share this beautiful cave with curious stalactite and stalagmite formations.
Tham Rusi Sawan and Tham Luk Sua are two caves located on Khao Chang Road in the Vicinity of Muang Phang-Nga municipal area near Phetchakasem Highway, opposite to the Provincial Court. One can walk from one cave through another. Tham Rusi Sawan is in from of Tham Luk Sua facing the edge of Phetchakasem Highway. The municipality has designated this area a public park.
Sa Nang Manora Forest Park, also known as Sa Nang Manora Waterfall, is located in the area of Tambon Nop Pring, Amphoe Muang. To access the park one has to follow the Phang-Nga – Krabi route (Highway no. 4) for a distance of five kilometers, take a turn at the Electricity Generating Station and continue along a three kilometer laterite road. The Park occupies an area of 180 rai and is a pleasant forest having a variety plant and wood species. The outstanding feature of this park is the falls originating in a stream flowing along the hillside and cascading down to a big reservoir all year round.
Tham Nam Phut cave, located near the foothills of Khao Thoi in Amphoe Muang, two kilometers from Phang-Nga market place, and highly revered by Phang-Nga residents. A natural spring bubbles up near the cave mouth where a shrine has been constructed as a residence for a spirit called Chao Phun Thao Kong.
Nam Tok Ton Phang-Nga, also called Nam Tok Nai Ton, is located in the area of Thambon Pa Ko, Amphoe Muang. The falls cascade from multi-leveled stone platforms on the mountain.
Tham Suwan Khuha is a cave located in Amphoe Takua Thung, seven kilometers before Phang-Nga town. The cave is a part of Wat Suwan Khuha or Wat Tham, and it houses Buddha images, prangs and pagodas, in addition to many beautiful stalactites and stalagmites.
Traveling along Highway no. 4 through Highway no. 402 to Phuket one cab see the sandy beaches of Tha Num Seashore on both sides of Pak Phra Channel. Sea turtles lay their eggs on these beaches every year.
Khao Pilai Seashore, is located in the area of Tambol Khok Kloi, Amphoe Takua Thung extending out towards the Tha Num Seashore. Though there are some rocky cliffs on the white sandy beaches, swimming is possible.
Ao Phang-Nga National Park covers an area of 400 square kilometers in Amphoes Muang, Takua Thung, and Koh Yao of Phang-Nga. The park mainly comprises many isles of varying shape and size. Caves and beautiful bays, together with rock formations and mangroves, are some of the park’s major attractions. To get there from Ao Phang-Nga, there are boat services at Tha Dan Pier in Amphoe Muang and at Surakun Pier in Aphoe Takua Thung Attractions include.
On Khao Khien, within a mountain cavern, primitive paintings depicting fish, water lizards, and dolphins, believed to be several thousand years old, may be seen.
Koh Panyi is and island home to an entire Thai Muslim fishing village of about 500 households built on stills in the sea and connected by wooden bridges. There is a school in the village and a plot of land with a mosque and burial ground.
Koh Nom Sao, twin islands, also called Koh Ok Meri, are located near Kho Panyi.
Koh Talu is an island just beyond Koh Nom Sao. Its middle section has been eroded by water and boats pass from one side of the island to the other through a water-filled cavern containing giant stalactites.
Koh Khao Ping Kan features a spectacularly high cliff that appears to have cloven in two, with both learning against each other as if in support – a sight of rate and exquisite beauty.
Kho Tapu (Nail Island located in front of Khao Ping Kan. The Base of the rock is narrow but rising to a broad peak, giving it the strange and beautiful appearance of a spike driven into the sea.
Tham Lot cave is another spot of interest in Ao Phang-Nga area. Similar in appearance, but larger than Koh Tabu, the mouth of the cave is about 50 meters wide and 40 meters high, allowing small boats to pass through. There are beautiful stalactites inside the cave which is about 100 meters long.
On a hilltop at Khao Machu lies a rock formation resembling a chow.
Koh Yao covers an area of 137.6 square kilometers consisting of 2 main island : Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai, and several surrounding islets. Beautiful beaches here include Hat Pa Sai, Hat Tha Khao, Ao Tikut, Ao Khlong Son, and Hat Lopareat. To get to Koh Yao from Ao Phang-Nga pier takes about 2 hours. Boats are also available from Ao Po, Phuket, the journey takes about 90 minutes.
Khao Lampi-Hat Thai Muang National Park covers and area of 72 square kilometers and was proclaimed as a national park area on 14 April 1986.

