Comfy bungalow,not so comfy bungalow,or camping
On Ko Miang (# 4) in the middle of the Similans the national park currently offers two types of rooms. The first are set in bamboo and wood long house style buildings with attached rooms that feature little more than rock hard beds, fans, and cold water bathrooms, although they do have enough windows to let the air through and large porches set back from the beach.
The far more comfortable options, if you can afford them, are the chomview houses, which are modern wood cottages perched on stilts high on a hillside overlooking the sea. These are simple with hardwood floors and walls, firm beds, tables, hot water bathrooms, air-con with 24 hour electricity (otherwise unheard of on national park islands) and front porches with fabulous ocean views. One of the Thai princesses also has a cottage in this neighbourhood. Advance bookings for the bungalows is essential — when we called to check availability in early October before the opening of the 2015-16 season, they were already booked solid for two months.
Standard issue national park camouflage camping tents that sleep three (or four if you want to squeeze) are also available both at islands # 4 and # 8. On both islands the tents are clustered close to one another on a sandy area behind some mangroves. Most don’t get a direct ocean view but the beach is a short walk away on either island. The national park provides not only tents but also sleeping mats and sleeping bags if you need them. Bathrooms are in the form of shared cold water showers and shared open air sinks, which are reasonably clean though not exactly kept in top quality condition.
Of the two locations, the decidedly quieter one for camping is Ko Miang (# 4), and there are some good beaches, rugged trails and a spectacular viewpoint here. Ko Similan (# 8) is a lot more crowded and although the beach here at Donald Duck bay is one of the Similan’s best, it tends to get very crowded with day trippers, especially on weekends. The facilities on # 4 seem to be better cared for — # 8 in late 2015 had some neglected, empty buildings next to the tents that marred the beauty of the place. Due to limited space, it’s not currently possible to set up your own tent. The national park and its accommodation closes down between mid-May and mid-October.
For bookings visit the Dept. of National Park’s website, or head to the Similan National Park headquarters at Thap Lamu pier south of Khao Lak beach if you prefer to book in person. The DNP website wasn’t working when we tried booking online, so we just called to make a reservation, then we were emailed a booking form (on a Hotmail account!) with payment information. The Park requires advance payment in full to a Krung Thai bank account to secure the booking. Alternately, a few tour companies may be able to arrange accommodation for you.
By Lana Willocks
Last updated on 1st November, 2015.