A Complete Guide to Scuba Diving in Koh Tao

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The start of 2019 turned out to be a chilly and moist one for me within the UK. This led to me reserving a Four month journey round South East Asia Oct-Jan to absorb some solar and take a look at the spectacular diving alternatives which can be on supply within the area.  My journey has thus far taken me scuba diving and free diving within the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand – I’m at the moment writing this text while lounging on a seashore in Koh Phangan! 

A serious focus of my journey was to spend a month within the Gulf of Thailand, particularly at a gaggle of islands simply off the East coast of the mainland. This may permit me to go to Koh Tao for a number of weeks. Koh Tao is one for the world’s greatest locations to qualify as a PADI diver; I did my {qualifications} right here a number of years again. Koh Tao ranks 2nd on the variety of annual diver certifications issued, it’s second solely to Cairns in Australia. 

Each-year 1000’s of travellers and diving lovers starting from learners to professional come to Koh Tao to take a look at the coral reefs surrounding the island. Common marine life consists of an abundance of tropical fish, large inexperienced turtles and a cove which is residence to a whole lot of reef sharks. The diving programs on supply are extremely inexpensive, the educating requirements are very excessive, dive websites are all over the place and the situations are nice for beginner divers. And after an extended day of diving underneath the water, the island additionally boasts lovely seashore bars stuffed with nice native meals and drinks so that you can unwind. What extra may you ask for?

What diving certification do you have to go for?

World wide there are over 50 scuba diving coaching certifications, in Koh Tao the two hottest is the Skilled Affiliation of Dive Instructors (PADI) or Scuba Faculties Worldwide (SSI). 

Each coaching colleges has its personal requirements, guidelines and educating materials however on the finish of the day you’ll be taught the right way to use the identical gear, discover ways to dive correctly and see the identical great websites Koh Tao has to supply. 

PADI

PADI holds the crown of being the world’s main scuba dive coach. It carries out roughly 1 million certifications per yr. 

The rationale I selected PADI is that anybody who needs to be a dive teacher (one thing I’ll enterprise into sooner or later), can accomplish that independently. While an SSI dive teacher has to function out of an SSI registered coaching faculty. So should you ever see your self as educating others the right way to dive or need to have the likelihood underneath your belt then go for PADI. 

SSI

Koh Tao is claimed to be the most affordable place on the earth to get your diving certification – should you’re on a price range or backpacking on a shoestring round Thailand then you definately’ll get extra on your Thai Baht should you go along with SSI. Sometimes an SSI course in Koh Tao will price you about 10% lower than a PADI course. 

Which ever scuba coach you determine to go along with, be sure to take a look at the critiques and phrases of each programs and go along with the one you’re feeling most snug with! Each are an ideal alternative.

What is going to the programs embrace?

The primary course you’ll take as a diver on Koh Tao is your open water certification course. That is what I took while backpacking the Gulf of Thailand years in the past, a lot of my pals stayed longer and did stints working on the dive colleges!

The programs could barely differ between dive colleges however here’s a tough define of what you possibly can count on:

Day 1: The primary day is often spent within the classroom filling out your paperwork, sorting your dive insurance coverage, watching movies and studying about orientation. 

Day 2: The second day often begins within the classroom once more the place you’ll look over the gear, be taught what all the pieces is and the right way to use it. The second ha;f of the day is spent both in a swimming pool or shallow dive web site permitting you to work in your primary diving abilities and get extra used to the gear. 

Day 3: If extra classroom work is required then a brief morning could also be spent within the classroom, if not you’ll get out on your first open water dive – perhaps your 2nd when you’ve got time.

Day 4: You’ll full your Four open water dives, venturing out deeper into the ocean, exploring the sights round Koh Tao. When you’re fortunate you would possibly see inexperienced turtles, reef sharks and whale sharks! After your dives, you’ll be required to sit down your closing examination – don’t be put of by the examination, it’s not tough when you’ve got  listened attentively all through the course – you’ll make it!

After your course, you’ll formally be capable to dive anyplace on the earth with one other licensed diver to a depth of 18 meters!

Keep in mind Koh Tao is without doubt one of the greatest locations on the earth to discover ways to dive, you don’t must cease there with the open water. Since first arriving in Koh Tao, I’ve taken many programs on scuba diving and most lately a course to discover ways to free dive.

How a lot will the course price? 

Koh Tao is claimed to be the most affordable place on the earth to get dive licensed. Though it differs barely between dive colleges, you’ll be anticipated to pay roughly 9000 to 11000 Thai Baht ($300-$380) for an open water course – This often consists of free drinks and meals all through the times you’ll be diving on (it may possibly additionally sometimes embrace lodging – so do some digging!)

