Best Thailand Liveaboards for Every Budget (+ Expert Tips!)

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With Liveaboard, you can experience scuba diving in an entirely unique way. In this article, we will walk you through what you need to know about participating in a Liveaboard dive trip and suggest some of the best Thailand Liveaboards for every budget.

Similan Islands Thailand Liveaboard sunset

Thailand has an abundance of world-class dive sites, so it’s no wonder that scuba divers from all over the world are attracted to this country. There are coral gardens, rock formations, and a variety of marine life you are likely to come across under the surface.

Koh Bon, Richelieu Rock, the Similan Islands, and the Surin Islands are just a few of the best sites for scuba diving in Thailand that come to mind.

Diving is your gateway to this beautiful country’s underwater treasures. 

Get the most out of your diving experience in Thailand with Liveaboard. Reach remote areas and dive in places where marine life is plentiful and diverse, away from the disruption of regular tourism.

Wondering what a Liveaboard is? Here is everything you need to know about Liveaboard diving trips.

Our Similan Islands Liveaboard experience was one of our favorite diving memories of all time. We learned so much and really got comfortable underwater with so much practice and excellent dive guides. 

In this article, we will walk you through the basics of participating in a Liveaboard dive trip and suggest some of the best Thailand Liveaboards in all the most popular area for every budget. 

Let’s dive in! (pun intended)…

Thailand Liveaboards

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Best budget Thailand Liveaboards

If you’re looking for a Thailand Liveaboard experience that won’t break the bank, we recommend going with one of these top-rated boats. 


Andaman Liveaboard Thailand
Image source: Liveaboard
  • Length of voyage: 4, 5 and 8 days
  • Ship size: Up to 20 guests
  • Cost: starting at $108 USD / day
  • Destinations: Similan Islands, Surin Islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai & Richelieu Rock

What better way to explore the Andaman Sea than aboard the Andaman? The friendly crew, expert diving guides, and delicious food is a great way to explore the Similan Islands and Richelieu Rock.

Divers have a choice between private ensuite cabins or shared cabins with shared bathrooms for a range of budgets. All with air conditioning! When not diving, there is plenty of space to relax on the sundeck or seated areas under the shaded canopy.

Dolphin Queen

Dolphin Queen Liveaboard Thailand
Image source: Liveaboard
  • Length of voyage: 4 and 6 days
  • Ship size: Up to 22 guests
  • Cost: starting at $117 USD / day
  • Destinations: Similan Islands, Richelieu Rock and the recently opened Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar (Burma)

This budget Thailand Liveaboard ship features 3 decks with multiple cabin options from private to shared for different budget levels. 

There is plenty of space for relaxation between dives on the sundeck and lounge areas.

Food served onboard is a mix between Thai and Western style dishes, freshly prepared. And breakfast is made to order.

The Junk

The Junk Liveaboard Thailand
Image source: Liveaboard
  • Length of voyage: 3, 5 and 7 days
  • Ship size: 6 guest cabins
  • Cost: starting at $159 USD / day
  • Destinations: the Andaman Sea or the unexplored waters of Myanmar (Burma)

Once part of a small merchant trade fleet, The Junk underwent a complete renovation to turn this authentic sailing vessel into a diving Liveaboard adventure. 

The ship now features 6 air-conditioned cabins with ensuite bathrooms, an entertainment salon and sundeck with shaded area for lounging. 

Diving from the Junk is done via dingy, to ensure you get to the best dive sites.

Since the Liveaboard boat we went on (with Wicked Diving) is only offering group bookings now, this is the most similar Thailand Liveaboard experience we found to the one we did. 

Best mid-range budget Thailand Liveaboards

The following Thailand Liveaboards all come with great reviews and the mid-range price tag means you’ll find the facilities and amenities to be a bit more comfortable. 

