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Dive Review of Scandanavian Divers/Baan Thai hotel in

February, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Joel Snyder, AZ, USA
Contributor   (14 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 3864
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
US, Caribbean, Hawaii, Asia Pacific
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

choppy, no currents  
Water Temp
80   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
20   to 40    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Dive times were limited to 50 minute max and pretty strictly enforced.  All
divers must keep with the dive guide  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  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
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Camera tank on the boat for photo, but not very well used.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars   
3 stars    
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

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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