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Why a liveaboard?What to expectLearning to dive on a Similan Liveaboard

If you have the time, a Similan liveaboard trip the ultimate way to enjoy scuba diving at the Similan Islands and to explore the better dive sites to the north, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock. If you haven't been on a liveaboard trip before then this could really add a new dimension to your diving experiences so far. Even if you are recently certified as an open water diver, you will quickly see the benefits of liveaboard diving.

The Similan Islands are open until the end of April 2014!

Similan Liveaboard Trip schedules by month:

November 2013   • December 2013   • January 2014  

Interested in diving with a highly experienced and knowledgable team in the Similan Islands?


In a nutshell, you get to do more dives during your time onboard a dive boat, in a safe and relaxing manner than compared with any other type of dive trip. Most Similan Liveaboards offer 4 dives per day, which on a 4 day trip can quickly add 14 dives to your log book. With the dives spread over a ten to twelve hour period it is possible to have three hour surface intervals between dives. Think back to the RDP, that is enough surface interval to be back in pressure group A, making for a more conservative dive day. Maximising your time underwater is what a liveaboard is all about, however, there is much more to a liveaboard dive trip.

MV Pawara Similan Liveaboard

What most people enjoy from their own liveaboard experiences is the pace at which the diving is conducted. You wake near the dive site, full of excitement knowing you will soon be kitting up to dive. There are no lengthy boat rides to endure before its time to jump. Even kitting up is easy, you set up your equipment once at the start of the trip and do not have to disassemble until after the last dive. After a dive, especially around the Similan Islands it is never far to a mooring in a sheltered bay where the stunning scenery provides the perfect back drop to your surface interval. Food is generally served after diving and being in Thailand, usually very good, eating being such an important part of daily life in Thailand. After eating you can study the fish books, identifying what you have seen underwater, go for a swim or snorkel, relax with a book or as most people end up doing, having a sleep to feel fully charged for the next dive. There is saying well used by dive staff when on a liveaboard, dive, eat, sleep, repeat.

One rewarding aspect of diving is the interesting people you meet when on a dive trip. Everyone on a liveaboard has diving in common so it is not long before you feel like you are in the company of old friends. For the beginner diver, being immersed in this world of diving, you soon feel much more confident underwater as you learn from other people's experiences and diving stories. Everyone on board, either as part of a holiday or short break from work is there to enjoy diving which all adds to great atmosphere.

In general most trips start off at the easier dive sites, with the dive sites getting gradually more advanced through the trip. Our Similan liveaboard route will give you an idea of the sites you will visit and features photographs of what you might see during your cruise.

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Like most cases in life, you can apply the adage 'you get what you pay for' to a Similan liveaboard trip. There are many different boats to chose from, budget price to high end luxury boats, some offering more compact three day trips, others offering five, six or even nine day trips which include Burma's Mergui Archipelago. All liveaboards are essentially the same, they offer diving from a platform which you can 'liveaboard'. It is the service provided and the facilities on board that can add that extra something you are looking for.

Budget-end Similan Liveabaords

Starting at the budget end of the scale, these live-aboards usually cater for 18-24 divers in basic double bed, twin bed or two to four bed bunk cabins, in most cases with air-conditioning and with shared bathroom facilities. Meals are served buffet style in a communal shaded dining area, with beverages and basic snacks available during the day. There is always a sun deck, some boats offer a small air-conditioned lounge and shaded areas of the sun deck. The size of the kitting up area and dive deck varies a lot on budget boats, some can feel a little cramped due to the numbers on board.

Mid-range Similan Liveabaords

In the mid range category, roughly 50% price increase, you should expect either double or twin bed cabins with en-suite bathrooms and air conditioning. Most mid range boats offer a standard or deluxe/master cabin and cater for around 16-20 divers. These boats have a spacious dining area, air-conditioned lounge with entertainment facilities, camera preparation and photo editing areas as well as shaded and non shaded sun decks. There will likely be more varied menu items, snacks and beverages available with hostess service. Also expect a more spacious kitting up area and dive platform, although not always the case with some unique boat types.

High-end Similan Liveabaords

There are a handful of high end liveaboard boats operating in the Similan Islands, roughly double the price of the mid range boats. Expect nothing less than plush accommodation with the same facilities you would expect from the same standard of hotel on land, including entertainment systems, wardrobe space, mini bar, towels, robes and daily room service. Most high end boats offer outdoor dining or air-conditioned indoor dining with full service, serving more creative menus with items such as ice cream freshly made on board. Your kitting up area should be spacious along with ample camera preparation areas and fresh water rinse tanks. Enriched Air Nitrox should also be readily available.

