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 favorite amongst Thailand liveaboard itineraries. Approximately 45km off the Andaman coast, to the southeast 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 anemones 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 color 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 honor 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

  • 9.0 Superb
  • 307 Verified Reviews
  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Andrey D
  • Russia Russia

A beautiful dive site with lots of pelagic fish

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Oktavia

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Gary F
  • Australia Australia

Marine life and corals outstanding, shame about the low viz and no Whale Sharks, but that's nature

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Manta Queen 6

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Eric L
  • Canada Canada

Likely my favorite dive site after Hin Luang.

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Manta Queen 7

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Alex F
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Hampered by poor visibility

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Thailand Aggressor

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Garry D
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

The abundance of sea life was amazing

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Marco Polo

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Christian T
  • France France

lot of marine life : whale sharks, sea horse, shrimps, jacks, barracudas, ....

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Pawara

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Daniel C
  • Australia Australia

Fantastic dive site, well worth it’s reputation

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Manta Queen 2

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Sherri F
  • Australia Australia

Unfortunately we didn’t experience good visibility

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Manta Queen 2

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Alan G
  • New Zealand New Zealand

Was personally a little disappointed at Richelieu visibility wasn’t great. Steve manages a great boat and is passionate about preserving the dive sites, unfortunately it appears other operators don’t have the same passion. We saw people crawling over structure because of current, and the way other boats interacted when a whale shark turned was shameful with people touching and hanging on to the animal.

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Deep Andaman Queen

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Yaroslav M
  • Russia Russia

That's the place you can dive many times and see something different every time. It's a pity the trip is coming to an end

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Manta Queen 1

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Richard T
  • United States United States

Viz was not the best but meant lot of Sea Life

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the DiveRACE Class E

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Meggie S
  • United States United States

incredible amount of life, beautiful coral

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Sawasdee Fasai

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Rod B
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Three dives that just blew me away. I have never seen such fabulous soft & hard corals and in such great condition. Maybe hackneyed but it is a true underwater garden. And the marine life, oh mon dieu, here in one place you see everything you’ve slowly seen during the preceding four days. Every knock and cranny is bursting with life and not in singles but 7/8 lion fish, 3/4 Jenkins whiprays, 4 mating cattle fish at a time. Sea horse, mantis & harlequin shrimps, you just drift passed them one after another almost as if it’s a shop window.

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the The Junk

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Chi Hung Eddie K
  • Hong Kong Hong Kong

Many big stuffs and also macro things can be found here

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Camic

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Sabrina K
  • Germany Germany

Amazing Divespot, to see seahorses was one of my highlights

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the The Junk

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • James M
  • Canada Canada

Amazing! Saw some great marine life! Visibility was ok

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Manta Queen 3

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Tomaz J
  • Slovenia Slovenia

For sure the best diving spot in Thailand! Unfortunately we haven't seen any whale sharks on this trip, but nevertheless, this diving spot is just fenomenal.

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the The Junk

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Pierre B
  • France France

Splendid site. It’s spectacular. A must see!

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the The Junk

  • 7.2 Good
  • Mona S
  • Denmark Denmark

The weierdest experience because in the early hours full of schools, butterfly fish, angel fish, dory all depending on where you would swim around. Then afternoon came trevelies, batfish then swim around angel fish and suddenly surround by jelly fish and a mayhem attack by jelly fish eating fish. And yes, stinging you everywhere your rash suite didn't cover. It was a very cool snorkeling experience in such tiny area.

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Manta Queen 3

  • 7.2 Good
  • Kai-Oliver G
  • Germany Germany

Extremely poor visibility not more then 3m and strong currents due to New moon phase. Completely out of expectations.

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Manta Queen 8

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Felicity R
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Very poor visibility, some currents and some problems with large groups of other divers

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Thailand Aggressor

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Nathan A
  • France France

Really cool site but murky water for the 3 dives we did there.

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the The Junk

  • 7.6 Good
  • Richard W
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Great site but very poor visibility

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Oktavia

  • 8.0 Very good
  • RYAN C
  • Canada Canada

Very nice place to dive but it’s a bit crowded. Some mild current.

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Manta Queen 5

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Dyah W
  • Indonesia Indonesia

Challenging currents. Plenty of life.

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Hallelujah

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Evan M
  • United States United States

Great, tho I wish I stead of doing five of our dives here, we would have spread them out a bit more

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the The Junk

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Nicolette P
  • Australia Australia

Amazing This vis was no great though. I do love the varity of corals.

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Manta Queen 5

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Josh W
  • Australia Australia

Plentiful, great barracuda

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Manta Queen 8

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Nicole S
  • Canada Canada

Great marin life but not good visibility And cold water

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Sawasdee Fasai

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Stephen B
  • Australia Australia

The marine life here was extremely plentiful, everywhere you looked it was something new, something going on, something else to try and remember. It is a great spot with hopefully not too strong currents for anyone else going there.

