Dec/Jan Dive Locations Quickly Accessible by Flight From BKK

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drschibi

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Thank you for great suggestions. Dives off khao lok, / phuket / similans / lanta / phi phi are great and easy from BKK, but looking for something else.
Was very excited about Pulau Weh potential, but flights from BKK to Banda Aceh seem to be 20+ hours....
 

Centrals

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Getting to Pulau Weh from BKK involves 2 flights and a ferry transfer. And depend on your arrival time at Banda Aceh you might need to over night there as well.
Dry season is from Apr to Oct.

At the moment both Indonesia and Malaysia are more or less off limited to foreigners.
 

Centrals

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Also: I believe quality of diving is what most divers after.
How many divers would prefer to dive Shark Point over Richelieu Rock?


You pose an interesting question, especially if not considering costs. Even then, however, I can see plenty of reasons for preferring Shark Point over RR...time and distance being two of them. RR has to be done from Khow Lak if a day trip or otherwise as a liveaboard, which is usually a 5-7 day commitment of time. Shark Point can be done from Phuket, where most visitors are likely already staying. Even if the diver was in Khow Lak, I believe the day boat to RR takes over 2 hours (or 1 hour by speedboat). The comfortable "slow boats" from Chalong to Shark Point take about an hour. If the vis is good, Shark Point and nearby Anemone Reef are beautiful dive sites, covered in hard and soft corals and huge sponges, with a lot of marine life. While not as dramatic as RR...a large pinnacle in the open ocean, it's nothing to sneeze at. I've dived RR a few times from liveaboards and sure it's great site but the PITA factor to doing a liveaboard is high. Also, my back doesn't fancy a one hour speedboat trip to and back for 2 dives at RR in a day. As for seeing pelagic at RR...it's the same as anywhere...maybe you will and maybe you won't...I never did. But I have seen them recently at Racha Noi...and one was spotted in Bay 1, a shallow "easy" divesite at Racha Yai yesterday (Harambe Wreck)

So what is quality will be defined differently by each diver taking into account their prefered type of driving (shore, boat, liveaboard), interests (macro, open water,photography, drift, muck, etc., time available for diving, etc. Everyone has their own metrics and how to weigh the options. At this point in my diving, I like shore and day boat diving, with the sites around Phuket being just fine in terms of accessibility and comfort. Later this year, I hope to make my way down to Ko Lanta for Hin Daeng/Muang and Ko Haa and then after that go further south to Ko Lipe. When international travel opens up again, my first foreign trip will be to Banda Aceh and the island of Pulau Weh in Indonesia. I'm sure I'll find plenty of quality diving in all these places.

You just cannot quantify quality.
It is all you own personal opinion/requirement. I am pretty sure there are plenty of divers who would take the speed boat to dive somewhere nice(quality?). I can think of some quality dive sites that won't be suitable to you eg. Komodo, Palau, Raja Ampat, Truk etc.
 

JonnieB

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Pattaya, Thailand
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You just cannot quantify quality.
It is all you own personal opinion/requirement. I am pretty sure there are plenty of divers who would take the speed boat to dive somewhere nice(quality?). I can think of some quality dive sites that won't be suitable to you eg. Komodo, Palau, Raja Ampat, Truk etc.

Yes everyone has their own idea of what's quality diving for them...and yes, I didn't like Komodo.
 

stevenl

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I just don't log dives
Also: I believe quality of diving is what most divers after.
How many divers would prefer to dive Shark Point over Richelieu Rock?


