I have to be honest – I wasn’t sure if I was going to like scuba diving. Shane and I had been going back and forth for a couple months debating if we wanted to get certified before our trip or wait until we got to to the island. I heard from a couple people that it can be very claustrophobic, and another friend said, “just don’t stop breathing!” so I was a little uneasy. I couldn’t have been more wrong! If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try! If you’re thinking about scuba diving in Koh Tao, DEFINITELY DO IT!
Discovery Dive Time
We decided to compromise and do a “discover dive” with Koh Tao Divers! This is where you spend a day diving without getting the certification. Our air bnb hostsin Koh Tao recommended Koh Tao Divers to us and I also did a lot of research on my own end. They got a 5 star rating with trip advisor out of 559 reviews! They are also the oldest school in Koh Tao since 1987. They are hands down the best diving school in Koh Tao.
Koh Tao Divers is a professional company with laid-back vibes and are very flexible with your travel plans! We hopped off the morning ferry and went straight to the dive school and they let us keep our luggage in the main room. KTD limit’s the number of students to 4 per group instead of 8 like other dive schools. It was only Shane and I that day so it was very conducive to learning and felt more intimate. Our instructor, Tomppa, was awesome. The one-on-one tutoring was great and he made us feel safe. I could tell right away that KTD was focused on safety and environmental awareness.
KTD specializes in SSI certifications instead of PADI and RAID (which most people have never heard of.) SSI is great in that it allows you to complete most of your classroom training before you arrive on the island. So if you have a long flight or ferry ride this could be a great option to help pass the time.
Koh Tao Diving Prices
Diving in Koh Tao is CHEAP! Our all day discover dive was 3000 THB (100 bucks), with the option of continuing on towards SSI scuba diver or SSI Open water for a discount. If we were to study that night then come back the next morning for the all day class and test we would have been certified scuba divers for 5500 more baht, so 283 dollars total for the two days.
We only had two more days on the island and we really wanted to hike and explore Koh Tao more so we decided to hold off BUT I SORELY REGRET IT!!!! I have been back from Thailand for a month now and all I have been doing is researching where in the world I can travel to get certified (thinking somewhere in the Caribbean) but those places are more expensive. Take the plunge and get certified!
Part of the reason why it is so cheap to get certified in Koh Tao is that the dive sites are so close! The farthest dive site is only 40 minutes away. This means the schools don’t have to spend as much on gas to get you out there. By the time you pull on your gear, you are already there! Our dive trip left straight from the popular Sairee beach so we didn’t have to get transportation to and from the pier.
Koh Tao Diving
When you are below the surface it is a whole new world! One tip from Tamppa was that sharks and other predators move quickly. If you are moving slowly, the fish don’t mind you and think you are just a larger one of them! Lazy divers make the best divers!
We gave our Go Pro Hero 6 to our Divemaster and he took some great photos of us, the coral, and some fish! When you are under the water all of the stress stays at the surface and everything else fades away; it felt like meditating. Our first dive was fifty minutes and the second one longer and time flew by below the surface.
Koh Tao Essentials
These are the top 5 items I would make sure you bring to Thailand. For a more comprehensive list, check out my Thailand Packing Guide.
You may have heard that the stunning beach of Maya Bay has been closed off and on this year to let the ecosystem bounce back. Part of the reason why the coral has been dying is because sunscreen can in fact bleach and kill the coral. Be responsible and keep our oceans safe!
Annoying, but necessary. I was screwed when I visited Bali because I didn’t purchase travel insurance and you never know if an emergency is going to happen, or if you miss a flight or get your laptop stolen. Better safe than sorry! I use and recommend World Nomads
Scuba was my favorite activity we did out of everything in Thailand. Everyone was so nice and made us feel at home. I met so many people who told us that they had come to the island just to snorkel while backpacking and had fallen in love with it. Next they got their divemaster in Koh Tao, and the rest was history! Maybe someday I will join them!
Where are some of your favorite places you have dived? Let me know in the comments below!