Blue Dolphin

Blue Dolphin Liveaboard Thailand
Image source: Liveaboard
  • Length of voyage: 5 days
  • Ship size: Up to 16 guests
  • Cost: starting at $145 USD / day
  • Destinations: Similan Islands, Koh Bon and Richelieu Rock

With 4 different types of air-conditioned cabins available at different price points, the MV Blue Dolphin provides its guests with enough privacy and space for ultimate comfortability. 

The top deck provides wide spaces to soak up some sun while the common areas offer a lot of room for relaxation.

The diving staff onboard are highly-trained to offer the best and most relaxed diving experience for each individual.

Sawasdee Fasai

Sawasdee Fasai Liveaboard Thailand
Image source: Liveaboard
  • Length of voyage: 5 Days
  • Ship size: Up to 30 guests
  • Cost: starting at $149 USD / day
  • Destinations: Richelieu Rock, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and the Similan Islands

Sawasdee Fasai offers trips to several diving sites in Thailand from October to May. The ship is well-equipped for accommodating a large number of divers with a huge dive deck and gear storage space. 

With professional dive experts and a friendly onboard staff, you’ll feel comfortable and at ease on your Liveaboard experience.

DiveRACE Class E

DiveRACE Class E Liveaboard Thailand
Image source: Liveaboard
  • Length of voyage: 5-6 days
  • Ship size: Up to 20 guests
  • Cost: starting at $157 USD / day
  • Destinations: Similan Islands and the Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar

In 2014, the DiveRACE Class E was custom built to provide the best Thailand Liveaboard experience possible. With plenty of room for relaxation, the cabins inside can accommodate a small group or family. 

Enjoy a relaxing massage or watch the latest movies while waiting for your turn to dive and explore Thailand’s underwater treasures.

Smiling Seahorse

Smiling Seahorse Liveaboard Thailand
Image source: Liveaboard
  • Length of voyage: 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9 days
  • Ship size: Up to 16 guests
  • Cost: starting at $170 USD / day
  • Destinations: Surin Islands, Richelieu Rock, Koh Tahcai & Koh Bon

Newly built in 2018, the 25m Smiling Seahorse accommodates up to 16 guests on 4 decks.  Divers can choose between private standard or deluxe cabins and shared standard cabins at different price points. 

A spacious dive deck allows for plenty of room to gear up and there’s even a camera station for underwater photographers. 

Best luxury Thailand Liveaboards

For a luxury Thailand Liveaboard experience, look no further than the top-rated boats below. 

Marco Polo

Marco Polo Liveaboard Thailand
Image source: Liveaboard
  • Length of voyage: 3 and 5 days
  • Ship size: Up to 12 guests
  • Cost: starting at $250 USD / day
  • Destinations: Similan Islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock

The 23-meter MV Marco Polo Liveaboard offers luxury diving trips in the Andaman Sea. 

The boat has six air-conditioned double cabins with ensuite bathrooms, all of which open to the outer deck. 

With only three dive groups on board, the Marco Polo guarantees excellent service, stress-free setups, and fewer divers at dive sites.

After dives, guests can relax and dine on the spacious sundeck, which provides shaded areas. The indoor salon features a TV and music station for viewing underwater footage or listening to music.

Thailand Aggressor

Thailand Aggressor Liveabaord Thailand
Image source: Liveaboard
  • Length of voyage: 8 days
  • Ship size: Up to 16 guests
  • Cost: starting at $348 USD / day
  • Destinations: North and South Andaman Sea routes (including Similan Islands)

The 35m world-class Thailand Aggressor offers a world-class liveaboard experience on the luxury end. Eight air conditioned state rooms are each equipped with a private bathroom and shower. 

Catering to small dive groups, you are sure to have an individualized experience onboard. In between dives, you can watch a movie, browse the marine library, relax in the cushion area, and enjoy your meals buffet style.

Tips for choosing the best Thailand Liveaboard

Similan Islands Liveaboard Thailand

With 30+ available Liveaboards in Thailand, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out which one to choose. Here are some tips we’ve picked up from our own experience on how to choose a Liveaboard experience that’s best for YOU. 

