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Thailand Liveaboard Cruises

Similan Islands, Hin Daeng, Richelieu Rock, Burma...

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Want to venture further to experience some of the best diving in the world?

Dive The World Thailand, the leading authority in adventure-laden liveaboard safaris, offers a wide variety of trips from October to May to the very best dive sites in Thailand, including the world famous Similan Islands, Richelieu Rock, plus Koh Bon, Koh Tachai, the Surin Islands, Hin Daeng.

You can also go further north - across the border to Burma for liveaboard diving in the remote Mergui Archipelago. And from June to September there are some tour options that take in the best sites of Phuket and the Phi Phi Islands.

We understand that most of our guests are budget-conscious, so select a price level to find a cruise that suits your needs:

You might find it useful to use our quick search feature (located at the top of this page) to find a Thailand diving safari departure date that suits your travel plans. Or use our boat departure calendar on our Dive The World Liveaboards website section to help you plan your trip. Discounted trips are highlighted in yellow. Alternatively, you can find current specials detailed in our special offers section.

Scuba clubs and groups will find all the information they require on the boat product pages to compare the best liveaboard deals available in Thailand. And our return customers can benefit from our loyalty discounts, whereas our first-time customers can qualify for free diving insurance

Thailand Diving Charter Destinations

Why not join one of our 4 night cruises to the Similan Islands? These are our most popular tours. Diving an awesome array of reef formations and underwater landscapes, cruising amongst tropical islands with stunning white beaches, it's not hard to see why Similan liveaboard trips are among the most popular diving adventures in the world. The area is a protected national park and is covered by a variety of boats catering to all price budgets, from deluxe to backpacker standard.

Excited expectations of diving with manta rays at Koh Bon and chance encounters with whale sharks at Richelieu Rock and Koh Tachai, provide a dramatic complement to Similan diving safaris and irresistible incentives to most first-timers. And who can blame them? Some boats also visit the more remote Surin Islands. Koh Surin will appeal to those divers wanting to travel a little more 'off the beaten track'.

If you're short of time then our southern Thailand liveaboard trips may be just what you are looking for. Deep wall diving at Hin Daeng and Hin Muang offer opportunities to see reef sharks as well as more mantas and whale sharks. These short tours (usually 2 or 3 nights) are less crowded and also take in some interesting caverns and the beautiful Phi Phi Islands. During low season, trips are available to the best dive sites of Phuket and Koh Phi Phi, where conditions still allow for some exciting but not-too-strenuous diving.

For the more adventurous scuba divers out there, try Burma - the Mergui Archipelago and Burma Banks offer true frontier liveaboard diving. Leave the crowds far behind and voyage back in time to this wonderous and magical archipelago. Large sharks and rays are often to be expected, but Burma is equally attractive to macro-enthusiasts and experienced divers in search of more elusive marine life such as frogfish, pipefish and nudibranchs, not found as regularly in Thailand.

You can combine any of these destinations for a once-in-a-lifetime scuba adventure in this spectacular part of the world.

Click to view product. Special discounted trips highlighted in yellow

Best Time to Go to Thailand

All of Thailand's liveaboard diving destinations are located in the Andaman Sea, along the west coast of its southern peninsula; this means that they are all exposed to the same weather patterns, but to varying degrees.

The best time to visit the Similan Islands, Surin, Burma and Hin Daeng-Hin Muang is during the dry High Season - November to April. Since December and January is Peak Season and can be crowded with tourists, we always advise scuba divers to plan a visit between February and April whenever possible; this also coincides with the local whale shark and manta season.

During rainy season the weather can be unpredictable and the seas rough, making trips to remote areas a risky proposition. However, the attractive dive sites of Phuket and the Phi Phi Islands are relatively protected from these climatic conditions and remain open throughout the year. These Phuket liveaboard cruises are therefore the best option for anyone that wants to join a diving safari during June to September.

• Choose your liveaboard adventure!

Thailand Liveaboard Trip Specifics

There is a wide range of prices, with the more expensive boats providing high levels of accommodation, comfort and service, and these are recommended for divers with experience of liveaboards in other countries. The least expensive options cater generally to younger and less-experienced divers on a tighter budget. At this end of the market you can choose either short and inexpensive cruises, or be transferred by speedboat to and from a stationary liveaboard which remains in the Similans.

