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Liveaboard Diving in Andaman Sea
WHAT TO EXPECT ON AN ANDAMAN SEA LIVEABOARD
Liveaboards to the Andaman Sea take divers to one of the top dive destinations in the world. With a tropical island backdrop, the Andaman Sea offers an impressive underwater topography mixed with diverse marine life, claiming some of the best diving in Thailand and worldwide. It is the unique diversity of the dive sites (suitable for different levels) on an Andaman Sea liveaboard, which promises vastly different diving experiences. Liveaboard.com offers a wide range different liveaboards in the Andaman Sea, Thailand, some with unique attributes, tailoring to your needs.
ANDAMAN SEA UNDERWATER
Divers on an Andaman Sea liveaboard can expect a range of topography, from soft corals and sea fans, to hard corals, deep drop offs, massive underwater boulders, swim-throughs, caves and more. Dives with manta rays, eagle rays, sea turtles, sharks, pipefish, barracuda, batfish and schools of reef fish are standard practice with the occasional presence of the graceful whale shark in season. Water conditions present mild to strong currents, good visibility and warm temperatures.
DIVE SITES / AREAS OF THE ANDAMAN SEA
Andaman Sea Liveaboard itineraries may vary but most popular dive sites/areas include:
KOH LANTA is rated as one of the best dive areas in Thailand, hosting two popular dive sites: Hin Daeng & Hin Muang. Renowned for their beautiful pink and purple soft corals giving them their name, the topography is simple yet intricate with Thailand's biggest vertical wall, outcrops, ledges, small inlets, canyon like formations and rocky bays. Adding to the terrain is the incredible marine life of which whale sharks, manta rays and grey reef sharks are the creme de la creme. Visibility is often up to 25m unless the waters are plankton rich.
SURIN ISLANDS offer regular sightings of cruising white tip reef sharks, barracuda, batfish, ghost pipefish, bumphead parrotfish, napoleon wrasse, octopus, mantis shrimp, blue spotted jawfish and the rarer sightings of seahorses, frogfish, manta rays and whale shark. Depths range from 5 to 30 meters with warm clear waters, the coral formations in these waters act as a good barrier with fields of staghorn corals dominating the shallows. You may see the occasional passing eagle rays in the blue.
SIMILAN ISLANDS are possibly the most popular dive destination in Thailand. White sandy beaches, granite boulders above and below water, vibrant reefs all create an exceptional diving landscape topped with a plethora of marine life. A variety of dive sites home over 500 species, to name a few: leopard sharks, guitar rays, whitetip sharks, blue spotted stingrays, clown trigger fish, rabbit fish, scorpion fish, snappers, emperor fish, giant trevally and angelfish. Macro lovers will enjoy finding tiny ghost pipefish, mantis shrimps, porcelain crabs, cleaner shrimp and more.
RICHELIEU ROCK to the south east of the Surin Islands is renowned for whale shark sightings and other pelagics like the Manta Ray, barracuda, giant trevallies and dogtooth tuna. This site also provides a plethora of critters, porcelain crabs, tiger tail sea horses, pipefish, harlequin shrimp, nudibranch etc.
KOH TACHAI located on the northwest of Similan Islands National Park, this site is tailored to the more advanced diver with drop offs up to 70m, swim-throughs, strong currents around. The waters are graced with whale sharks, manta rays in the months of February-April feeding on plankton. Common sightings of leopard sharks, Napoleon wrasse, Hawksbill turtles, groups of batfish, banded sea snake, barracudas, trevallies and sharks.
KOH BON south of Surin Island is known as the perforated island, classified as a deep dive due to a fantastic wall dive that goes down to 42m on the southwest side. Also frequented by a great number of leopard sharks, the usual suspects such as the morays, white tip reef sharks cohabit these waters. Also a popular cave diving spot, this should only be attempted with the right certifications.
