Thailand – The land of smiles. It really is very aptly named – the locals are always smiling and so welcoming. I think this has partially to do with a genuine appreciation for life, and some with the fact that they understand tourism is a major part of their economic upkeep. Regardless of the reason, the Thai are a pleasant people.
I spent almost 2 weeks in Thailand, and surely will post many times about various adventures, but this will focus on my experience on the Similan Islands. Not the most popular island destination associated with Thailand (that would probably go to Phi Phi Island), but surely one of it’s most beautiful. Don’t get me wrong; they’re all beautiful — but from the stories I’ve heard, Phi Phi is a little overrun with tourists and for that fact overrun with tourist traps. The Similan Islands are less traveled.
The Similan Islands are so called because ‘similan’ means nine and there are NINE islands. Not all are tourist friendly – but Koh Miang (No.4), Koh Payu (No.7), Koh Similan (No. 8), and Koh Ba Ngu (No.9) are most commonly visited.
My travel companion and I booked a tour to the Similan Islands — this was a good plan as it’s a bit of a boat ride to the islands and it included a lot for a little cost. Wow Andaman was a fantastic deal — see the end of this entry for details.
We booked a full day trip and were in for a multitude of adventures — boat rides to multiple islands, snorkeling, hiking, a stellar lunch spread, and beautiful landscapes/beaches. I will remember those white sands and piercing blue waters forever.
I’ll admit I was a bit nervous for the snorkeling portion, but I was able to overcome my fear and enjoy it for the most part. The water off this coast of Thailand is so clear you almost don’t need a snorkeling mask to see the wildlife below – but I donned one anyways.
My FAVORITE part of the day was the hike. I’ve never been much of a “beach bunny” as my mom would say — but give me a good hike and I’m there. The beaches of the Similan Islands are as much a jungle as they are a beach — which is unique for someone whose beach experience prior to Thailand consisted mostly of Southern California. There’s a slight mountainous quality to the beaches along the Similan Islands that lends itself well to hiking for those willing to brave some slightly treacherous heights — and I was very willing. The views… *sigh*… the views.
I’d like to highlight the lunch provided by Wow Andaman tours – traditional, plentiful, and delicious. We enjoyed a buffet of Thai food in the heart of Similan National Park (basically a beautiful jungle). After a slighty grueling hike, an hour or so of snorkeling, and a filling lunch, I opted for some time enjoying the unique beach. As I mentioned I’m not much of a beach person, but even I didn’t want to miss out on the unique experience that is the beaches of Thailand.
Exhausted, sunburned, and happy, we endured the hour+ boat ride back to the shores of Phuket. A day well spent and a day long remembered: The Similan Islands.
Wow Andaman – Well. Worth. The. Money. — Great service, great time. That’s really all I have to say.