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Dive Review of Dive Asia/Safaribeach Hotel in
Thailand

Dive Asia/Safaribeach Hotel, Dec, 2006,

by Dan Panzica, Az, USA . Report 3118.

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

Weather dry Seas calm
Water Temp 82 to 84 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 70 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 70' to sandy botttom
one hour dive time
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments 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):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments 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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