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Scuba diving in Asia forum

Learning to dive Koh Tao

Posted by smash on 12/7/2009 at 05:00

Hi all

I'm toying with the idea of learning to dive in Koh Tao (so do the PADI Open Water course) when we're there next year.

I've through this forum and others but can't seem to find any recent definitive advice.

Has anyone had any experience with:
* Simple Life Koh Tao Diving / Koh Tao Wind Resort (BHT9,800 pp)
* Davy Jones' Locker / Silver Sands Hotel & Beach Resort (BHT9,800 pp)
* Planet Scuba (THB9,270 pp)

I think I'm leaning towards the Davy Jones' Locker/Silver Sands or the Simple Life option. These two include four nights accommodation (DJL in bungalow, SL in a fan room) - Planet Scuba only includes three nights in a fan room. We're going to be towards the end of our trip so having accommodation included is a big ++ budgeting wise. I would try and bargain them down a bit as there would be two of us, but I think having the accommodation included is a decent deal anyway. All three seem to have small groups - DJL 4 people, SL 6 people, not sure on PS.

Does anyone have any suggestions or feedback on learning to dive in Koh Tao? Who to stay/do the course with?

Cheers,
Ash

#1 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162

Posted by somtam2000 on 12/7/2009 at 06:13 admin

We're actually giving away a PADI course on Ko Tao today -- more information here:
http://www.travelfish.org/travelfish-turns-five.php

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,436
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Posted by smash on 12/7/2009 at 06:59

thanks somtam - will try my luck!

#3 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162

Posted by amazon_blonde on 13/7/2009 at 06:01

Smash,
I don't have any personal input on those options but did dive with Scuba Junction, which included 50% discount on accommodation in high season. Not sure what the deal is in low season.
The instructors there were amazing. My partner was taught by Ayesha, who's involved in the Travelfish giveaway this weekend. I cannot say enough positive things about Ayesha and her approach to diving. I'm already certified, but from watching and listening to my partner, I was incredibly impressed by her ability to make the course fun and, at the same time, be very safety conscious, which should not be under-estimated.
Do you absolutely need to book ahead? What time of year will you be there? It's really best if you can show up and meet your potential instructor before committing to a school so that you can make sure that you will be comfortable with him or her and there are no language issues. I firmly believe that you should have an instructor that is completely fluent in your native language because if you don't understand each other, it can have disasterous consequences. I've dived when there's language issues, and it's not smart or relaxing.
You may also want to check out your accommodations before committing. Some places are known for providing "free" rooms that are awful. Keep in mind that the free rooms are the most basic and least desirable rooms the resort has to offer. Depending on your budget, it might be better to get 50% off a better room. Or at least check out the "free" room to make sure you can sleep there. Scuba diving isn't fun if you can't get a good night's sleep.

#4 amazon_blonde has been a member since 20/12/2008. Posts: 116

Posted by smash on 13/7/2009 at 06:24

thanks amazon_blonde. will keep this in mind. we're probably going to be arriving a day or two after a full moon party (aren't we oh so original?????!!!) so probably guess that'd mean best to book in advance? for the better accommodation at least?

#5 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162

Posted by amazon_blonde on 14/7/2009 at 00:20

I think it depends on the time of year and your travel style. We showed up on Boxing Day - peak season - late in the day without reservations and were fine (although accommodation was certainly tight). There are so many dive shops and resorts that if you don't have your heart set on something in particular, and are flexible, you're probably fine except in peak season, and even then, we did fine.
Keep in mind that tourism generally is way down in Thailand this year. That doesn't mean Ko Tao will be deserted, but it may not be the crushing crowds of yesteryear.

#6 amazon_blonde has been a member since 20/12/2008. Posts: 116

Posted by somtam2000 on 14/7/2009 at 06:10 admin

Thanks for the feedback on Ayesha's dive training amazon_blonde -- appreciated.

smash -- you can read more about her training here:
http://www.travelfish.org/travel-tours.php?id=2

#7 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,436
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