Attractions include:
Hat Thai Muang is located in the vicinity of Thai Muang Sanitary area. A 1.5 kilometer asphalt road branches off on the right to join the beach road, and continues another five kilometers to reach the office of the national park.
Thai Muang beach is a 13 kilometer long clean sandy beach with clear water. From November to February, sea turtles come up to the beach to lay their eggs.
Nam Tok Lampi falls is situated in Tambon Thai Muang , along Highway 4 between Km 32-33. It is a medium sized waterfalls of three levels with water flowing all year round.
Nam Tok Ton Phrai is a large waterfall with cascading water all year round and the best time for a trip is during the dry season. It is reached by walking for two kilometers from the end of a seven kilometer laterite road branches off on the left at Km 28-29. For accommodations in the area of the national park, contact the National Park Division. Forestry Department, Tel. 579 0529, 579 4842.
Covering a total area of some 125 square kilometer in Amphoes Thai Muang, Ka Pong, Ta Kua Pa, and Muang, Khao LakLam Ru was declared a national park in 1989. It has the following attractions:
Khao Lak is reached by taking route no. 4 (Thai Muang – Ta Kua Pa) for 25 kilometers from Amphoe Ta Kua Pa then turning left between Km 56-57. The mountain, with a shrine to Chao Pho Khao Lak, is situated opposite Khao Lak Seashore which is renowned for its stony beach.
Nam Tok Lam Ru is a five-tiered waterfall on Kradai Range, Nam Tok Lum Ru which cascades all year round. It is accessible by taking a one kilometer side road off a branch road from the Highway no. 4090 via Amphoe Ka Pong.
Wat Narai Nikayaram or Wat Khong, Tambon Le, Amphoe Ka Pong, believed to have been the site of the ancient town of Takua Pa, features stone carvings depicting episodes from the Ramayana. The carvings include Narayana (Vishnu), King Lakshana, and Queen Sita which are the oldest works of art found in Phang-Nga, which are presumed made by Kaling Kharat tribal people who once lived along the Indian Ocean here.
The Ancient Town of Ban Thung Tuk is located in Tambon Koh Kho Khao, 15 kilometers from Khura Buri District Office. There are several ruins in the area presumed to be the remnants of the first town constructed by ancient Indian settlers.
Under the administration of Amphoe Khura Buri, Phang-Nga, Mu Koh Surin National Park is a five-island archipelago covering an area of around 135 square kilometers in the Andaman Sea. To reach the park, tourists have a choice or three different starting points, the quickest and most convenient is Bna Hin Lat in Amphoe Khura Buri, which involves a 4 – 5 hour journey. The island’s main attractions are long, beautiful beaches with smooth white sand, lines of perfect shallow water coral reef, and a mainland inhabited by sea gypsies. The National Park Division, Forestry Department provides accommodations in the form of bungalows and reservation can be made by calling 579 0529, 579 4842. The most suitable time to visit is from December – March.
Mu Koh Similan National Park occupies an area of approximately 130 square kilometers. To get there, take a boat from the pier in Tambon Thap Lamu, Amphoe Ta Kua Pa or the pier in Amphoe Khura Buri. The trip takes about three hours. Similan, a small archipelago in the Andaman Sea, comprises nine islands. It is famous for its beautiful scenery both on and under the sea. The best time for diving and angling is from late December to mid April.

