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Dive Review of Dive Asia/Safaribeach Hotel in

December, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Dan Panzica, Az, USA
Report Number 3118
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
8 year expatriate living in Malaysia and China.  Diving - Malaysia,
Philippines, North America, Maldives, Micronesia
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
70   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
70' to sandy botttom
one hour dive time
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Camera rinse tank on board, ample coverd table space to tinker with gear.
Great combination of big creatures, and macro specimins to shoot
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
4 stars    
Dive Asia is the Toyota Camry of Phuket Diving.  Good reliable service,
knowledgeable unobtrusive dive masters, great Thai food, excellent value
for your money, large comfortable boats, and attention to detail.  There
are more luxurious and faster boats available for both the day trips and
live-aboard trips.  However, Dive Asia is your best value for your money.  

Dive Asias reputation an excellent operation is well deserved.  Since I
had a good experience on the Similan trip a few years ago I thought that I
would try Dive Asia for the day trips.  
Dive Asia operates day trips to Koh Phi Phi, Shark Point, and Anomie Reef
as well as 4-5 day trips to the Similan Islands.  

Both their live-aboard and day boats are 84 ft in length which provides
lots of room to spread out.  We had 16 divers on the first day and 10
divers on the second day.   Experience levels included everything from
divers in training to seasoned East Coast wreck divers.  The rental gear
was brand new Scubapro equipment.  Dive Asia rents everything including
wetsuits.   You could show up with shorts and a c-card and not have any
worries about gear.   The divers were from all over the world.  Briefings
were given in 5 languages.   Divers were grouped based on experience which
worked out well.  The food on the boat included excellent rice and curry,
sandwhiches, fresh fruit, and canned soft drinks for a nominal charge. 
Beer was available for the ride home.

The dive sites available for the day trips present similar diving
challenges.  The sites are comprised of islands or small sea mounts that
have a max dept at ~80.     The vis was excellent ranging up to 100
depending on the sunlight.   There are swim-throughs and numerous small
crevices to explore.  The reef is alive and well after the tsunami.  The
coral life is prolific, especially the soft corals.  There are large fans,
barrels, and fields of stag-horn corals.

We saw several large leopard sharks, smaller nurse sharks, schooling
barracuda and jacks, large eagle rays, sting rays, lion fish, stone fish,
angle fish, and lots of small stuff including seahorses, dragon fish and
several types of nudebranchs.   

Accommodation choices are infinite from 5 star spa-hotels to a $10/day
hooch with a light bulb and fan.  I stayed at the Safaribeach hotel (3
stars @~$50/night) which was centrally located in Patong beach.   The
Safaribeach is a wonderful hotel with a great pool, beach, and several
restrausnts.  They advertise wireless internet which did not exist. 
However, you could check email at the two computers located in the lobby. 
During my trip I lived on the cheap and excellent Thai food.  However,
there is a Subway  McDonalds, Starbucks, and hundreds of other place to eat
walking walking distance from the hotel.  

Most of the clean-up from the Tsunami was complete.   Phuket is fully
recovered, open and ready for business.   If you are an experienced diver
traveling from Europe or North America  I would highly recommend spending
2-3 days diving on the Dive Asia day boats before embarking on one of the
Dive Asia live-aboard trips.  This will help you re-hydrate from the
flight, recover from jet lag, check out your gear, and fine tune your
buoyancy before the adrenalin rush of diving in the Similans.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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