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Thailand has long had the reputation of being one of the best and most fun dive destinations in the world. There is no better way to take in the finest sites on offer than by a Similan Islands diving cruise along Thailand's spectacular west coast. Not only do these Phuket liveaboards take in some of its world-famous dive sites against the backdrop of stunning scenery, but they also represent great value for money dive trips.

Map of the Similan and Surin Islands (click to enlarge in a new window)

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. The tours visit these stunning islands along with sites further north that are frequented by larger marine life.

Here in the Andaman Sea you can expect to scuba dive in beautiful warm water around submerged pinnacles and around huge granite boulders, which create channels and swimthroughs galore. Turtles, batfish, barracuda, leopard sharks, manta rays and mighty whale sharks are just some of the creatures on show.

The remote and infrequently visited Surin 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.


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Diving Cruise Options


Other ways to experience the Similans include the Similans, Richelieu Rock & Hin Daeng itinerary which takes in Racha Yai, Hin Daeng, Hin Muang, the Simlans, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock. These 5 or 6 night trips are much less frequent than the standard Similan trips and operated by fewer boats. If you fancy something a little bit different, you can join a 7 night cruise to the Similan Islands & Burma South. This option adds a number of dive sites in the waters of southern Myanmar to the Similan Islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock.

Thailand has long been a favourite place among divers of all experience levels. You do not need to be a very experienced diver to join one of these charters. Conditions are generally manageable by all scuba divers who are comfortable in the water.

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The Climate, Diving Season and Best Time to Visit

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.

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Ports of Departure and How to Get There

Liveaboard trips to the Similan and Surin Islands depart from Patong Beach in Phuket or Khao Lak (1½ hours ride north of Phuket). Similans, Richelieu Rock & Hin Daeng cruises usually depart from Chalong Bay (in Phuket) or Thap Lamu, Khao Lak. Similan Islands & Burma South tours usually depart from Thap Lamu in Khao Lak.

Departure ports are detailed for every trip in the 'Departures & Prices' section of each of our liveaboard boat pages. They will also be sent to you during the enquiry and booking process. Hotel-boat transfers are often provided free of charge from all of Phuket's main beach areas (Patong, Kata and Karon). Transfers from other areas may be subject to a small extra charge.

We recommend you take out insurance to cover diving and travel activities, including trip cancellation. See our insurance programme for a competitive quotation:

Get your travel and diving insurance from World Nomads

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Places to Stay

If you plan on staying in Thailand before or after your diving safari, you'll find a huge range of accommodation options on hotelscombined.com's website, our affiliated hotel reservation specialist. Browse their website to find options that you're interested in, use their on-line chat to seek answers to your questions, and then simply use your credit card to make your booking:

Save on your hotel - www.hotelscombined.com

Every booking carries their 'Low Price Guarantee' to ensure you always get the best value for money.

If you prefer, it's possible to dive at most of the sites in the Andaman Sea by staying at a resort and making daily trips, from: Phuket or Khao Lak.

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Useful References for Thailand


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