The Similan islands are crowded but our boat captains knew where to find calm spots to anchor and let us swim and snorkel to our hearts content around the nine granite islands that lie in a 25 km long north-south chain, 65 km offshore from Phang Nga, about 100 km from Phuket
The islands are blessed with fine beaches and are a protected National Marine Park since 1982.
We stuck to the eastern shores of the islands which feature coral gardens and sloping reef banks.
For underwater photographers and lovers of marine life, then diving in the Similan Islands is about the best it gets for the sheer variety and abundance of tropical fish. From the occasional Leopard shark to tiny ghost pipefish, turtles and giant bumphead parrot fish will all fill your lens.
After a picnic lunch above the high tide mark and close by a Park Ranger base it was time for an afternoon sunbathing on the soft white sand of the beach before heading back to the mainland.