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Thailand Liveaboard Diving

The Andaman Sea

...Good for: Small animals, underwater photography, value-for-money, advanced divers, beginners, snorkelling, non-diving activities...
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Thailand has long had the reputation of being one of the best dive destinations in the world and there is no better way to take in the best on offer than by Thailand diving cruises along its spectacular west coast.

Red groupers of Thailand
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Not only do these Phuket liveaboards take in some of Thailand's world-famous dive sites against the backdrop of stunning scenery, but they also represent great value for money dive trips.

The most popular Thailand liveaboards run to the diving capital of the country - the Similan Islands - where there are a range of dive boats, from cheap backpacker standard to top notch luxury, that visit these stunning islands along with the sites futher north that are frequented by larger marine life.

Other excellent Thailand diving safaris run from the island of Phuket down the southern Andaman Sea route to Hin Daeng, Hin Muang, Koh Ha and the Phi Phi Islands.

Thailand's Cruise Destinations

The highlight of a diving tour in Thailand is the Andaman Sea route that includes Richelieu Rock, Koh Tachai and Koh Bon.

The Similan Islands and Richelieu Rock

The Similans boast many great sites, including North Point which features excellent examples of the swim-throughs and arches that typify the topography of these beautiful islands. Elephant Head Rock is a curiously named site which also features dramatic underwater boulders, in and around which lives an impressive array of marine life, such as blue-ringed angelfish, Andaman sweetlips and the occasional Olive Ridley's turtle.

Similan liveaboard trips often include Koh Bon, one of the best sites for manta ray sightings and Richelieu Rock, a world-renowned dive site famed for the frequency of visits by passing whale sharks. Some of the other Similans sites you will visit are Batfish Bend, East of Eden, Koh Tachai and Sharkfin Reef. For more detailed information, visit our Similan diving website section.

Hin Daeng - Hin Muang and Phi Phi

In the southern section of the Andaman Sea and south from Phuket there is also some great diving and you can enjoy these sites by liveaboard too. Hin Daeng is one of Thailand's top dive sites, with whale sharks and manta rays. Hin Muang is home to the highest vertical wall in the country, dropping more than 60 metres and is a great place for bigger fish and schools of pelagics, but also for macro life, hiding among the anemones and soft corals. For more detailed information, visit our Hin Daeng - Hin Muang website section.

The Phi Phi Islands are one of the best known destinations in Thailand, being amongst the most picturesque islands in the world. These islands and nearby Koh Ha are surrounded by many interesting caves and overhangs. Smaller marine life proliferates here such as clouds of glassfish, seahorses and shrimpfish, as well as leopard sharks and blacktip reef sharks. During low season in the Andaman Sea (June to September) there are overnight trips and short liveaboard cruises around the best dive sites of Phi Phi.

Please note: some extended liveaboard safaris visit both the northern and southern Andaman Sea areas.

Surin Islands

These remote and infrequently visited islands in the far northern region of Thailand's Andaman Sea, have some of the healthiest and most extensive reef systems in Thailand. Koh Surin is well worth a visit though, as you'll often encounter fish species here that you won't see in other parts of the country, such as such as Napoleon wrasse, bumphead parrotfish, barramundi and yellow-mask angelfish.

At Koh Torinla you can dive with blacktip and whitetip reef sharks, turtles, guitarsharks and barracudas, and at South East Point there are blue-spotted jawfish, ribbon eels, titan triggerfish and ghost pipefish. For more detailed information, visit our Surin diving website section.

Thailand and South Myanmar Combination Trips

Several liveaboards visit both the Similans and the south of Burma, and the 2 destinations go very well together. The Burma dive sites feature walls, caverns, tunnels, pinnacles, soft corals and sea fans. The marine life sparkles with diversity and there are chance encounters with some rare species such as frogfish and silvertip sharks. The ever-popular Similans are renowned for their underwater scenery of large granite boulders, sloping hard coral reefs and powdery white sand beaches.

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Diving Season

The Thai dive season is year round. However, for liveaboard cruises, you will be diving in the Andaman Sea off the west coast where the best conditions exist from November to April (the liveaboard season), with whale sharks visiting most frequently from February to May, and manta rays throughout the year.

During the months of November to April the seas are at their calmest, the visibility (20-30m) and water temperature (28-30°C) at their highest, especially during the latter half of this period.

Although the Phuket liveaboard season is between late October and early May, there are a limited number of Thailand dive safaris around the Phi Phi Islands and Phuket during low season. Remote sites like Richelieu Rock and Hin Daeng are closed at this time of year during to frequent rough seas.

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Where is Thailand and How to Get There

Below you will find our maps of the Similan Islands, Thailand, and the world. More information on: how to get to Thailand.

Map of the Similan Islands (click to enlarge in a new window) Map of Thailand (click to enlarge in a new window) Map of the world (click to enlarge in a new window)

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Reef Summary

Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 10 - 30m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface Conditions: Can be rough
Water temperature: 26 - 31°C
Experience level: Beginner - advanced
Number of dive sites: >50
Recommended length of stay: 4 - 7 days

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Useful References

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Operator websites:  Oktavia


Unit 702, 7/F Bangkok Bank Building,
No. 18 Bonham Strand West, Hong Kong
Tel.: +66 (0)83 505 7794
Fax: +66 (0)76 281166