Plenty of options
Published/Last edited or updated: 11th April, 2017
During high season, boats hit local dive sites like Eight Mile Rock, Stonehenge and Ko Lantcha. More distant locales like Hin Daeng and Ko Haa can be reached on the multi-day live-aboard trips offered by Forra Diving.
When comparing dive companies, it’s a good idea to focus on factors other than price: equipment maintenance, ethics and experience should all be considerations too. The following Lipe-based companies have good reputations, with some focusing on straightforward day trips and others offering an impressive spread of specialty courses among other features.
T: (080) 545 5012 ; (084) 407 5691
Since 1997, Forra Diving has been one of Ko Lipe’s most reliable and innovative dive operations. With offices on Sunrise Beach, Pattaya Beach and Walking Street, their coterie of multilingual instructors offer live-aboard (aka "marine safari") trips on a 27-metre yacht running from Lipe to Phuket, with a bunch of diving stops along the way. Forra also offers night diving and day trips to a rotating collection of local sites. Snorkellers can tag along on day dives for 650 baht. Forra opens from November to May and also operates small bungalow resorts on Sunrise and Pattaya beaches.
Ocean Pro Divers
T: (089) 733 8068 ; (081) 572 1324
With an office at the busy corner of Walking Street and Pattaya Beach, Canadian-owned Ocean Pro is known for experience and attention to detail. Divers hit the sea on an array of boats and rates include buffet lunches that have received good reports. Snorkellers are also welcome to tag along. Ocean Pro can secure divers a discount on accommodation at Varin Resort and will give a discount if you book three days of diving or more. If you do a PADI course with Ocean Pro there’s also a discount for any future dives you do with them.
T: (087) 478 1615
Based at the eponymous resort on Sunrise Beach, Castaway Divers offers diving experiences that go beyond what you might expect. The vibe is relaxed yet professional and groups are limited to two students per instructor. Divers head out by longtail boat and enjoy lunch at one of the area’s tiny islands. Along with the usual day trips to the best dive sites around Lipe, they offer the full range of certifications in nine languages to go with specialist courses that include night diving, deep diving, free diving, underwater photography and navigation diving. Divers also receive a discount on rooms at the resort.
Ko Lipe Diving School
T: (088) 397 7749 ; (087) 622 6204
With an office on Walking Street, Ko Lipe Diving offers nearly two-dozen courses including search and recovery and wreck diving at the 75-metre-long Yong Hua Wreck. Though the multi-lingual instructors are known for their courses, daily fun dives near Lipe are also offered. With an emphasis on education, this is an especially good option if you’re just starting out.
Davy Jones Locker
T: (090) 324 1248
Originally launched on Ko Tao in 1995, Davy Jones Locker opened a small operation on Lipe’s Pattaya Beach in more recent years. They present a straightforward assortment of small-group diving courses, day trips and packages that represent good value for money. Divers booking multi-day packages get a free air-con dorm bed located in the same building as the main office. This is a good option if you prefer to keep things simple.
Adang Sea Divers
T: (083) 100 6450
Offering more intimate experiences than some of Lipe’s dive operations, Adang Sea Divers has an office and accommodation where divers get a discount behind Sunrise Beach. They specialise in underwater photography courses and provide all of the cameras and other equipment. Other options include underwater naturalist and night diving courses. You’ll also find standard courses to go with fun dives by way of a small speedboat. Prices drop as the number of people increases, making this a good option if you’re travelling with a group of divers.
T: (086) 946 1271
Operating out of the Satun Dive Resort on Sunrise Beach, this outfit offers all-in diving experiences for small groups via longtail boats. They teach standard courses and run daily fun dives, and we spoke to a British customer who was very happy with the service. Snorkellers are welcome to tag along. Satun Dive collaborates with the non-profit Reef Guardian and claims to take environmental responsibility seriously.
Sanom Beach Soul Divers
T: (062) 679 2491
The newest of Lipe’s diving outfits, Sanom Beach Soul Divers combines technical know-how with the local expertise of the Urak Lawoi people. Small groups go out in a longtail boat for courses and fun dives led by a Dutch instructor with decades of experience. The group also runs a scholarship program training young Urak Lawoi locals in scuba diving; these people have evolved to see further and hold their breath for longer underwater than average humans, so for them diving is a natural profession. The office is located at Sanom Beach Resort just west of Pattaya Beach.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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