This is based on my experience in April 2008 with ALADDIN DIVE SAFARI in Thailand. It was a lesson learnt in dealing with dive safari operators in Thailand. I never received "the promised reimbursement" due to the mishap incurred by me. I am posting this on dive web sites to caution all fellow divers to take note so that they can take the necessary precautions. All the best,
A gist of the incident is provided below. You could also view a detailed account of the communication (emails with dates) between me and Aladdin Dive Safari through this following link:-
In April 2008, I had gone diving to the Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar with ALADDIN DIVE SAFARI in Thailand. On our return to reach the Ranong airport, the taxi(same that earlier picked me up from the airport) arranged through Aladdin Safari staff came to pick me, and 2 other fellow divers as scheduled by the dive safari staff, that is, 1.5 hrs prior to our local flight departure time.
On the way, the driver made an unscheduled pick up and drop off of another bunch of fellow divers which were with us on the safari group (to take them from their hotel to the spa) on Frank’s (General Manager, Aladdin Dive Safari) directive, as explained by the driver. Despite repeated requests to the driver about our delay, the driver continued this unscheduled trip. We had also tried to contact Frank from the driver’s cell phone, they all said that, he (Frank) was unavailable. We were having a hard time communicating with the driver and the lady in the office as they did not seem to understand English.
This led to our reaching the Ranong airport very late. All three of us missed our flight.
As we missed the flight from Ranong to Bangkok, I missed my scheduled connecting international flight(which I had planned with an appropriate gap of over 5hrs). The expenses incurred to return home were way beyond my planned budget, not to speak of the stress we all had to go through.
• My total additional expenses to return home summed up to almost 25,000BHT
On arriving back in Bangalore, I immediately communicated to Frank to bring to his notice the major mishap that occurred during drop-off to Ranong airport and find out how this could be reimbursed to me. As the reason for me missing the flights and spending way over my planned budget; was entirely due to the deviation taken by the driver on the directives given by Frank.
(My fellow divers from Finland, who had missed the flight along with me, communicated to me on their return home that they had no hope of getting any reimbursement from the dive operator and would rather get back what they could from their travel insurance. Smarter)
After various communications and reminders to get reimbursed, which was preferable to me, Frank promised to reimburse me a small part of the amount and give me a voucher for a free safari. I agreed so as to arrive at an amicable situation. Well, I got taken for a ride, I am still waiting for the money and the official voucher.
I request fellow divers to take the necessary precautions. Details of the dive agency are:-
Aladdin Dive Safari , Frank Zander – General Manager
Koh Chang Island, P.O. Box 120
85000 Ranong, Southern Thailand
#1 diverthailand has been a member since 16/8/2008. Posts: 1
Unfortunately, I can believe this. I have no experience with the company mentioned but it underlines the importance of staying with reliable transport, ie government buses and metered taxis when you need to catch a flight. If possible, an extra day should be afforded in the city that the flight is to be taken from. Most of the tour companies will be pretty good but there is always the rotten apple.
#2 mic59 has been a member since 30/7/2008. Posts: 107