Much of the Ko Lanta islands are covered in dense tropical jungle, impenetrable hills and mangrove forests, leaving the coastal edges the only suitable locations for development. The few resorts that exist, compared to the more developed tourist locations on, say Phuket or Ko Samui, are connected by only a few roads following the curving coastline, and rarely bisect the country. The dive shops can be found dotted along here, occasionally forming part of the larger resorts.
Palm Beach Divers is located in Sala Dan, with their boats kept at Long Beach. They’re a five star PADI outfit offering a full range of courses in no less than eleven languages depending upon your preference. They’re a real eco-friendly team with a recommendation from the Project Aware group, and as an official retailer of Aqualung gear, they’re well equipped to introduce novice divers to the open water. Running diving trips for over a decade, they visit some of the outer islands on a regular basis, and trips to Hin Daeng and Hin Muang are a favourite for clients taking the PADI Advanced Deep Diver course.
The Kon Tiki Lanta team isn’t too much further north in the busy tourist town of Ko Lanta. This shop forms part of the 30-year-old Kon Tiki group, which is also found on Phuket and in Krabi to the north. As a large outfit they’ve won an almost endless list of awards; Winner of the Project Aware Environmental Award Thailand, PADI Five Star Instructor Center, Winner of the National Geopgraphic Dive Center Award, PADI TecRec Dive Center Award and Winner of the Asian Best Dive Center Award for 2010, making them the perfect choice to guarantee expertise and knowledge for divers exploring the area for the first time.
Towards the south of the island, Scuba Fish is an ‘all inclusive package’ kind of diving shop with a flexible attitude towards creating tailored dive packages, Running their vessel, the MV Moskito, they visit all the major dive sites and outlying islands on regularly scheduled trips. They also hold a number of environmental awards demonstrating their commitment to the environment and their dedication to unusual training. They have a special interest in teaching children to dive, and soon have little swimmers playing underwater Frisbee with all the confidence of an experienced adult diver.
Getting to Ko Lanta means arriving at either Krabi or Phuket International airports and completing the remainder of the journey by road. Hat Yai airport is also an option, but the journey by road is considerably longer to complete.
Decent dive operation but this is not a luxury liveaboard. Tired decor in cabin, mattress on floor and badly leaking pipework in the bathroom. It is very basic. The crew are helpful though, the divemaster good and the dive deck well organised. The sites in Similan Islands are pleasant but average with the exception of Richelieu Rock which is very nice. All sites are very crowded with many boats around.
Been diving around Marine Park, Koh Tao and Sail Rock, Thailand with Dive Point Samui last year after attend my mate's wed in Samui and two week vacation for myself. It was a thrilling experience to dive in such beautiful dive sites and the boat is a very nice, clean and comfortable boat. Dive crew are professional, sociable, cool, fun and serious about divers' safety! Fell in love with the Thai Curry that was prepared on the boat! It is a slow boat but you can actually sleep on the boat as the...