What to take on a liveaboard
We are sometimes asked what should I bring on a Thailand diving holiday. In general we recommend traveling light, most things can be purchased here in Thailand, there is no need to pack for every eventuality. But there are some essentials that you will need and a few other considerations that you may not have thought about, especially if you are planning a liveaboard trip.
Thailand Dive Holidays Checklist
- Passport. It’s obvious that if you are coming from overseas you will need a passport. Check that it is up to date and has at least 6 months remaining before expiry. Check the requirements for citizens of your nation regarding visas for Thailand. Many nationalities get a 30 day entry on arrival stamp at the airport but if your country doesn’t qualify you’ll have to apply for a visa at your nearest Thai embassy. Note that currently an entry on arrival is granted for 30 days if flying into Thailand but only 15 days if coming overland from a neighboring country. It’s a good idea to make copies of your passport and any other important documents in case of loss.
- Insurance. It makes sense to have travel insurance. In the last 10 years we’ve had a tsunami, bird flu, SARS, a military coup, an airport blockade. The state hospitals may not be able to provide you with the best medical care should you need it. The private hospitals in Phuket are excellent but expensive. Phuket has two recompression chambers, Koh Tao has one, make sure you have dive insurance so that you can use them if you get bent.
- You dive equipment. All boats provide tanks, weights and belts free of charge. A set of dive gear (BCD, reg, mask, fins, snorkel, wet suit) costs between 500 and 800 baht per day depending on the operator. A dive computer is an extra 300-500 baht per day. Many liveaboards also charge for use of a torch on night dives. Rental fins are the full foot kind so if you prefer open heeled fins you should bring your own. Rental wet suits are 2-3mm shorty’s so if you prefer a long suit bring your own. If you wear a prescription mask you should also bring that with you. You can buy dive gear from most top brand manufacturers here. Wet suits in particular are a good buy price wise. Spare parts for underwater photographic equipment are hard to find, it’s best to bring them with you.
- Certification card and log book. If you’ve lost your PADI cert card we can find your details online. If you were trained with another agency you should contact them directly.
- Medications. Although most medications can be bought here in Thailand it’s worth bringing whatever you rely on with you. Also, do you wear specs? Bring some spare glasses or spare contact lenses.
Thailand Liveaboard Checklist
If you are planning multiple days on the boat you will need all of the above and there are also some other considerations. You don’t need to take all your luggage on the boats with you, we can arrange to store bulky items until you return.
- Chargers for phone, laptop, kindle, dive light etc. You may nee a travel adapter if you are coming from a country that uses 110v, we use 220v 2 pin sockets in Thailand. Adapters can be bought in Thailand if you forget to put them in your luggage at home.
- Sunscreen, sunhat, sunglasses. Plus extra sunhat for when your first one blows over board 😉
- Sea sickness medication. Most boats can provide you with Dramamine but that makes you sleeply. Consider bringing a non drowsy alternative and take it before you board the boat so that it has time to take affect.
- Save a dive medication. Decongestant, headache pills, ear drops etc. The boats all have well equipped medic first aid boxes for emergency use but the crew are not doctors and may have a policy of not handing out medication to everyone. If you are renting fins (the full foot kind) we recommend taking a pair of socks. If you get blisters on your heels a pair of socks will stop each dive from being one hour of heal rubbing agony.
- Copies of your important documents. Including passport and dive insurance. You can also provide us with a number to contact in an emergency and give our number to your relatives back home in case they need to reach you urgently.
- Thai baht cash. To pay for your national park fees, equipment rental, beers and tips.
- A few equipment spares. Mask strap, fin strap etc.
- Your favourite snacks. Although all meals are provide on the boat you may crave a snickers bar after 3 days at sea.
- Your favourite booze. All boats sell cans of beer on board but if you fancy a G&T as the sunsets or a bottle of vino with dinner you’ll have to bring your own.
- Ciggies. If you are a evil dirty smoker you should pack enough fags for the whole trip. In fact pack extra because the hard up dive masters and crew will be scrounging them from you all trip long.
- Camera and a big enough memory card.
- USB stick with movies on. Some of the boats have TV’s in the cabins but there is no satellite TV or cable. So bring your own entertainment.
- A book. For passing the time during the surface intervals.
- A towel or toiletries. Most boats provide towels but some don’t. Check with us whether you should bring yours.
- Walking shoes. All the liveaboard boats are shoe free, you put them in a box at the start of the trip and collect them at the end. However there will be a few trips to the beach and there are a couple of view points to climb up to. These can be done in bare feet but you may be more comfortable in crocs or teva style sandals.
We hope that this incomplete list is useful. Happy diving 🙂