A Full Information to Scuba Diving in Koh Tao


The start of 2019 turned out to be a chilly and moist one for me within the UK. This led to me reserving a Four month journey round South East Asia Oct-Jan to take in some solar and take a look at the spectacular diving alternatives which are on provide within the area.  My journey has thus far taken me scuba diving and free diving within the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand – I’m presently writing this text while lounging on a seashore in Koh Phangan! 

A serious focus of my journey was to spend a month within the Gulf of Thailand, particularly at a gaggle of islands simply off the East coast of the mainland. This is able to enable me to go to Koh Tao for a couple of weeks. Koh Tao is one for the world’s greatest locations to qualify as a PADI diver; I did my {qualifications} right here a couple of years again. Koh Tao ranks 2nd on the variety of annual diver certifications issued, it’s second solely to Cairns in Australia. 

Each-year 1000’s of travellers and diving fanatics starting from learners to professional come to Koh Tao to take a look at the coral reefs surrounding the island. Common marine life contains an abundance of tropical fish, big inexperienced turtles and a cove which is dwelling to lots of of reef sharks. The diving programs on provide are extremely reasonably priced, the instructing requirements are very excessive, dive websites are all over the place and the situations are nice for amateur divers. And after an extended day of diving beneath the water, the island additionally boasts lovely seashore bars filled with nice native meals and drinks so that you can unwind. What extra may you ask for?

What diving certification do you have to go for?

World wide there are over 50 scuba diving coaching certifications, in Koh Tao the two hottest is the Skilled Affiliation of Dive Instructors (PADI) or Scuba Colleges Worldwide (SSI). 

Each coaching faculties has its personal requirements, guidelines and instructing materials however on the finish of the day you’ll be taught the best way to use the identical tools, learn to dive correctly and see the identical fantastic websites Koh Tao has to supply. 


PADI holds the crown of being the world’s main scuba dive coach. It carries out roughly 1 million certifications per yr. 

The rationale I selected PADI is that anybody who needs to be a dive teacher (one thing I could enterprise into sooner or later), can achieve this independently. While an SSI dive teacher has to function out of an SSI registered coaching college. So when you ever see your self as instructing others the best way to dive or wish to have the likelihood beneath your belt then go for PADI. 


Koh Tao is alleged to be the most cost effective place on this planet to get your diving certification – when you’re on a funds or backpacking on a shoestring round Thailand then you definately’ll get extra on your Thai Baht when you go along with SSI. Usually an SSI course in Koh Tao will value you about 10% lower than a PADI course. 

Which ever scuba coach you determine to go along with, be sure you take a look at the opinions and phrases of each programs and go along with the one you’re feeling most comfy with! Each are an awesome selection.

What is going to the programs embrace?

The primary course you’ll take as a diver on Koh Tao is your open water certification course. That is what I took while backpacking the Gulf of Thailand years in the past, a lot of my buddies stayed longer and did stints working on the dive faculties!

The programs could barely differ between dive faculties however here’s a tough define of what you possibly can count on:

Day 1: The primary day is normally spent within the classroom filling out your paperwork, sorting your dive insurance coverage, watching movies and studying about orientation. 

Day 2: The second day normally begins within the classroom once more the place you’ll look over the tools, study what the whole lot is and the best way to use it. The second ha;f of the day is spent both in a swimming pool or shallow dive website permitting you to work in your primary diving abilities and get extra used to the tools. 

Day 3: If extra classroom work is required then a brief morning could also be spent within the classroom, if not you’ll get out on your first open water dive – perhaps your 2nd if in case you have time.

Day 4: You’ll full your Four open water dives, venturing out deeper into the ocean, exploring the sights round Koh Tao. In case you’re fortunate you may see inexperienced turtles, reef sharks and whale sharks! After your dives, you’ll be required to take a seat your ultimate examination – don’t be put of by the examination, it’s not tough if in case you have  listened attentively all through the course – you’ll make it!

After your course, you’ll formally be capable of dive anyplace on this planet with one other licensed diver to a depth of 18 meters!

Keep in mind Koh Tao is without doubt one of the greatest locations on this planet to learn to dive, you don’t should cease there with the open water. Since first arriving in Koh Tao, I’ve taken many programs on scuba diving and most just lately a course to learn to free dive.

How a lot will the course value? 

Koh Tao is alleged to be the most cost effective place on this planet to get dive licensed. Though it differs barely between dive faculties, you’ll be anticipated to pay roughly 9000 to 11000 Thai Baht ($300-$380) for an open water course – This normally contains free drinks and meals all through the times you’ll be diving on (it may additionally often embrace lodging – so do some digging!)

How to decide on a dive college

I used to be confronted with this challenge after I first arrived in Koh Tao, I initially went with the primary dive college my hostel advisable. After visiting the dive college I rapidly realised no-one there spoke English very effectively, so I knew studying the best way to dive there could also be a problem for me. It undoubtedly pays to do your due diligence and go searching earlier than committing  to a course. I now get together with the dive instructors very effectively and return most years to dive alongside facet them. 