1. Look beyond the daily rate

Not only pay attention to the daily rates we’ve listed in our list above, but look at how many days the itineraries are. You may find the cheaper daily rate only offers long 10+ day itineraries making your total go way up from the slightly more expensive Liveaboard with a short 4 day itinerary. 

Ask about park fees, and if they are included in your rate, as well as alcoholic beverages and anything else that may be an additional cost. 

It’s also a good idea to think about tipping when calculating your total Liveaboard budget. It doesn’t hurt to ask ahead of time how much is typical for guests to leave as gratuity. 

2. Pay attention to the sleeping arrangements

Similan Islands Liveaboard Thailand
The bunk-style beds in our double cabin on our Similan Islands Liveaboard

Are the cabins onboard shared or private? Double occupancy or single? We’ve seen a Liveaboard that doesn’t offer cabins at all—the whole group sleeps on the top deck under the stars each night.

While that may be great if you’re trying to minimize your budget, it’s a good thing to know before you book. 

Also check to see if your cabin offers air conditioning and if it’s individually controlled or not. If a Liveaboard says it has “naturally ventilated” cabins, that’s a nice way of saying they do not have AC. 

3. Find out the bathroom situation

Similan Islands Liveaboard Thailand bathroom
The shared bathroom on our Similan Islands Liveaboard was small but functional

Are the bathrooms on board private ensuites in each cabin, or will you be sharing a bathroom with other guests? 

If you’re going for a shared bathroom situation, check how many guest bathrooms there will be compared to the number of guests onboard to get an idea of what that situation will be like. 

4. What kind of food is served onboard

Similan Islands Liveaboard Thailand food
The food one our Similan Islands Liveaboard was surprisingly good

Some of the Thailand Liveaboards describe having both Thai and Western cuisine options, but some only offer the local cuisine. 

If you have any special dietary needs or restrictions, it’s a good idea to ask beforehand if they will be able to accommodate you. 

5. Ask about the diving onboard

SImilan Islands Thailand Liveaboard scuba diving

Find out how many dives are offered each day, and if there are any special dives like night dives available. It’s also good to find out if there are any diving experience requirements for participating (some boats have minimum dives or advanced certification requirements).

You should also ask about the diving equipment onboard—how old it is, if it’s well-maintained and if it’s all included in the cost of the Liveaboard or if there are extra rental costs for things like dive computers. 

If you are an underwater photography enthusiast, it’s good to know that some Thailand Liveaboards include space for underwater photography and equipment rentals. 

6. Find out if there are any on-land excursions

One of the perks of our Komodo Liveaboard was getting to experience some of the unique features of Komodo National Park on land. We got to do some hiking and see the famous Komodo dragons in person. 

Having onland excursions isn’t always common for Thailand Liveaboards, but can be a nice way to break up the monotony of being at sea everyday, and give your sea legs a nice break too!

Best time of year to do a Thailand Liveaboard

Similan Islands Thailand Liveaboard sunset

Most, if not all, of the Liveaboard diving destinations in Thailand are found in the Andaman Sea. The best time to go scuba diving in Thailand is during the dry season – November to April.

It’s good to keep in mind, the popular Liveaboard routes through the Similan Islands and nearby dive sites are only open seasonally from October – May. 

December and January will be more crowded on the Thai islands since it’s the peak season. 

If you want to see some mantas and local whale sharks, it’s best to plan your trip around February to April. We first got our open water certification for scuba diving in Koh Tao during February and it was really nice. Not too crowded but still busy enough to meet other travelers.

From June to September, it’s best to do a Liveaboard in Phuket since they are protected from the rainy season weather and are open to divers all year round.

Planning a trip to Thailand? Find out the pros and cons of visiting each region of Thailand during different times of year, and especially, when to avoid visiting the country.