Longing for Similan
Feeling of traveler about Similan Island

When Rachapreuk, or Golden Shower trees, the national tree of Thailand, come into bloom and flash their bright yellow blossoms everywhere in the country, it means summer has arrived and there is no better place to have fun than a clean beach with immaculate seawater. On the list of dreamiest coastal destinations, Similan Archipelago is near the top – just waiting for visitors who seek serenity. There were only two choices for me: to go there or to just have a look at a stunning postcard from the Tourism Authority of Thailand. You already know what my decision was.
Soon I found myself sitting on a big rented boat with a capacity of about 20 people spending a few hours traveling off the coast of Tublamu Pier in Phan-Nga Province, plowing through the white waves into the Andaman Sea. The destination ahead was Similan Island National Marine Park.
It was in April, during the peak season for the islands. All the National Park’s bungalows were fully reserved by holidaymakers. Even the provided space for camping tents was almost fully engaged. I made the right decision to rent a sleeping boat with full facilities onboard, a kitchen, and a dining table, all enough to accommodate my group of about 20 people. Relaxing on the boat and letting the sea waves rock us to sleep was the concept of my journey.
The Similan complex of islands is located in the Andaman Sea, 70 kilometers off the mainland of Phang-Nga Province. “Similan” means “nine” in Malay as the archipelago consists of nine islands, but Similan Island is also the name given to the eight island in the group. All nine islands have official names: Koh Hu Yong, Koh Payang, Koh Payan, Koh Miang, Koh Ha, Koh Bayu, Koh Hin Pousar, Koh Similan, and Koh Ba Ngu accordingly. Instead of the Malay names, most sailors prefer to call these islands by numbers one to nine from south up to north.
It was late in the afternoon as I approached Koh Miang, or Island No. 4, where Similan Marine National Park’s headquarters is situated. After our boat anchored, we transferred to a small motorboat to the beachfront the island.
Often, travelers are disappointed when they reach the actual places after being inspired by picture from exaggeratedly vivid postcards. They may find the reality is much less attractive than illustrated on computer-generated card paper. But at my first glance, I thought the Similan archipelago was no different from how it was illustrated in travel postcards, even on a cloudy day. The water is quite water instead of seawater, I’m sure Similand would be just like the big swimming pool of a six-star resort. But Similan has many other elements formed by nature to attract visitors. To my bare feet, the first touch of the powdery sand on the beach of Island No. 4 was so impressive that this could be one of the reasons that Similan has become one of the most dreamed-of islands in the world.
The formation of different sized granite rocks in disarray covered with thick forest on the top makes the archipelage oven more spectacular. Similan has lots of photo opporturnities so I was happy to spend the entire afternoon exploring the island.
Koh Miang or Island of No. 4 is like the downtown of Similan Islands with a visitors’ center to provide tourists with basic facilities. Upon arriving on the island, visitors have to pay an entrance fee and then they can enjoy hopping to every island in the group that is open to the public.
From the main visitor area, I wnlked onto a small foot trail about 300 meters long that cuts through the aboundant forest of the island to reach another beach. Haat Lek, located on the east side of the island. Along the walking route I could feel the density of trees of various sizes that have been standing on the island ages, giving a sense of trekking into an unknown jungle on a secret island. After walking for a little while, I arrived at Haat Lek, a beautiful long beach, one of the most visited beaches of Similan Islands, located at the other end of trail. Apart from natural beauty in this area, many peculiar-shaped rocks decorating the end of beach are a strange attraction to the eyes.
This beach is also the habitat for the rare Hairy Legs Mountain Crab, called by local people “Pu Kai” (Chicken Crab). This name comes from the noise it makes that is similar to the sound of a chick. Normally, the officers of the National Park Service will lead groups of tourists to the forest nearby the beach at around 8 p.m. to find this kind of crab. If you can hear the voice of chicks, they are not chicks but actually crabs.
Our boat moved from the front beach of Miang Island to nachor in front of Haat Lek waiting for us to finish the day’s activities on the beach and get back to the boat in the evening. Dinner onboard was easily prepared but quite impressive. The swaying boat by the waves made the meal more appetizing!
The next morning, the loud noise of splashing water woke me from a good sleep. It was a few people in the group who couldn’t resist the allure of the crystal clear water as they jumped into the sea and swam like fish. It was to me too early to get wet but I did have the chance to witness a magnificent sunrise.
We were still floating on the east side of the fourth island where some of the most spectacular coral growths are hidden underneath the waves. It’s a very good site for snorkeling. White we had breakfast, the boat departed from where it was anchored to the other islands nearby.
The erosive action of wind and waves for over 65 million years created odd shapes in the islands, making our sea journey into the marvel of the Andaman Sea quite spectacular. As our boat proceeded to Island No. 9, the northernmost island of the archipelago, we passed several islands and rocks sticking up from the emerald surface of water, surrounded by beautiful marine lives and corals feefs underneath the water offering fantastic skin diving experiences.
Si Phang-Nga National Park, situated in Apmphoe Khura Buri, 100 kilometers to the north of the provincial town, covers an area of about 246 square kilometers. The park was established in honor of his Majesty the King on his 60th birthday. This forested pierce of land is home to large variety of flora and fauna. Places of interest in the park include Nam Tok Tam Nang, Nam Tok Ton Ton Toei, and Nam Tok Ton Ton Sai. Accommodation is available, please contact the National Parks Division, Royal Forestry Department, Tel 579 0529, 579 4842.

