Has anyone who has done the 3.5 day PADI/SSI introductory SCUBA course in Koh Tao had any luck negotiating prices? I'd like to book an operator ahead of time if possible, to ensure I get someone reputable, max of 4 students per instructor, etc ... but I'm not sure how easy it is to do that over email? I emailed 3 operators already and got 3 different prices - some of which include accommodation.
I wasn't sure if the prices quoted already build in some negotiating room or not. Any thoughts from those who have been to Koh Tao for SCUBA?
#1 adaminasia has been a member since 22/7/2013. Posts: 20
I've not done it on Ko Tao but I'd say there is zero need to book it in advance as there are heaps of dive shops there and you're better advised to go visit a few shops and talk to the people giving the courses to see which has a good feel for you.
The following may also be of use:
Learning to dive on KoTao
Choosing a dive centre on KoTao
#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,738
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Thanks for the advice, somtam2000. Will definitely consider that. Thanks also for the links to related content.
For any others who happen upon this post in the future, I will also say that Tripadvisor has been pretty helpful for researching - given how good all of the dive shops are, it is a helpful tool to see how each dive shop rates amongst a larger group of customers. That is how I ended up reaching out to a few of the dive shops.
#3 adaminasia has been a member since 22/7/2013. Posts: 20
I did some diving in KT if your set on doing your courses in KT be prepared to have up to 30 people on the boat so the instructors/ masters can be spread bit thin. That's why it's cheaper there.
Certainly some operators do stipulate that they specialise in small groups. You would be best arriving a few days before you want to start the course and look/ shop around to get the best deal for you. Some offer deals with accommodation thrown in. So don't be scared to ask
I did my 1st level SSI license in BIG BLUE in KT.
Very nice people, and you pay the licence, they give the room.
I also did the advanced (30mt) but then for this I negotiated the price on the boat from Kho Phan Ghan to Koh Tao and this free night to relax me and my ears with a girl who was proposing the prices . ;-)
KT has A LOT of Diving... only depending your Budget...
I felt very goo also 'cause they have a swimming pool and trying the first impression in the pool it's always great idea.
Also a lot of young people.
Have safe dive !
#5 kaernal has been a member since 31/8/2013. Posts: 1
Probably not much room for negotiation unless you are going in low season. Koh Tao is such a busy hub most places would just set their prices and if you are willing to pay them fine if not someone else will.
To get a small group you are going to have to go with one of the more expensive operators since the reason some of them are cheaper is because they load up the boat to the brim. Definitely don't go the cheap route as I have heard of operators that pretty much just push you through the water and don't really teach you anything.
Also it is unfortunate but you likely can't believe everything a company tells you via email (ie if they say they usually only have small groups etc). One sad thing about south east asia is that lots of the time they will tell you what ever you want to hear to get you there and then expect you will just book with them anyways.
I believe you are going to Vietnam as well. Taking your course with Mark Scott in Nha Trang is a good idea if that works with your trip. He only does small groups and is a good guy and will give you free accommodation and show you around town etc. I only did a 2 try dive with him but if I had more time might have considered getting certified since he did an excellent job and the course was so personalized(there was only 1 other person with us that day).
this is great, thanks all for your suggestions and advice!
#7 adaminasia has been a member since 22/7/2013. Posts: 20