All Thailand liveaboards prices normally include:
Diving, air-conditioned cabin accommodation, meals, non-alcoholic drinks, transfers, weights and weight-belts, torches and tanks, professional divemaster and all taxes. Your shortlist quote will include no 'hidden extras'. Not all of the lower budget liveaboard boats have towels or toiletries so you may have to bring your own.

Please note that, national marine park fees are not included in your quote (unless otherwise stated). Similan Islands National Marine Park fees are currently approx. US$ 11 per entrance, plus US$ 5 per person per day.

Full sets of scuba equipment can be rented for US$ 16 per day. Dive computers can be rented for US$ 5 per day. Digital cameras can be rented for US$ 27 per day.

We recommend that all our customers take out insurance to cover diving and travel activities, including trip cancellation. See our insurance programme for a competitive quote:

Get your travel and diving insurance from World Nomads

Ports of Departure and Getting There

Thailand diving cruises depart from Phuket, Khao Lak in Phang Nga (1½ hours minibus transfer north of Phuket), or Ranong (for Burma safaris only, 4-5 hours minibus transfer north). Port transfers are provided free of charge from all main beach areas of Phuket (Patong, Kata and Karon). Transfers from more remote beaches or Phuket Town may be subject to a small extra pick up fee.

Read our Phuket tourist information for details on how to get there. If you'd prefer to meet your boat in Khao Lak, rather than be transferred from Phuket, then you can find out how to get there from our Khao Lak information page.

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

Where to Stay

If you require additional hotel accommodation during your visit to Thailand you can get the best value rooms with hotelscombined.com, our affiliated hotel reservation specialists:

Save on your hotel - www.hotelscombined.com

Dive The World Rating System

The customer rating displayed for each Thailand liveaboard is an indication of our customers' satisfaction. 5 star is excellent, 4 star is very good, 3 star is good, 2 star is average, and 1 star is below average. We ask each and every one of our customers to rate their liveaboard diving safari, and the rating earned by each boat is an average of the ratings received from our customers over the last season. That way, we ensure that our ratings and recommendations are truly impartial and reflect up to date performance based on the most important indicator - your satisfaction!

• Choose your Phuket liveaboard adventure

for free advice from the experts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a liveaboard cruise?

Thailand liveaboards provide facilities and living accommodations for scuba divers. You eat, sleep and dive on the boat! They stay at sea for the duration of a cruise and so can explore more remote dive sites. This type of diving opens up a whole world of top class opportunities that would simply not be available on a regular day trip boat. Destinations include the Similans and Surin Islands, Hin Daeng - Hin Muang, as well as the Mergui Archipelago (Burma).

How many dives will I make per day?

Generally you can make 4 dives a day. A typical day starts at 07:00 hrs with the first dive; the last being either a sunset or night dive. You have about 3 hours between dives at your leisure.

When is the best time to come?

The Similan liveaboards season runs from October to May. The weather and Andaman Sea are at their calmest during the months of February to early May, and this is when visibility is at its best. This time of year is also manta ray and whale shark season.

What diving license do I need?

An open water scuba license is acceptable for Thailand liveaboard safaris. Although there are some deep and exposed sites, there are enough easy sites and enough divemasters on board so that you will never need to dive beyond your limits.

To make the most of your adventure and to extend your scuba training you may wish to take your PADI Advanced Open Water Diver license on board. Certification is normally discounted to about half price. Review the "Facilities" section of each boat for course prices on board.

Is dive insurance really free if I book with Dive The World?

Yes! If it is your first time booking with us you can qualify for free diving insurance for the duration of your booking. This offer is only for bookings in excess of USD 1 000 per person.

How far in advance do I need to book?

Although it is possible to book some Thailand diving safaris only a few weeks before departure, if you want to ensure your place on one of our most popular Similan liveaboard charter cruises between December and April you must try to book 6 months in advance.

Can I dive on my own?

Phuket liveaboards are recreational diving cruise charters, and as such follow recreational scuba guidelines. This means you'll be expected to dive with a buddy to a maximum depth of 40 metres and observe safe diving limits. If you prefer to dive without a guide, then this is not a problem provided you have all the equipment necessary to conduct dives unassisted i.e. dive computer or timing device, safety balloon, compass and diveknife.

Do I need a wetsuit?

