Best Thailand Liveaboard Diving in 2020: My Review


Thailand is a wonderful diving location for divers and underwater explorers of all levels. Whether you are exploring Richelieu Rock or further along the famous Gulf of Thailand, there is plenty for you to get into here.

Thailand plays host to some truly magnificent marine life. You’ll find whale sharks, rays, seahorses, and miles of absolutely stunning and colourful coral. Popular locations such as the Similan Islands, Koh Tachai and Hin Daeng will all likely appeal to you if you’re looking for crystal clear waters to dip into at your leisure.

However, it’s always worth looking out for the best Thailand liveaboard opportunities available. In this full guide to liveaboard diving across the country and its gorgeous coastlines, I’ll be showing you which I feel are the best Thailand liveaboards available for you to book into right now.

There is so much to see whilst diving in Thailand, one of the best ways to do this is with a liveaboard trip

Best Thailand Liveaboards

4.8/5

Pictured: The Deep Andaman Queen & Indoor Saloon

What We Love

What We Don't

The Deep Andaman Queen is a much-loved Thailand liveaboard service which has been part of the Thai diving scene for many years. In fact, it’s undergone something of a renovation in recent years. As such, it’s now one of the biggest and most luxurious boats offering diving fun across some of the country’s fantastic scuba diving spots.

The Deep Andaman Queen travels across the stunning Similan Islands, taking you to Koh Bon, Richelieu Rock, Koh Tachai – great for spotting rays, sharks and more.

The crew on board at the Deep Andaman Queen works incredibly hard to offer you the best time and access to the best dive sites across the Similan Islands. Take time to relax in roomy cabins with full dining suites, and all the diving support you’ll need to get closer to local marine life.

 

 

  • Room for up to 25 people through 11 different cabins

  • Full diving deck and nitrox available

  • Equipment rental available

  • Up to quad cabins sizing

4.5/5

Pictured: The Thailand Aggressor & Indoor Saloon

What We Love

What We Don't

More expensive than other Thailand liveaboards on this list the Thailand Aggressor is a truly massive Thailand Liveaboard, offering scuba diving convenience for experienced divers and deep sea novices alike. You’ll have fantastic access to the North Andaman Sea throughout the year.

As a truly huge Thailand Liveaboard at 35m, this incredible scuba diving experience offers plenty of space for up to 16 guests, as well as five optional dives throughout your days on board. When you’re not busy taking the time to spy leopard sharks, reef sharks and manta rays, you’ll be able to kick back and relax in your own roomy, luxury state room.

This Thailand liveaboard experience is likely to be more expensive than the other choices on my list. However, this is understandable – you only have to look at the extensive diving options and luxury suites available to understand you really get what you pay for. And in this case, it really is one of the best.

  • Eight luxury cabins

  • Up to 16 people welcome

  • Bar and dining service available

  • Five optional dives a day across the Andaman Sea

  • Night dives available

4.7/5

Pictured: The Phinisi & Dive Deck

What We Love

What We Don't

Hop on board this incredible liveaboard built like a traditional sailboat! The Phinisi is a classic liveaboard option which will take you across some of the best-loved dive sites that the Similan Islands have to offer. Comfortably welcoming up to 18 guests on board, this spectacular liveaboard offers full dining suites, in-room air conditioning, and an experienced and attentive crew. There are dive guides available on this Similan Islands liveaboard, too, meaning that if you are relatively new to scuba diving, help is always going to be on hand.

You’ll have access to plenty of diving storage, as well as equipment and shaded deck launches for when you need

them. What I really like about the Phinisi is that it’s one of the best diving experiences that you can customise. There are several dives off this liveaboard which take place each day, and you’ll be able to tailor your dive holiday between four and ten nights as you desire. There are also plenty of cabin options you can tweak best to fit your budget, too.

  • The full Similan Island liveaboard experience

  • Up to 18 people

  • Full sundeck and furniture

  • Gorgeous private cabins

  • Nitrox available and great equipment

4.3/5

Pictured: Bavaria & Double Cabin

What We Love

What We Don't

The Bavaria liveaboard is one of the most intriguing scuba diving holiday options available for people visiting

the crystal clear waters of Thailand. It’s a vessel which was actually built by divers, meaning that you already know you’re looking at a custom boat that will attend to your scuba diving needs.

Beyond that, this liveaboard travels to some of the most stunning locations and diving sites across the Andaman Sea and beyond. You’ll have the choice to explore the colourful Similan Islands, Richelieu Rock, Koh Bon, the Surin Islands, and even the hidden Mergui Archipelago – a rare treat for anyone who may have been on Thailand liveaboards before.

Of course, you can also expect a lovely, welcoming stay on board the vessel itself, with a full crew and instructor team. You’ll also find there’s lots of equipment to hire, and you can even arrange for a massage or two after a long dive. Why not?

