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Thailand/Similan Islands dive trip

February 26 March 12

We have planned a fantastic trip to Thailand with a liveaboard trip to the world famous Similan Islands.

White sand beach and rock formation on one of the 9 islands of the Similan Islands

It’s happening! We are going to Thailand for a group scuba trip! It’ll be a 2 week trip that we are planning in advance so that you can plan your vacation time accordingly. 

Sunset on Bang Niang Beach, in Khao Lak

Where are we going

We are going to Khao Lak, where Ben lived for 2 dive seasons and knows the area very well. Khao Lak is just north of the island of Phuket in South West Thailand and it is the perfect gateway to the Similan Islands, a world famous dive destination. Khao Lak is essentially an area along the coast line that includes many villages. We will stay in the original village on Nang Thong beach.

Aerial view on Ko Bon

When are we going

We’ll go in March 2023 because it’s towards the end of the high dry/high season and provides us with the best opportunity of flat seas as well as seeing large pelagics like Manta Rays and Whale Sharks. Of course there is never a guarantee to see any specific creatures when scuba diving, but from personal experience and due to the extensive knowledge of the owner of the dive operation, we are sure that March gives us the best chances.

Our home for 1 week

The Liveaboard

We chose to spend 7 days/7 nights on the liveaboard MV Bavaria. This liveaboard is one of the newest and most comfortable liveaboards in the Similan Islands. Normally they only offer 6 days/6 nights tours, but thanks to personal relationships, Ben was able to secure a special trip that will get us to Similan Island, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai, the Surin Islands and Richelieu Rock.  The islands are beautiful and we’ll be able to do 2-3 land excursions during our trip. The diving in this area is very special and very different to diving in the western hemisphere. 

The MV Bavaria has 4 different cabin categories. All cabins are equipped with AC and control in room.

2 standard bunk cabins with each two single bunk beds, shared bathroom, on the upper deck

2 comfort double cabins with each one double bed, private bathroom, on the lower deck

6 comfort twin cabins with each two single beds, private bathroom, on the main deck

2 deluxe cabins, with each one double bed, private bathroom, on the main deck

The MV Bavaria

We’ll have a full board that consists of breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack, dinner and all drinks except alcohol. Every diver can do up to 4 dives a day, except for the last day, with two dives offered. This means you can do 26 dives in one week! Nitrox is available on the boat and use is encouraged! 

Typical soft coral formation around the Similan Islands

The diving

All dives will be guided by an experienced guide, with a ratio of 4 divers per dive guide.The dive sites around the Similan islands are full of life and color, usually rather shallow dives with lots of macro, turtles and smaller rays.Koh Bon has a large cleaning station and is famous for the chance of seeing Manta Rays (the biggest kind, OCEANIC MANTAS, with a wing span of up to 29ft).  I personally saw Mantas as big as 20ish ft on this site. Koh Tachai is another island on our route with a pinnacle dive site, great coral growth and underwater landscape. Here we’ll have a chance to see big pelagics as well.

The second Whale Shark Ben has ever seen and the first one he took a picture of

The Surin Islands offer unspoiled diving close to the border with Myanmar. Hardly anyone is diving in Surin, because it’s far away from the Similans, even the MV Bavaria can only make it because we’ll do the special 7 day trip. We are in for a treat! Richelieu Rock was discovered and loved as a recreational dive site by Jacques Cousteau and is likely Ben’s favorite dive site ever. It is very colorful, has tons of fish, usually a huge group of Jacks right under the surface, as well as plenty of macro with seahorses, frogfish, and maybe the very big guys…. You only know how amazing it is if you’ve had the opportunity to see it…

One of the many pools that the hotel offers, overlooking the beach and sunset

The hotel

We will spend 7 nights (3 or 4 before the liveaboard trip and 3 or 4 after) in the Seaview Resort Khao Lak, which is set on Nang Thong Beach, an extensive stretch of fine sands framed by the emerald blue waters of the Andaman Sea and against a mountainous background. The Hotel features multiple pools, restaurants, bars and plenty of other amenities. It is directly on the beach, but also in town giving us plenty of opportunity to explore the quaint town of Khao Lak with it’s restaurants, beaches and local market.

White sand beach, right outside your room

DATES AND FLIGHTS

The trip will take place from February 26th to March 12th. This means that we’ll fly out Friday evening February 24th and will be back in the sates Monday March 13th.

We won’t include flights into this trip arrangement because there are plenty of different ways to travel and the flight plans for 2023 aren’t out yet. Judging by the flights available for February/March 2022, it’ll be possible to travel from the east coast of the US into Phuket with either one or two stops and a total travel time (including layovers) of around 30 hours. The cheapest round trips we found for February/March 2022 with these travel times are $1200 in Economy.

The local night market in Bang Niang, 5 minutes from our hotel

TRIP COSTS

The hotel and the liveaboard will be available in different categories, which can be specified to your convenience.

The entire two week trip will start from only:

$2,075.00 per person in double occupancy rooms

All prices include 7 nights on the liveaboard MV Bavaria with full board (4 meals), snacks, drinks (except alcohol, which can be purchased on board), up to 26 dives with dive guides, tanks and weights, in a double occupancy cabin.

7 nights of accommodation in Khao Lak Seaview Resort with breakfast, in a double occupancy room. Transfers from the airport to the hotel in Khao Lak and back. Transfer from the hotel to the boat and back.

Prices don’t include National Park fees for the liveaboard trip, which is around $90 and Nitrox, which is going to be around $105 for all dives ($4.00/dive). These costs will have to be paid on site, directly to the dive shop.

Please check out the liveaboard and hotel options and contact Ben directly so we can put together your personalized quote and get you booked for this incredible trip. 

PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE FLIGHTS AND NATIONAL PARK FEES!

For information on single occupancy, extra dives, Nitrox and other special requests, please email ben@athensscuba.com

18/1 Moo 7 Nang Thong Beach
Khao Lak, Phang-nga 82220 Thailand
+ Google Map

To get a better idea of the boat and the diving, check out the following videos I’ve found on youtube.

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