Liveaboard Diving in Richelieu Rock

What to expect on a Richelieu Rock Liveaboard

Liveaboard diving in Richelieu Rock ensures a trip to one of Thailand's best dive sites and a firm favourite amongst Thailand liveaboard itineraries. Approximately 45km off the Andaman coast, to the south east of the Surin Islands, this site somewhat resembles the form of a horse-shoe with a central limestone pinnacle and several smaller rock outcrops on either side. The topography of this site matched with its geographical remoteness attracts a great variety of marine life. Shifting tidal currents in this part of the Andaman Sea create upwellings of plankton, providing a feeding ground for small to large. Richelieu's remote location is not sheltered from the open water and recommended for the more advanced diver due to changing currents which can be mild to strong, but also mean that the best way to experience Richelieu Rock is via dive liveaboard.

Aboard a Richelieu Rock liveaboard divers can expect around 3 dives per day, with a choice of liveaboards ranging from simple low budget to luxury liveaboard. Most Richelieu Rock itineraries depart from Khao Lak and include a trip to the Similan Islands.

What You Can See

Sailing in Richelieu Rock offers divers the best chance to experience this iconic dive area. Richelieu was named by Jacques Cousteau after Cardinal Richelieu, of the Three Musketeers whose scarlet cape reminded him of the purple soft corals adorning the limestone rocks. Rising from the sandy bottom, the pinnacles are decorated with shelves and ledges, cracks, crevices and caves. The shallows are covered in sea anenomes and not far below an abundance of soft coral fields adorn the edges, surrounded by thousands of shimmering glassfish. The black coral bushes and gorgonians are found slightly deeper all providing shelter to the diverse marine life. This continuum of colour can be seen throughout the excellent multi-level diving that goes down to a maximum depth of 35m.

The biodiversity of the marine life and topography at Richelieu Rock is astounding. As you descend you can sometimes see the swirling blue masses of jacks, barracuda and fusiliers in a funnel like formation. Big schools of trevally, funneling barracuda and dogtooth tuna maraud the area in search of their next meal. The winter months of February to April bring with it more opportunity for whale shark sightings and other pelagics like the Manta Ray, feasting on plankton. Seeing these creatures gliding around you seemingly effortlessly is considered the ultimate experience for most divers and why most visit Richelieu. Although sightings can be rare, once they are spotted, they tend not to disappear quickly as it is their feeding ground. It is an exhilarating honour to share the waters with these gentle giants.

Do not be detracted by the larger marine life alone, as Richelieu is also home to a plethora of critters such as porcelain crabs, tiger tail sea horses, pipefish, robust ghost pipefish, mantis shrimps, harlequin shrimp, frogfish, leaf fish, nudibranch…the list goes on! Seahorses and harlequin shrimps can be found in the small caverns at the bottom of the rock. The larger marine life such as the cuttlefish, octopi and groupers can also be spotted going about their mating business, unaware of the peering scuba divers. For the photography inclined, it is worth having an interchangeable lens here as there is so much to capture or simply dive it a multitude of times, we can assure you it will never get boring.

Getting There

The best way to get to Richelieu Rock is on a Thailand liveaboard trip which will depart from either Phuket or Khao Lak. Further from Phuket than from Khao Lak, (200 km north of Phuket and 80 km northwest of Khao Lak), it is worth checking what port you prefer to depart from. Please check your itinerary before purchasing flight tickets. There are international flights into Phuket and / or domestic flights from Bangkok to Phuket. Khao Lak is about 100km north of Phuket and can be reached overland.

Dive cruises may vary but you can expect at least a 4 night cruise to the Surin Islands which will undoubtedly include Richelieu Rock on the itinerary. Please note that it is prohibited to dive in this area outside of the high season that runs from October to May due to rough seas.


Richelieu Rock Diving Reviews

  • 9.1 Superb
  • 193 Verified Reviews
  • 8.4 Very good
  • John H
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

A beautiful place to dive and the variety fantastic

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Similan Explorer

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Fernando J
  • Brazil Brazil

My best dive ever! The sea life in Richelieu Rock is something incredible. It's so many fishes and other creatures living together that you cry with such amazing beauty.

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Sawasdee Fasai Live Aboard

  • 7.2 Good
  • Tatiana M
  • Germany Germany

Very beautiful, many fishes,Prety cool

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the The Junk

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Irina O
  • Norway Norway

Challenging current but amazing reef. Chance of whale shark ,Challenging current but amazing reef. Chance of whale shark

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the The Phinisi

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Ben A
  • Israel Israel

The highlight of the trip. Insane amount of fish from all types. The best place to dive around this area. The third dive in Richelieu was one dive too many, I think 2 dives there are enough

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Sawasdee Fasai

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Peter R
  • Australia Australia

Lush fish activity, but very popular and often crowded.

