Smiling Seahorse, liveaboard, Thailand, conservation travel, thai whale sharks




The Smiling Seahorse is a reef-responsible dive operator respectful of nature, offering dives Off the Beaten Path, at the most beautiful sites of the Andaman Sea!

Offering diving cruises in the Andaman Sea from the Mergui Archipelago in Burma to Koh Lipe in the south of the Andaman Sea in Thailand, close to the Malaysian border, passing through the Surin and Similan Islands.

The vessel is a specialised custom-built boat for scuba divers. Its steel hull allows it to cut through the waves with ease as you relax on the shaded deck area or your cabin. With a spacious dive deck & camera room adjacent, your dive preparations are relaxed & roomy.

Come out and enjoy Thailand’s amazing diving with the Smiling Seahorse!



The Smiling Seahorse's Promises

  • to abide by Green fins  principles
  • to encourage environmentally responsible diving practices
  • to reduce/ reuse/ recycle as much as we can
  • to offer reef-friendly products: such as our refillable organic, reef-safe Soap, Shampoo and hair conditioner.
  • to ask all our employees to help in ocean conservation efforts
  • ​to support marine science research and clean up projects
  • to work in partnership with conversation organisations to create awareness & offer research trips - Mantra Trust & The Thai Whale Shark Project

The Smiling Seahorse has been awarded a Responsible Manta Trust operator logo for its commitment to the Manta Rays.


The Smiling Seahorse has been running dive cruises since 2012 to all the top rating dive sites around the Andaman sea.  In 2017 the owner Franck & Camille decided to "break the mould" by building a specialized boat designed by and for divers instead of converting a fishing vessel ( which is common in this region). The MV Smiling seahorse took its maiden voyage in November 2018. 


Its Steel hull is much more suited to easily cut through waves than a wooden hull and its 2 superior engines allow the MV Smiling Seahorse to venture further into the unknown. Although the boat is larger than its predecessor, measuring 25m long and 6.4m wide, its 8 cabins and bathrooms spread over 4 decks still cater to a maximum of 16 guests. More space for the same number of people definitely ups the ante of comfort and freedom during your cruise.

Facilities  include:

  • Outdoor dining area
  • Shaded & unshaded rooftop deck
  • Large shaded outdoor lounge area
  • Spacious dive deck
  • Kayak for use
  • Separate room on the dive deck, for camera equipment & charging
  • Ample dive deck storage - no cluttered area
  • Tender for diving
  • Audio & Visual entertainment
  • Dedicated local & international crew
  • Chef for international & Thai buffet meals


The Smiling Seahorse has three cabin types spread over the upper deck & main deck areas.


Located towards the front of the boat on the upper deck are the standard cabins (& the living quarters for the dive staff).  Every door opens to a stunning view of the nature surrounding you and there is also a window that you can watch the waves roll by from the comfort of your bed.

All cabins are air-conditioned with shared bathrooms on the dive deck & feature a smart-bedding system. This room can have a double bed & an upper shelf  or  two single bunk beds. Two large cubbies or draws allow you to tuck your belongings away out of sight.

  • Double or single bed configuration
  • Air conditioned
  • Towel & Reef Safe washes included

Located on the main or dive deck are the Deluxe Cabins.  Every door opens to a stunning view of the ocean and there is also a window that you can watch the waves roll by.

All cabins are air-conditioned with a private ensuite. A double bed & an upper shelf to store luggage or there can be two single bunk beds. Two large draws for storage.

  • Double or single bed configuration
  • Air conditioned
  • Private ensuite
  • Towel & Reef Safe washes included

The two master cabins are located at the front of the boat with windows facing forward to offer a breathtaking panoramic view. A great cabin for couples looking for a romantic setting.

  • Double or single bed configuration
  • Air-conditioned
  • Private ensuite
  • Double bed only ( min 2)
  • Towel & Reef Safe washes included


Thailand offers some of the best diving in the world in the Andaman Sea both in the North & South.

The North Andaman (on the West coast of Thailand) is home to the Similan Islands & Surin national parks.

The most famous is the Similan Islands National Park which has sites Koh Tachai & Koh Bon. Less known & less travelled lie the Surin Islands which includes Richelieu Rock considered in the top 10 world dive sites!

Both National Parks offer great diving with the chance to see Whale Sharks & often at Koh Bon the giant Oceanic Manta Ray can be spotted!

The South Anderman offers pretty diving as well to the East of Phuket lies the Phi Phi islands, Koh Lanta National Park (Hin Muang & Hin Daeng) known for Mantas and Leopard sharks as well as Koh Lipe, a hot spot for Macro life and frogfish sighting!

(Dive/ travel season in the Western Thailand area is from November to May).


  • Richelieu Rock - in the top 10 world dive sites
  • Chance to see Whale Sharks & Manta Rays
  • Visibility from 10m - 30m+



Each season the Smiling Seahorse offers trips in conjunction with the THAI WHALE SHARK PROJECT travelling to both the North & South parts of the Andaman Sea to maximise the chance of spotting & diving with Whale Sharks.


2017, Koh Tao Whale Shark Project was started by Marine Biologist/ Conservationist Kirsty Magson to assess & monitor the population of whale sharks around Koh Tao & its surrounding areas. This project led to over 280 positively identified individuals. It was this success that created a need to record all sightings in the waters of Thailand, evolving to now become THAI WHALE SHARKS.