It’s tough for me to suggest precise dive faculties as there are such a lot of in Koh Tao (over 70!) they usually cater to completely different languages. I might ask your self the next inquiries to be sure you get a dive college that fits you:

  • Does an teacher converse my fundamental language? There are dive faculties throughout Koh Tao for a lot of languages, there’s devoted instructors for English, French, End, Chinese language, Italian and plenty of extra.
  • Will my first dives be taken in a pool or the ocean? In case you’re much less assured together with your capability within the water, then search for someplace that lets you apply your first time with the tools in a pool. 
  • Is the tools in good situation? It undoubtedly doesn’t harm to ask to take a look at the tools earlier than reserving a dive. As a result of recognition of diving in Koh Tao, it additionally holds a great monitor document of conserving the whole lot in good situation. 
  • How certified is my teacher? Take consolation in realizing the instructors are effectively ‘policed’ in Koh Tao and recurrently should show they’re certified. 
  • How many individuals are in my group? Chances are you’ll choose roughly, it’s private choice. Would you like extra 1-on-1 time with the instructors or do you wish to meet new individuals? My first time in Koh Tao was while backpacking Thailand, so I went for a bigger group to fulfill extra travellers – we ended up all good for meals and drinks after our course and I’ve remained in contact with most since!

What are one of the best dive websites round Koh Tao?

Most likely the preferred place to dive in Koh Tao is Chumphon Pinnacle. A couple of 30 minute boat journey from the coast lies this dive website with lovely rock formations. It boasts nice visibility and is dwelling to an enormous array of fish from angelfish to barracudas and batfish. Chumphon Pinnacle is normally visited by individuals taking their superior open water dives as it may be visited to depths of 30m and extra. In case you go to right here on the proper time of yr, you may additionally see a Whale Shark! 

One other fashionable dive location is White Rock. There’s a excessive probability you’ll go to right here in your open water course, because it’s positioned simply off the primary seashore – Sairee Seaside. The diving ranges from 1m to 20m and is dwelling to an array of lovely fish and it’s additionally some of the fashionable locations to see the enormous inexperienced turtles! I noticed one just lately which was about 1.5m in size and certain 50+ years outdated. 

The Twins is one other fashionable location you’ll doubtless go to in your open water course. It’s located within the bay between Koh Tao and a neighbouring island known as Koh Nangyuan. It’s dwelling to full of life coral and limestone and granite boulders. Areas of the positioning are artificially made to assist defend the marine life and to advertise new coral development. You’ll additionally discover a shipwreck and an underwater forest known as the Japanese Flower Backyard, there’s additionally supposedly an enormous octopus that lives within the space, though I’m but to identify it!

One other website regularly visited in your open water course (and certainly one of my favourites) is Shark Island, It will get it title from the fin like look of the rock formations that type the islands peak. Though I’ve seen quite a few reef sharks simply off the coast, so it’s undoubtedly dwelling to them as effectively – don’t fear reef sharks are innocent to people and can go away you alone. You can too see snappers, moray eels, sea snakes and barracudas round shark island. 

These are simply a few of my favorite spots, though there are lots of many extra round Koh Tao, take a look at the dive itineraries earlier than you e-book your course, and go the place you need!

Do’s and Don’ts for first time divers

  • Respect the marine life and coral – Many individuals don’t know that coral is definitely a residing organism. Please don’t contact and coral, all the time make sure you aren’t kicking any coral together with your fins while within the water and by no means stand on it!

By no means contact any fish, turtles or different marine life. There are a few causes right here, the primary is that you could be hurt it, people carry many micro organism on their physique and fingers that are very dangerous for marine life as they aren’t uncovered to those micro organism recurrently like people. One more reason is your personal security, many underwater fish, particularly these in tropical areas can really be toxic if touched or when you get bitten. In case you keep a long way away from the marine life, you’ll by no means have a problem. 

  • Use reef secure sunscreen – This can be a subject which is lastly getting some extra publicity. Coral reefs internationally are dying because of air pollution, local weather change and largely the chemical substances present in sunscreen. Please make sure you put on sunscreen which doesn’t trigger any chemical substances which may injury the corals! You’ll find extra data on reef secure sunscreen from here.
  • Don’t take something dwelling with you – This is applicable to the whole lot you see while scuba diving and on the seashore. E.g. shells, coral, starfish. Some nations implement strict legal guidelines if persons are caught doing so. Keep in mind you’re there to take pleasure in the fantastic thing about the underwater world, go away it for another person to see!

I feel that just about covers the whole lot you’ll want on your first time scuba diving in Koh Tao! I hope you discovered this text informative and I hope to see you in Thailand! In case you want extra data then be happy to get in contact with me at my weblog here


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