The best choice of & value Similan, Richelieu Rock and Surin dive trips
When making a decision about where, when, and for how long to go on a scuba diving trip, there are quite a few things to take into account. Those lucky enough to be free and single can please themselves. Some divers have non-diving partners, or even children, and these need to be kept occupied and safe during the trip. Logistics and finances also need to be taken into account. Generally, warm countries are more suitable for diving, and Thailand is one of the most popular scuba diving locations in the world. The South-East Asian country has something for everyone and the year-round climate is ideal for activities outside.
With nightlife and shopping to please all tastes and budgets, Bangkok has just become the most visited city in the world. From there, tourists can choose to go north for mountainous treks, or south to the islands and beach resorts. There are two coastlines in Thailand. The east coast looks out onto The Gulf of Thailand, which flows out to the South China Sea, but the west side is usually cleaner due to its direct connection with the Indian Ocean. Diving can be done all year round on both sides of Thailand’s peninsula, but the best diving in Thailand is restricted to the months between November and May.
Sixty or so kilometres west of Phang Nga province, which is just north of the world-famous resort island of Phuket, lies the Similan Islands archipelago. This uninhabited group of nine islands is a true tropical paradise. The area is closed between the middle of May and the end of October, mainly due to potentially rough sea conditions making sailing too risky. However, for the rest of the year, especially around January and February, The Similan Islands are the best place to go diving in Thailand. Yes, Richelieu Rock is regarded as the best singular dive site in Thailand, but it is just a submerged pinnacle in open water and those spending the time and money to go so far out to sea normally want more dives and more variety. In addition, anyone travelling with non-divers needs to either leave them on the mainland or keep them entertained while on a liveaboard cruise. This is exactly why Similan diving tours are such a great balance of the best diving experiences while offering something else to do. There are beaches on the islands, and many dive sites are also suitable for snorkelling.
Finally, Similan Island scuba diving cruises are not nearly as expensive as some people may presume them to be. Starting at less than $500 for three days at sea, including all meals and air-conditioned cabins, makes a lot of financial sense for anyone considering staying in a hotel in Phuket or Phi Phi, eating in restaurants, and going out on diving day trips. And the best bit is that the Similans offer much better diving than the ‘local dive sites.’