The best choice of & value Similan, Richelieu Rock and Surin dive trips
When choosing where, how and for how long to go scuba diving in Thailand, some people instantly dismiss the thought of a liveaboard cruise, due to the financial cost and being away from ‘the action’. However, it is well worth thinking more carefully first. There are lots of good reasons to opt for liveaboard diving trips compared to being based on land and joining local diving day trips. The Similan Islands are the most popular destination for such trips.
Firstly, and most importantly, the cost needs to be calculated accurately and fairly. Although $600 or more is a lot to spend on a four-day trip on a boat which is comfortable but hardly luxurious, divers need to work out what they’ll get for that. Four nights in an air-conditioned cabin are included, as are three delicious meals per day, and soft drinks. Staying in a hotel or guest house in, for example, Phuket is not inexpensive, nor are meals and drinks. In addition, tourists in such places are almost certain to go out for dinner and drinks, maybe rent a car or motorcycle and end up spending quite a lot of money, often on activities that they may not wish to have memories of.
Local diving day trips are considerably cheaper than liveaboard cruises, but you only get to dive two or three times. However, the cost-per-dive on most liveaboards is less. In addition, the quality of diving is so much better out in the Similan Islands or Hin Daeng than nearer to the mainland. Some may argue that the best balance is to take a day trip to the Similan Islands, and enjoy the best diving but return to one’s hotel at the end of the day. Although these trips are excellent value and fun, travelling two hours or more each way on a speedboat with only two dives at Thailand’s best diving sites is a lot of mucking around.
Liveaboard Similan Islands cruises are probably the best balance of time spent, cost, enjoyment, and comfort. To get the best out of a diving trip there, it is important to spend a few days. The price per dive is extremely reasonable, even before taking into account the accommodation and food, which is all inclusive. Spending a few days or more enables the passengers to get to know one another, both on deck and below the water’s surface. Finally, there’s no need to rush around, everyone can just take it easy and relax between dives.