How to decide on a dive faculty

I used to be confronted with this subject once I first arrived in Koh Tao, I initially went with the primary dive faculty my hostel really helpful. After visiting the dive faculty I rapidly realised no-one there spoke English very effectively, so I knew studying the right way to dive there could also be a difficulty for me. It undoubtedly pays to do your due diligence and go searching earlier than committing  to a course. I now get together with the dive instructors very effectively and return most years to dive alongside aspect them. 

It’s tough for me to suggest actual dive colleges as there are such a lot of in Koh Tao (over 70!) and so they cater to totally different languages. I’d ask your self the next inquiries to be sure to get a dive faculty that fits you:

  • Does an teacher converse my most important language? There are dive colleges throughout Koh Tao for a lot of languages, there may be devoted instructors for English, French, End, Chinese language, Italian and plenty of extra.
  • Will my first dives be taken in a pool or the ocean? When you’re much less assured along with your capacity within the water, then search for someplace that permits you to follow your first time with the gear in a pool. 
  • Is the gear in good situation? It undoubtedly doesn’t damage to ask to take a look at the gear earlier than reserving a dive. Because of the reputation of diving in Koh Tao, it additionally holds an excellent observe report of holding all the pieces in good situation. 
  • How certified is my teacher? Take consolation in realizing the instructors are effectively ‘policed’ in Koh Tao and frequently must show they’re certified. 
  • How many individuals are in my group? You could want kind of, it’s private choice. Would you like extra 1-on-1 time with the instructors or do you need to meet new individuals? My first time in Koh Tao was while backpacking Thailand, so I went for a bigger group to satisfy extra travellers – we ended up all good for meals and drinks after our course and I’ve remained in contact with most since!

What are the most effective dive websites round Koh Tao?

Most likely the preferred place to dive in Koh Tao is Chumphon Pinnacle. A few 30 minute boat journey from the coast lies this dive web site with lovely rock formations. It boasts nice visibility and is residence to an enormous array of fish from angelfish to barracudas and batfish. Chumphon Pinnacle is often visited by individuals taking their superior open water dives as it may be visited to depths of 30m and extra. When you go to right here on the proper time of yr, you may additionally see a Whale Shark! 

One other fashionable dive location is White Rock. There’s a excessive probability you’ll go to right here in your open water course, because it’s positioned simply off the primary seashore – Sairee Seashore. The diving ranges from 1m to 20m and is residence to an array of lovely fish and it’s additionally one of the crucial fashionable locations to see the large inexperienced turtles! I noticed one lately which was about 1.5m in size and certain 50+ years outdated. 

The Twins is one other fashionable location you’ll seemingly go to in your open water course. It’s located within the bay between Koh Tao and a neighbouring island referred to as Koh Nangyuan. It’s residence to energetic coral and limestone and granite boulders. Areas of the positioning are artificially made to assist shield the marine life and to advertise new coral progress. You’ll additionally discover a shipwreck and an underwater forest referred to as the Japanese Flower Backyard, there may be additionally supposedly a large octopus that lives within the space, though I’m but to identify it!

One other web site often visited in your open water course (and one in every of my favourites) is Shark Island, It will get it identify from the fin like look of the rock formations that kind the islands peak. Though I’ve seen quite a few reef sharks simply off the coast, so it’s undoubtedly residence to them as effectively – don’t fear reef sharks are innocent to people and can depart you alone. You may as well see snappers, moray eels, sea snakes and barracudas round shark island. 

These are simply a few of my favorite spots, though there are lots of many extra round Koh Tao, take a look at the dive itineraries earlier than you e-book your course, and go the place you need!

Do’s and Don’ts for first time divers

  • Respect the marine life and coral – Many individuals don’t know that coral is definitely a dwelling organism. Please don’t contact and coral, all the time make sure you aren’t kicking any coral along with your fins while within the water and by no means stand on it!

By no means contact any fish, turtles or different marine life. There are a few causes right here, the primary is that you could be hurt it, people carry many micro organism on their physique and palms that are very dangerous for marine life as they aren’t uncovered to those micro organism frequently like people. Another excuse is your individual security, many underwater fish, particularly these in tropical areas can truly be toxic if touched or should you get bitten. When you keep a long way away from the marine life, you’ll by no means have a difficulty. 

  • Use reef protected sunscreen – This can be a matter which is lastly getting some extra publicity. Coral reefs internationally are dying as a result of air pollution, local weather change and largely the chemical substances present in sunscreen. Please make sure you put on sunscreen which doesn’t trigger any chemical substances which might injury the corals! Yow will discover extra data on reef protected sunscreen from right here.
  • Don’t take something residence with you – This is applicable to all the pieces you see while scuba diving and on the seashore. E.g. shells, coral, starfish. Some international locations implement strict legal guidelines if persons are caught doing so. Keep in mind you’re there to take pleasure in the great thing about the underwater world, depart it for another person to see!

I feel that just about covers all the pieces you’ll want on your first time scuba diving in Koh Tao! I hope you discovered this text informative and I hope to see you in Thailand! When you want extra data then be happy to get in contact with me at my weblog right here

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