I'm doing exactly the same thing soon while staying at the Le Meridien, SeeBeas look pretty good and I understand that they have a dive centre in the hotel. I don't have any experience of them so I'll be interested in the responses you get.
OMG I to (with family) will be staying at Le Meridien in Feb and have been looking at PADI dive centres to finish my open water dives.
I can confirm Sea Bees are quick to respond to emails but was very disapointed in how much they quoted for the 4 qualifying dives. Also thier current prices on the web have to be paid in Euros and we all know whats happened there with the pound making it cost even more. I believe you can pay thia bhat once your out there but again as the current exchange rate is low may be best to wait until your out there.
Manta Point were also quick to respond firstname.lastname@example.org
On a diffrent note has anyone reading this blog stayed at Le Meridian before? is it issolated or within easy walking distanc of bars and resturants?
In answer to your question on the Le Meridien it is quite isolated on the beautifull Pakweep beach. You are in walking distance of one of the best beach restaurants in KL the Rim Lay a few minutes walk down the beach. There is also another new restaurant opened up the other way towards Bangsak about 20 minutes walk , a couple also on the highway outside the LM. Also past the Rim Lay near the Sarojin another 3 beach restaurants on white sand beach not reachable at high tide and another 10 minutes further the very good Boatyard Rest. The hotel offers a shuttle into Khao Lack in the evenings 100 baht pp each way , taxi 300 baht.
hello - thanks for the recommendations all, I'll contact the dive companies. On another forum, I read a post (I think from Arandora who posts here - it was the khao lak lovers forum) and he recommeded wicked divers who I've contacted, waiting to hear back on prices.
when are you going in feb? we are either going to be there 10 to 14 or we might change our plans and arrive on the 11 but stay until the 17 as we are thinking of scrapping railay beach and staying longer in khao lak. we've got a 4 year old - how old are your kids? we also have a 9 month old
just checked again on the other forum (khaolaklovers.com) and the other place arandora recommended was similan-diving-safaris.com, haven't emailed them yet. i suspect, as I have found all over, that the prices tend to be around the same level. I think what pushes the prices up here is if you are catching the speedboat back and forth on two days as they charge more for fuel as it is quite far in comparison to elsewhere. also, as you said exchange rate is bad...the prices I've seen work out about £105 at the 51B/£1 exchange rate that was listed at bangkok bank on friday. but when i booked our holiday, it was 65B/£1 - making the cost more like £81!
This is what I got back from Sea Bees, which when I convert at holiday exchange rate of 49 Baht is not far short of £225. Trouble is I will be paying for my son as well ouch. If the weather had been warmer and I had the time I could have completed the 4 open water dives in the UK for £110 each, so you can see its double the price.
Having said that it will be a lot better than Stoney Cove (I hope) and does include pick up from hotel.
Student referrals / Open Water Dives
Complete your academic and pool work at your local PADI facility and then join us at Sea Bees, in our tropical Thai paradise to complete your four open water training dives for your final certification.
Four dives from the boat including meals and Khao Lak hotel transfers for Euro 250.-
*Nationalpark fee not included
This is what I got back from Manta Point:
There are some different options to complete the Padi OWD course.
1. On a 2 days / 1 night trip with 5 dives at the Similan Islands
15.300,- Baht / person
2. 2 day tips to the Similan Islands with 2 X 2 dives
15.500,- Baht / person
3. 4 OWD dives at local dive sites
9.000,- Baht / person
I would recommend the local version. The price is better, the course is more relaxed and
our house reef is perfectly made for OWD dives.
As you can see there is a bit of difference in the price 9000 baht = £183 @49baht exchange rate.
My children are 18 and 14 so a bit older than yours.
Im really starting to look forward to it now and hope to make the most of the diving although with the 2 of us diving will have to keep an eye on the money!!
How about you by the sound of it your doing a bit of sight seeing as well, where are you off to?
what bits have you done of your OW course already? the class room bit and pool dive? If you haven't been in the big blue yet - it will blow your mind and what an amazing area to complete your course!!! It will be worth the extra money to see what you will see in the KL/Similan area. I think the advice about doing some of the OW dives locally on a house reef is quite a good one. I wonder if you could do two on the house reef and the two later ones out at the similans?
as we are with the baby this time, we are doing beaches and bangkok, although we really love chiang mai but just too much flying moving around for her.
originally we thought of doing 3 nights phuket, 4 nights khao lak and 3 nights railay in krabi (husband likes rock climbing) and then 5 nights in bangkok at the end. however, the railay bit of the trip involved a 3hours + car journey with a grumpy baby and then another 40 min transfer to the port and boat trip to railay etc - a hell of a day basically.
i think we have just about decided to change to 4 nights in nai yang beach in phuket (quiet but has beach restaurants etc) and 6 nights in khao lak, as it seems there is a lot to do there. also, john and i will have to dive separately because of the girls so that will use up time too.
getting really excited - only 3.5 weeks until we leave!! be glad to get out of cold old england and am not going to read anything about the recession whilst i am out there!
just re read your post - sounds like we'll see you at le meridien!
Hi - just to update, I think we are going to book with Wicked Divers. I really liked the sound of the set up there and their ethos and had a v helpful email from Paul. Sea Bees looked very professional but a big outfit, from experience I prefer to go out with a smaller set up.
i've just emailed to ask to book on the 12th Feb - I'll report back! Haven't been diving for 6 years (2 kids since then) and last time I went out (in the Perhentians) had a bit of a scare - but will have my v own dive instructor at Wicked to keep an eye on me!! :)