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Hallelujah

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Christian G
  • United States United States

One of the best dives I have done, never have I seen so many varieties of marine life and been in such close proximity.

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Thailand Aggressor

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Manfred Z
  • Germany Germany

absolutes Highlight - viel, viel Fisch

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Sawasdee Fasai

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Adrian H
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Like being shrunk and dropped into a perfect aquarium

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the The Phinisi

  • 9.2 Superb
  • james S
  • United States United States

The diving at rite rock was one of the most beautiful dive's that I have ever done!

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Oktavia

  • 8.4 Very good
  • MICHAEL H
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Amazing. Did three dives here. Masses of fish - shoals of trevallies, rainbow runners, emperors, barracudas, glassfish, snappers, etc. Also lots of goral groupers, lion fish, scorpion fish, banded and mantis shrimps. First dive one of the best of my 1250 dives to date.

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Similan Explorer

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Jeongyeol R
  • South Korea South Korea

Tens of millions of fish, It was fantastic.

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Manta Queen 3

  • 6.8 Review score
  • Ron D
  • Australia Australia

The night morning dive was the best, by far the best dive location

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Manta Queen 3

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Matthew Q
  • United States United States

So many fish it was the most life in one place I have ever witnessed!

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Sawasdee Fasai

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Marcel B
  • Switzerland Switzerland

Excellent, an abundance of wildlife and so much to discover.

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Manta Queen 8

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Myles M
  • United States United States

Tons of fish but strong currents but thanks to experienced guides all went very well.

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Pawara

  • 8.0 Very good
  • YUEN FAI DICK W
  • China China

excellent. fish frenzy at sunset dive

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Oktavia

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Hyungyu H
  • South Korea South Korea

시밀란의 끝판왕, 앞에서 보았던 모든 것이 한번에 등장:)

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Oktavia

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Jesse G
  • United States United States

Excellent - one of the best sites I've ever been to.

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Manta Queen 1

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Michael K
  • United States United States

It is a premier dive location for a reason. The site is beautiful and teeming with life. Visibility toward the blue, however, was poor so if larger pelagics were around we wouldn't have known.

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Manta Queen 2

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • rory J
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Absolutely incredible but is a bit crowded at times to be expected

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Sawasdee Fasai

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Kurt L
  • Switzerland Switzerland

Perfect place, must see for every diver

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Manta Queen 2

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Kurt B
  • United States United States

Amazing location you could spend a week here and only scratch the surface of fish

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the DiveRACE Class E

  • 8.0 Very good
  • BYUNGRYANG J
  • South Korea South Korea

Fan-Tas-Tic + Unforgettable + Breathtaking + Speechless

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Hallelujah

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Tobias K
  • Switzerland Switzerland

The best of all. Best dive site I have ever visited.

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Manta Queen 2

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Thomas S
  • Germany Germany

Outstanding and certainly the highlight of the trip.,Outstanding and certainly the highlight of the trip.

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the The Phinisi

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Jonathon K
  • United States United States

No whale sharks or mantas but gorgeous reef and unbelievable amount of marine life

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Genesis I

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • SANGWON J
  • South Korea South Korea

So many baby fishes and best sunshine.

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Hallelujah

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Ben T
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

I thought Richelieu was the highlight of the trip.

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Camic

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Taylor L
  • United States United States

Phenomenal marine life - from corals and macro life through to a whale shark and schools of barracuda and other fish. Lots of divers - but nice to dive from Camic with experienced guides and small groups to avoid the crowds and find special things to see.

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Camic

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Grant G
  • United States United States

Too many divers - but that's expected for this famous site!,Unreal! Breathtaking!

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the The Phinisi

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Peter V
  • Netherlands Netherlands

Richelieu Rock is absolutely the highlight of the trip. The coral is still in fabulous condition and because of the current there is so much life. Unfortunately the nurse sharks that where there in the past are all gone, fished out the water for the restaurants in Phuket....

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Sawasdee Fasai Liveaboard

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Valentina P
  • Latvia Latvia

The best spot with the millions of fishes and corals. It was a firework of marine life! We loved it!

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Camic

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Christina S
  • Germany Germany

It's certainly justified that it is so popular. Keep in mind there will be a lot of divers.

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the Marco Polo

  • 9.2 Superb
  • PHILIPPE M
  • Poland Poland

The place to see! When you see it you love it! We met a whale shark there so the place is remembered with emotions for us !

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Manta Queen 3

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Pieter S
  • South Africa South Africa

The best dives were at Richelieu Rock. The diversity were great and the baracudas, cuttlefishes, nudibranchs etc were just amazing. Definitely the best diving spot in Thailand.

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the Bavaria

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • JIAE J
  • South Korea South Korea

It's wonderful, amazing. I can't explain just one word.