  • 12 cabins available

  • Welcomes up to 24 people

  • Experienced and friendly crew

  • Flexible trips available

  • Indoor and outdoor lounges

4.6/5

Pictured: Hallelujah & Double Cabin

What We Love

What We Don't

Hallelujah is a superb Thailand liveaboard, offering tours around the best of the Similan Islands while ensuring you are comfy and well air-conditioned when you come back from your dives. There are luxury cabins available here, and what I especially like is the fact the holidays on board are largely charged at a flat rate. They might be a little more expensive than some of the other liveaboard options in Thailand, but are well worth taking advantage of.

This is a truly massive liveaboard! It easily welcomes 25 people, and has a huge array of entertainment and relaxation options. Therefore, you’re likely to have plenty of room to stretch out after a long day of scuba diving.

Hallelujah also benefits from having amazing dive staff! The friendly, English-speaking crew won’t just make sure you have everything you need for your dive trips, they will also make sure they are clean, ready and prepared for you when you next dive down through Elephant Head Rock, for example!

  • Up to 25 guests welcome
  • Full air conditioned lounge
  • Full nitrox and shaded diving deck
  • Gear rental available
  • On board buffet

Best Diving in Thailand

If you’re keen to take a look at the Gulf of Thailand or the best diving sites the Andaman Sea has to offer, do make a point of checking out my full guide to the best diving in Thailand. It’s a great accompaniment to this rundown of Thailand liveaboards – all in the name of finding you the best time while on dive trips out east.

In the meantime, here is a quick selection of some of my favourite dives to wet your appetite.

Hin Muang and Hin Daeng

This is a great dive location if you’re looking to see leopard sharks up close and personal. However, it’s also likely to be a great spot for exploring some of the most complex and visually stunning underwater swim throughs. However, do make sure you have a competent dive leader down here with you and that you do so with a bit of experience behind you!

Location: Koh Lanta

Species: Leopard sharks

Visibility: 30m+

Temperature: 27-30°C

The Similan Islands

You may well have noticed that some of the best Thailand liveaboard options on my list take you across the Similan Islands. That’s no accident! These wide open waters take you up across the Andaman Sea, where you can spot all manner of sharks and rays. There’s also the Similan National Park here for you to explore, too. Make sure to book a liveaboard Similan Island bound if you want to see some of Thailand’s most stunning undersea landscapes up close and personal.

Location: Close to Surin Islands, Andaman Sea

Species: Sharks, rays

Visibility: 20-30m

Temperature: 26-28°C

Chumpon Pinnacle

Visiting the East coast for a dive or two? You’re going to want to tour the best that the Gulf of Thailand has to offer. Chumphon Pinnacle should really be towards the top of that list, particularly as it’s home to all manner of colourful species! It’s a diving experience which is likely best suited to divers who have been in the game for some time, however.

Get on board a Thailand liveaboard and experience it all with a dive team.

Location: Gulf of Thailand

Species: Fish schools, crabs, coral

Visibility: 10-20m

Temperature: 20-28°C

Note: Watch out for the thermocline at 18-20 metres accompanied with a drop in visibility and temperature!

How Much is a PADI Course in Thailand?

PADI diving courses will vary in price. It is a great place to learn and wannabe divers flock to Thailand from all over the world. Some of the biggest and best liveaboard diving experiences in Thailand can be quite intense – so you’re going to need to make sure you’re fully prepared!  Most liveaboard operators will only take Advanced divers, so do check on qualifications needed before you book.

For more information, including the average price paid in Thailand, take a look at my How Much Does Scuba Diving Cost blog.

Why Book a Liveaboard in Thailand?

Liveaboard diving in Thailand is convenient, comfortable, affordable and fun. There’s lots of variety. Liveaboard options across Thailand will take you to some of the most stunning dive sites across the Gulf and the Andaman Sea. What’s more, you can sail across it all, and dive whenever you want to, from the comfort of some truly luxurious cabins.

Liveaboard diving in Thailand will vary depending on the cruise company and the trails you take. Therefore, it’s really worth comparing the best options available before you make a firm choice. Some will take you to from Khao Lak to the Similans, others as far as the Mergui Archipelago. Use my list as a launching pad and see what you can spot!

 
 

What Are You Waiting For?

From the Similan Islands to Khao Lak, Thailand and its diving sites are waiting for you to explore them. Why not book a liveaboard?

It’s like a cruise holiday, but with the added bonus of you being able to explore the local depths and watery wildlife along the way. Be sure to check out my top picks above, and once again, do read my full guide to the best Thailand dives.

My personal favourite are over in the Andaman Sea.  The Similan Islands blew my mind and I was lucky enough to jump on one of the great liveaboard diving boats the area has to offer.  I have heard that the Surin Islands are well worth a visit too.

Thailand is one of the best places to experience your first scuba diving liveaboard.   I can guarantee you will have the best time exploring the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand, all from the comfort of your own air conditioned room.  Rolling out of bed in the morning (and into the water) has never been better!

 

 

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Katy Jane

Thank you for reading. I started KatyJaneDives.com to share my passion for diving. I am an environmental educator, scientist and now an MSDT diver. This platform has been made to create, connect and share my knowledge in the world of diving.

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