TOP TIPS FOR DIVERS
There are many dive areas in the Andaman Sea so you can dive different locations dependent on the time of year. Liveaboard trips to the more remote areas in the Andaman Sea, such as the Similans, Richelieu Rock and Hin Daeng only run from November through to May due to weather conditions making these inaccessible. The best time to dive these sites is end of February when an increase in currents attracts the larger marine creatures like whale sharks and manta rays. Visibility ranges from 25-40m during this period and water temperatures range between 28-31C. Some dive areas are tailored for the more advanced diver so it may be better to check with your Liveaboard cruise what dive experience you need before deciding your itinerary. It is possible to rent equipment on most cruises, however, as most divers know, it is always recommended to have your own gear. If you are bringing your own equipment, bring a DIN adapter as Thailand uses the standard yoke system. You may not need more than a 3mm neoprene shorty or full body wetsuit bearing in mind after a 3 or more dives a day, you may get cold.
Most dive sites have fantastic opportunities for the avid underwater photographer so remember to bring your camera and battery charger! Some Liveaboards tailor to specific languages so it may be worth checking before booking if you are more comfortable in another language other than English.
The currency is the Thai Baht but it is recommended to take US dollars with you also. Electricity voltage runs at 220 volts and it is recommended to bring a universal adapter.
The nearest recompression chamber is in Phuket.
GETTING TO THE ANDAMAN SEA
Thailand liveaboards that cruise the Andaman Sea may depart from different ports, usually from Chalong Pier in Phuket or Thap Lamu Pier in Khao Lak, Phang-Nga Province. Transfers to the port is provided from Phuket International Airport or your hotel. Please notice some liveaboards may even depart from one port and return into another, i.e depart from Phuket and return to Khao Lak. Some International flights fly directly to Phuket or you can get a connecting flight from Bangkok. You can reach Khao Lak overland from Phuket.
Andaman Sea Diving Reviews
- 9.2 Superb
- 41 Verified Reviews
The Andaman Sea is exceptionally beautiful with varying shades of blue and limestone karst islands. The reef ecosystems are full of sea life and there are so many incredible dive sites to enjoy.
Diving Andaman Sea in May on the Giamani
Amazing. I think one of the best liveaboard value for money.
Diving Andaman Sea in April on the Manta Queen 7
The water is quite clear and it is easy to find small to medium size creatures to take pictures
Diving Andaman Sea in February on the Manta Queen 7
Better than expected. Dive sites are in good shape in general.
Diving Andaman Sea in May on the Manta Queen 1
Loved the wreck dive. Thousands of fish, a nursery with baby everythings - eels, pufferfish, baracuda, rays
Diving Andaman Sea in March on the Similan Explorer
We also did a wreck dive where there were many schools of fish. I enjoyed "joining" a school and swimming along with them. There were tons of urchins, scorpion fish, lion fish, puffer fish...
Diving Andaman Sea in February on the Manta Queen 1
Very warm and good visability although a few strong currents
Diving Andaman Sea in February on the Deep Andaman Queen
A packed schedule (4 Nights - 4 Days). Weather was good - we were lucky. Not much of big fish (no shark, no manta). Corals in better shape than we expected. Visibility decent throughout. Not much current in general. And a great live aboard operator makes a great deal of a difference. Diving with the Junk was great.
Diving Andaman Sea in February on the The Junk
Great overall experience, thinking of going again sometime
Diving Andaman Sea in February on the Similan Explorer
Very good. Great visibility, plenty of mari e life. But one should keep low expectatios of seeing the big animals that dive magazines advertise. Just enjoy the wonderful colorful biodiversity.
Diving Andaman Sea in February on the Hallelujah Liveaboard
Ion comples really nice, for sure we will come again
Diving Andaman Sea in February on the Manta Queen 6
In the north there are only a few boats, so the dives were more relaxing and the reefs were not damaged. So more fishes and also other creatures to find.
Diving Andaman Sea in January on the MV Pawara
the wrecked had so much life around it you could lose you buddy only 8 feet way for all the fish
Diving Andaman Sea in January on the MV Pawara
Interestingly diverse, many islands have caves and tunnels, and the isolated pinnacles are interesting too.
Diving Andaman Sea in December on the Thai Sea
It was a great experience. I loved the quietness out in the middle of the ocean.
Diving Andaman Sea in December on the Manta Queen 3
Warm sea, clear waters, loads of diversity.
Diving Andaman Sea in November on the Deep Andaman Queen