For those of you travelling with us for a 4 day, 4 night liveaboard adventure, we hope you are ready for a fantastic trip with 14 dives to look forward to plus time to relax and enjoy watching the Similan Islands pass by as we travel on Mv Vilai Samut to the best dive sites. Like our 3 day liveaboards we start by gathering in the shop around 6 pm and head towards the Tap Lamu pier, located 15 minutes car ride from Khao Lak.
When we arrive on the boat we allocate our guests to their cabins, set up our equipment then we learn about the trip and the boat with a through briefing from the tour leader who will tell you where everything is, and most importantly, where to get coffee!
The boat starts heading out towards the Similan Islands while we have a nice buffet dinner with some fireworks to scare away any evil spirits that might have come on board while the boat was moored up at the pier according to Thai-tradition.
This the perfect time to check our dive books with maps of the dive sites we’ll visit and what marine life you can expect to encounter during the journey. You will find out who you will be diving with, plus who will be your guide so its a good time to discuss what you would like to see and what your preferences are.
The journey takes approx. 4-5 hours while you sleep comfortably in our air conditioned cabins. We offer sea sickness pills to everyone even if you usually don’t have an issue with this. The conditions are usually calm but the pill will help you sleep the first night on a boat if you are not used to it.
Please note this is to give you a guide to the sites we will be visiting and our normal schedule, but the sea and its conditions and currents can vary, please be aware we may change or re-arrange the sites to get the best dives possible.
After a wake up call at 6.30am, we meet together at 7am for a full safety diving briefing and a site briefing before kitting up to make our first dive at:
DIVE 1: West of Eden, West side of Similan Island #7
This site is a fantastic site to start your diving holiday normally with good viz and lots of marine life. Conditions are normally calm, ideal for checking equipment and fine tuning weights. In the shallower water, there is a wealth of corals and small bommies to hunt around for lionfish and octopus, as a special point of interest there is a large bommie reaching down to 25 metres and peaking at 9m surrounded by glass fish and covered in sea fans making it perfect for our underwater photographers. Search amongst the crevices for boxer and hingebeck shrimps plus sometimes some nice nudibranches. You finish the dive in the shallows where you can search for morays and scorpion fish before returning to our boat.
After returning to the boat, we can dry off before having breakfast and an informal de-brief discussing fish life and points of interest with your dive guide. Time to fill out the log books.
The next dive briefing is at 10.30 with our dive usually planned for 11.00am at
DIVE 2: Christmas Point / North Point , North-West Side Of Similan Island # 9
We travel to Island # 9 to do our 2nd dive, which will be either Christmas Point or North Point depending on conditions. These dive site demonstrates why Similan Islands are so highly ranked among divers with some amazing topography.
These sites consists of giant boulders which form fantastic formations with arch ways, swim throughs and canyon to enjoy during the dive. We always dive these sites differently depending on the current. The sites are massive so there’s never a problem in finding shelter and we still have a large area to explore. If we are lucky we might find a resting LEopard Shark or a resting Ray between the rocks.
After the 2nd dive we serve a lunch buffet and start heading north towards Koh Bon island.
DIVE 3: Koh Bon West Ridge
3rd dive of the day we’ll do at the West Ridge on Koh Bon Island. Koh Bon is famous for being a cleaning station for the massive Manta Rays. We can never guarantee a sighting but Koh Bon is definately the best place in Thailand to look for them. Even if the Mantas would be absent this dive site is beautiful with a limestone wall and ridge covered in soft corals with large moray eels and different kinds of shrimp living in the cracks. The current can sometimes be quite strong on the ridge but this attracts a large number of pelagic fish species which feeds along the ridge in the current.
DIVE 4: Koh Bon Bay (Sunset or Night Dive)
If you like critters you don’t want to miss out on this dive ! Last season we found more weird creatures here, baffeling our dive guides, than any other site. Highlights include decorated spider crabs, abalones, decorated hermit crabs and nudibranchs/slugs. Also here we get the occasional visit from hunting barracudas and don’t be surprised to see huge freeswimming Moray Eels hunting.
After the night dive we enjoy another delicious dinner and discuss what we’ve seen so far and maybe share a Singha or two.
