Explore Thailand's underwater paradise, where vibrant coral reefs and an array of marine life create a diver's dream destination
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Marine Diversity
Coral Gardens
Whale Sharks

Thailand's diving scene is a vibrant tapestry of marine biodiversity and stunning underwater landscapes. The Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand offer distinct diving experiences, each teeming with life and unique underwater features. Divers in Thailand are treated to sightings of majestic whale sharks, graceful manta rays, and a plethora of colorful tropical fish. The country's waters are also home to fascinating macro species, perfect for underwater photographers seeking to capture smaller, elusive creatures.

Coral reefs in Thailand are a major draw, showcasing a variety of hard and soft corals. Dive sites range from gently sloping coral gardens to dramatic deep drop-offs and wrecks, catering to every skill level. Thailand's dive sites are not only about the vibrant marine life but also about the intriguing underwater topography, including caves and swim-throughs that offer an exciting element of exploration.

Thailand liveaboard cruises allow access to more remote and pristine dive sites. Liveaboards offers comprehensive dive safaris in Thailand, from the renowned Richelieu Rock to the untouched Surin Islands, ensuring a memorable underwater experience for every diver. Whether you're looking for a luxury diving liveaboard in Thailand or more affordable Thai dive trips, the options cater to a wide range of preferences, ensuring a unique and comprehensive exploration of Thailand's underwater marvels

When To Go Dive in Thailand

The best time to dive in Thailand generally falls between November and April, when the monsoon season has subsided, offering calmer seas and clearer visibility. Water temperatures during this period hover around 27°C to 30°C (81°F to 86°F), providing comfortable conditions for extended dives. Visibility can reach up to 30 meters in prime conditions, particularly in the Andaman Sea.

The Similan Islands, renowned for their crystal-clear waters, are best visited from February to April for the highest chance of whale shark and manta ray encounters. The Gulf of Thailand, with dive sites like Koh Tao, also peaks during these months, though it offers year-round diving with varying visibility. Currents in Thailand's waters are generally moderate but can vary depending on the dive site and season, making it suitable for both beginners and advanced divers

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Departure ports in Thailand

How to get there

Thap Lamu is a gateway for liveaboard trips to the Similan Islands, known for their crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life. This port's proximity to the Similans makes it a favored choice for divers eager to explore these renowned waters. Nearby, Phuket International Airport (HKT), about an hour's drive away, serves as the nearest air travel hub. However, it's important for divers to note that the journey from the airport to Thap Lamu is typically not covered in the liveaboard packages. Further down the coast, the serene town of Khao Lak offers a departure point that harmoniously blends accessibility with a peaceful atmosphere. The journey from Phuket International Airport (HKT) to Khao Lak is a scenic drive, taking divers past some of Thailand's picturesque landscapes.

On the southern part of Phuket Island, Chalong stands as a busy yet charming hub, frequented by divers from all over the world. This port provides access to a variety of diving destinations, including the nearby Phi Phi Islands and Racha Islands. Chalong's popularity is partly due to its convenient location, only an hour away from Phuket International Airport (HKT).
Phuket, the largest and most vibrant island in Thailand, is a cornerstone of the diving industry. Offering a wide array of liveaboard options, Phuket caters to divers looking to explore everything from local sites to distant corners of the Andaman Sea. The island's well-connected airport, Phuket International Airport (HKT), makes it an ideal point of entry for international divers

Must see dive sites in Thailand

Thailand's diving landscape is a treasure trove of spectacular sites, each offering unique underwater experiences. The country's diverse array of dive locations draws enthusiasts from around the globe, eager to explore its underwater wonders.

Starting with the iconic Koh Phi Phi, divers are treated to an aquatic playground of vibrant coral gardens and teeming marine life. This site is a paradise for underwater photography, with its crystal-clear waters and diverse marine species. Nearby, Koh Lipe, nestled in the Tarutao National Marine Park, offers equally stunning visibility and is a sanctuary for soft corals and colorful fish.

The Surin Islands diving provides a more secluded diving experience, ideal for those seeking tranquility beneath the waves. Here, the vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life, including large pelagics, make every dive an adventure. Moving to the renowned Similan Islands, divers are greeted with spectacular underwater scenery, characterized by huge boulder formations and an abundance of marine life.

Richelieu Rock, a jewel in Thailand's diving crown, is celebrated for its purple corals and the chance to encounter whale sharks, making it a bucket-list site for many. Koh Tachai, part of the Similan Islands National Park, offers challenging currents and is a haven for manta rays and leopard sharks, appealing to more experienced divers.

For those seeking a variety of underwater landscapes, Koh Haa diving provides a mix of caverns, swim-throughs, and vibrant coral reefs. The remote Hin Daeng and Hin Muang are famous for their steep drop-offs and walls, offering some of the best opportunities to see large pelagics like manta rays and whale sharks in Thailand.

Thailand's liveaboard diving trip ensures a comprehensive exploration of the country's underwater marvels. From the serene waters of Koh Lipe to the exhilarating depths of Hin Daeng and Hin Muang, each site contributes to Thailand's reputation as a premier diving destination. With options ranging from luxury liveaboards to eco-friendly trips, divers can find the perfect way to experience the best of Thailand's underwater world

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Thailand good for scuba diving?