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the Sawasdee Fasai

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Martin H
  • Austria Austria

There is a lot going on, a lot of „fish traffic“. You can observe a lot

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the DiveRACE Class E

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Jill B
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Full of variety, everything was there and my neck ached from looking up, down and sideways all the time.

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the Manta Queen 2

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Guadalupe F
  • Argentina Argentina

Fantastic. So much life and diversity.

Diving Richelieu Rock in November on the Bavaria

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Sharon P
  • United States United States

The diving was gorgeous. Many fish.

Diving Richelieu Rock in November on the Similan Explorer

  • 8.0 Very good
  • yaqoub Y
  • United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates

as the say one of the best dive site in the world .never saw and thing like it . the dive site is Pulsing with strange new creatures.

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Hallelujah

  • 6.0 Review score
  • Martin Z
  • Switzerland Switzerland

Diving at the Richelieu Rock was good despite the very strong current

Diving Richelieu Rock in May on the Manta Queen 2

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Adam H
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Fantastic. Amazing soft corals, loads of fish life. This is still a great site.

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Manta Queen 1

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Adrian L
  • Hong Kong Hong Kong

Best as that’s where we saw the whale sharks

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Sawasdee Fasai

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Cheng hao Y
  • Taiwan Taiwan

Lots of fish and beautiful coral

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Manta Queen 6

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Charles D
  • France France

Fantastic place, a must dive one

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Deep Andaman Queen

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • John M
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Richelieu Rock was the highlight of my diving holiday. Even four dives on this site was not too many. There was an enormous variety of life at all depths, right down to 30m and our twilight dive was spectacular as we watched trevallies hunting in packs. As an added bonus we encountered Whale Sharks on three of the dives.

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the The Junk

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Matthew S
  • Australia Australia

Absolutely fantastic. It was so beautiful, there was so much to see. We saw eels, heaps of lion fish, huge schools of yellow snapper, it was incredible.

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Manta Queen 2

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Vasilios G
  • Austria Austria

One of the best spots but big risk to dive in crowd

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Giamani

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • ILGUK J
  • South Korea South Korea

One of the richest point I have ever been. From bottom to the safety stop, I could enjoyed. Corals, fishes.. it was like I was in huge aquarium.

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Manta Queen 7

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • amir M
  • Israel Israel

Outstanding by any scale. We would love to stay there the entire safari.

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Similan Explorer

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Melih Cevdet O
  • Turkey Turkey

Whaleshark, very alive marine life, beautiful landscape.

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Pawara

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Michael G
  • United States United States

AMAZING!!! The absolute best!

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Similan Explorer

  • 8.0 Very good
  • WAI KWAN L
  • Hong Kong Hong Kong

School of fishes for photo shooting, good place for underwater photography

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Manta Queen 7

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Martin C
  • Hong Kong Hong Kong

Amazing, no wonder why it's top 10 dive site of the world. We were disappointed not to see pelagic animals though, but that is just nature, and in no way the fault of the boat.

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Manta Queen 2

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Krystian T
  • Poland Poland

extraordinary, great visibility, saw: Blackfin Barracuda,Pickhandle Barracuda,Pharoah Cuttlefish,Big Potato Grouper,Big eye jacks, Cleaner Pipefish

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Pawara

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • HUIJEA L
  • South Korea South Korea

very awesome place. If I have a chance to diving only one in liveaboard, it is richeliue rock!

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Oktavia

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Filip S
  • Switzerland Switzerland

Absolutely stunning. Recommended 10/10

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Manta Queen 6

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Janine D
  • United States United States

Exciting, big current, but loads to look at. Fun. Good team work.

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the Diva Andaman

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Bastien M
  • France France

Amazing! The preservation of the area is exceptional, so many fishes and organisms. Nemo's world, but better.

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the Similan Explorer

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Hyeunjun P
  • South Korea South Korea

visuality was not good, but there are so many fishes.

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the Hallelujah

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Martin R
  • Germany Germany

Despite not seeing a whaleshark, Richelieu Rock is a great dive site

Diving Richelieu Rock in October on the Pawara

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Nicolas M
  • France France

Really nice, incredible to see this amount of fish, with some really beautiful ones.

Diving Richelieu Rock in May on the Manta Queen 2

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Daniel N
  • Sweden Sweden

Absolutely fantastic diving.

Diving Richelieu Rock in May on the Manta Queen 1

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Ana M
  • Portugal Portugal

Amazing! So many fish and sea life! I felt I was inside a large aquarium! I would repeat divings there without ever getting tired.

Diving Richelieu Rock in November on the Manta Queen 3

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Guillaume L
  • France France

A spectacular underwater rock. Dived it 4 times and so much to see each time. From amazing pink and purple soft corals, great big fan corals, nudibranches, boxing mantis shrimp, giant moray eels, wide eyed moral eels, cuttlefish, a yellow seahorse, shoals of yellow snappers, blue fusiliers, trevalis, and some barracudas. Night dive is forbidden since a Barracuda attack a couple of years ago. Some current but generally gentle drifts.