Best places to do a Thailand Liveaboard

When searching for the best Thailand Liveaboards, you’ll have your pick of a number of different destinations around the country. 

Similan Islands National Marine Park

Similan Islands Liveaboard Thailand

Located 100 km Northwest of Phuket, the Similan Islands are without a doubt one of the most popular places for Liveaboard diving in Thailand. In fact, the National Marine Park is considered to be one of the best places for diving in the world.

The Similan Islands are composed of nine islands that offer white sandy beaches, picturesque views and spectacular diving conditions with crystal clear waters. 

Here you will find thriving reefs with more than 500 species of soft and hard corals. As well as a variety of marine life including guitar rays, leopard sharks and mantas.

The area is also known for having gorges, caves, and passages where you can swim through when diving. If that doesn’t have you ready to pack your bags, then I don’t know what will!

It is important to note that the marine park is only open for diving from October to May, so be sure to plan your trip accordingly.

Read Next: Similan Islands Diving: Our Liveaboard Experience in Thailand

Surin Islands

Scuba diving in Thailand

Located in the Andaman Sea, just north of the Similan Islands, the Surin Islands are renowned for their pristine marine environments and rich biodiversity. This remote archipelago is a diver’s paradise, offering some of the most unspoiled and vibrant underwater landscapes in the region.

Like neighboring Similan, the Surin Islands boast excellent visibility, making it easy to explore the colorful coral reefs that fringe the islands. 

These reefs are home to a spectacular array of marine life, including anemonefish, parrotfish, and a variety of nudibranchs. The islands’ diverse ecosystems also support larger species such as reef sharks, manta rays, and sea turtles, with a high chance of encountering these majestic creatures.

One of the standout features of the Surin Islands is Richelieu Rock, one of Thailand’s most famous dive sites. The islands are accessible from October to May, ensuring optimal diving conditions during this period.

Richelieu Rock

Scuba diving in Thailand

Just north of the Similan Islands is the famous Richelieu Rock site, which attracts more than its fair share of marine life. This is one of the most famous Thailand Liveaboard diving sites. It’s well known for chance encounters with whale sharks.

The rich planktonic blooms are what attract the whale sharks to this area, and they usually hang around for days. So your chances of seeing one on a Liveaboard trip are very high!

Like many popular Thailand diving sites, Richelieu Rock is only open for diving from October – May each season. 

Koh Bon

Located just north of the Similan Islands, Koh Bon is famous for its dramatic underwater topography and the frequent sightings of manta rays.

The waters around Koh Bon are crystal clear, offering excellent visibility for divers to explore its vibrant coral reefs and steep drop-offs. 

The pinnacle of Koh Bon, known as Koh Bon Ridge, extends out into the sea, creating a unique habitat that attracts a plethora of marine life, including barracudas, Napoleon wrasses, and various species of moray eels.

One of the key highlights of diving at Koh Bon is the opportunity to witness large pelagic species up close. Manta rays, in particular, are often spotted here. 

The dive site is accessible from October to May, aligning with the diving season of the Similan Islands, ensuring optimal conditions for an unforgettable diving adventure.

Koh Tachai

Scuba diving in Thailand

Situated between the Similan Islands and Surin Islands, Koh Tachai is one of Thailand’s best Liveaboard diving destinations. This pristine island is famed for its diverse marine life and dynamic underwater environments, making it a top choice for adventurous divers.

Koh Tachai offers crystal clear waters and remarkable visibility, allowing divers to fully appreciate its stunning coral gardens and dramatic granite boulders. 

The dive site is especially renowned for its vibrant reef ecosystems, which are teeming with an array of marine species, including leopard sharks, barracudas, and massive schools of snapper.

One of the most thrilling aspects of diving at Koh Tachai is the frequent sightings of whale sharks and manta rays. These gentle giants are often spotted gliding gracefully through the currents, providing divers with unforgettable close encounters. 

