What to expect?
Koh Tao is a huge diving hub, almost everyone on the island is either here to dive or works in a diving center. It is the main topic of conversation between travellers when mentioning Koh Tao and for a good reason: it’s absolutely awesome!
Most diving resorts are on the beach, have their own accommodation, a swimming pool for practicing and a bar to enjoy a fresh beer after the dives.
How do I select a diving school?
There are two certifications to choose from: PADI and SSI.
Both are very similar and selecting one for your course doesn’t prevent you from selecting the other for your next course, so no need to worry about which one to pick.
I would say there is a small advantage for SSI with being cheaper.
I personally did my open water course with Big Blue Diving and had an amazing experience.
I have been recommended this school by a traveller met on Koh Phangan and just walked in once on the island.
I’ve been very well welcomed, they answered all my questions, didn’t force me to sign up in any way and provided me with the most suitable offer.
The staff was fantastic, I had a great team, the instructor was the best and the vibe in the center is awesome. I highly recommend them.
You can look them up, they have great reviews on Facebook and Tripadvisor.
If not for this one, you can walk in different schools, ask for information and see where you feel the most comfortable. The staff is for me the most important. I’ve had the chance to have great instructors all the time and they really made my experience.
How much does it cost?
Prices are quite similar in every diving school. The difference would sometimes be that they can provide you with accommodation in the package (but you need to book in advance for that).
A lot of salesmen will pitch you their school in the boat to Koh Tao and at the pier, arguing that you are getting a discount, everything is full, etc… Don’t get fooled, take the time to walk in the diving centers and don’t worry there is always availability.
Prices below are for Big Blue Diving but overall the same for all diving centers:
The Open Water course costs 9800 THB (250€)
The Advanced Course costs 8600 THB (220€)
A one-day free diving costs 3500 THB (90€)
If it is your first time diving, then you will go for the Open Water, which is the first level of certification.
It is a 3 to 4 days course including theory, swimming pool practice and ocean dives.
By the end of the course, you will receive a certification allowing you to dive down to 18 meters depth.
If you already are certified Open Water, you can do you Advanced course, which is the next level of certification and will get you to 30 meters depth.
You also have specialised certifications such as Specialty Nitrox and Wreck, Rescue Diver, Dive Master…
When is the best time?
All year round! Yes, just because Koh Tao wasn’t amazing enough, it had to provide with great diving conditions at all time.
The local diving schools indicate that the optimum conditions are between March and September with July and August being the busiest months. The visibility is at its best and the temperature is around 29ºC.
November to February can bring heavy rains and wind so not the best time to visit the island but if you are around, diving is not affected by that.
I hope this information will help you out to enjoy such an incredible experience.
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