• You wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that holidays to Thailand tick off luxury hotels and a seriously chilled-out atmosphere. But, we think the Land of Smiles has a few gems up its sleeve that are sure to tempt you away from the infinity pool – and those all-inclusive cocktails. That’s why we’ve reviewed the world-famous Similan Islands. Keep reading to find out our verdict…

    What is the Similan Islands excursion?

    The Similan Islands excursion showcases one of southern Thailand’s most beautiful marine national parks. Sign up for this full-day trip, and you’ll get to explore one of the 11 protected atolls that make up this huge protected area. While you’re there, you’ll get to jump feet first into the bluest water you’ve seen, take obligatory selfies at Donald Duck Bay, and stretch out on beaches where the sand is so soft that you’ll probably mistake it for icing sugar – we’re serious. Plus, you’ll also get to gobble up a traditional Thai lunch and sip from fresh coconuts when it’s time to quench your thirst. What more could you want?

    What will I do on the Similan Islands excursion?

    First up on the itinerary is getting to the Similan Islands. It takes around an hours’ speedboat ride to get there from Khao Lak, which is the main base for exploring the atolls. And because the Similan Islands are nestled in the Andaman Sea, the waters are a gorgeous shade of turquoise blue. When you arrive at the island, your first pit stop will be the beach. Here, you’ll have plenty of time to tip-toe across the shoreline and capture those all-important Instagram shots of the jaw-dropping scenery.

    Once you’re done playing photographer, it’s time for a hike up to Donald Duck Bay. The oddly-shaped cluster of rocks that look like the famous Disney character are the most famous attraction at the Similan Islands – perfect for little ones. At the top of the bay, you’ll get panoramic views of the entire island. After you’ve finished soaking up the views, it’ll be time to head back down to the beach for some lunch. You’ll make tracks for the foot of the jungle where you’ll get a selection of traditional dishes to pick from, like stir-fried noodles with chicken and vegetables. Yummy.

    After you’ve filled up on lunch, you’ll have some time to relax and let your food go down before hopping back onto your speedboat for a snorkelling session. Your guide will drive you to one of the top diving spots, where you’ll spend around an hour snorkelling the crystal-clear waters. As you explore the underwater world, you’ll come across brightly-coloured coral reefs – they’re the best looking in southern Thailand, FYI. And if you’re a wildlife-lover, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for sea turtles, trigger fish, barracudas and Nemo-like fish that all call this place home.

    Now it’s time to get back on the speedboat before heading back to Khao Lak. As you sail past the rest of the islands, you’ll get to watch the blood-orange sun sink over the islands – a really beautiful sight. And when you’ve reached dry land, you’ll get to tuck into a tasty pad thai for dinner, then top it off with homemade coconut ice-cream, before heading back to your hotel for the night. Bliss.

    Who would enjoy it?

    We think the Similan Islands are ideal for every type of traveller. If you’re on a couple’s getaway, you’ll both love the fairy-tale beaches that are perfect for romantic strolls. And if you’re a wannabe Sir David Attenborough, it’s the perfect place to catch a glimpse of tropical wildlife. Got the kids in tow? You don’t need to worry about them getting bored – they’ll be occupied by roaming the beaches for crabs and the likes. What’s not to love?

    What do I need to bring with me?

    We guarantee you’ll need swimming gear. You’ll be in and out of the sea for most of the day, so be sure to wear your coolest cossie under your clothes so that you don’t need to worry about getting changed and can just enjoy the trip. We recommend wearing a kaftan or a loosely-fitted shirt to keep your skin shaded from the hot sun, too. Speaking of which, we advise that you bring a high-factor, waterproof sun cream and keep applying it throughout the day as you’ll be in the sunshine for most of the trip. You’ll also need to protect your eyes from the sun, and the best way to do this is with a pair of super-sized glasses, which will have you looking très chic as you relax on the beach.

    Ready to explore the Similan Islands? You can find the Similan Islands excursion, as well as many other trips in Thailand, over on our First Choice Excursion website.


    If you liked the sound of this excursion, you’ll also like the adventure-packed Cool Runnings bobsled adventure in Jamaica, where we test-drove the 1,000 metre bobsled track and ziplined down the mountain for you. You’re welcome.