Most Similan diving tours are fixed schedules and trip lengths. The most common are 4D/4N, but 3D/3N and even sometimes 5D/5N are popular too. When planning the season’s schedule a year or more in advance it’s almost impossible to predict which guests will want what length of tour. Also, every Thailand liveaboard diving boat has its own advantages when compared to the competition, and one of the most frequently-asked questions we get is ‘How big is the boat and how many divers will be on it?’ This is an understandable question because spending days and nights aboard a boat with a group of strangers is not the easiest thing to do, especially when paying several hundred dollars for the privilege. Another factor which is often important to our customers is which dive sites will be visited. Although some may think that The Similan Islands is all one and the same place, this is not true. There are more than twenty dive sites of varying levels of challenge and reward. These are spread over a large area of eleven or more islands and two national parks. Finally, how do staff and crew really behave once they’re out at sea and away from the spying eyes of the boss? These are all important issues for guests choosing the best Similan Islands liveaboard trip or diving safari.
The length of most diving trips is generally fixed, as are departure and return dates. The Similan Islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai & Richelieu Rock are quite far out at sea and the best way to visit them is onboard a liveaboard diving boat. The distance means that getting there on a liveaboard boat takes several hours, which normally takes place during the evening or night of the first day of each trip. Dive centres know which trip lengths are most popular, and set a schedule for the diving season that they believe will suit most of the guests. The problem is that it’s impossible to predict which customers will come and what length of trip they will require. MV Oktavia offers a wide range of trips between 2D/2N and 5D/5N, which include both morning and late afternoon departure. The flexibility is ideal to fit in with a variety of guests’ requirements. No other Similan Islands liveaboard boat offers such a great choice of cruise trip lengths as MV Oktavia. Customers can choose from sailing out in the evening and returning two days and seven dives later, joining the boat for three days, two nights & ten dives, or enjoying the full cruise of five days & nights and nineteen dives. At the beginning and end of each diving season, Oktavia offers standard 4D/4N trips with 15 dives.
A very important feature of any diving boat is its size. Larger boats are not only more stable and therefore safer, they also allow more room for passengers to walk around and find a spot to relax alone or in small groups. Some Similan diving tours boats are 30 metres long or more, but take a large number of diving guests on each trip. MV Oktavia is a large boat, at a smidgen under 30m., and although there’s enough room on board for thirty guests, each trip is limited to only twenty. Therefore, there’s always plenty of space on every trip for the guests to enjoy a spacious liveaboard safari but prices are competitive with more crowded liveaboard boats.
While many people have never even heard of the Similan Islands as Thailand’s premier diving location, there are lots who have. Most of them appreciate that the dive sites around the Similan Islands are fantastic. There are deep and shallow dive sites, as well as others which are suitable for either more or less experienced divers. The species of fish and other marine life are diverse and interesting. Although most of the dive sites are better appreciated by divers with a moderate amount of experience, it is also possible for new and even novice divers to enjoy scuba diving at the Similan Islands. However, divers with some experience and local knowledge will also be aware of the islands known as Koh Bon & Koh Tachai, and the best dive site in Thailand, Richelieu Rock. These three spots to the north of the Similan Islands are slightly more challenging, but extremely rewarding. Those hoping to dive with Manta Rays or Whale Sharks are more likely to do so at these two uninhabited islands and undersea pinnacle. Similan liveaboard trips visit just the Similan Islands diving sites, just the more challenging northern sites, or both. On MV Oktavia, diving guests can choose which dive site areas they want to visit. Those joining the first two days and two nights enjoy the seven of the best dive sites of the Similan Islands. They set sail on Oktavia, enjoy a sunset dinner, and are able to sleep comfortably as the boat usually arrives and moors up before bedtime. A little less than 48 hours later, they return to Khao Lak by speedboat. Divers who want to just enjoy the best diving in Thailand can depart Khao Lak by speedboat and join MV Oktavia just as the ship is moving from Similan Island #9 to Koh Bon. Three great diving days and two nights later, they return to port aboard the dive boat. This second half of the cruise allows divers of most levels to enjoy the best diving in Thailand. Of course, there are divers who want to enjoy all of Thailand’s best dive sites, and have enough time in their schedule to stay on MV Oktavia for the full five days and five nights, visiting all of the best dive spots during a longer-than-average cruise but at extremely competitive rates. There are twin, double, and master cabins to choose from and all at affordable and competitive prices.
Finally, it is also worth considering that most Similan diving safari trips set sail with a team of Thai crew and western dive staff, and as soon as the boat is away from the pier, there’s very little to monitor or control what happens on board and underwater. Almost all of these ‘other’ boats provide a safe, enjoyable and professional service, as they have diligent members of staff who enjoy their jobs and strive to serve and impress. However, there’s nothing like having the boss looking over you. When the boss is around, staff members tend to make an extra effort to perform to the best of their ability. One of the two Swedish owners usually joins an MV Oktavia trip. This is not because they don’t trust their own staff. It’s because they care about the quality of service their guests receive and also because it’s so much fun. Why stay on land all the time, when you can spend five days out of ten sailing around crystal-clear tropical waters with beautiful views and happy people? Having the boat’s owner join your trip is a great benefit to all on board, especially the guests.
Liveaboard diving on MV Oktavia is safe, fun, and affordable. The large boat size gives everyone space to do their own thing and the range of cabins and trip length ensures that there’s always something to fit most people’s diving holiday needs. Book today, before the trip of your choice is sold out!