Yes, Thailand is an excellent destination for scuba diving. It offers a diverse range of diving experiences suitable for both beginners and experienced divers. Here are some reasons why Thailand is highly regarded in the diving community:

  • Diverse Marine Life: Thailand's waters are home to a rich variety of marine species, including colorful tropical fish, rays, sharks, and turtles. The diversity of underwater life provides an exciting experience for divers of all levels.

  • Beautiful Coral Reefs: The country boasts some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world, with a mix of hard and soft corals. The vibrant underwater landscapes are a major attraction for divers.

  • Variety of Dive Sites: Thailand offers a wide range of dive sites, from shallow coral gardens perfect for beginners to deep wrecks and challenging drift dives for advanced divers.

  • Clear Waters and Good Visibility: Many dive sites in Thailand, especially those around the Similan and Surin Islands, are known for their clear waters and excellent visibility, enhancing the overall diving experience.

  • Accessible Diving: Thailand is well-equipped with diving infrastructure, including numerous dive shops, schools, and liveaboard operators. This makes it easy for divers to plan and execute their diving trips.

  • Year-Round Diving: While the best conditions are generally from November to April, Thailand offers year-round diving opportunities, with different regions having their own peak seasons.

  • Value for Money: Compared to other popular diving destinations, Thailand offers good value for money, with affordable dive packages.

In summary, Thailand's combination of diverse marine life, stunning coral reefs, a variety of dive sites, and excellent diving conditions makes it a top destination for scuba divers from around the world

What do you wear to scuba diving in Thailand?

Preparing for a scuba diving adventure in Thailand, especially when you're planning to embark on a liveaboard scuba diving trip, requires careful consideration of the gear and clothing you'll need. Here's a rundown of the typical equipment and attire for a successful dive in Thailand's waters, keeping in mind the unique conditions you'll encounter on a liveaboard dive safari.

  1. Wetsuit: With water temperatures typically ranging from 27°C to 30°C (81°F to 86°F), a 3mm wetsuit is often adequate for most divers. This thickness provides a good balance of warmth and flexibility, crucial for the varied diving activities you'll experience on a liveaboard scuba diving adventure. In warmer months, some divers may opt for a shorty wetsuit or a dive skin.

  2. Mask, Fins, and Snorkel: Essential for any dive, a comfortable mask is key. Full-foot fins suited for tropical waters like Thailand's are commonly used. A snorkel is particularly handy for those moments on the liveaboard when you want to explore the surface.

  3. Dive Computer: Crucial for monitoring depth and time, a dive computer is indispensable, especially when diving in the diverse locations accessed by a liveaboard.

  4. BCD and Regulators: Standard equipment for any dive, you can bring your own or rent from one of the many dive shops in Thailand, often associated with liveaboard diving operators.

  5. Exposure Protection: A rash guard or dive skin is advised for additional protection against the elements, beneficial when spending extended periods in the water during liveaboard trips.

  6. Gloves and Booties: Not always essential, but some divers prefer them for extra protection, particularly when diving around wrecks or rougher terrains, which are often part of liveaboard diving itineraries.

  7. Sun Protection: Essential for surface intervals on the liveaboard. High SPF sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses will protect you from the strong tropical sun.

  8. Hydration and Conservation: Staying hydrated is crucial, especially given the typically longer and more frequent dives on a liveaboard. Using reef-safe sunscreen is recommended to minimize environmental impact.

Liveaboards in Thailand, typically offer a range of rental equipment. This makes it easy for divers traveling to Thailand to find everything they need, whether they're embarking on a luxurious liveaboard journey or a more budget-friendly dive safari

Are there opportunities for both beginner and advanced divers in Thailand?

Yes, Thailand offers excellent diving opportunities for both beginner and advanced divers, making it a versatile and appealing destination for people at all levels of diving experience.

For Beginner Divers:

  • Shallow and Calm Sites: Many dive sites in Thailand have shallow, calm waters with minimal currents, ideal for beginners.

  • Snorkeling Opportunities: In addition to diving, there are plenty of snorkeling spots where beginners can comfortably explore marine life from the surface.

  • Guided Dives: Beginner divers can benefit from guided dives, where experienced instructors help them navigate the underwater environment safely.

For Advanced Divers:

  • Challenging Dive Sites: More experienced divers can explore deeper dive sites, with strong currents and advanced topography, like those found in the Similan Islands or Richelieu Rock.

  • Wreck Diving: There are several fascinating wreck sites in Thailand, offering advanced divers the chance to explore historical underwater ruins.

  • Liveaboard Trips: For a more immersive experience, advanced divers can embark on liveaboard trips, which often visit remote sites that are less frequented and offer more challenging dives.

  • Wide Range of Marine Life: Advanced divers looking for specific encounters, such as with whale sharks or manta rays, will find certain sites around Thailand particularly rewarding.

