Posted by Danila on 25/10/2017 at 10:42
Greetings, we're planning a bit more SE Asia, and looking to the wonderful Travelfish team for some answers again please! Background: older couple, 20+ years diving, lots of places! We know that Thailand tends to be more of a learning to dive place, but with about 6 weeks in country, we're thinking of spending a week or so diving. Timeframe is February, so I think both east and west are pretty ok weatherwise. We've decided against a liveaboard, as it's just a bit too intense for us, we prefer 2-3 dives a day, rather than 4-5. First pass, Khao Lak looks interesting. Any comments from seasoned divers? Other places instead? Again, we do understand it's not going to be the mindblown, best diving in the world, type of diving, but we'd like to do some! (in March we're going back to Labuan Bajo/Komodo for the best diving in the world! ;) )
Thanks in advance, Danila
#1 Danila has been a member since 17/10/2016. Location: Global Village. Posts: 28
Posted by DLuek on 30/10/2017 at 09:00 TF writer
Though I'm not much of a diver, I have snorkeled around most of the areas that are popular with divers in Thailand, so I'll give this a stab since no one else has yet.
One place you may want to consider is the Ranong area, which is a lot less popular than Khao Lak and others but puts you within day trip distance of some beautiful spots in both Thailand and far southern Burma. There are a handful of dive outfits in Ranong town (some info here) and a couple more on nearby Ko Phayam. From either of those places you can hit Ko Surin, where I really enjoyed snorkeling a few years back. Ranong is also close to Richilieu Rock and related sites that are reputed to be among the best in Thailand.
Otherwise I think you'll do fine diving out of Khao Lak, Ko Lanta or Ko Lipe. There's also Phuket and of course Ko Tao, though you're likely to encounter bigger crowds at either of those. Lipe is really quite stunning; it developed a lot in the past decade or so but surrounding it is a whole archipelago of national park islands that are completely undeveloped and very beautiful. Here's some basic info on the diving options there.
Regarding Khao Lak, it's a relaxing beach town -- a series of a few related beach towns really -- and not a bad option if you prefer to stick to the mainland. Haven't been for a while but I once did a snorkeling trip to the Similans from there and enjoyed it, though I've seen photos showing disturbingly large crowds in the Similans in more recent years. I'd choose Ko Lanta over Khao Lak based on the destinations themselves, but again I can't comment on which has access to better dive sites.
#2 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,346
Posted by Danila on 30/10/2017 at 12:49
Hi David, thanks so much for your detailed reply, and all the helpful links. Going to check out your blog too :)
More research for me, but your reply helps me to narrow things down a bit!
thanks and happy travelling! Danila
#3 Danila has been a member since 17/10/2016. Location: Global Village. Posts: 28
Posted by Danila on 22/2/2018 at 04:13
Hi David and all, I wanted to report back - we went to Koh Lanta (stayed at Sri Lanta, which is ok, but a mix of new build and old accommodation).
We dived with Scubafish, who I would unhesitatingly recommend as absolutely top-notch! We've been avid divers for over 20 years, and so have dived with a bunch of dive places around the world. Scubafish is professional, good equipment, good (large, fast) boat. A great mix of safety-conscious and fun. First time out, we thought the boat seemed pretty large and pretty full, but they keep groups to max 4 per divemaster, and it all worked smoothly. Pick up and drop off from our hotel daily, breakfast, snacks, lunch, soft drinks, tea/coffee/water all good on the boat. Very professional and fun people. We also (finally!) did our Nitrox training with them, and that went smoothly.
Dive sites they go to are Koh Haa daily, plus a rotation through Hin Daeng/Hin Mung, Koh Rok, Koh Phi Phi and further south. Weather prevented us going to a couple of places, but Scubafish was always willing to be flexible with our bookings and work with us to get the best outcome.
After reading that Thai diving is often for "beginners", I'm happy to say that we really enjoyed the diving!
Happy to recommend both Koh Lanta and Scubafish.
Koh Lanta as an island is pretty chill and laid back, no huge disco scene (!) Old town is worth a look, nice beaches.
cheers! Danila (currently enjoying Chiang Mai)
#4 Danila has been a member since 17/10/2016. Location: Global Village. Posts: 28
Please login to add your reply