South Sea Grand
2,240-13,800 Bht
near beach, swimming pool

Andaman Princess Resort & Spa
3,550-13,700 Bht
Koh Kor khao

Tacola Resort and Spa
2,000 - 6,600 Bht
near beach, swimming pool

Kohkhao Island Beach Resort
1400-4500 Bht + ABF
near beach, swimming pool, Spa


Kuraburi Greenview

900-2,800 Bht + ABF
amids forest, near Surin National Marine Park, boat to Surin island

Koh Prathong
Kao Lak

The Briza Khao Lak
2,500-5,000 Bht + ABF
Spa, Swimming pool

The Andamania Beach Resort & Spa
1,000-5,000 Bht + ABF
Spa, Swimming pool

Bangniang Beach Resort
1,750 - 3,550 Bht + ABF
swimming pool

Royal Bangsak Beach Resort
2,000 - 5,000 Bht
near beach, swimming pool

Khaolak Emerald Beach Resort & Spa
2,300 - 13,000 Bht + breakfast
by beach, swimming pool

Takolaburi Cultural & Spa Resort
near beach, swimming pool

Apsaras Beach
2,300 - 12,000 Bht + ABF
Near Beach, Spa, Pool

Baan Krating
near beach, swimming pool

Baan Khaolak

1700-8000 Bht + ABF
by beach, swimming pool, near Similan National Marine Park

Khao Lak Bayfront

1400-3,800 Bht + ABF
by beach, swimming pool, near Similan National Marine Park

KhaoLak Sunset

1,600-4200 Bht + ABF
by beach, swimming pool, near Similan National Marine Park
Khaolak Orchid Beach
2100-7900 Bht + ABF
by beach, swimming pool, near Similan National Marine Park(open in Sep 04)

Khao Lak Seaview

2100-13900 Bht + ABF
by beach, swimming pool, near Similan Natnal Marine Park

Similana Resort

15000-5000 Bht + ABF
by beach, swimming pool, near Similan National Marine Park

Khao Lak Resort
1600-4500 Bht+ ABF
by beach, swimming pool, near Similan National Marine Park

