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In desperate and immediate need of Phuket recommendations

Discussion in 'Thailand' started by Pillpusher, Feb 12, 2020.

  1. Pillpusher

    Pillpusher Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Katy, Texas
    600
    113
    43
    Yeah, Similan is definitely the main interest, and most of the ones I'm considering spend two full days there. The ones that leave out of Khao Lak offer RT transfers for around $20, which is fine by me.

    Correct. I was originally routed IAH-TPE-MNL. I received a phone call from Eva (I booked Royal Laurel using ANA miles) about 6 hours before my flight informing me that, today (now yesterday), the Philippines imposed a new travel ban and are no longer allowing people that even transit through Taipei (Philippines considers them as the same region as China). After being on hold with Eva, then ANA for over 2 hours, ANA rebooked me IAH-TPE-BKK-MNL. I told her I don't feel that will be ok, since I'm still transiting through TPE, even if not directly to MNL from there. She said it would be ok, and that I can call Eva to make sure if I'd like. So, I call Eva and wait on hold forever again, and, to my surprise, they also tell me my route is ok. So, I shrugged my shoulders and hauled ass to the airport. Then, when I got to check in, it all falls apart again. My only options were: 1) Call ANA back again and try to get them to reroute me on one of their ANA flights via NRT, even though it doesn't have any award space, and forfeit my Eva long haul Royal Laurel ticket because I would be on hold too long. If ANA can't help, I'm stuck at home with nothing. Or, 2) Have them cancel the BKK-MNL leg (and also my flight home, apparently.. I still have to figure that part out), just go to Thailand, and figure out the rest as I go.

    I think I made the right choice. When life gives you limes, make margaritas.
     
    Schwob and chillyinCanada like this.
  2. outofofficebrb

    outofofficebrb HARRO HUNNAYYY

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Francisco, California
    3,274
    2,655
    113
    Wow! That is so stressful and frustrating to have to deal with that so close to departure or at all. I know it's just money and you can make more (ha!), but do you think you will be able to claim travel insurance coverage for whatever you've already paid for in the Philippines that you are not able to use anymore?

    I did a 6 night liveaboard to the Similans with the MV Bavaria in late March/early April last year and really enjoyed it. I highly recommend it if you can get on it. We used Alex's Taxi Transfer in Phuket and he and his drivers are so professional and excellent. I highly recommend. I even forgot something at a hotel a couple of hours away and he had his drivers swing by to get it while dropping off some other folks nearby and they somehow leapfrogged it with different drivers back to me - with no additional cost. They are amazing.

    I hope everything works out. Please keep us posted.
     
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  3. Pillpusher

    Pillpusher Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Katy, Texas
    600
    113
    43
    You're not kidding. I was just leisurely packing up some things, chillin... Taking my time. Then the phone rings, and as soon as I heard the accent of the Eva lady, my heart sank and I got immediate tunnel vision b/c I knew what she was about to say. I can cancel my PG accommodations minus a 30% penalty (I emailed them asking for a full refund considering the circumstances). There are no refunds on the room I booked in MNL the night before my flight home. And, the big one, is that I paid my dive guide (Dennis Corpuz, Anilao Critters) up front for our diving and accommodations via wire transfer (I've dove with him before and trust him). Now I am HOPING he doesn't screw me on it. I couldn't use a credit card b/c of the insane fees some of these guys charge for using them.

    Thanks, I'll keep your cabby in mind. I'm sure I'll have plenty of time to do some land sight seeing as well. i wonder if they do "taxi tour" type of stuff.
     
    outofofficebrb likes this.
  4. lowwall

    lowwall Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Chicago
    629
    457
    63
    By cell, I really mean cell data. I mostly use WhatsApp for communicating when outside the US.

