SIMILAN ISLANDS THAILAND PHUKET Similan is a Yawi or Malay word, which means nine or a group of nine islands. In 1982, this 128 square kilometres area was declared a marine national park, and in recent years this group of nine small islands has become one of the leading attractions for visitors to Southern Thailand. With the establishment of stations by the Royal Forestry Department on Koh Miang and Koh Similan, fishing within the national park boundaries was banned and the unwanted visitors were substituted by tourists, especially after 1987, when leisure boats and dive operators started coming out on a regular basis. Today Mu Koh Similan National Marine Park and all its reefs have recovered from earlier disturbances. Boats entering the Similan Islands National Park have to follow strict rules imposed and controlled by the national park officials, have to use the moorings prepared by the national park and use closed waste water systems to avoid any pollution. Part of the park, but geologically and physically quite separate are Koh Bon and Koh Tachai. Ko Bon (Bon Island) - with no beach and no accommodation this is still an island to visit. A portion of the islands coral was destroyed by dynamite fishing before it became part of the National Park. It still holds some stunning scenery. This is also the most common site for sightings of Manta Rays. Tachai Island is located at the northern most tip of the park. There is a beautiful white powdered beach on the island.