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Oktavia

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Chuen Chu C
  • Hong Kong Hong Kong

Unfortunately, visibilty is bad. But still many creatures

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Oktavia

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Wontae C
  • Australia Australia

Absolutely best dives on this trip.

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Hallelujah

  • 9.2 Superb
  • E****d C
  • Australia Australia

Fantastic, definite highlight of the trip.

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the The Junk

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Brett B
  • Australia Australia

Great. Recommend AOW as a minimum.

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Manta Queen 7

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Shadow L
  • China China

Visibility is very very bad this time.

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Manta Queen 7

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Ginae L
  • United States United States

The most variety in marine life I’ve seen in one place

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Manta Queen 8

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Cody V
  • Canada Canada

Visibility was bad this day but from what I could see it was the highlight of the diving.

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the DiveRACE Class E

  • 9.2 Superb
  • julien T
  • Switzerland Switzerland

In one word, fish soup. There was so many schools of fishes it was amazing. Also a nice spot for macro photography.

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Dolphin Queen

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Bobbie H
  • United States United States

Fantastic! We saw a manta, loads of colorful fish, an octopus.

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Oktavia

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Richard R
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Most diverse dive spot of the trip, incredible amounts of life and something for everyone in recreational diving.

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Hallelujah

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Chester H
  • United States United States

Although, crowded with other divers, it was a great dive site

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the Genesis I

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • kevin W
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Amazing dive site, vis not great due to the cold current, great for the corals. Huge amount of life.

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Thailand Aggressor

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Christopher G
  • United States United States

Unusually poor visibility, but such is life. Still an incredible series of dives.

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the DiveRACE Class E

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Vikram N
  • India India

Viz at the Rock was bad... really bad but yet the site was fantastic! Healthy coral, tons of fish and so much to see! A highlight

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Deep Andaman Queen

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Joshua K
  • Singapore Singapore

Best dive site for the whole trip. Extreme qualities of marine life! Must visit

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Dolphin Queen

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Emily-Rose H
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

We were unlucky with the visible but other than that, good.

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Sawasdee Fasai

  • 7.2 Good
  • Kevin H
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Obviously a great site from the reviews, but the day we were there, the conditions weren't great and vis was low. No mantas :(

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Thailand Aggressor

  • 8.4 Very good
  • 雪舟 何
  • China China

very cool,long nose emperor schools!

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Manta Queen 2

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Myeongjin K
  • South Korea South Korea

다양한 생물들이 살아서 좋지만 시야가 그리 좋지 않다 물 속에 다이버들이 너무 많아서 사람반 물고기반

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Sawasdee Fasai

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Truls P
  • Norway Norway

Unfortunately we had very poor visibility when we dived at Richeleu. This was a shame, as we could see how beautiful it would have been if it had been better.

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Similan Explorer

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Mariano O
  • Belgium Belgium

Great abundance of fish and species

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Manta Queen 1

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Helena E
  • Sweden Sweden

In spite of poor visible at the time we dived there, it was a great dive site teeming with life. The best of the whole trip.

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Gentle Giant

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Michael A
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Cold and murky unfortunately, but loads of life made up for it, would love to do again in better conditions.

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Oktavia

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • ron L
  • Germany Germany

Very poor visibility, but some amazing animals.

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Manta Queen 5

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Janice R
  • United States United States

The visibility was poor, but the abundance of sea life made it very interesting

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Hallelujah

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Guy W
  • Australia Australia

Visibility was poor but fish quantity and diversity was immense

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Manta Queen 7

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Jan H
  • South Africa South Africa

An unbelievable diving experience, my best ever diving

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the Sawasdee Fasai

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Kathryn C
  • New Zealand New Zealand

Richelieu Rock is incredible! So much colour thanks to walls of soft corals and anemones. The shoals of jacks and trevallies are huge and I've never seen so many huge scorpion fish in one place. Macro life everywhere, fish everywhere. Truly an outstanding destination.

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the The Junk

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Lene T
  • Norway Norway

Amazing dives. A bit crowdy at some dives but our guide was good to find places out of the crowd.

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the The Junk

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Kyung-deok N
  • South Korea South Korea

This site was the best site during this trip. It was like a scene of disney movie.

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the Whale

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Krasimir S
  • Bulgaria Bulgaria

Amazing place. Clear water. Lots of underwater creatures and was nice to observe. Best diving site we experienced during the trip.

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the The Junk

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Torsten G
  • Germany Germany

"Amazing" doesn't even begin to describe it!!!

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the Thailand Aggressor

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Charlotte B
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Busy, but as expected. A lot to see here!

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the Deep Andaman Queen

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Mohit J
  • India India

Amazing and one of the best!

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the Sawasdee Fasai

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Simon V
  • Belgium Belgium

One of the most impressive dive sites i've seen

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the The Junk

  • 6.0 Review score
  • Charles L
  • Canada Canada

Probablement dans les plus belles plongées. Poissons par milliers, coraux de toutes beautés. A faire.