You pose an interesting question, especially if not considering costs. Even then, however, I can see plenty of reasons for preferring Shark Point over RR...time and distance being two of them. RR has to be done from Khow Lak if a day trip or otherwise as a liveaboard, which is usually a 5-7 day commitment of time. Shark Point can be done from Phuket, where most visitors are likely already staying. Even if the diver was in Khow Lak, I believe the day boat to RR takes over 2 hours (or 1 hour by speedboat). The comfortable "slow boats" from Chalong to Shark Point take about an hour. If the vis is good, Shark Point and nearby Anemone Reef are beautiful dive sites, covered in hard and soft corals and huge sponges, with a lot of marine life. While not as dramatic as RR...a large pinnacle in the open ocean, it's nothing to sneeze at. I've dived RR a few times from liveaboards and sure it's great site but the PITA factor to doing a liveaboard is high. Also, my back doesn't fancy a one hour speedboat trip to and back for 2 dives at RR in a day. As for seeing pelagic at RR...it's the same as anywhere...maybe you will and maybe you won't...I never did. But I have seen them recently at Racha Noi...and one was spotted in Bay 1, a shallow "easy" divesite at Racha Yai yesterday (Harambe Wreck)

So what is quality will be defined differently by each diver taking into account their prefered type of driving (shore, boat, liveaboard), interests (macro, open water,photography, drift, muck, etc., time available for diving, etc. Everyone has their own metrics and how to weigh the options. At this point in my diving, I like shore and day boat diving, with the sites around Phuket being just fine in terms of accessibility and comfort. Later this year, I hope to make my way down to Ko Lanta for Hin Daeng/Muang and Ko Haa and then after that go further south to Ko Lipe. When international travel opens up again, my first foreign trip will be to Banda Aceh and the island of Pulau Weh in Indonesia. I'm sure I'll find plenty of quality diving in all these places.
Agree with a lot you're saying, but travel time to Shark Point is almost 2 hours.

And yes, you are comparing apples and oranges by stating the comparison is about quality of diving, and then throwing convenience and other factors in as well. Now you're comparing quality with preference. You're willing to sacrifice quality for other factors, so am I and so are many others. But the quality difference is still there.
 

JonnieB

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Diving quality must be awful in Komodo.
It was when I was there...fierce currents most dives and didn't see shite. The highlight of the week was a Spanish Dancer and the dragons.
 

Centrals

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It was when I was there...fierce currents most dives and didn't see shite. The highlight of the week was a Spanish Dancer and the dragons.
Fierce currents all the time? Highly improbable as current does not flow non stop 24hrs a day. There must be slack tide even during New/Full moon.
And the captain could not find anywhere to escape from the current?
 

JonnieB

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Fierce currents all the time? Highly improbable as current does not flow non stop 24hrs a day. There must be slack tide even during New/Full moon.
And the captain could not find anywhere to escape from the current?
Are you as tendentious in all areas of life or just here on ScubaBoard? YES...just about every dive whipped everyone's ass and we were using our reef hooks...and I don't know when the slack tides were but I ain't diving 24 hours a day; and I didn't discuss dive site selections and dive times with the captain!

FYI: I've grown weary of your borish posts and you're now the first person on my SB "ignore" list.
 

Tippytoes12

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My hubby and I first dived Thailand in 2009, the year after we were certified and loved it. We did Ko Lanta and the Similans, the latter on a LOB and one day trip. Unfortunately a year later, on the same route at the same time a terrible coral bleaching had decimated the reefs. At Christmas 2019 we gave Thailand another try and did Phi Phi, Lipe and Lanta. It was so good to see so much coral regrowth and so many fish, including some excellent macro in the sites near Ko Lipe and also Ko Haa.

The advantages of Thailand are of course the wonderful beaches, super food and some really nice boutique type, but pricey of course, resorts. We had no luck with mantas or anthying else in Hin Muang or Daeng, but the fish life was way more prolific than in the past. Also the entire trip would have been worthwhile because we had the utter joy of seeing beautiful Maya Bay restored to its original glory and beauty. Two Thai navy boats have blocked off the entera ce. Back in 1991 and before The a each, I went there on a long tail and never ever thought that I would see it looking so good again.

The diving is not as good as the Philippines or Indonesia, but you do have an excellent holiday there.
 
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