Dive Sites on Koh Tao are perfectly suited for all dive courses, considering depth, clarity and calmness of the dive environment. The conditions are generally very good making it possible for everyone to dive Koh Tao. The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) and Scuba School International (SSI) are the two predominant certifying organizations in the 60+ dive shops on the island, so opportunities to dive Koh Tao are literally around every corner!
At most dive centres on Koh Tao, accommodation is included within the cost of the dive course along with a friendly atmosphere and highly qualified, multilingual instructors. If you plan on spending a few days or a few months to learn about diving, Koh Tao provides the perfect balance for education and island living.
To experience what it feels like to breathe underwater, the half-day Discover Scuba Diving Course is a great option to see what it’s like to dive Koh Tao. Here you will learn how to use dive equipment and enjoy an underwater tour to a maximum depth of 12 metres under the direct supervision of a certified dive professional.
The Open Water Course is a 4 day program where you will receive a qualification to dive to a maximum depth of 18 m. This certification is recognized worldwide and provides the foundation for all future dives. Generally, this course is conducted in a shallow confined environment (swimming pool or bay) where you begin with basic skills, followed by classroom presentations from an instructor, along with four open water dives. Minimum age for this course is 10 years old.
The Adventures in Diving or Advanced Open Water Course helps broaden your diving knowledge and underwater experiences. This takes you to the next level of depth and challenges your dive skills while exploring all the extra curricular dive activities available. Included in your 5 Advanced Open Water dives, you take the plunge and go deep to 30 m and expand your underwater navigation skills. The 3 other dives are up to you!
White Rock is a spectacular dive site to visit when diving Koh Tao that is mostly visited for the night adventure dive due to the charismatic behavior of the marine life that become active at night. Divers enjoy exploring the reefs there to witness the hunting patterns of the great barracuda, blue spotted stingrays and view the brilliant phosphorescence. The options for your elective choices include Wreck Diving, Digital Underwater Photography, Search & Recovery, Buoyancy Techniques plus more. Minimum age is 12 years old.
If you are currently an Advanced Open Water diver and would like to learn how to help others, your next challenge is the Rescue Diver Course. This 3–4 day program provides you with the necessary skills to assist, supervise and take control of an emergency situation. You will need to have a certification in CPR and First Aid/Secondary Care to be able to attend this course. The Emergency First Response Course (EFR) can be integrated into the rescue program. EFR is an internationally recognized certification for CPR, AED, Primary and Secondary Care. To learn more about Diving Medicine, you may be interested in the O2 Provider Course, an independent program that can also be integrated in the EFR or Rescue Programs. Minimum age is 12 years old.
Similar to the Discover Scuba Diving Program, the PADI Bubblemaker Program gives kids the opportunity to experience breathing from S.C.U.B.A. underwater to a depth of 2–4 metres. The minimum age is 8 years to participate. Conducted in either a pool or at shallow water dive site such as Mango Bay or Japanese Gardens, you will have the chance to feel the same excitement that certified divers experience. The benefits of getting into the shallow open water environment is that you see the beautiful creatures that live beneath our ocean surface. These programs incorporate a series of games to enhance buoyancy control and breathing techniques that can be beneficial to underwater enthusiast of all ages.
The PADI Seal Team Program gives children ages 8 years and above the opportunity to experience diving in a confined pool environment. Here they practice skills used in the open water through several structures sessions. Furthering their knowledge they may progress to the Master Seal Team Program whereby these new divers can take on challenging skills diving at night, developing navigation and buoyancy skills – and all in the secure settings of a swimming pool. Parents can participate or enjoy their time exploring other avenues of diving on the island while the kids are directly supervised by their diving instructor.
If you’re looking for a new place to call home, Koh Tao is renowned for its longterm diving experiences. The affordable accommodation and food options available allow many travellers and avid divers to remain on the island to dive Koh Tao and continue their diving education to the professional levels of Divemaster and Open Water Scuba Instructor.
There are a few schools on the island that have PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Ratings to offer these accredited professional programs that are recognized worldwide. This level of training opens up the opportunity to work on the island and around the world. The average time spent for these programs are from 3 weeks to 6 months or more, depending on the individual.
If you are interested in keeping up with the diving trends, there are always new programs being developed. The most recent being the Recreational and Technical Sidemount Diver Course. The experienced diver has the chance to try using different equipment and learn new diving procedures.
All dive facilities have their own boats, provide dive equipment and professional guides for the daily dive trips around Koh Tao. Some excursions include fruit and soft beverages where as others provide drinking water, coffee and tea. Weather permitting, local dive sites are visited twice daily, regular schedules include 2 x dives in the morning (07:00 – 12:00) and 2 x dives in the afternoon (12:15 – 17:30), along with night dives (18:00 – 20:30) every other day.
Most dive sites surround Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan, but there are special day trips organized for Sail Rock and Samran Pinnacles and Ang Thong National Marine Park at most dive resorts. These full day trips leave in the morning and include lunch and dive equipment.
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