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Choosing a Dive Operator

New Jersey
Level Contributor
54 posts
6 reviews
Choosing a Dive Operator

My family will be in Khao Lak for 5 days in early April. My sons are completing the classroom portion of a NAUI Scuba course and will want to do their certifiaction dives there. In addition to looking for a good dive shop I am also hoping to find one with more local rates than what I've found so far in my research. Rates seem a bit more "Western" than I expected. How can I find good rates with good service in the area?

Poulton Le Fylde...
Destination Expert
for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
Level Contributor
45,458 posts
107 reviews
1. Re: Choosing a Dive Operator

Have a look at this German website with links mostly to English versions of a comprehensive list of Dive Centres in Khao Lak http://www.mykhaolak.de/divecenter.html

Most Dive Centres are owned/operated by Europeans(mainly German or Scandinavian) and Thais and prices are usually very similar. Better prices are usually obtained when you arrive and see "special offers" when the operators are wanting to fill up boats or classes. I don't think that you will get "local rates" as such and I would be wary of too low rates for safety reasons.

Gloucester, United...
Level Contributor
39 posts
2. Re: Choosing a Dive Operator

Do you already know of a dive centre where the young divers can actually finish their NAUI course, because I am not sure if there is one! There are quite a few new operators this season and one of them may do NAUI courses. Next time I go through the town centre I could check for you if you like.

As far as local rates goes I think that you have to compare the costs with other places around the world. I haven't compared them for a while, but Thailand used to be known as one of the cheapest places to dive. Exchange rates have had an effect on relative costs since 2004 when I first came here. However, you need to take a few factors into consideration. Diving should be safe first and foremost. Cutting costs beyond a fair price will only inevitably reduce standards so the cheapest will not necessarily be the best.

Level Contributor
987 posts
125 reviews
3. Re: Choosing a Dive Operator

Hi there

We have dived with Similan Diving Safaris twice now and can highly recommend them.Not sure about NAUI courses however.

You will find that prices for diving in the KL area are not cheap but the standards are extremely high. This is pretty important as your lives are in their hands ! The main sites i.e. Similan and Surin Islands are far off shore , so expensive speedboats are required and these guzzle alot of fuel.

As the previous poster (s) said though these sites are truly world class.

We have not yet been to Ko Tao but it seems from various forums that diving is alot cheaper there than in KL.If cost is a real issue then perhaps consider going there.

Happy travels

Gloucester, United...
Level Contributor
39 posts
4. Re: Choosing a Dive Operator

At the end of the day you get what you pay for. Super fast learners still seem to struggle with short "fast track" courses. Junior learners have a lot to take in and hoping to pay less for something, which takes time to learn, will inevitably put pressure on their young minds, creating the potential for inadequate acquisition of knowledge and understanding. Without enough time to train effectively, there is a good chance this learning will have to be repeated at a later stage costing more money or worse still creating bad practice, which could result in unsafe divng. The fun factor is also reduced when divers are not confident in their skills. I personally, would focus on sound teaching rather than costs with something like diving and in the long term this is sure to be worth it.

5. Re: Choosing a Dive Operator

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