3 night Similan liveaboard diving trips are the perfect length for many divers, and for that reason they are extremely popular. They’re long enough to visit a good selection of Similan dive sites, but not too long on board to feel cut off from civilisation. Therefore, most of our budget & mid-range sections have a wide selection of trips to choose from. Nearly all of our 3-night trips are referred to as 3D3N, and depart in the evening, but some depart in the morning to give an extra day's diving. These are known as 4D3N scuba diving liveaboard trips.
Probably the most commonly-offered trip length of the 3-night options are 3D3N trips, compared to 4D3N.
These trips depart in the evening, and your first dive is the following morning, after the boat has sailed through the night to arrive at the dive sites before dawn. These are very common, and equally popular. 3D3N trips normally offer 10 dives, made up of 4+4+2, but the Manta Queen boats squeeze in an 11th dive on the final day, while MV Andaman’s 3D3N trips give 9 dives. Instead of a night dive on Day 2, there is a BBQ on board. There are normally fewer dives on the final day because the boats are returning to Tab Lamu Pier in Khao Lak where they arrive early/mid-afternoon. An evening departure is most common and allows for guests to be picked up from around Phuket and Khao Lak in the afternoon & fitted with gear, and there’s much less stress involved when compared to a morning departure. The average Similan Islands Liveaboard boat isn’t very fast, and will normally take 4-6 hours to reach the Similan Islands or Koh Bon, depending on the itinerary. Therefore, there’s no rush and even if the boats leave the pier at midnight or even later, this doesn’t affect the trip’s itinerary. Also, an evening departure enables guests to get to know one another over dinner and maybe a few drinks. This is a great way to break the ice and become friends with those who you’ll spend the next few days with.
These trips are either something different or just advertised badly. Starting with the ‘something different’ trips which are on ‘flexible or platform’ boats. These flexible/platform boats actually stay out at sea for the whole season, and guests are transferred in the morning of their first day by speedboat, then after spending the four diving days and three nights on board, they return to Tab Lamu Pier in the afternoon of their final day. Flexible/Platform boats are really good for divers whose schedules and dates aren’t flexible, thus these types of diving cruises allow them to join and leave on dates of their choice. The slight disadvantage is that the demographic of guests and staff on the boat is constantly changing. While this is good if you’re stuck with annoying people, it’s less good if you really click with other divers or your guide, because they may not be there the following day. Moving on to the ‘advertised badly’ 4D3N Similan island diving trips, this is not something that you will see on our pages. On other websites which may be poorly maintained or trying too hard to get your business, there may be 3D3N trips shown as 4D3N. The reason for this is understandable, but we feel that it is misleading. Although the standard 3D3N and span 4 calendar dates, they are not as long as other websites advertise. Ok, a 3D3N trip will span 4 dates, but it is less than 72 hours in length.
In summary, it really depends on a few things, which are ‘How long do you want to stay on a boat?’ ‘How much of Thailand’s best dives sites do you want to see?’ and ‘What’s available within your schedule and budget.’ You will see that most of the upper mid-range Similan liveaboards such as Hallelujah, Sawasdee Fasai, Pawara, and Deep Andaman Queen offer lots of 4D4N Similan diving safaris, and no 3D3N trips at all. The shorter trips tend to be available in the budget range. WE have a very good choice of diving trips for 3 nights, and while some try to visit the Similans and the northern sites of Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock, this is a bit of a rush. The better trips will just stay at the Similans & Koh Bon, or they go directly north to Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock.