When diving in Thailand there are loads of places and ways to do it. You can dive from the beach go on a day trip boat for the islands nearby but the most popular are the liveaboards where you can dive from 4 days up to a week while cruising around on the Andaman Sea.
A Thailand liveaboard has two areas where they make cruises. The most famous are the Similan islands where the nine islands have dive sites on the West coast made from massive granite boulders with some great swim troughs where can see macro such as pygmy pipe horse, ribbon eels and plenty of nudibranchs. The East coast of the Similan is more reef diving where you see turtles, leopard sharks and Napoleon wrasses.
Not part of the Similan but not to be missed during your Similan liveaboard cruise are Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and the Surin islands. These 3 places are more for the bigger fish of the ocean. Koh Bon is a famous cleaning station for manta rays and some early morning dives bring you sharks. Tachai pinnacle is famous for its strong currents what brings in all kinds of pelagic fish as well as manta rays and whale sharks. Near the Burmese border, you have without a doubt the best dive site of Thailand. Richelieu Rock is a limestone pinnacle that is covered with soft corals and huge sea fans. Here you can see everything from ghost pipefish, seahorses, harlequin shrimps, schools of snappers, yellowtail barracuda and even whale sharks sometimes pass by.
Another great place for liveaboard diving in Thailand is the South Andaman what includes Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi and Krabi. Around this area, you will see that the dive sites and islands consist out of limestone. This brings along beautiful soft and coral growth large chambers and caverns and for marine life, it is similar to the Similan with cleaning stations for Manta rays and whale sharks. Also, the smaller critters such as harlequin shrimps, seahorses and nudibranchs are found here. The visibility is not always as good in the Southern Andaman but the lack of other divers sure makes up for it.
Top Liveaboard Destinations
How To Get There
The liveaboard trips leave from Phuket or Khoa Lak. Here for the best option would be to fly to Phuket international airport find a hotel in the Southern part of Phuket or in Khoa Lak. This saves you a lot of time sitting in minibuses.
A Thailand liveaboard season is from October until the half of May. During this time of the year, you have the best weather on the West coast of Thailand with clear blue skies and flat seas. As well as that the national parks are only open between these months. Around May you will see the change of weather when the wind comes from the West. This is the start of the monsoon season what brings in tropical storms with rain and rough seas. the water temperatures are pretty stable between 27c° and 29c° what makes it possible for most divers to dive in a 3 mm full wetsuit or even a shorty.
To enter the Thai kingdom as a tourist you don’t need to apply for a visa. On arrival, you will receive a stamp that permits you to stay in the country for a maximum of 30 days. If you would like to stay longer you can apply to a Thai embassy for a tourist visa that will allow you for 90 days. When you overstay your visa there is a THB500 fine per day.
Before departure make sure your passport is still valid for at least 6 months on the date you plan to arrive back home as well you need an empty page for the stamps.