Regardless of the price you pay for your liveaboard trip, you should expect your boat to be equipped with adequate safety and communication equipment, a life raft, emergency oxygen and first aid supplies, with staff properly trained in their use. Thailand Dive and Sail set high safety standards when recommending Similan liveaboards and simply do not work with vessels that do not meet our approval.

Most Similan liveaboards have a policy of a maximum four divers per professional dive guide, some offer Enriched Air Nitrox for free, some at an extra charge. PADI courses are readily available if you wish to further your diving education. A lot of boats have a masseuse on board or at least a member of staff with Thai massage experience. You should expect great Thai food and lots of fresh local fruit regardless of how much you pay for your trip.

Thailand Dive and Sail have vast experience when it comes to choosing the right liveaboard to meet your requirements, contact us if you would like our experience to work for you.

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When learning to dive there is always a thought in the back of your mind, what if i don't like it? It is a valid question, although more often than not, something that is never dwelt on for long after your first outing underwater. But before learning to dive the question is there and it often puts people off committing to learning to dive as part of a four day liveaboard trip. It is a big investment for something 'you might not like'.

If you are fairly confident that you will like diving then a liveaboard trip perhaps offers you the best possible way to learn diving. The liveaboard becomes your class room, the sea to practice in never more than a few metres away.

Learning to Dive on a Similan Liveaboard
Learning to dive on a
Similan Liveaboard
You are surrounded by other divers who can all relate to your learning status and readily offer encouragement. Diving becomes your world for these days and you will finish the trip feeling like an experienced diver rather than someone who has just completed the basic four dives required on the open water course.

The logistical side of the course is also much simpler on a liveaboard trip, giving your instructor more time to spend on the important matter at hand, teaching you all you need to know to feel confident whilst diving. Most liveaboards have some means to study from the course DVDs but PADI's flexible learning system also allows you to take you book to the beach and study in the shade of a palm tree instead. And don't worry if you course takes you a little longer, with an average of 14 dives per liveaboard trip there are plenty of dives to perfect your skills underwater.

Thailand Dive and Sail have conducted many PADI open water, PADI advanced open water and PADI dive master courses as part of a Similan liveaboard trip with a 100% pass rate to date. In virtually all cases our students have finished the trip completely hooked with diving.

Please feel free to contact us if you require more information about learning to dive on a liveaboard trip.

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Great Liveaboard Experience

"When we decided to go dive the similans, we searched the internet, lookin' for some good operators to go and dive with. That's how we found "Thailand dive and sail with a smile ;-)" on tripadvisor. Dive with a smile was exactly what we got. We started emailing and got very fast and good responses. We had a lot of questions 'coz we were about to go on our first liveaboard, but Sam, who we were emailing to, took the time to give us all the answers we needed. She also assisted us on bookin the boat and things like that. So the good feeling started allready at home with the communication on e-mail. Unfortunaltely, due to circumstances, we had to postpone our holliday and had to re-arrange our trip,... But this was no problem for "Dive and sail" and they helped us out perfectly. Always a smile :-) btw: Sam is female hahaha ;-) In Thailand, one day before the trip, Rick picked us up to try all the equipment before we get of on the liveboard. The first meeting was again... with a smile and a very warm feeling. We met Sarah, our diveguide. It was sheer coincidence she was Dutch, what off coz was easy for us Belgian divers :-)..... . So we spend the next 5 days with her on the boat and underwater. Sarah has a very warm heart and she will do anything to feel you comfortable. When you forget something, she will get it for you, even when she must take of her diving gear again haha. We did no course with her, but I can imagine that she's an instructor with a lot of patience. So if you feel insecure about that... ask for Sarah! She showed us loads of things underwater during the trip and made our first liveaboard one not to forget. She really is a good dive guide who showed us many times things we would easily have overlooked shouldn't she have pointed it to us. Nudibranches, shrimps, even a seahorse we saw. So, our honest advise, if you plan on diving the similans, get in touch with dive and sail, they surely will help you out.And if you're lookin' for a good guide, go, go dive with Angelina Jolie, as the other guides on the boat sometimes called her...... ;-) Thanks Sarah for the guiding and maybe we meet again!"

★★★★★ by zondagskindje 19.04.2013

Thailand Dive and Sail • 4/88 Soi Bang La On Moo 7 • Khao Lak • A. Takua Pa 82190 Phang-Nga • Thailand

   Tourist Authority ThailandTAT Number: L.34/00715

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