6 boat dives : $335
Hotel : $90
Air tickets : $225
Hanging out with buddies and diving together : priceless
I went on my 2nd leisure dive trip to Phuket this month after my friend suggested just 2 weeks ago while we were having reservist. We booked our dive through Thailand Divers, a local dive shop that provides certification and dive trips in phuket.
We stayed in a 3 star hotel Villa Atchara. It is well furnished and the room is spacious and it looks as though we booked the whole hotel because I only saw other guests on the 3rd day of our stay there. They provide breakfast daily, there is hot water and the service staff is attentive and friendly. We even have a balcony to hang our clothes and a nice hill cum pool view. Location wise it is a little far from the town area, about 20 min walk if not a 200 baht Tuk Tuk ride. If you are there for the night activities I would not recommend staying here unless you like the peace and quiet.
In the morning at about 7.30a.m, before we could even finish breakfast, since the breakfast only starts at 7am, the minibus that picks us up to the pier had arrive and the driver was always patient to wait for us to finish up.
From the pier, we boarded this ferry which has a upper and lower deck. The lower deck is where we can eat and drink and use the loo. Near the back is where all the dive equipment, cylinders, and washing facilities are located. It is not a huge place but I think everything is well positioned so it fits nicely and all the divers can rig up together without much delay.
On the upper deck there are more tables in the rear for dining or just chilling. Soft drinks, coffee, tea, water (hot and cold) and orange juice were provided free flow on board so we could hydrate anytime we liked.
At the front there were tanning beds to just lie down and chill while the ferry travelled towards our dive site.
The sea was pretty rocky that day so I quickly took the seasick pills provided on board and had little problems after that.
Our first dive site was at Racha Yai and Racha Noi. Both sites were pretty forgettable as much of the reef has been destroyed during the monsoon.
There was a lot of empty patches of sand and some coral reefs here and there but nothing spectacular. The best thing I saw there was 2 stingrays 1 of them was in the sand which our DM spotted and showed us.
2nd day we went to this dive site King Cruiser for a wreck dive. It is an interesting experience as it is my first wreck dive. The ship is huge and we could only go up to half the length of the ship but we had a good glimpse of the community of fishes and sea creatures that clustered there. We also had to make our way through narrow doors in the hull of the sunken ship and it was a fairly interesting experience.
The next site we went to was Koh Doc Mai and I highly recommend this site ! This is by far the best dive site I saw in Phuket. There was a huge array of coral reefs and beautiful marine creatures. We saw a turtle, sea snake, sea urchins, lionfish, mantis shrimp, moray eel, huge puffer fish, nemo, sea anemone, numerous schools of fish, angelfish, etc.
6 boat dives including rental of equipment: $335
Hotel : $120 for 3 nights
Air tickets : $225
Other expenses : $180 ( eating, massage, movies, transport, shopping )
Total : $850