Liveaboard diving safaris take you for several days cruises to diving hot spots far offshore. You’ll dive all day long and sleep in the boat. Usually you do four dives a day, sometimes even more.
Tour lengths vary from three days to a week, and there are all sort of boats available from cheapies to luxurious establishments.
The tours are memorable: full of great dives and amicable team spirit amongst the divers.
Liveaboard Hot Spots
Thailand’s main liveaboard centers are Phuket and Khao Lak, but some liveaboards also depart from Ko Phi Phi, Ko Lanta and Ko Lipe.
The most popular liveaboard trips head to Ko Similan Islands. Longer trips to Ko Similan can also include a visit to the fabled Richelieu Rock, known as Thailand’s single most spectacular diving spot and a good place to spot large manta rays. Some of the Similan bound cruises also stop by Ko Bon, which is another good place to try out your luck with the elusive mantas.
Another great destination for liveaboard safaris is the handsome twin pinnacles of Hin Daeng and Hin Muang, located on Ko Lanta’s direction. These underwater pinnacles are full of colorful hard and soft corals and are great places to spot large pelagics. Due to their remote location these sites get far less divers than Ko Similan.
Liveaboards also cruise from Thailand to Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar, which is still a very virgin diving territory and all the more spectacular. Expect to see large pelagics like sharks and mantas and do cave dives. Trips to Mergui Archipelago have the feel of a great adventure, but they are also quite pricey as Myanmar charges high fees for the divers for the privilege of getting to this untouched archipelago.
World’s Only Liveaboards for Snorkelers
You can enjoy the unforgettable liveaboard experience even if you are not a diver. A liveaboard cruise for snorkelers leaves from Khao Lak two times a week. It is highly recommendable. The experience is more relaxed than the diving liveaboards, since you don’t need to continuously hassle with the diving gear, but you can still enjoy marvelous underwater sceneries. And it is much cheaper and the diving liveaboards.
When to Go?
The best and often only possible time to do liveaboard cruises in Thailand lasts from November to May. The monsoon season begins in late May and the seas get rough around the more remote diving sites. Quite a few of the dive sites get closed altogether, like Ko Similan Marine Park. Liveaboard trips to other destinations might still be available even during the monsoon season but be prepared for a rough ride on the boat.
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