The Best Liveaboards in Thailand

4th April 2017   |   Sarah Morlock

Thailand is famous to divers for its ideal underwater conditions and spectacular marine life. The macro life around the country is amazing, but liveaboard divers in particular are sure to enjoy some pelagic action. Manta rays and whale sharks can be seen on many popular dive safari routes.

While diving in Thailand, you are sure to enjoy healthy coral reefs and pinnacles buzzing with life. There is so much going on that divers can just sit back and watch the action. Some dive profiles are drift dives, but many are simply lazily exploring the colorful world found beneath the surface.

Diving is on offer all over Thailand, but liveaboard diving is concentrated in the Andaman Sea. Here, islands and rock outcrops host the most fascinating marine life in Thailand. Some of the islands in the Andaman Sea are accessible from the mainland, but the more remote areas like Richelieu Rock can only be reached by liveaboard dive safari.

Liveaboards in Thailand usually depart from Phuket or Khao Lak on the west coast. The typical length of these trips is 4 to 5 days, but the best itineraries are those that last 7 to 10 days.

The best time to dive on a liveaboard in Thailand is from November to April. During this time, the water is at its calmest, making it possible to reach the best sites. In addition, manta rays and whale sharks are most populous from February to April.

Keep in mind, Thailand is one of the best liveaboard destinations for beginners. A lack of strong current and great visibility make the country great for divers who still need practice to perfect their skills.

Best Luxury Liveaboard: MV Giamani

The MV Giamani is one of the top boats in Thailand’s liveaboard fleet. This beautiful boat offers first class service and diving.

This yacht boasts a small group experience. With 5 gorgeously appointed cabins, 10 divers are catered to by the proficient crew. Of particular note is the Master Cabin, which is located on the upper deck and features a double bed, a sofa bed, a mini-fridge and an ensuite bathroom. While enjoying absolute luxury outside of the cabins, guests can catch some rays on the sundeck, watch a movie in the air-conditioned salon or grab a drink at the bar.

While preparing for dives, guests will have ample room to gear up and store their equipment. Diving is conducted from an easy enter and exit platform on the mothership, and the onboard dive pro will make sure dives are timed with each season to see the best marine life. Whether you are on a 2-night or 6-night cruise, 3 to 4 dives are offered each day. As an additional benefit, the MV Giamani is equipped for rebreather, Nitrox and Trimix diving.

You’ll have everything you need for a perfect liveaboard vacation on the MV Giamani.

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Best Mid-Range Liveaboard: The Junk

Recently featured in our list of the world’s best budget-friendly liveaboards, The Junk visits Thailand’s best dive sites in style.

Built in 1962, The Junk was originally a cargo-moving ship, designed to carry up to 60 tons. But in 1998, the boat was completely renovated and refitted as a dive boat. Today, it is a unique piece of cultural heritage still sailing the Asian seas.

The Junk can accommodate up to 18 divers in both private and shared cabins. The ensuite bathrooms and air-conditioned staterooms offered are uncommon perks at this price point. Furthermore, 4 dives a day and the incredibly experienced dive crews make this underwater adventure more full-service than budget.

Because Thailand is a great place to learn new scuba skills, The Junk also offers a range of certification courses.

From lengthy Similan Islands itineraries to short one-night hops to Koh Phi Phi, The Junk offers something for every ability, time schedule and budget.

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Best Budget Liveaboard: Similan Explorer

For those ready to dive in the Similan Islands but hesitating because of the price, the Similan Explorer is the answer to your dreams.

With 16 years of experience, the crew of the Similan Explorer has thousands of hours of diving under their weight belts. These men and women know every dive site thoroughly and are experts at finding manta rays and whale sharks. In addition, the 4 dive guides are more than happy to take requests for other marine life, finding seahorses, pipefish and nudibranchs with ease. With the help of these experts, you’ll enjoy 4 dives a day from a spacious dive platform.

The Similan Explorer is also slightly more affordable than most boats in Thailand. 18 guests are accommodated in 8 cabins, most of which are 4-bunk rooms. 2 double rooms are also available, and common areas are spacious enough to feel like you have your own space.

If you want to visit Thailand and have an extra fun liveaboard experience, the Similan Explorer is a great choice.

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The three liveaboards you’ve read about were hand-picked by our scuba diving experts, but there are a few more boats available. To see the full list of liveaboards in Thailand, click the button below.

View All Liveaboards in Thailand


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