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The Similan and Surin Islands offer some of Thailand’s finest diving and are truly a must-visit for divers of all levels. Famous for big pelagic sightings such as manta rays and whale sharks, the diving here deserves to be on top of your bucket list. Some liveaboards bound for the Similans leave from Phuket. However, the quickest and most convenient gateway to reach these gorgeous islands is Khao Lak. You can also book day diving trips from Khao Lak if you prefer. That said, if you have a few days to spend and want to get the most out of your diving holiday, a liveaboard diving trip is definitely your best bet. From Khao Lak, you can book a liveaboard trip anywhere from 2 to 6 nights.

All of this beauty is surrounded by crystal clear turquoise water.

As part of a marine national park, the 9 Similan Islands are open for diving tourism between mid October and mid May. On land, the islands feature fabulous white sandy beaches adorned with huge boulders. All of this beauty is surrounded by crystal clear turquoise water. Generally, the visibility underwater is very good – and in case the water is a bit mirky, that normally means that the big pelagics are not far away as they come to forage on the plankton. Especially in Koh Bon, where manta rays are often spotted while feeding or getting a good clean at one of the manta cleaning stations.

Richelieu Rock – Liveaboard Diving from Khao Lak

 Richelieu Rock is Thailand’s signature dive site. It consists of a huge isolated sea mountain rising up nearly to the surface in the middle of the open Andaman Sea. Adorned with purple soft corals and absolutely packed with marine life, big and small, it is a sight to behold. Overhangs, small caves, pinnacles, the underwater scenery is stunning. Most liveaboard vessels from Khao Lak will therefore offer their divers to do multiple dives on Richelieu Rock. Huge schools of fish, including jacks, fusilliers, and trevallies, patrol and hunt en masse around the rock. This has earned them the nickname: ‘the Mafia’. The resident friendly, but cutely ignorant, bat fish family tends to accompany you on the shallower part of your dive. A massive school of 2 striped yellow snappers hangs about on the lee side of the rock. A little deeper down you can normally find seahorses, scorpion and stone fish, octopus and cuttle fish.

There are not that many liveaboard operators currently active in Khao Lak these days, due to the Covid 19 situation whilst the Thai borders remain closed. To find the perfect liveaboard that fits your needs, it is advisable to contact the dive operators in either Khao Lak or Phuket to discuss your options.

We have had a marvelous trip with The Junk and The Phinisi.