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Dive Review of Scandanavian Divers/Baan Thai hotel in
Thailand/Phuket

Scandanavian Divers/Baan Thai hotel, Feb, 2008,

by Joel Snyder, AZ, USA (Contributor Contributor 16 reports with 5 Helpful votes). Report 3864.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving US, Caribbean, Hawaii, Asia Pacific
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy, no currents
Water Temp 80 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 20 to 40 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Dive times were limited to 50 minute max and pretty strictly enforced. All divers must keep with the dive guide
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 3 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Camera tank on the boat for photo, but not very well used.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We dove in Phuket for a week. We stayed in Patong Beach and did day trips, which is about the only diving you can do from that part of Phuket. Short summary is that the diving in Patong/Kara/Karon (tourist-focused parts of Phuket) is good for NEW beginners, but generally will be disappointing for experienced divers. We tried two different dive shops, Scandanavian Divers and Scuba Cat. Overall, Scandanavian Divers was always one notch above Scuba Cat in every way (professionalism, briefings, boats, even on-boat food) but both were fine. If you had a choice, Scandanavian Divers is better but not that much better. Prices appear to be fixed among shops at approx 3600 Baht (about $120) for a 3-tank day, 3100 Baht for 2-tanks. The real problem here is that all of the day-trip diving out of Phuket is aimed at the raw beginner. On our five days of diving, most of the divers were either on discovery scuba or had only a few dives. The diving is aimed at them. If you want to do Phuket diving, you MUST either stay on Phi Phi island (it is impractical to day trip there from Phuket/Chalong as the ride is a minimum of 3 hours each way) or, better yet, take a liveaboard in the Similans.

We were told that there are one or two shops (South Siam was mentioned) which cater to real divers in Phuket, but generally this is not a good dive destination if you stay in the main tourist areas.

For example, we did sign up for a Phi Phi island trip (3 hour boat ride each way). The seas were choppy and the boat leader elected to select a different destination, Racha Yai. So we did two dives in Bungalow Bay, along with perhaps 200 other divers (at least 20 other boats were there) which were dull and short. We would have been happy to continue on and take a longer, harsher ride, but the boat leader said that many people would be barfing up a stormwhich was probably true, since most were complete beginners.

The absolute best site day trip (we did this twice) is Kung Cruiser/Shark Point/Anenome Reef. We actually did Koh Doc Mai instead of the wreck, again probably because of the beginners on board. The site is fantastic---great diving---but with a severely short bottom time. In addition, that seems to be the best of the 5 or so sites that all the shops use. So, if youre an experienced diver and happen to be in Phuket, one day of diving is great. Otherwise, go somewhere else nearby (as mentioned above) for a serious diving vacation.

Typical trip itinerary was pick-up at hotel at 8:00-ish, 30 minute drive to Chalong Bay (where all the boats leave). Breakfast on board followed by 1 to 2 hour ride to site, and then either 2 or 3 dives with 1 hour surface interval. Lunch, and sometimes a snack in the late afternoon between dives; back at your hotel around 5PM or a little later depending on seas etc. Thai staff fill tanks in place between dives and you set up your own gear.

In all cases the staff was fine, but everything is set up for beginner divers (since this appears to be the main customer) with no real flexibility for advanced or folks who wanted to come up with less than 1200 PSI in their tanks!

We stayed at the Baan Thai (sometimes spelled Ban Thai) resort, a sub-4-star location which was very nice, right on Patong Beach. I would go back there (get a deluxe pool room which has your own private porch, entry into a large shared pool, and small Jacuzzi seat with jets) if I wanted to simply vacation in Patong Beach, but not for the diving.
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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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