Christmas Point is a wonderful dive site at the far north of the Similans group of nine main islands. It is located just to the west of Koh Bangu, which is Island 9. Like most Similan Islands diving sites, it consists of large granite rocks and boulders on a relatively flat sandy seabed. It is best known for its swimthrough, which is at a depth of 24 metres, but there are other swimthroughs and lots of other things to get excited about here, just south of North Point.
- Famous swimthrough
- Medium currents
- World-class visibility
- Ribbon Eels
The huge granite boulders make this dive site what it is, and they are spread out in several batches towards the northwest and give both divers and the marine life plenty of places to swim, hide or investigate. The most popular is located at a depth of 24 metres, so it should be found and swum through during the first half of the dive. There are others, though, some of which are more challenging than others. As the rocks and boulders become further from the island, they also become more scattered and in deeper water. Here is a good place to look out for resting sharks and rays, such as the Leopard/Zebra Shark (Stegostoma fasciatum) and Whitetip Reef Shark (Triaenodon obesus).There is even the slight possibility of seeing a Guitar Shark / Shovelnose Ray (Rhinobatidae). Blacktip Reef Sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus) have also been seen here, but they are quite shy and more often seen in shallower waters. On the way back up from the bottom of this deep and exciting dive, keep an eye out for the colourful and active Ribbon Eel (Rhinomuraena quaesita). These are a type of Moray Eel but much slimmer, very long and almost snake-like. It is not common to see them out of their hiding holes during the day, as they are quite shy and not the best swimmers. Their vibrant blue and yellow colouring would make them too conspicuous for daytime hunting.
Other good-size bony fish to see at Christmas Point are Chevron Barracuda (Sphyraena putnamiae) and Napoleon/Humphead Wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus). Oriental Sweetlips (Plectorhinchus vittatus) are colourful and often shelter under rocks or among the swimthroughs. Bigeye Trevally (Caranx sexfasciatus) are another large fish, but not colourful or friendly-looking. The small and busy Red Fire Goby (Nemateleotris magnifica) also makes for a good photo opportunity. Invertebrates are all over Christmas Point. While it's not easy to find the octopuses, cuttlefish are simple enough to spot. Nudibranchs, sea cucumbers and starfish add some shape and colour to the bland areas or rock or sand.
This dive site was not too badly affected by the 2004 tsunami, nor did the natural sea temperature change in 2010 cause too much coral bleaching. This is mainly due to its depth and location. While some dive tours allow any diver to jump in at Christmas Point, others only recommend it for experienced divers. To be honest, it depends on the conditions on the day. Currents are strong at certain times of the month and day, so it can be dived by any PADI certified diver on certain occasions. It suffers less than North Point, but is still a deep dive which has some currents and is exposed to a lot of sea on its west side. One advantage of this location and depth, though, is the possibility of seeing what most divers who visit the Similans come in hope of; the 'Big Two.' Manta Rays (Manta alfredi) and Whale Sharks (Rhincodon typus) make occasional appearances here at Christmas Point, so it's important to keep an eye on your fellow divers' behaviour and out into the blue yourself. The banging of tanks or other audible signals by divers should be noticed and acted upon. Both species can swim by once and not be seen again, or hang around and not be bothered by ten or more divers trying to get close or a good photograph or video footage. It should go without saying that approaching, touching or chasing these wonderful, majestic and graceful giants is a big 'no no.' Divers who hang around and stay calm usually get treated to the best views, and even a show by the Manta Rays, if they're in the right mood.
Due to its remote location, Christmas Point at the Similan Islands is too far for regular dive boats to reach. Access is either by speedboat day trip or Liveaboard cruise. For the best prices and packages for either type of trip click below and let us find the right boat and group for you on the days you want to go. We have access to the lowest prices for all the boats that travel out to the Similan Islands.