So far this season has been different from many others, mainly for good reasons. The diving has been great from the start, with many sightings of Whale Sharks and Manta Rays, which normally don’t appear regularly until late February or March. The weather has also been on our side, with no trips cancelled due to high waves, although some trips were unable to reach Richelieu Rock on one or two occasions. Also, the local authorities have not thrown us any new challenges, like they did last season. So far, so good! Except that the dive centres are reporting fewer bookings than in the past, and what they expect. This isn’t great if you’re a dive centre trying to fill your boat(s), but for divers who want to enjoy the best diving without the boats and dive sites being too busy, it’s perfect!
Take, for example, MV Gentle Giant. This is an excellent boat with a unique itinerary and eight air-conditioned cabins all of which have private bathrooms. The boat is extremely well organised and offers great value. Gentle Giant still has space on its New Year trip (Dec 30th-Jan 4th), plus lots of space on its February 5th departure. There are also other dates which still have space, but New Year is incredibly popular. Plus there’s so much space on the February 5-10th trip that it is unlikely to fill up, ensuring that anyone else who joins will enjoy a very personal experience! Oh and did we mention 10% discount on the trip prices?! What are you waiting for?
And it’s not just Gentle Giant which is offering incredible deals. The whole Manta Queen fleet have 3,000 THB off for trips in April and May, plus MV Andaman has 20% off for the final few weeks of the season. MV Bavaria has 15% off of selected trips in Thailand and Myanmar to celebrate the company’s 15th anniversary.
Why are some boats offering discounts and not others? Those companies who choose not to offer a discount have their own reasons. Some don’t want to upset guests who have already booked at full price, others are confident of attracting enough guests, and there are a few who will cancel any trip that is less than half full.
Why is this season quieter than past seasons? The Thai Baht (THB) has been stronger against many foreign currencies, and this has affected tourism in general. Also, last season some divers were put off due to the introduction of the national park fee ticketing system and limited spaces in the park on each day. Also, last season in early January there was a strong typhoon that swept through the region, causing trips to be cancelled on the orders of the government. We feel that a combination of these factors has meant that fewer divers are coming this year than in recent seasons.
Can I get the promotional rate even after booking my trip at the standard rate? In most cases no. It’s like buying a telephone or television, or booking a hotel or a flight. After you pay, the price might go up or down or availability might diminish. Will I get a lesser experience if I book at a lower price? Absolutely not! In fact, with fewer people on the boats you’re more likely to get a better and more-personal service and overall experience!
The itinerary of Gentle Giant is different from all other Similan Islands liveaboards. Starting and ending in Phuket, the boat first sails north to Richelieu Rock, then Koh Bon and Koh Tachai. And on its way back it stops at The Similan Islands, but includes more southern dive sites than most boats do. But for the final two days of the trip, Gentle Giant visits Hin Daeng, Hin Muang, Koh Haa and the best dive sites around Phuket. Not only are these excellent dive sites, visiting them on a liveaboard cruise means you will most likely be the only ones at the dive sites for the early morning and evening dives each day!
So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch and let us help you find the best deal, last minute and peak season! We are here waiting to help you!