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the Manta Queen 5

  • 8.0 Very good
  • moises D
  • Spain Spain

Sin duda lo mejor del viaje, hicimos 5 inmersiones en un punto de buceo con una de las mayores concentraciones de jaks y emperadores jamás vista.

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the The Junk

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Guido M
  • Italy Italy

Incredible. Plenty of species and in big numbers.

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the Manta Queen 2

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Christine C
  • United States United States

Didn’t get to go because of weather

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the Manta Queen 2

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Guan Jie O
  • Singapore Singapore

Marine life is fantastic and that is why it is such a popular site. Gets pretty crowded at times.

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the Genesis I

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Dongui H
  • South Korea South Korea

very numerous kinds of schooling, lots of corals, all the things was good

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the DiveRACE Class E

  • 8.4 Very good
  • FRANCK D
  • France France

amazing: one of the most beautifuk sites in my 650 dives experience

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the Thailand Aggressor

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Sarah G
  • Australia Australia

An underwater paradise, no words to explain the serenity and connection I had in this place.

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the Manta Queen 3

  • 8.4 Very good
  • Jane W
  • United States United States

Good visibility, colorful and scenic. Sad we only got one dive, due to some other customers delaying our trip.

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the Sawasdee Fasai

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Kerstin L
  • Sweden Sweden

Amazing marine life! The best dive site ever!

Diving Richelieu Rock in November on the Manta Queen 1

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Ozlem I
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Really liked the a lot fish around me

Diving Richelieu Rock in November on the Manta Queen 3

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Raven J
  • United States United States

AMAZING. I saw so much life I've never seen before and the biggest versions of other things I had seen.

Diving Richelieu Rock in November on the Deep Andaman Queen

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Allee E
  • United States United States

The biodiversity was absolutely incredible

Diving Richelieu Rock in November on the Manta Queen 7

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • BRIAN H
  • United States United States

AMAZING. Truly amazing. Wish we had explored different parts of RR rather than diving the exact same spot three times. Not sure if this was due to currents or something else.

Diving Richelieu Rock in November on the Sawasdee Fasai

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Scott H
  • Switzerland Switzerland

Water warm and visibility was very good. Many dive boats are around at the same time which does detract from the great dive site.

Diving Richelieu Rock in December on the White Manta Thailand

  • 9.2 Superb
  • Thomas M
  • South Korea South Korea

Not great due to weather conditions. Medium current and really mediocre visibility really limited the experience quite a bit. Still good, but in our case not a spectacular experience.

Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the White Manta Thailand

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Leila H
  • Switzerland Switzerland

Wonderful, loads of fish and beautiful landscapes, but challenging with rather strong current

Diving Richelieu Rock in November on the Oktavia

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Eli R
  • United States United States

Good, can be great if viz is good.

Diving Richelieu Rock in November on the The Phinisi

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Natalia C
  • United States United States

Great sight but lots of other boats and divers.

Diving Richelieu Rock in November on the Manta Queen 2

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Simon G
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Amazing. Best I've ever been to.

Diving Richelieu Rock in November on the Manta Queen 8

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Giorgio B
  • Italy Italy

Definitely the best spot overall. So beautiful corals and so many fishes surrounding us! Absolutely unforgettable experience. We planned 3 dives here but unfortunately we could make only 2, as we have been unlucky with the wind, which got our way back to the boat being very difficult and quite scary on the second. Anyway we all got back safely.

Diving Richelieu Rock in November on the Deep Andaman Queen

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Antony P
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

There are a lot of fish!,There are a lot of fish!

Diving Richelieu Rock in November on the The Junk

  • 5.6 Review score
  • Renee P
  • United States United States

The whole reason to go one this trip. The best dive site.

Diving Richelieu Rock in November on the Thailand Aggressor

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Chiaki J
  • Japan Japan

There are many fish and the hordes of Giant Trevally and Barracuda are impressive.

Diving Richelieu Rock in November on the Manta Queen 7

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • Won Jeung L
  • South Korea South Korea

It was the highlight. The rock was literally surrounded by different species of fish. The fish was what made the visibility short.

Diving Richelieu Rock in November on the Sawasdee Fasai

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Thomas M
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Amazing abundance of marine life.

Diving Richelieu Rock in November on the Hallelujah

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Julie H
  • United States United States

Great! wonderful plant and fish life. Great color. Fish are abundant. Visibility was the only negative. Loved this dive site!

Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the White Manta Thailand

  • 5.2 Review score
  • Hugues G
  • Canada Canada

The richest dives of our week, with more life compare to other areas we have se en in the Andaman sea. But not enough to make the trip worthwhile.

Diving Richelieu Rock in January on the Diva Andaman

  • 8.8 Fabulous
  • Alexandra M
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom

Amazing... love this dive site

Diving Richelieu Rock in October on the Camic

  • 10.0 Exceptional
  • Jonathan M
  • United States United States

Waterfalls of glass fish running down the rock

Diving Richelieu Rock in October on the Hallelujah

  • 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


Origin: US