Scuba diving the Similan Islands in Thailand on a liveaboard was a highlight of our Thailand trip. Check out all the details!
We did a lot of bucket list activities in Thailand, like walking with elephants and being a part of the lantern festival, but if I could go back and do anything again, it would be scuba diving. It was my first time diving in the ocean!
When we were planning our trip, Boyfriend had recently come back from a week-long liveaboard in the Bahamas and wanted to do something similar in Thailand. With our limited time in Thailand, we decided to do a three-day liveaboard.
What is a Liveaboard?
We lived on a small boat for three days and scuba dived 3-4 times each day. “Dive, Eat, Sleep, Repeat” was the motto we lived each day. There were 19 total guests, five instructors, four crew members, two cooks, and one captain. We all shared three bathroom/shower rooms. The guests and instructors ate together on the dining deck. Boyfriend and I shared a tiny room with two twin bunk beds and a little bit of walking space. We lived in our bathing suits. It was a no frills and all fun experience. We like to call it “summer camp on the water!” We followed a posted schedule every day and dove in groups.
Our group of 19 guests was from all over the world and it was fun learning about their lives and diving history. Our liveaboard had guests of all diving experiences and even had two divers who completed their Open Water Certification (the first diving certification you can receive) during our trip.
Diving Similan Islands
The Similan Islands are a group of 11 islands in Southern Thailand off of Phuket. They are known for their diving because of the wildlife and unique architecture. We hopped from island to island throughout the day, diving at different sites. The most famous site at the Similan Islands is Richelieu Rock. We sadly missed this site on the three-day liveaboard, so make sure your trip includes it!
Before every dive, we met on the deck for a dive briefing. The head dive instructor briefed us on the route we would take, what we should expect to see, and any issues we should be aware of underwater. Then we got ready and jumped in two groups at a time. Each group was about four divers to one instructor. Each dive was about 45-60 minutes.
We saw an abundance of wildlife, including eels, octopus, manta rays, a variety of fish, coral, and anemone.
Some of our dive sites included: Koh Bon West Ridge, Elephant Head Rock, Christmas Point, West of Eden, East of Eden, and Anita’s Reef. We also did a night dive. It was terrifying at first, being in the dark ocean, but we surprisingly saw a lot of things!
Our final dive was a wreck dive at Boon Sung Wreck. It was very murky, but it was cool seeing the different creatures living in the wreck.
Beach Excursion at Similan Islands National Park
We were near the Similan Islands National Park after one of our dives, so we did a beach excursion. We hiked up to the peak to see the breath-taking view. (Side note: if you’re on the mainland and have the option of coming here for a day excursion, don’t do it. As I’ve read and seen, a two-hour speedboat trip to a crowded beach is not relaxing.)
Khao Lak Scuba Adventures
Though we booked through Super Divers, the company running the liveaboard was Khao Lak Scuba Adventures. They were awesome! The boat was in tip-top condition, the buffet meals were plentiful and seconds-worthy, the instructors were knowledgeable, and the crew was energetic. This was my first and only liveaboard experience (so far), but from comparing it to Boyfriend’s previous liveaboard in the Bahamas, this one was more structured (set dive groups) and the boat was nicer (individual rooms instead of one room with multiple bunks). They also do scuba diving day trips if you don’t want to do a liveaboard. I would definitely recommend Khao Lak Scuba Adventures if you’re looking for a liveaboard in Thailand.
- I took Dramamine (motion sickness medicine) before we left the port and the second morning, just in case. I didn’t want to risk it. Once you get sea sickness, you’re in for a miserable time.
- If you don’t like living in small spaces and sharing small bathrooms, a liveaboard might not be for you.
- You don’t have to do every dive but it’s definitely worth it. We did four dives on two days and three dives on the last day. It sounds like a lot, but it was surprisingly not exhausting.
- It doesn’t matter how experienced you are but I believe you do need to at least have an open water certification. For our liveaboard, they checked our certification cards and put us in groups of similar experience.
- Gear: all of our equipment (wetsuit, BC, regulator, fins, mask, tanks, weight belt) was a part of the package though we did rent a dive computer each, which I think is absolutely necessary when diving.
- If you’re diving in Thailand, be sure to dive Richelieu Rock.
Here’s a video of our experience. We saw so many cool creatures!
Have you ever been scuba diving or on a liveaboard? I would LOVE to hear where you recommend going!