Choosing a Similan diving liveaboard or day trip is like many things in life. For the majority of us, the price is a major factor. While Similan Islands diving is excellent value when taking into account the experience you are likely to enjoy, it is still a vacation activity that will cost $110 to more than $1,000 per person. This is not one of life’s necessities, so almost everyone who chooses a diving day trip or liveaboard safari needs to consider the financial cost. We are lucky to have the widest selection of boats for diving at the Similan Islands in Thailand. This wide selection includes both for trip length (day trips – 8 nights or longer) and for price. Choosing your Similan diving adventure by the length of the trip can be done on this page, but here we discuss selecting the best diving trip at the Similan Islands focussing on the price. This will not include day trip diving, because they are very similar in price due to the nature of the type of boat, fuel used, food supplied, and the fact that they don’t differ in the way that Similan liveaboard cruises do.
The budget Similan liveaboard boats and trips focus on the best value, but they all offer safe and enjoyable diving safaris, with plenty of good food, great diving and a wonderful atmosphere. All but one or two of these diving cruises offer air-conditioned cabins to ensure comfortable sleeping before and after a day’s diving. They have communal areas for eating and socialising, and a dive deck for storing equipment, gearing up, and diving into the crystal-clear warm waters of Thailand’s best diving areas. For many people, a clean bed to sleep in, enough fresh food and somewhere to relax on board is sufficient to enjoy a Similan diving cruise. They may argue that the fish don’t know who paid for what luxury, and that the diving is the same for everyone, providing that the guides and equipment is up to standard. This is very true. Even our cheapest Similan liveaboard trips provide diving equipment that is new and high-quality, along with experienced and professional diving guides. Therefore, as soon as you are in the water, the price you paid for the luxury of the boat means nothing. You came for the diving, and the diving is most important. Of the hundreds of liveaboard trips that we sell each year, by far the most numerous are on our budget boats. We have a very high rate of happy guests returning from each trip, all of whom receive a follow up to check how their diving cruise was.
Our medium-price Similan liveaboard cruises obviously fit in between the cheapest and more expensive diving trips. There is a grey area here, because some people would consider a particular boat to be budget, while others would say it’s ‘mid-range.’ Likewise this same confusion happens between ‘mid-range’ and luxury. What do divers get on a mid-range boat compared to a budget boat, or what do they miss out on from not choosing a luxury trip? This question is very difficult to answer, but the main differences are in the food, cabins, logistics and dive staff. Diving is hungry work, and while even though the budget boats have plenty of food served buffet style three or more times per day, quantity, choice and quality of the meals improve on the more-expensive Similan liveaboard trips. Cabins tend to be only for 2 guests, without having 4-bunk dorm-style rooms. They are also more likely to offer private en suite bathroom facilities. The logistics includes free transfers at set times and without long delays or picking up many other guests along the way. This can be crucial for guests who are excited to join a diving cruise, but weighed down with luggage in a hot country. Finally, the dive staff of the mid-range diving trips tend to be more experienced. This can be very important for divers with special needs or those who want to know more about the marine life. Budget boats tend to hire younger dive guides and maybe have larger groups of divers per guide.
Our luxury Similan liveaboard boats are for those who are lucky enough not to have to focus on the price when choosing a diving trip in Thailand. These boats and trips are obviously at the top end of the price range for Similan liveaboards, but are still very good value, especially when compared to other diving destinations around the world. Prices normally start around $1,000 per diver for a 4D4N trip, so that’s $250/day for the basic standard cabins on the nicest boats. Guests can expect a better service from the staff and crew, and the most professional organisation, including transfers, information and equipment. Of course, the cabins, food and communal areas are where the differences in luxury can be seen most easily. Guest cabins on our luxury liveaboards are all en suite, meaning that 1-2 guests per cabin have a private bathroom that has hot & cold freshwater showers, a mirror, hand basin and enough space to have a proper bathroom experience. Toiletries, a safe deposit box, and storage space are also included. The décor of the luxury boat’s cabins is also noticeably better than lesser vessels. Food and beverages are very important to fully enjoy a diving cruise at Thailand’s Similan Islands. The selection, quality and service of the food and drinks on board is far superior to boats at lower prices. Fine dining with a good selection of wines, cocktails and beers can make all the difference for divers with taste, and funds to support it. Last but not least, the communal areas of a liveaboard diving boat are very important. Guests need to be able to find a comfortable place to sit in private as well as socialise with others. These include air-conditioned lounge areas, sundecks, and outdoor dining areas.
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