The Junk underwent a renovation transform it into a 33m authentic sailing vessel to explore the best dive sites of the Thai Andaman Sea from November-April. She has 6 AC cabins with en-suite bathrooms
Explore the Similan Islands aboard the MV Hallelujah liveaboard. She is one of the most comfortable & largest dive liveaboards cruising the Andaman Sea from November - April. She has 13 en-suite cabins to cater to 25 guests
- Free Nitrox
The recently renovated Sawasdee Fasai liveaboard offers dive and snorkel cruises in the Andaman Sea. Explore the Similan Islands and Richelieu Rock in comfort with AC cabins, huge sun dfeck and outdoor lounge areaSawasdee Fasai
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.
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
Fantastic. More to see than you can look at.Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Similan Explorer
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
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
Amazing - definitely one of the best dive sites I dove.Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Giamani
The best! The number and variety of fish takes your breath away.Diving Richelieu Rock in April on the Similan Explorer
So much to see! One of the best sites of the tripDiving Richelieu Rock in March on the Manta Queen 3
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
this is how all reef dives should be, exceptionalDiving Richelieu Rock in March on the Thailand Aggressor
Best dive site on the liveaboard. Thousands of fish. Beautiful purple coral. Sea anenames with blue bases. Minimal currentDiving Richelieu Rock in March on the Similan Explorer
Fab dive site, loads of marine lifeDiving Richelieu Rock in March on the Pawara
the absolute highlight of the trip, Richilieu is fantasticDiving Richelieu Rock in March on the Similan Explorer
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
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
Best dive I think I ever did was to this dive site.Diving Richelieu Rock in March on the Dolphin Queen
AmazingDiving Richelieu Rock in March on the Diva Andaman
Just amazingDiving Richelieu Rock in March on the Pawara
excellent in March, but crowdedDiving Richelieu Rock in March on the Similan Explorer
Simply greatDiving Richelieu Rock in March on the Manta Queen 1
One of the best Dive Sites I have been tooDiving Richelieu Rock in February on the Sawasdee Fasai Liveaboard
Lilafarbene Korallen und zum ersten Mal Seepferdchen, ghostpipefishs, unbeschreiblich schön!!! Ebenfalls der Nightdive hier, war sehr aufregend!Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Similan Explorer
Gorgeous. 4 Dives.Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the The Junk
Wow... Juste Wow!Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the The Junk
Fantastic! we can see various species with beautiful undersea-landscape.Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the The Junk
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
Best spot i ve dived so far incredibleamount of life and coralsDiving Richelieu Rock in February on the Similan Explorer
Excellent! 1 full day on this dive site with 4 dives incluning a sunset diveDiving Richelieu Rock in February on the The Junk
Very good. Fantastic place for diving.Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the Hallelujah Liveaboard
Excellent dives with wonderful submarine landscapeDiving Richelieu Rock in February on the Dolphin Queen
Very good dive site but with strong currentDiving Richelieu Rock in February on the Deep Andaman Queen
5 out of 5Diving Richelieu Rock in February on the MV Pawara