Khao Lak Palm Beach

1,600-4,300 Bht + ABF
by beach, near Similan National Marine Park

Palm Anadama Beach

1,200-4,600 Bht + ABF
by beach, Bangniang beach

Khaolak Bhandari

2100-6500 Bht+ ABF
near beach, swimming pool, near Similan National Park

La flora

5,500-12,500 Bht + ABF
by beach, pool, near Similan National Park

Khaolak Paradise
3,100-4,800 Bht + ABF
by beach, pool, near Similan National Park

The Hotspring Beach Resort

3,600-8,800 Bht
natuaral hotspring, Unseen Paradise

Khaolak Merlin Beach

3000-8000 Bht + ABF
by beach, swimming pool

Le Meridien Khao Lak

by beach, swimming pool

The Sarojin
9,250-21,150 Bht
by beach, swimming pool

Mukdara Beach Villa & Spa
2,650-10,300 Bht
by beach, swimming pool & spa

Amandara Island Resort
1,200-18,000 Bht
seaview, swimming pool

Best Western Palm Galleria Resort
1,800-6,000 Bht
near beach, swimming pool

The Andaburi Resort
1,300-1,650 Bht
swimming pool

Koh Yao

Elixir Resort

3,800-23,000 Bht + ABF
near beach

Koyao Island
2,900-6,500 Bht + ABF
on island, luxury villa

Paradise Koh Yao

5100-11600 Bht + ABF
on island, boutique resort


Andaburi Resort
Khao Lak, Bang Niang Beach
1050 THB

Ayara Villas
Khao Lak, Bang Niang Beach
1600 THB

Sudala Beach Resort
Khao Lak, Bang Niang Beach
1650 THB

Mukdara Beach Villa & Spa Resort
Khao Lak, Bang Niang Beach
2700 THB

Royal Bangsak Beach Resort
Khao Lak, Bangsak Beach
1650 THB

Haadson Resort
Khao Lak, Bangsak Beach
2450 THB

Khaolak Grand City
Khao Lak, Khuk Khak Beach
400 THB

Tony Lodge
Khao Lak, Khuk Khak Beach
750 THB

Khao Lak Sunset Resort
Khao Lak, Khuk Khak Beach
950 THB

Baan Krating Khao Lak
Khao Lak, Khuk Khak Beach
1000 THB

The Andamania Beach Resort
Khao Lak, Khuk Khak Beach
1100 THB

Motive Cottage Resort
Khao Lak, Khuk Khak Beach
1150 THB

Khaolak Bhandari
Khao Lak, Khuk Khak Beach
1400 THB

Khaolak Oriental Resort
Khao Lak, Khuk Khak Beach
1400 THB

South Sea Grand Phang Nga
Khao Lak, Khuk Khak Beach
1600 THB

The Briza Beach Resort
Khao Lak, Lamru
1300 THB

Khao Lak Emerald Beach Resort & Spa
Khao Lak, Lamru
1550 THB

Khao Lak Youth Club
Khao Lak, Nang Tong Beach
590 THB

Khaolak Bay Front Resort
Khao Lak, Nang Tong Beach
1200 THB

Khaolak Orchid Beach Resort
Khao Lak, Nang Tong Beach
1350 THB

Suwan Palm
Khao Lak, Nang Tong Beach
1400 THB

Khaolak Palm Beach Resort
Khao Lak, Nang Tong Beach
1900 THB

Palm Galleria Resort
Khao Lak, Pakarang Beach
1390 THB

Apsaras Beach Resort & Spa
Khao Lak, Pakarang Beach
1700 THB

Takolaburi Cultural and Spa Resort
Khao Lak, Pakarang Cape
2100 THB

Koh Kho Khao Resort
Koh Kho Khao
1000 THB

Kho Khao Island Beach Resort
Koh Kho Khao
1200 THB

The Tacola Resort & Spa
Koh Kho Khao
1750 THB

Andaman Princess Resort & Spa
Koh Kho Khao
2100 THB

Kuraburi Greenview Resort
Phang Nga, Kuraburi
650 THB

Phang Nga River Lodge
Phang Nga, Muang
1400 THB

1 comment:

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