Looking for Similan liveaboard recommendations for experienced divers Feb 2023

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Mr. Sunday

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I'm a Fish!
I'm in the planning stage of a trip to Thailand in Jan/Feb 2023 and would like to make a Similan trip.

I'm an experienced OC/CCR tech diver etc.. and would like to avoid the cattle boat operations. I have done multiple great liveaboards in Raja Ampat, Komodo, & the Similans, etc...

My last Thai boat was in 2019 with Khao Lak Scuba Adventures.
It was a truly awful experience that I don't want to repeat. KLSA had bad logistics, bad director/guides, bad divers, and was way too overcrowded.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a smaller more professional operation that caters to experienced divers? Something with mid+ level pricing?

I am looking to book something in February 2023.

Thank you for your time.
 
You ought to look for LoB to cover both Similan and Koh Lanta(Hin Daeng, Hin Muang and Koh Ha) on one trip.
That would make for a good trip. I have always done those areas separately. Thanks
 
Big Blue Khao Lak was highly recommended to me a few years ago however website looks out of date so not sure whether they are still running.

I did the speedboat with them to Richelieu and it was a great days diving


 
This may be of interest to you: Thailand Whale Shark Expedition 2023

I've done five trips with this boat already and have nothing but praise for them.
Thank you for the recommendation. I have been looking at that boat and have already contacted them about a cruise. Looks like a good option. I will probably book in the next week or two after I get the air sorted out.

Cheers
 
Big Blue Khao Lak was highly recommended to me a few years ago however website looks out of date so not sure whether they are still running.

I did the speedboat with them to Richelieu and it was a great days diving


I will check them out. Thank you.
 
This may be of interest to you: Thailand Whale Shark Expedition 2023

I've done five trips with this boat already and have nothing but praise for them.

I'm interested in one of their other itineraries.
- I'll be solo, is that a concern?
- I'm AOW with only 40-50 dives over 20+ years; what's the typical clientel like?
- are they located in Ranong or Putong?
- what's their rental gear like? (I only have mask/fin/3mmfull
- how's the food and is it thai? (I hope so)
- I tend to get sea sick, but I'm fine with Bromine. How rough is it?
- When is a good time to go between Jan - May? I'm looking at Feb 20
- this is my first time on a LOB and first in Thailand; I'm hoping to do some land exploration in phuket and if I can extend the vacation even longer Bangkok
- whale sharks would be a huge plus; when's the best time
- what are the things to look out for in a LOB in Thailand?
- I'm in the process of getting nitrox cert; looks like they have nitrox at extra $.
 
Also... what is a more upper mid level LOB like? Examples in Thailand?
 
I'm interested in one of their other itineraries.
- I'll be solo, is that a concern?
Not a problem at all. I understand that in the Caribbean, it's customary to just chuck pairs of divers into the water, but in SEA, all dives are guided, so you're a part of a group of up to four divers.
- I'm AOW with only 40-50 dives over 20+ years; what's the typical clientel like?
I've met a diver there that was fresh out of her AOWD course, she came out of the trip very happy.
- are they located in Ranong or Putong?
The home base is in Ranong, but last season they were cruising up and down the coast - Ranong to Khao Lak, Khao Lak to Phuket (not Patong though; they docked in Phuket Town which is on the other side of the island), then back up the coast to Khao Lak and Ranong again.
- what's their rental gear like? (I only have mask/fin/3mmfull
I haven't used it myself, but from what I saw, it's all in good condition. Haven't seen other divers have any issue with it.
- how's the food and is it thai? (I hope so)
It's a mix, served buffet style. The couple that runs the boat is French, but the chef is Thai.
- I tend to get sea sick, but I'm fine with Bromine. How rough is it?
Luck of the draw, really. Early and late in the season, chances of rough weather are higher, mid-season like February it should be calm.
- When is a good time to go between Jan - May? I'm looking at Feb 20
May would be pushing it with regard to weather, but anything up to March, possibly April is good.
- this is my first time on a LOB and first in Thailand; I'm hoping to do some land exploration in phuket and if I can extend the vacation even longer Bangkok
If you're comfortable on a scooter, get one in Phuket; the taxis there are infamous for their pricing. I wouldn't ride one in Bangkok traffic though.
- whale sharks would be a huge plus; when's the best time
Don't think there's any specific time that's better than others; don't count on seeing one - they're getting pretty rare these days. If you want guaranteed whale sharks, there's Oslob in Philippines.
- what are the things to look out for in a LOB in Thailand?
Group sizes, accommodation (en-suite showers, aircon, etc), specific routes.
- I'm in the process of getting nitrox cert; looks like they have nitrox at extra $.
It's certainly a good investment. When you're diving four times a day, hitting the NDL gets quite easy.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/peregrine/

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