Why is this trip cheaper than that trip?
We like to offer the better quality snorkeling trips on this website. But if you just want a cheap Phuket tour we have those as well.
Lower price Phuket snorkeling tours
A common question is why are some Phuket tours more expensive? The exact answer will depend on which trip we are talking about but in general:
– cheap trips squeeze more passengers in to a smaller space
– cheap trips save fuel by not going all the way to the best places (i.e. they go to Phi Phi but not to Bamboo Island or Maya Bay, they just drop passengers on a beach for a few hours).
– cheap trips offer poor quality snorkeling gear, or do not provide any gear.
– cheap trips offer very basic food or even no food (then take you to an expensive restaurant where they get commission).
– cheap trips do not include national park entrance fees in the price so passengers have to pay later on the boat.
– cheap trips make their money in other ways, by stopping off at gem factories, pearl shops, souvenir shops etc.
All of the above may be fine with you. Some people are happy to have a basic lunch instead of a seafood buffet if it saves a few baht. Some may be happy with a crowded boat if it makes the day trip cheaper. What isn’t ok though is trips that are cheap because corners are being cut with safety. That is why we have recently added a page to the website for cheaper snorkeling tours. These tours are not our top recommendations for the best snorkeling but they are professionally run operations fully licensed and insured. They do not dangerously over crowd their boats and they provide life jackets for all passengers. They are registered with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and have basic passenger insurance. If you are looking for a cheap and fun day out on the water, these tours may suit you.
A word on over crowded speedboats.
Everyone wants a boat to themselves but everyone wants a cheap price. It’s hard to have both. In order to price speedboat tours competitively the boat owners try to fill them to capacity, that makes business sense. A full speed boat is a bit crowded, passengers sit shoulder to shoulder, you can’t get up and walk around easily. But being full is different to being dangerously over crowded. We try to book on boats that aren’t too crowded but some guests seem to have unrealistic expectations and probably very little experience of being on speedboats.
As a guideline, our Phi Phi speedboat trips typically have 25 or fewer guests. Our Racha Yai trips are similar. These may feel crowded but look around and you’ll see plenty of speedboats that take over 100 guests on board! Our Similan Islands speedboats typically take about 45 guests, that’s normal and safe, the boats are crowded but not dangerously so.
What to do if your boat looks too crowded
Every boat registered in Thailand has written on it’s side the number of passengers and crew that it is allowed to carry.
If you think a boat is over full, don’t get on it, or get off it before it leaves the beach. You can complain later and ask for your money back. If you go on the trip regardless and then complain you won’t get much sympathy. Don’t risk your life and the lives of your loved ones if you think a boat is unsafe. There is a big sign at Chalong bay beach that gives this same advise.