How to choose the best Similan Islands live aboard trip involves so many things to consider. These include which trip to book and who to book with. It’s natural for us (and others) to claim to offer the best price, service and choice. The owners of the boats and every agent wants to make you believe that they are your best option. Let’s look at some facts about each situation and most people’s booking needs.
I want the best price
This is a very important factor for nearly everyone. Similan Islands live aboard trips are not cheap, and it is crazy to pay more than you need to. Many websites offer a ‘best price guarantee’ which we also do. This is easy to offer, because the trips are all sold at the same price, with unofficial discounting forbidden in agents’ contracts. Therefore, if there is a discount available, it can be had whoever you book through, and nobody will sell at a higher price. However, some agents try to be clever and some dive centres can be greedy.
Agents trying to be clever are usually those who show the ‘per day’ rate, trying to make the Similan Islands live aboard trip look better value than elsewhere. This is especially true when a trip is claimed to be more days that it really is. For example, a 4D/4N Similan Islands live aboard trip is less than 96 hours in length. But they nearly always depart in the evening, meaning that there’s no diving and only one meal on that first day. Because these trips span or include 5 calendar dates, some unscrupulous agents claim them to be 5D/4N, and they divide the trip price by 5, not by 4. For example, a $1,000 4D/4N trip may be shown as $200/day, when in fact it is clearly $250/day. Another example of confusing the public can be seen on an international agent website who offer free diving insurance, but this is only available to divers who spend more than $1,000US per person per trip. And most of these people will already have their own insurance or be diving on one of our boats which offer it for free anyway.
Greedy dive centres include those who add the banking fee for online payments. Every retailer who takes online card payments suffers a fee from PayPal, Visa, MasterCard or another payment gateway. For us, it’s an unavoidable overhead, but paying online through PayPal gives our guests and us the best online security. We absorb these fees, but some dive centres add it to the payment made by you.
So, for the best price, you don’t need to look very far. All Similan Islands live aboard trips are sold at the same price. We give free gifts to all our liveaboard guests, without condition. And we don’t add fees to online payments, unless it is specifically detailed in advance for certain situations.
I want the best choice
This is where we excel. Although some international online agents may have more Similan Islands live aboard boats on offer than we do, nobody has a wider choice of Similan Islands live aboard boats & trips than us. Local Thai agents in the south of Thailand and Bangkok usually have no more than 10 boats to choose from. This is usually due to them not having a good personal or business relationship with all of the boat operators, or them having limited time or skills to handle so many schedules and booking terms & options.
There are two or three international websites who are offer scuba diving liveaboards in many countries around the world. However, none of them have more Similan Islands live aboard trips than we do. Reasons include them not wanting to offer flexible Similan Islands live aboard trips due to the lower commission and ever-changing availability, as well as some local boat operators not liking the way that these international online agents communicate with them and with the guests. The larger you get, the more diluted any relationship or service becomes. We have first-hand reports from dive centres, customers and even the staff of these huge booking agents, all stating that their communication & policies are impersonal, greedy, and often inefficient and inflexible.
Local agents (including us) have a much better relationship with the dive centres, and knowledge of the local ways, including traffic, transport, hotels, weather and more. In addition, being in the same country enables things like communication by phone and banking much easier & cheaper. However, not everyone gets along with their neighbours. Some agents don’t want to sell a particular fleet’s trips or a boat operator may not accept an agent for a number of reasons.
Therefore, nobody in Thailand or around the world has more Similan Islands live aboard boats or trips available than we do. In addition to the best price, we also have the best selection. So, what more do you want? Service?
I want the best service on a Similan Islands live aboard
Of course you do. If the same product or trip is being sold by several retailers at the same price, then the service you receive is usually what makes or breaks a deal. And we know this. We know that many of our guests will contact us and others at the same time, and then wait to see who replies soonest and with the most helpful advice. We have all lines of communication open, plus our team is the perfect size to give our guests the best service.
We are available for 16-24 hours per day on the phone, email, online chat, WhatsApp, FB Messenger, Line, WeChat, & Viber. We understand that while most westerners prefer to use WhatsApp, our Asian guests like Line & WeChat. Of course, people like to call, and email is the safest and most-comprehensive way to communicate. Whichever is best for you is fine with us. +66 891 363 121 Contact us
Our team is small & personal. That means that your first contact person will nearly always remain your only contact from the first email, phone call or message right up until we know you’re on the Similan Islands live aboard boat. In fact, we also follow up each guest after their trips. Smaller teams may not have time to take care of every customer’s every question, and large office-based agents often assign different staff depending on who’s available at the time. We feel that we have the perfect balance to offer the best service. Want to check? Read our reviews. (TripAdvisor)
And it’s not just about communication that defines good service. Our team know each Similan Islands live aboard boat’s advantages and some disadvantages, so we can give each guest the best advice to choose a trip. For example, one boat may attract lots of divers or staff from a particular country, or another boat may have better facilities for particular needs. We know all of our boats very well, because we visit them, dive from them and we prefer to be honest with everyone from the beginning.
What about no proper shop?
Some people may see us being an online agent as a disadvantage, but we choose to operate this way. Dive centre agents who have their own offices need to care about so many more things & costs. These include rent, utilities, staff and dive equipment. Having to pay for rent, utilities & staff cuts into profit, and this can affect the service or deal that customers receive. It’s also important to understand that the Similan diving season is for 7 months of the year, but these costs are year round. An agent having their own dive equipment for Similan Islands live aboard trips is actually more of a hindrance than a help to customers and boat operators. The only advantage is that the agent can make money from the rental fees. Most Similan Islands live aboard guests don’t need to visit the agent’s office. The boat operators offer a pickup service and the guests are collected and taken either straight to the boat or to the boat operator’s dive centre. There, rental equipment can be fitted and bagged for each guest. And the staff of the Similan Islands live aboard boat are more likely to take care of their boat’s equipment than equipment belonging to an agent during each trip. Trust us, we hear so many stories about other agents’ equipment problems before, during and after trips. This is why we choose to only use the rental equipment of and for each dive centre or boat. This way is better for everyone involved, especially the guest.
Of course, the clear advantage of having an office is that customers can walk in, meaning extra selling opportunities. However, most liveaboard divers book their trips weeks or months in advance, meaning that they would do this online anyway. Also, customers who are already in Phuket or Khao Lak more often use hotel Wi-Fi or phone to contact us from the comfort of their room or the beach!
In addition to our Similan Islands live aboard trips, we also offer diving cruises in other countries, including The Maldives, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia & Egypt. Even if you have searched our pages and can’t find the perfect boat for you or you want to dive in a country that we don’t advertise, please contact us anyway. There are many boats which we can sell trips for but we haven’t put on our websites yet.