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Learning to dive on Ko Tao

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So you’ve made the decision – you want to learn to dive on Ko Tao. Congratulations! Here is an outline of what learning to dive on Ko Tao actually entails along with some guidance regarding the common questions you’re most likely to encounter.





The process essentially boils down to three steps, which are firstly deciding if you want to do PADI or SSI, then deciding on a dive centre, then doing the theory and getting in the water. Once you’re certified, what about if you want to do another course afterwards? We’ll cover that too.

Should you do PADI or SSI? Ultimately, it’s more important that you have chosen the right dive centre than the “right” course and importantly, both PADI and SSI are internationally recognised meaning you can dive anywhere in the world with either certification. You can switch and change too — you don’t have to stay with the agency that you pick for your first course.

Smile for the camera. Photo taken in or around Learning to dive on Ko Tao, Ko Tao, Thailand by Ayesha Cantrell.

Smile for the camera. Photo: Ayesha Cantrell

The science, skills and techniques don’t change with whatever agency you choose but the methodology can be a little different. As an example, a PADI course runs in a set order, meaning the student must complete skill A before moving to skill B, whereas an SSI course flow can be altered to suit the student. If you were having trouble mastering a skill with SSI, then your instructor is allowed to move on, get you comfortable and build your confidence with something else, and then return to that challenging technique.

While price should not be an overwhelming factor in choosing where to dive, consider that most centres do offer SSI a little more cheaply than PADI. They can do this as SSI allows students to borrow books during their course whereas with a PADI course it’s compulsory to own one. Both PADI and SSI offer online learning so you can save some time by completing the theoretical part at home before you come to Ko Tao. There is a review with your instructor upon arrival, so any concepts that need further explanation can be covered. Again SSI’s online learning is free, whereas PADI will ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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Popular attractions in Ko Tao

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Ko Tao.



Best places to stay in Ko Tao

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Ko Tao.


What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Ko Tao.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Ko Tao.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Ko Tao.
 Read up on how to get to Ko Tao, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Ko Tao? Please read this.
 Buy a SIM card for Thailand—pick it up at the airport when you arrive.
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See below for more sights and activities in Ko Tao that are listed on Travelfish.org.


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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Ko Tao? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Thailand.


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