Additionally, the site’s strong currents and nutrient-rich waters attract a plethora of smaller pelagic species, creating a lively underwater scene.

This dive site is accessible from October to May, aligning with the diving season of the Similan Islands, ensuring optimal conditions for exploring its underwater wonders.

Phuket & Phi Phi

Scuba diving in Thailand Liveaboards

South of Phuket and the Phi Phi Islands near Koh Lanta in the Andaman Sea are three world class diving sites. 

Hin Daeng, Hin Muang and Koh Haa feature steep reef walls, lush soft coral gardens and large fish. In fact, these dive sites are feeding grounds for large pelagics, which means you have a good chance of spotting a whale shark or manta ray.

Hin Daeng (Red Rock) is a huge dive site that offers depths down to 60 meters — which is well below usual recreational limits. So unless you have some serious diving experience and credentials, you’ll likely stay closer to the surface. Which is just fine as leopard sharks are often seen in the area.

Hin Muang (Purple Rock) is a long rocky ridge connected to Hin Daeng. However, the depth of the ridge prohibits diving between the two, so they are treated as two separate sites.

The surface of the dive site is covered in purple soft coral, which is how it got its name. Leopard and whale sharks are also seen here, and swarms of tiny fish are constantly under attack from large predators such as jacks and trevallies.

Koh Haa (Five Islands) is nearest to Koh Lanta, situated between Hin Daeng and the Phi Phi Islands. The site features — you guessed it — five small islands with a number of different walls and caverns. Koh Haa is a good spot for night diving and also offers the popular “Twin Cathedrals” cavern dive.

Sail Rock

Located between Koh Phangan and Koh Tao islands in the Gulf of Thailand, Sail Rock is one of the best diving sites in all of Thailand. The large reef wall plunges to around 40 meters deep, so it’s a good site for both beginners and more advanced divers.

Divers come here from all over the world to see large schooling fish, giant morays, and if they are lucky, even whale sharks. The large vertical chimney at Sail Rock is also a draw as a unique swim through.

What to pack for a Liveaboard diving trip

Figuring out what to pack for a scuba Liveaboard can be tricky… you want to be prepared, but you definitely don’t want to overpack when you’re going to be living in tight quarters. There are some definite musts that you don’t want to forget, and even more things that you should just leave on land.

We’ve taken all the guesswork out of packing for you and compiled a complete liveaboard packing list so you don’t forget any essentials on shore. Oh, and it’s totally FREE!

Liveaboard Packing List | Two Wandering Soles

Don’t forget about travel insurance!

World Nomads provides coverage for adventure activities like scuba diving that aren’t usually covered (read the fine print!) in typical travel insurance policies. We recommend getting their short-term trip coverage (on top of your regular travel insurance plan) if you plan on doing a Liveaboard diving trip. 

Get an instant quote on World Nomads right now, it’s that simple! It’ll take less than 3 minutes. 

Are you interested in Liveaboard diving and want help planning your trip?

We have some great resources for you!

Komodo Liveaboard Indonesia boat

Planning a Liveaboard Diving Trip

From the diving equipment to the bathroom situation, here’s everything you need to know about planning a Liveaboard diving trip. We’ll walk you through a typical daily schedule and clue you in on what to expect for the onboard experience. Plus we’ll include some expert tips and insider advice we wish we would have known before our first Liveaboard. 

Loy Krathong Sky lanterns at Wat Pan Tao Chiang Mai Thailand

Thailand Travel Guide

Be sure to look over our Thailand travel guide to get quick advice on everything from the local currency to key words and phrases you should know. Browse our extensive article library for tips and advice on traveling to destinations all over the country. 

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Thailand Liveaboards | Two Wandering Soles
Thailand Liveaboards | Two Wandering Soles

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Which of these Thailand Liveaboards do you most want to book?? Are you considering doing a Liveaboard in Thailand and still have questions? Leave your comment below and we’ll do our best to get back to you!

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