The Similan Islands, located about one hundred kilometers northwest of Phuket, are composed of nine granite islands covered in tropical jungle, washed by a clear blue tropical ocean and blessed with some of the world's finest beaches. Similan comes from Malay fisherman who named it "The Nine Islands" (Sembilan is "nine" in Malay) and now the islands are identified by a name-in Thai-and a number; for example, Ko Huyong (Island #1), located at the southern end of the chain. The islands have achieved national park status and thus are fully protected under Thai law. The National Park Authority maintains their presence on two of the islands: Ko Similan (Island #8) the largest, and Ko Miang (Island #4). Recently, the islands have come to the special attention of the Thai Royal Family which further protects them from possible abuse.
A great highlight, as the visitor soon discovers, are the white coral-sand beaches, splendidly picturesque and often deserted. The most interesting sights, however, are to be found beneath the waves. Some of the most spectacular coral growths in the world can be found here - and the same boulders that scatter the shores have turned the waters around the Similans into an adventure playground for divers.