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Similan Islands Liveaboard-worth the $$?

  • jessicaf

    Joined Travelfish
    25th October, 2010
    Posts: 11

    Hi,

    I am going to Thailand with my boyfriend in March and we both are avid divers. I have read that the Similan Islands are amazing, but it seems that it is difficult to do day trips there. The 3-5 day liveaboards seem like a great way to experience many of the dive sites, but they are expensive (from $800+ US dollar).
    Does anyone know if the liveaboards are worth the money? Any suggestions on cheaper options or can give me info on a liveaboard that is less expensive?

    Thanks

    #1 Posted: 16/11/2010 - 08:17

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  • guava_girl

    Joined Travelfish
    21st October, 2010
    Posts: 251

    Sea Dragon does day trips. As well, they are known to cater to the budget minded and are one of the most reputable companies in the area (and no I do not work for them or even dive). Their website is www.seadragondivecenter.com Also try Khao Lak Scuba Adventures. Both of these are based out of Khao Lak.

    From what I hear these trips are well worth it. But I do not dive so I can not say first hand. But there is a reason that people come back every year.

    #2 Posted: 16/11/2010 - 09:57

  • TheNewGuy8

    Joined Travelfish
    8th September, 2010
    Posts: 35

    There are lots of day trip options. I'm doing one on Thursday. Its a long day, but you can get 2-4 dives in if you schedule your deck time right.

    I'm going with Wicked Diving, but there are lots of shops - Sea Dragon is well regarded as well.

    #3 Posted: 16/11/2010 - 16:56

  • mikethediver

    Click here to learn more about mikethediver
    Joined Travelfish
    23rd March, 2008
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 204
    Total reviews: 3

    hi,
    Similans worth the money? Good question and difficult to answer! The Similans does unfortunately suffer from too many divers & boats, the nearer (to the mainland) sites are worse as that is where the day trippers can reach. The sheer volume of divers at the sites can put some people off.

    If you decide to do a liveboard then about the only advice I can offer is to check that your liveaboard boat does not cater to day trippers as this makes the boat very crowded. Some companies run speed boats out to meet liveaboard and the day trippers dive off the liveaboard. (If you book a 4 day liveaboard you would expect the boat to leave every 4 days; if you can join the boat at anytime, then this almost certainly is transporting daytripers as well which, as well as the extra divers on board, means that the liveboard does not move out to the better dive sites as it must remain where it can be reached from the mainland.

    If you are going to do a daytrip, then doing it from Khoa Lak is the best option. I also concur that Seadragon has a good rep.

    Doesn't answer your question I know -my opinion is.....well it's only my opinion & others would disagree.!
    Mike.

    #4 Posted: 17/11/2010 - 06:10

  • swag

    Click here to learn more about swag
    Joined Travelfish
    28th March, 2007
    Location Australia
    Posts: 329
    Total reviews: 6

    Would have to agree with what Mike says here. I did a 4 day liveaboard last November and it was fantastic. Having said that we didn't have any daytrippers coming out to us so we were able to venture out to some of the further less crowded spots. Also November the season is just starting so numbers a bit lower although our boat was full.The famous Richlieu Rock site saw us with only one other boat for the 2 dives we did there and it was stunning.So look if you can afford it go the liveaboard, but if you do the daytrip your still going to have a great day food/weather/diving wise.

    #5 Posted: 17/11/2010 - 07:06

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2045
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
    At least 107

    Just out of curiosity, how many people do the medium-budget boats normally take for live-aboards? And what is the standard of accom like? (I haven't any plans at this stage, but had wondered about it the last time I was there...)

    #6 Posted: 17/11/2010 - 07:47

  • swag

    Click here to learn more about swag
    Joined Travelfish
    28th March, 2007
    Location Australia
    Posts: 329
    Total reviews: 6

    Hi Lizzy, from memory we had 26 divers on the boat with 1 instructor and 5 divemasters. Basically 1 staff per 4 divers is the normal ratio.Accommodation was a/c bunk beds for 4 people to share or 3 cabins with 1 double bed for couples at a higher price being on the top deck.It's fairly tight but you really only sleep and get changed in them.
    cheers
    swag

    #7 Posted: 17/11/2010 - 08:48

  • jessicaf

    Joined Travelfish
    25th October, 2010
    Posts: 11

    thanks for all the advice!
    swag, what was the company you did your liveaboard with? i would prefer to not have day trippers coming on and off the boat.

    from what i notice it seems like the prices vary depending on how nice the accommodations are on the boat? is that correct? we are not too picky about accommodations; we just want to have a good time and dive :)

    #8 Posted: 17/11/2010 - 08:52

  • swag

    Click here to learn more about swag
    Joined Travelfish
    28th March, 2007
    Location Australia
    Posts: 329
    Total reviews: 6

    Hi Jessica the company was Similans Diving Safaris based in Khao Lak. This was a Travelfish 5th birthday giveaway that I was lucky enough to win. Had a great time.You can read a trip report that I did on my return.Any questions ask away.
    regards
    swag
    http://www.travelfish.org/board/post/tripreports/8470_similan-islands-liveaboard-trip-report

    #9 Posted: 17/11/2010 - 09:03

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1530

    In support of doing a live-aboard. This gets you focused on diving, and gives you time to get used to your gear (if rented) and buddy (if new) and logistics of the boat, so with each dive you get more relaxed, puff more slowly through your tank, improve buoyancy control, notice things, communicate better, etc. Also if one site has bad vis or surge no big deal there's another site coming up soon. Also you get to do sunrise dives when sea life is at its peak and night dives are way cool too. Definitely worth doing.

    #10 Posted: 17/11/2010 - 13:06

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  • cybervlad

    Click here to learn more about cybervlad
    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2007
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 182

    Generally, I am for live-aboard. As mentioned above it is less stressful, and you can concentrate on diving, not on transportation.
    But it is possible that there will be too many dive boats (include daily), visibility can be not so good (depend on Moon phase).
    Price $800 for 5 days diving is resonable, IMO.

    #11 Posted: 17/11/2010 - 18:44

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