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This is the second in a series which will introduce and describe the various dive services and sites for worldwide liveaboard dive safaris. This one will focus on the trips that include the Similans, an extremely popular and exciting area to dive in Thailand.
In addition to this series on liveaboards, the best worldwide dive resort locations and services are reviewed in their own series. To check them out, or others in this series, click on Liveaboards/Resorts on the menu at the top and choose a title from the list.
Have you been diving in Thailand before? If so, I’d love to know about your experience. What dive shop or liveaboard did you use? Which dive spots are the best and what are the conditions there regarding the visibility, current, water temperature, sealife attractions, etc.? Please post your response in the comments section at the bottom and we’ll all learn something we can use.
Best Scuba Diving Thailand Liveaboards
Thailand and the Similan Islands are richly serviced by 28 different boats for liveaboard scuba diving vacations of 2 to 12 days at rates of $105 to $439 daily. Below is a list of the top vessels. After that are a recommended example of 5 great boats.
Budget Liveaboard Vessels
- MV Andaman Tritan
- MV Deep Andaman Queen
- MV Dolphin Queen
- MV Oktavia
- MV Daranee
- MV Similan Explorer
- MV Thai Sea
- MV Manta Queen 5
- MV Manta Queen 6
- MV Sea World I
Middle Budget Liveaboard Vessels
- MV Giamani
- MV Sawasdee Fasai
- MV South Siam III
- MV Pawara
- SY June Hong Chian Lee
High Budget Liveaboard Vessels
- MV Hallelujah
- SY Diva Andaman
- MV Diverace Class E
- Thailand Aggressor
Most Popular – MV Andaman Tritan
- Visits Similans, Richelieu Rock, Khao Lak
- Most cabins have en-suite bathrooms
- Air-conditioned cabins
- Extensive dive deck
- Full entertainment and safety facilities
- Nitrox onboard
- 7 crew, 3 divemasters
- Large sundeck
- Thai and international cuisine
Check at Dive the World by clicking the banner in the sidebar.
- Visits Similans, Surin, Khao Lak, Burma South
- All cabins have ensuite bathrooms with hot water
- Master cabin with a TV/DVD player
- Underwater cameras available
- Complimentary mini-bar
- Air-conditioned saloon
- All carrying of equipment is done by the boat crew
- Nitrox onboard
- Large dive deck and 2 motorized tenders
- Shaded deck to the rear of the boat where the evening meals are served
- Plenty of sunbathing space
- Cruises Similans, Richelieu Rock, Khao Lak
- All cabins with private bathrooms
- Dedicated restaurant with bar, large sundeck
- Large stable boat with a steel hull
- 35 square meter saloon (with TV/DVD player, free Wi-Fi internet and Play Station)
- 72 square meter sundeck
- Air-conditioned saloon and dining room are air-conditioned
- Large shaded deck area on the main deck
- Complimentary nitrox for all EANx-certified guests
- Cruises Similans, Surin, Richelieu Rock
- Cabins with private bathrooms, TVs & movies
- Free local beer and wine, separate dining room
- Sun deck with whirlpool tub
- Large boat with a steel hull
- Air-conditioned, furnished saloon and separate dining room on the main deck
- Entertainment facilities include a flatscreen TV, DVD, and music system plus a library of books and magazines
- Internet is available via the satellite system at extra cost
- Wine and local beer are free of charge
- Computer, photo/video editing facility, multiple charging sites throughout the boat
- Deck has a camera rinse tank and camera table
- Cruises Similans, Richelieu Rock, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai, Burma South
- Cabins with private ensuite bathrooms, minibar, safety deposit boxes
- Complimentary bottle of champagne
- Sea kayaks
- Traditional Thai massage
- Dive deck with lockers, hot shower, toilet
- Large boat with wooden paneling throughout
- 10 crew for a maximum of 15 scuba divers
- Air-conditioned saloon/dining area where you can find the entertainment facilities
- Large sundeck
- Complimentary bottle of champagne
- Nitrox available
Selection of the Best Thailand Dive Sites
Similan Islands – 11 major granite tropical islands in the midst of brilliantly clear blue water, the Similans feature beautiful rich soft and hard coral reefs abundant with exceptionally fascinating marine life and the largest number of reef fish in Thai waters. There are swim through rock formations in the midst of boulders, canyons and pinnacles with numerous gorgonians, barrel sponges and exciting critters like nudibranchs, moray eels, cuttlefish and octopus. Exciting larger attractions often include reef sharks, leopard sharks, manta rays and green turtles, and when conditions are right, a whale shark. Current can make for some exciting drift diving.
Richelieu Rock – Just pushing through the surface at low tide, the pinnacles of Richelieu Rock create a top Thai dive site attracting schools of snapper, sweetlips, barracuda, and jacks. Like the sites in the Similans, there is a similar rich coral reef which includes some intriguing animals like sea anemones with their clownfish, and frogfish, harlequin shrimp, nudibranchs, pipefish, seahorses and ghost pipefish. Manta and eagle rays and whale sharks also pass through this area.
Khao Lak is the mainland Thailand area just to the east of the Similans. The Bunsoong Wreck is an attraction here.
Koh Bon is a pinnacle island 800 meters northeast of the Similans and is well known as a cleaning station for mantas. Several varieties of sharks cruise the area or hang out under rocks and coral ledges include blacktips, whitetips, leopard, nurse and grey reef sharks.
Koh Tachai, a pinnacle island north of Koh Bon, frequently has strong currents and abounds in prey fish that attract massive schools of predators like tuna, jacks and barracuda, and reef sharks. The reef is covered predominantly with hard corals.
Burma South – This, too, is a rich coral reef area with various reef sharks, manta rays and green turtles, and the possibility of whale sharks. It is also rich with smaller critters like nudibranchs, moray eels, octopus and cuttlefish.
With the pristine coral reefs, biodiversity including manta and eagle rays, turtles, a variety of sharks, dolphins, whales sharks, macro critters and reef tropicals, there are many excellent photo opportunities. For information and reviews of dive cameras, click here:
Scuba Diving Trip Insurance
A cushion for emergencies provides peace of mind when on vacation. I recommend this diving insurance as they have worldwide coverage and provide scuba divers a quality insurance and medical assistance service.
Feedback and Comments
I hope you found this post on Thailand scuba diving interesting and useful. If you have any questions or ideas, please feel free to share them in the comments section. I’d love to know of any experience you have. If there is no comments section directly below, click here: >>comments<<