For decades, Thailand has been the biggest backpackers’ hub in the entire continent. Backpackers flock in for different activities in the area. For Full Moon Party, there is Koh Phangan, for pristine beaches, there is Koh Phi Phi, and for Scuba Diving, there is Koh Tao.
Not only are the courses inexpensive in comparison with other places in the world, but is arguably the best in Asia. Add to that the laid-back lifestyle of the locals, ethereal dive sites, and a bevy of dive shops on the petite island. Referred as the Turtle Island, it records the second highest number of diving certifications, annually.
About the course:
An Open Water Course – which is the first certification course – takes three to four days to be completed. Students have to take theory as well as practical classes. On the final day, students have to take a test, completing which, they get their open water certifications. The course is designed for children aged 12 years, so rest assured, it would not be that difficult for adults. During the course, you will get to do one pool session, followed by four open water dives. After successful completion of the course, you will be allowed to discover about 70% of the planet, up to 18 meters in depth (along with a diving partner).
In order to learn Scuba Diving, one must be comfortable under water. Apart from that, one should be able to swim 200 meters continuously, using any technique, but without any equipment or snorkel 300 meters, and be able to stay afloat for ten minutes.
The most popular Scuba Diving courses are PADI and SSI. While PADI Open Water course costs about 9,000 to 11,000 THB, SSI Open Water course costs 8,500 to 10,000 THB. For certified divers, fun dives cost anything between 750 to 1100 THB, depending on the number of dives you take and whether you get your own equipments or not.
(1 USD is equivalent of 34.05 THB as of May, 2017.)
Which School to choose?
The Turtle Island has a lot of diving schools. Choosing a good school should not be a difficult task. But to make things easier, we have compiled some of the best Diving schools on the island:
Popular Diving Sites:
- The Twins
- The Wreck of the Sattakut
- Shark Island
- Green Rock
- Sail Rock
- White Rock
Pros and Cons of Diving at Koh Tao:
- It is pretty inexpensive.
- It is one of the better places to learn Scuba Diving in the world.
- You have a lot options to choose which Diving School You want to learn from.
- Excellent underwater visibility.
- You may get to swim with Sharks.
- It is often overcrowded.
- Some schools are not interested in teaching the students and are there only to mint money.
Cover image credits.