Although the Andaman Sea is very warm at 27 to 30°C, you will get chilled making 4 dives every day on your Thailand diving cruise. We recommend at least a 3mm wetsuit shortie, or more if you are susceptible to heat loss. A wetsuit also provides protection from jellyfish and poor buoyancy control (easily rectified by taking your PADI Peak Performance Bouyancy course).

Can I recharge my strobes and batteries?

Usually this is not a problem on board liveaboards in Thailand. Please review the "Specs" section for details of the power sources provided on each trip.

What type of tanks and valves are on the boats?

Nearly all Thailand diving charters carry 12 litre aluminium tanks with yoke or A-clamp international valves as standard. If you have a DIN regulator, you should bring an adaptor, or you can rent (US$ 3 per day) or buy one here. 10 or 15 litre tanks are also available for rent in advance. Enriched air nitrox is available on some boats. See the "Crew & Facilities" information section of each boat for more details.

Can I rent an underwater camera?

We have digital cameras available for rent on your Similan liveaboard cruise (US$ 27 per day). Please request these in advance to ensure availability.

What kind of food is served?

Please review the "Food" section for details of food served on each of the cruises. Generally, the standard of cuisine is excellent throughout the Thailand diving safari industry.

Can I request vegetarian food?

Not a problem at all but please do tell us your requirements when you make your booking, so that we can meet your request.

Can I bring alcohol onboard?

You can bring what you like on board Similan diving liveaboards. If you have a favourite tipple or taste, feel free to bring it along. Just be very aware that you cannot drink and dive.

Where can you pick me up from?

We can arrange transfers to your liveaboard from your Phuket hotel or from the airport if you arrive just before your boat departure. Please advise us of your preferred transfer point before you arrive.

What should I bring on board?

All your personal diving equipment (except tanks, weights and weight belts), a bathing suit, towel, toiletries, t-shirts, shorts, and sun cream. You may also want to bring something a little warmer for the evenings.

Will I get sea sick?

All the charter boats use mooring points to over-night at the islands visited on the cruise. These mooring points are located in the island's bays, sheltered away from any open sea swells.

If you are particularly susceptible to motion sickness, then you should consider joining a Similan Islands trip in February to April, when the seas are very calm.

Is dive insurance for customers included in the cruise price?

Some operators provide insurance. For details please review the "Safety" information section for each boat. Phuket now has 2 (expensive) recompression chambers. We recommend you have your own personal dive insurance, for your own peace of mind:

Get your travel and diving insurance from World Nomads

Can a non-diver go on a liveaboard?

Non-divers and snorkellers are always welcome on board. Most of the dive sites visited offer good snorkelling too, particularly liveaboards to Similan Islands. Do bear in mind though that the Thailand diving cruises are designed for scuba, not snorkelling. Prices for non-divers are usually discounted 10%, sometimes more, but please ask for exact details. Although this sounds quite a small discount, boat operators will tell you that if you are not underwater then you will be on the boat eating all the food! Anyway, you are taking the space that would otherwise be available to a diver.

Do I have to share a cabin?

Space on liveaboard boats is the ultimate premium and single cabins are extremely rare and expensive. Unless we manage to book you a single cabin, you will be expected to share. It may be, if the boat is not full and there are an odd number of passengers, that you can have your own cabin, but this situation can not be guaranteed. The only way to guarantee a cabin for yourself is to pay for 2 beds! Please review the 'Cabins' information section of each Phuket charter for more details on the types of cabin available.

Can I explore the beaches at the islands?

You have 3 hours surface interval between dives, so as long as you are not travelling between sites, you are free to do want you want on board Similan liveaboards. Please do advise the tour leader before and each time you disembark from the boat.

What about tipping?

Tipping in Thailand is entirely a matter of choice. If your liveaboard charter met or exceeded your expectations, you may wish to leave a tip of up to 10% of your cruise price. Smaller tips are welcome too!

Will I see sharks?

We certainly hope so! Leopard sharks and white-tip reef sharks are the most common and seen on all Similans trips. Nurse sharks and silver-tip sharks can be seen quite commonly on Burma liveaboards. Whale sharks sightings are pretty frequent too - keep your fingers crossed!

Manta rays sightings have been very common recently, and you will always see blue-spotted sting rays, marble rays, and fantail rays.


... These guys had a bible on options that fit virtually every desire and requirement. They had the ingredients and the cooks - we just had to choose the dive recipe that best suited us. They even had the recipe book ... , India