Diving Richelieu Rock in November on the Thailand Aggressor

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Lisa M
  • United States United States

One of the best dives sites we have been to. Dove here three times on our trip and would have gladly done a few more!

Diving Richelieu Rock in October on the Hallelujah

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Michael S
  • United States United States

Fantastic. More to see than you can look at.

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Similan Explorer

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Norbert D
  • Germany Germany

the dive site is really nice. the amount of fish is baffling and you are sure to see sea snakes and octopi. the current is an interesting challenge, but very manageable. go around the corners. there are forests down there!!

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Manta Queen 2

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Evan R
  • New Zealand New Zealand

Loved the diving at Richelieu rock and this was one of my favourites. Loved to see the big fans and the small nudibranches.

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Sawasdee Fasai

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Sangwoo H
  • South Korea South Korea

Amazing - definitely one of the best dive sites I dove.

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Giamani

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Christopher T
  • United States United States

The best! The number and variety of fish takes your breath away.

Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Similan Explorer

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Yalck E
  • Netherlands Netherlands

So much to see! One of the best sites of the trip

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Manta Queen 3

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Eric W
  • Singapore Singapore

Richelieu Rock got fantastic marine life and coral garden. After going to Richelieu Rock, the other dive sites seems to pale in comparison!

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Manta Queen 6

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Thomas E
  • Sweden Sweden

this is how all reef dives should be, exceptional

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Thailand Aggressor

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Natalie R
  • New Zealand New Zealand

Best dive site on the liveaboard. Thousands of fish. Beautiful purple coral. Sea anenames with blue bases. Minimal current

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Similan Explorer

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • James C
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Fab dive site, loads of marine life

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Pawara

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Andreas F
  • Germany Germany

the absolute highlight of the trip, Richilieu is fantastic

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Similan Explorer

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Mark L
  • Canada Canada

This was the highlight of the 11 dives. A great location with a lot of marine life. Visibility was good for the first two dives, but unfortunately the seas were choppy the next morning so it was down to 8-10 meters. Mother nature.

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Manta Queen 2

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Rebecca H
  • United States United States

Beautiful dive site with incredible diversity. The purple coral was awesome. We saw a Napolean wrasse, lion fish, scorpion fish. Others on our boat saw a leopard shark, but we were not in the right place at the right time for that.

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Manta Queen 1

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Eugene S
  • Canada Canada

Best dive I think I ever did was to this dive site.

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Dolphin Queen

  • 6.8 Review score
  • Jeffrey T
  • Canada Canada

excellent in March, but crowded

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Similan Explorer

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Garry D
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

One of the best Dive Sites I have been too

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Sawasdee Fasai Liveaboard

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • JAYEON C
  • South Korea South Korea

Fantastic! we can see various species with beautiful undersea-landscape.

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the The Junk

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Yann B
  • France France

Exceptional. Great to do 4 dives on one smallish site. And not too many people / boats.

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the The Junk

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • pablo E
  • Chile Chile

Best spot i ve dived so far incredibleamount of life and corals

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Similan Explorer

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • THIERRY L
  • France France

Excellent! 1 full day on this dive site with 4 dives incluning a sunset dive

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the The Junk

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Maria Tereza C
  • Brazil Brazil

Very good. Fantastic place for diving.

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Hallelujah Liveaboard

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Maillard J
  • France France

Excellent dives with wonderful submarine landscape

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Dolphin Queen

  • 7.2 Good
  • Felipe C
  • Brazil Brazil

Very good dive site but with strong current

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Deep Andaman Queen

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Franco L
  • Italy Italy

Really interesting, lot of life

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Manta Queen 6

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Jun C
  • China China

Awesome! One of my favourite dive sites on the trip

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Diva Andaman

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Noel H
  • United States United States

Amazing! I'm very happy we got to do 3 dives there.

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Hallelujah

  • 7.6 Good
  • Christian S
  • Germany Germany

The best diving spot of the trip. Not so many divers and really many fishes.

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the MV Pawara

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Chris G
  • Singapore Singapore

Good, no large fishes, but plenty of marine life

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Similan Explorer

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Ian T
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

One of the best places I've ever dive! Beats Maldives, Australia....

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Similan Explorer

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • SUZI D
  • Canada Canada

a pinnacle in the middle of nowhere was pretty amazing

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the MV Pawara

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Shiou H
  • United States United States

The water was pretty muddy due to the recent storm. Nonetheless, the reefs were simply gorgeous. Did not get to see manta ray

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Thai Sea

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Todd H
  • United States United States

The highlight of our trip. Could have spent days there and every dive would have been great.

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the MV DiveRACE Class E