My husband and I chose Ko Lanta because it seemed to be the closest to Hin Daeng/Hin Muang. Things did not turn out so well because, due to the wind the only shot we had of getting there as per diving operation vs. trip schedule was Feb 1st, so unfortunately we did not get to visit the spots we had planned to.
We ended up diving in Ko Haa on two different days and it is well worth the trip: much closer to Ko Lanta but no big fish. We saw 4 different spots and they were all quite good. Visibility was above 20m on both days, despite the wind. On the second day we had a snorkeler with us and the spot couldn't have been more appropriate for a mixed group (thanks Kim, for the advice!)
Regarding the dive center itself it was very good: no time to respond to the query I sent via the Pimalay hotel and to send us comprehensive info on the dive spots.
Good organizational skills even when faced with a canceled trip due to the wind and merging two boat crews and divers groups into one boat to Ko Haa.
Tip: if you really want to go to Hin Daeng/Hin Muang, and if your trip dates are flexible, make sure you have more than one chance to go during your stay in Ko Lanta. Ask the center for their schedule!
Very nice divemaster who happened to be Portuguese (and they took that into consideration when organizing the groups thus ensuring communication was great). Susana and Ed, thank you for showing all those interesting things!
Very small diver to divemaster ratio (first day it was 3 to 2 and second day it was 3 to 1) and for the snorkeling it was 2 snorkelers to 1 divemaster. Comprehensive briefings covering all practical and safety information and making sure before jumping in buddy checks were performed: my husband and I are divemasters but even so I think it is very important and even more so for groups with less experienced divers.
Helpful Thai crew to assist with gearing up and coming back to the boat.
Breakfast was served on board upon arrival to the boat, on the way out to Ko Haa and then very nice genuine Thai lunch during the surface interval (with two chicken dishes, one non-spicy, and a vegetarian dish). Unrestricted access to water, soft drinks, coffee and tea, throughout the entire trip.
We used our own equipment but everything we saw looked to be in very good condition. Divemasters even set up weight belts for you!
No carrying equipment to the boat or off the boat, or any of those less nice parts of diving. You're just there for the fun which is especially nice when you're a divemaster and you're on vacation :))))
Finally, it is not a cheap dive center but when it comes to diving, usually you get what you pay for, so cheap is not generally a good idea...
In short, five star diving operation with professional staff that goes the extra length to make your life easier.
(they even washed our wetsuits for us and we only picked them up at the dive center on the next day)
Don't know if this sort of service is the local standard but I am one happy customer and I will certainly go back when I return to Ko Lanta!
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