Overall, Thailand's diverse underwater landscapes, ranging from easy, coral-filled shallow bays to deep, current-swept pinnacles, provide suitable conditions for divers of all skill levels. With its rich marine biodiversity, warm waters, and excellent visibility, Thailand remains a top destination for both learning to dive and for undertaking more adventurous, advanced dives

Best liveaboards in Thailand

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Reviews about Liveaboards

Smiling Seahorse
Disappointing dives on a liveaboard headed by inexperienced operator
A friend who had previously been on this trip recommended this liveaboard, so I had good feelings about it. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the most underwhelming liveaboard I've been on.... Read more
The dives were especially disappointing and the rest of the trip - atmosphere, food options, service, and facilities - didn't make up for the quality. Dive Quality: The "Burmese entry and diving fees" of 230 USD per person do not contribute to the maintenance or protection of dive sites. Most of our dive sites in Mergui were littered with discarded fishing nets and sometimes surrounded by fishing boats. On one of the dives, my buddy and I found 3 living fish caught in a ghost net. We managed to free the fish, then spent the rest of our dive attempting to remove as much of the net as we could. Aside from that, the visibility was subpar and the marine life was not that impressive to justify revisiting the same dive sites. Burma Banks had great visibility and bigger marine life (nurse sharks, marble rays) to enjoy, but the dives were short (45 mins) due to the reef being flat in the deep (25-30m). Service: This operator is still inexperienced and has much to improve in all aspects of its business. Communication before and during the trip was rushed and often felt unprofessional. On the day of departure, guests were informed to pay 1000THB each to change the itinerary to Burma Banks instead of Black Rock. The owner, Frank, was adamant about everyone using Nitrox, and my friend was pressured into taking the Nitrox course last minute. There were other instances during the trip where Frank's handling of situations and communicating felt inappropriate. Frank seemed to care about his photography above all else and even encouraged some divers with cameras to do the same. One diver in our group caused some problems because he was harassing sharks with his strobes; this diver ignored our dive guide's instructions, then later justified his inappropriate actions by saying this was allowed when he took a private lesson with Frank. So our dive group took this matter into our own hands - we showed this diver on a later dive, how to approach sharks with more caution as to not disturb it, allowing the whole group to enjoy the encounter. A reputable diving operator would encourage all divers to respect the marine life and environment. The Smiling Seahorse does not. Something else I found uncomfortable was the atmosphere on the cruise. There was lots of encouragement from staff (and other guests) to drink alcohol, with daily apéritif and free drinks offered in some instances. I noticed many divers were skipping dives quite often, some due to ear problems and some due to poor quality of dives. I think people go on liveaboards for many reasons, and if partying and occasionally diving is what you're after, then maybe this is for you. Unfortunately, this is the only operator servicing in Burma at the moment, so my options were limited. After my experience in Burma, I don't see any reason to recommend these dive sites or this liveaboard
G. Marika
Marco Polo
Marco Polo liveaboard – 14-18.04.2024
This was my fourth time on Marco Polo after my previous trip with them in 2020. We had two guides, Maren and Thomas who did their best to guarantee good dives considering divers with differe... Read more
nt experience levels. We had some good sightings at Richelieu Rock and Similan Islands with a large diversity of marine life, from longnose emperors and trevallies hunting, to anemonefish, leopard shark, baby white tip shark and adult white tip sharks, harlequin shrimp, mantis shrimp, honeycomb morays, banded sea snake, stingrays, plenty of nudibranch, pufferfish, etc. In the past I saw whale sharks and manta rays as well. Since the last trip on Marco Polo, they did some upgrades to the rooms, which are now more spacious and have air-conditioning and private bathrooms. These are well appreciated. The captain and the staff also did their best to make the trip as comfortable as possible. The food was great, as usual, with both Thai and European meals, fruit and plenty of snacks too. Compared to the last time I’ve been with them, there have been also some other changes to this liveaboard. The trips now start and finish from the Thap Lamu Pier in Khao Lak instead of Chalong, as they used to a few years ago. Sea Bees offer included transportation to this departure/arrival port. Also, instead of 6 nights/6 days of diving trips, they have split it into separate liveaboards, one 4 nights and one 2 nights. Personally, I preferred the old format since it had more dives in the best spots in the Similan Islands and Richelieu Rock and we also had time to do an afternoon trip on island no 8 @ Donald Duck bay. Also in these shorter trips, if something unforeseen such as any kind of issue comes up, the impact on the trip is felt more, due to the limited number of dives and the long distances to get to the diving spots. Maybe from time to time they could do longer trips like before. All in all, the Sea Bees fleet is a reliable company, and besides the Marco Polo liveaboard, they also do diving daytrips from Chalong Pier with their other boat Excalibur II, to Shark Point and Phi Phi Island. I also did daytrips with them before the liveaboard just to do some more dives and test the setup for the Marco Polo liveaboard. As to Divebooker, the experience was flawless as usual. Teresa and Karina have helped with all necessary details related to the booking and I thank them for that. I would recommend booking through Divebooker, since this guarantees the best possible experience and conditions
C. Octavian
Rated the liveaboard
D. James Christian