Now we are getting into our diving routine, so wake up 6.30am, time to grab a coffee and toast, briefing then hitting the water at:
DIVE 5: Koh Bon West Ridge
1st dive of the day we’ll do one more dive at the West Ridge on Koh Bon Island. This time of the day we might see a shark or two, or maybe an Eagle Ray or a massive Manta Rays.
Then we head back to the boat for a well earned breakfast, and a power nap for those who need it in preparation for our second morning dive around 11.00 am
DIVE 6 + 7: Koh Tachai Pinnacle.
The pinnacle starts at 12m and can have some stronger currents. Fortunately we use the mooring line for descent for easy access to the site and shelter from any current. This dive site comes alive more and more the stronger the currents get and can be an amazing adventure dive with good pelagic action.
It consists of hundreds of boulders around the main pinnacle, with large sea fans and coral gardens. If you get lucky and get that 30m+ visibility while you dive here it’s a beautiful scenery.
After a light snack on board after the dive, we have the possibility to take our dinghy in to Koh Tachai Island to enjoy some beach time. This is the most beautiful beach we have in the area.
DIVE 8: Koh Torinla, Surin Islands (Sunset or Night Dive)
This dive site starts right at the surface and slopes down to 20 meters. A bit away from the slope there is a rock formation stretching along the island, which is home to plenty of fish. Outside the rock formation it quickly drops down to 30 meters.
On the reef there is a good chance you will see Mantis Shrimps, Jaw Fish and Octopus. It is not unusual to find sharks by the rock formations and further out in the sand there are often different kinds of rays.
DIVE 9 + 10: Surin Islands
The diving around the Surin Islands is very good, with colorful corals and a diversity of fish and marine life. At the Surin Islands we try to show you the best macro life, but don’t be surprised if some bigger fish turns up. The dive sites might differ from trip to trip depending on currents.
After the first dive we’ll have our big breakfast and after the 2nd dive we enjoy our buffét lunch.
DIVE 11 + 12: Richelieu Rock
This dive site is a pinnacle in the middle of the ocean and works as a magnet for all marine life in the area. Our most famous dive site and highly ranked among divers world wide, and rightly so. The rock is covered in soft corals and sea fans, and with thousands of cracks for all sorts of marine life to live in such as, sea horses, ghost pipe fish, harlequin shrimps and large number of different moray species.
This site usually has a school of chevron barracudas and snappers patrolling the rock, that and the possibility to encounter our largest visitors, the Mantas and the occasional Whale Shark makes this one of the most exciting and diverse dive sites of the whole trip.
Since this site is in the middle of nowhere, dive 12 is going to be a sunset dive.
DIVE 13 + 14: Bonsung Wreck
Last dive of the trip really stands out and is one of the highest ranked dive sites among guides in the area along with Richelieu Rock. The Bonsung Wreck used to be a tin dredger, scooping sand from the bottom to filter it for precious metals, before it sank some 30 years ago.
The wreck itself doesn’t resemble much of a ship or anything but it’s absolutely covered with marine life. On top of the wreck there’s a proper “fish soup” of schooling snappers, juvenile barracudas and jacks, and on the wreck itself you’ll find white eyed and honeycomb morays, different kinds of nudibranchs, lots of scorpion fish and it’s common to find cuttlefish and octopus in the sand around the wreck. This is also one of the few places we can spot the legendary stone fish, nominated as the ugliest fish in the sea.
The visibility is lower here than the rest of the sites with an average of about 10m but it makes up for it with the amount of life it holds.
When we finish the last dive our staff will start cleaning the equipment, if you got your own gear there’s time to rinse it and hang it up to dry before we return to port.
On the journey home we’ll have a delicious pasta lunch and maybe a beer or two while we reminisce about our dive adventure. This is the best time to get advice on any additional diving you want to do around Khao Lak and the Similans and also what other activities there are to do around here.
We get back to the pier approximately 2.30 PM where our taxis will be waiting to return us to the dive shop for 3pm.
If you have any questions about the trip, the diving, the boat or the Khao Lak area in general, send us an e-mail and we’ll be more than happy to help you.
The Liquid Team