The goal of Thai Whale Sharks builds on that success, to monitor & map the movements of individuals, and to understand more about their habitat. The data collected from the whale sharks use, timings & location of this habitat will be used to create & distribute a code of conduct with learning resources that will help businesses to interact in a sustainable & conscientious way, with these animals.

Onboard you will be taught the correct way to record (photography) the whale sharks with informative presentations each evening. Learning & educating with the hope that you will pass on this amazing interactive experience with other divers & your friends so that whale sharks are protected for future generations!

Onboard includes:

  • Breakfast, lunch, snacks & dinner
  • Kirsty Magson - Marine Biologist & founder, will join you.
  • Guided dives with maximisation of time with Whale Sharks (where possible)
  • Presentations & informative learning throughout the trip
  • NOTE: as with all pelagic fish whale sharks are not guaranteed



Smiling as big as a whaleshark!

We went on the North Andaman cruise from 26.12.21-2.1.22 and it was the best! We had a blast, a lot of diving in different areas and with different conditions (ofc,...


Still Smiling!

This was my daughter's and my first liveaboard experience. Everything was fantastic and we only very reluctantly disembarked after four nights on the Smiling Seahorse...



Keep coming back

As I'm writing this, I've done four trips on The Smiling Seahorse, and am about to head out for a fifth - that's as big a vote of confidence as I can possibly give...




A "THAILAND PASS" has been created and as of 1 February 2022 is currently running. The pass system is free.

  1. Fully Vaccinated for the “Test and Go Program”
    Fully vaccinated travellers, both Thai and foreigners will be allowed to enter Thailand without mandatory quarantine or sandbox stay. They only need to stay for 1 night in an ASQ or SHA+ Hotel while they wait for the COVID 19 RT-PCR test result that was taken upon arrival (Day 1) and another stay for 1 night in an ASQ or SHA+ hotel on Day 5. Unvaccinated children below 18 years old may travel with vaccinated parents without quarantine.

  1. Fully Vaccinated under “Sandbox Program”
    Fully vaccinated travellers may also enter Thailand without quarantine under the Sandbox Programs such as  Pattaya, Hua Hin, Phuket or Samui Sandbox. They are required to spend a minimum of 7 nights in an accredited SHA+ Hotel in these Sandbox areas before they will be allowed to travel to other parts of Thailand. Unvaccinated children below 18 years old may travel with vaccinated parents without quarantine under the sandbox program.

  1. Non-Vaccinated under “Quarantine Program”
    Non-vaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers are still allowed to travel to Thailand. They must undergo a mandatory quarantine of 10nights in an accredited ASQ or AQ quarantine hotel before they will be allowed to travel to other parts of Thailand.


The Thailand Pass System is a QR code generating system.

To obtain a QR entry code or Thailand Pass ID, travellers will have to:

  • Register at the Thailand Pass web portal
  • Input personal details
  • Upload the required documents
  • Receive a confirmation email after registration (within seconds after registration)
  • Wait for the Thailand Pass approval (within 5 to 7 days)

And if approved, you will receive an email of your QR Entry Code or Thailand Pass ID which you will use upon entering Thailand.

Thailand Pass



A 30% deposit will be required to secure your booking, with full payment required 60 days before the arrival date.

  • A deposit of 30% of the total booking is required
  • Full payment is due 61 days before the departure date
  • Any amendments or changes inside the 61 days will incur an amendment fee & subject to the resort approval.
  • up to 91 days before the departure date - full refund lass 10% transfer fee
  • 90 to 61 days before the departure date - loss of 30% deposit or date change
  • 60 to 46 days before the departure date - 50% cancellation fee
  • 45 days or less from the departure date 100% cancellation fee (full trip cost) is applied

COVID19 POLICY - as at 01.02.22

If any of the following conditions apply within 2 weeks of departure and you are not able to join your scheduled trip, we will provide you with a free reschedule valid for 2 years.

  • A flight travel ban prevents travel from your country of origin to the destination.
  • A “Shelter in Place” notice or mandatory government quarantine, either at your location or ours.
  • A positive COVID-19 test result for yourself or someone in your household within 14 days of your scheduled departure or medically documented ongoing COVID-related symptoms during the same timeframe.
  • Inability to join your scheduled departure due to a positive COVID-19 test result or screening failure either en-route or upon arrival. 
  • For destinations where a negative COVID-19 test is required: you’ve had the test performed/submitted within the first 24 hours of the required testing period, but results have not been returned in time for departure or pre-clearance submission. 
  • You are a front-line (ER/ICU/COVID Unit) health care professional, and your vacation time is revoked due to COVID-related hospital leave policies.
  • A containment order is given in your country or in Thailand.


  • Minimum of certified Open Water Diver level
  • Certification card must be presented
  • Travel Insurance & Dive Insurance is mandatory - Insurance must cover emergency evacuation & medical costs
  • (Standard indemnity & liability waiver will need to be signed before diving & snorkelling. A PADI diving wavier sample copy is here. Any medical questions with a yes MUST be accompanied by a doctor's clearance as be outlined in the document. This can not be done at the resort & should be undertaken before departure in your home country by a doctor who is trained in dive medicine).