    Those are the liveaboard itineraries. Most Phuket diving is either day trips to islands to the S and E of Phuket from Chalong Pier or liveaboards to the NW leaving from Khao Lak harbor. Here's a map that also shows the airport and the main beach towns or Patong, Karon and Kata.


    thailand dive map.jpg

    Here's a closeup of the day trip sites. Trips are typically 3-tanks and are on large, comfortable boats. You get picked up around 7:30 at your hotel and get back in the early evening. Breakfast and lunch and snacks are served the boat.

    Dive-Sites-Phuket-overview.jpg

    Note that there are some liveaboard trips from Chalong, typically 2 or 3 days, and even some that cover everything, leaving from Chalong and ending in Khao Lak or vice versa.

    It's really easiest to talk to Steven or whatever shop you choose and figure out an itinerary that works. The boat owners need the dive shops to stay in business to provide the divers, so you'll get the same price whether you book through a shop or direct with the boat. Some of the boats can't even be booked directly or only have Thai-language sites.
     
    Schwob, chillyinCanada and Pillpusher like this.
  5. noserider

    noserider Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Uk
    19
    16
    3
    I would also have a look at bigbluediving khao lak . They have a great boat Mv Hallelujah and a good crew of DM's.

    They also have very fast boats (maybe the fastest) from Khao Lak to Richelou and Koh Bon if you want to do day trips
     
  6. outofofficebrb

    outofofficebrb HARRO HUNNAYYY

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Francisco, California
    3,274
    2,655
    113
    I know this definitely doesn't help your immediate situation but if you ever need a great agent, I work with one in booking all of my trips and I pay credit card for all of them. It helps having extra protection and the benefits of some of the trip coverage as well. I don't deal with wire transfers or any PayPal, or any credit card fees whether imposed by the operator or PayPal, or any of the credit card processors. He doesn't impose any on me and I get a lot of bonus points because the merchant is considered a travel merchant. (Travel bonus!) When I have run into issues and need to claim travel insurance, he has been there for me, even when the trip was done and over.

    I'm not sure if you have a travel insurance policy, but try to claim there. Also, for whatever you paid on your credit card, you can try to claim trip interruption and cancellation as well but you'd have to look at the fine print on what's covered, what's not. It's worth trying, as everything does add up. Sorry to hear about all of this!
     
  7. Pillpusher

    Pillpusher Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Katy, Texas
    600
    113
    43
    Low, well, the problem is that I need to decide on/book the liveaboard before I can book my land accommodations. No point in booking my hotel if I don't yet know what 5 nights I won't be there b/c I'll be on the boat. I'm eating up airline data at the rate of nearly $10/hour, so I'm going to wait until I get to TPE to look at the boats more closely. Steven's site has some videos I'd like to look at, but I know that would eat up some MB's. I think I'm just going to get a room somewhere in Bangkok tonight to catch my breath and get my game plan together so I can try to destress a bit. I hear beer helps with that.
     
  8. outofofficebrb

    outofofficebrb HARRO HUNNAYYY

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Francisco, California
    3,274
    2,655
    113
    Ouch. Does your flight not offer a flat rate, entire-flight option?!
     
  9. Pillpusher

    Pillpusher Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Katy, Texas
    600
    113
    43
    I hear ya. I normally wouldn't mess with a wire transfer either. I only did b/c I've gone through him in the past, and we get free air fills (and he gets free food, apparently), if I book it through him. If he screws me over, in hindsight, yeah, not worth it. He's a good dude though, so hopefully he won't.

    My PG accommodations were booked during a bonus offer turn and burn with Capital One, which I have sinece cancelled. So that coverage is gone. The Manila hotel was only about $100, but yeah, I'll probably try to claim that at least.
     
    outofofficebrb likes this.
  10. Pillpusher

    Pillpusher Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Katy, Texas
    600
    113
    43
    No, it's usage based, which sucks. It was flat rate for 24 hours, and carried over to connecting flights last time I flew with them. It claims that internet browsing will only eat about 15MB per hour, but it's draining 5-10x that fast. I'm already $90 in the hole on wifi costs this flight. Insane.
     

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