What Is A Phuket Liveaboard Safari?

What Is A Phuket Liveaboard Safari?

Get The Most Out Of Your Phuket Diving Holiday With A Liveaboard Safari

The best diving in Phuket and Thailand for that matter is inside the Similan and Surin Island National Parks and the most efficient and cost effective way to dive these fantastic locations is on-board one of the many liveaboard safari boats that run trips from mid October to May.

What Is A Liveaboard?

It’s essentially a floating hotel that supplies everything you need for the trip. Once you step on-board the first evening of the trip apart from a couple of beach visits you wont set foot on dry land again until the end of the trip which is usually 4 days later.

Idyllic Beach At The Similan Islands

Idyllic Beach At The Similan Islands

You’ll be allocated a cabin for the duration of the trip which is usually a twin bed configuration although some do have double beds, for the more budget conscious traveller some boats will have a cabin that has four bunk beds. Generally the rooms are air-conditioned and will have limited features, space is at a premium but most of your time will be spent in the common areas which usually have various forms of media and a small library. En-suite bathrooms are available on many boats but you will pay a little extra for this option.

All of your meals will be cooked in the on-board kitchen and are surprisingly delicious and frequent. Hunger is definitely not an issue on a Thailand liveaboard. You’ll probably put on a few kilo’s during your trip so make sure your wetsuit has room for expansion.

Who’s it For?

We recommend that divers are minimum Advanced Open Water or at least prepared to take the course on the boat, there will be deep and night dives that are not really suitable for Open Water divers. If you’re here with non-diving friends or family then this probably isn’t the option for you, unless of course you’re looking for an excuse to escape from the aforementioned friends and family.

If your experienced divers travelling alone or in a group then this is by far the best option. You’ll get to see the best dive sites and get your diving fix in 4 or 5 dive days, releasing the rest of your time to enjoy the beautiful sights around southern Thailand.

Those who don’t like crowds will appreciate the low number of divers on-board. Most liveaboards have a maximum guest list of around 20 divers, so there’s always plenty of space on-board and the dive deck is a stress free environment with plenty of room to manoeuvre.

Spacious Dive Decks On Similan Island Liveaboards

Spacious Dive Decks On Similan Island Liveaboards

The Diving

This is where the most obvious advantage of being on a liveaboard comes into play. You’ll wake up in the morning at your dive site, no commute what so ever. After a dive site briefing you’ll jump in, there’s simply no better way to wake up than diving into the clear, warm waters around the Similan Islands. You have the whole day to spread out your dives so you’ll get 2hr+ surface intervals, plenty of time to relax in-between dives and get rid of some nitrogen. Although we do highly recommend diving on Enriched Air Nitrox if you have the certification.

A typical day will start with an early wake up call around 6:30am, followed by a light breakfast and briefing. After your first refreshing and hopefully fantastic dive you’ll be served your second breakfast (you’ll be beginning to feel like a hobbit) which will be much more substantial.

After a good couple of hours digesting your breakfast and maybe lying in the early morning sun it will be time for your second dive around 11:00am followed by a delicious lunch and another opportunity to relax, fill in logbooks and maybe go through the fish ID books in the library as you begin the never ending task of trying to put a name to the myriad of species that you’ve seen.

The third dive of the day will be around 2:30pm, after the dive, yep you’ve guessed – there will be more food, usually in the form of cake or other snacks. Depending on where you are, you may also get the chance to spend an hour or so on one of the pristine white sand beaches in the Similan Islands.

Plenty Of Delicious Food

Plenty Of Delicious Food

The final dive of the day can vary. On the first day of the trip it will usually be a night dive in a calm secluded bay after the sun has gone completely down. The trend over the last few years has been to take the final dive of the day around 05:00pm, what we call a sunset dive. The light at this time of day is fantastic for photography and it’s time when the predators are most active. You’ll also be able to dive at better dive sites, night dives must be conducted at the safest possible location.

So now your days diving is done, it’s time to take a shower and join the rest of the divers and crew for dinner. By now you’ll probably be thoroughly exhausted and after discussing the days diving over a couple of beers or a glass of wine most will head for an early night ready to experience another fantastic day in this wonderful location.

What’s Included/Excluded?

As a general rule of thumb most liveaboard trips will include: transfers from any Phuket hotel, all meals, accommodation on-board, water, tea, coffee, tanks, weights, weightbelts and guide. Usually excluded are: domestic and international flights, National Park fees, equipment, soft drinks, nitrox, diving insurance and alcohol.

So what are you waiting for? The peak periods are usually booked many months in advance, get in touch with us now to make sure you don’t miss out on a fantastic Similan Island adventure!

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By Justin Hartrey

I've been enjoying the incredible marine life in our oceans for over 25 years. 13 years ago I became a PADI professional, hoping to introduce as many people as possible to the incredible beauty of the seas.

Having been fortunate enough to dive all over south east and especially Thailand, I enjoy sharing my experience and passion on this blog.

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