Learning to dive is a fantastic experience in so many ways. Besides the obvious of being weightless in the water, while experiencing the magical wonders of a tropical coral reef the personal development that happens during the course is highly valuable. With a professional dive instructor, you will slowly push your own borders to become confident with your dive equipment and in the water. Your goal is to breathe freely, and move effortlessly in the ocean. Once you've got it down, it is a rather spectacular and liberating feeling.
Out of all the diving offered on the East coast of Thailand, Koh Tao has the better of it. The island is famous for its laid back atmosphere on land. It is a cool paradise for those wanting to do their initial course or already certified divers continuing their education. It's not a lie, when said that Koh Tao is addictive. Backpackers usually end up staying for weeks. The reef has taken some damage from the tourism, but due to a massive effort to protect and rebuild the reefs, the corals and the fish life is doing really well. Koh Tao is now offering some really good diving for divers on all levels. Many dive sites are sheltered reefs with beautiful corals, good visibility, shallow depths and little to no current. Sites are reached in less than 20 minutes by boat. Deeper dive sites with pelagic marine life can be found a short 45 minute boat ride away. All year round lucky divers are encountering Whale sharks, Reef Sharks, Rays and Turtles.
Koh Tao in general is packed with different bays and beaches that are well worth visiting with your snorkeling gear. The island itself has a great size in terms of exploration, and it is easy to get around on a scooter. However, if you want a young and very vibrant vibe, Sairee beach is the place to be! The atmosphere is buzzing with hippie happy backpackers hanging out in the cafes, the beach bars and obviously on the beach itself… which is the longest and most popular beach on the island. (you will see why!)
The PADI Open Water Diver course is the most popular diving certificate
worldwide. After completing this 3-4 day course you are certified to
dive to 18m independently with a buddy. The course consists of five
modules of learning. You study via a self-study workbook or
offline-app, completing knowledge reviews for each chapter. This
process is complemented by videos accompanying each chapter to
reinforce what you have learned. The instructor reviews everything with
you to ensure that you have fully understood everything. The practical
learning consists of confined water sessions and four open water
dives. Dive one and two are conducted at a depth of maximum 12m and
dive three and four are conducted at a maximum depth of 18m. The final
stage of the PADI Open Water course is an exam, which is a multiple
choice exam covering all that you have learnt. Remember that the course
is performance based and not time based. The course generally takes 3
to 4 days, with the theoretical, the confined water and the open water
sessions successfully passed.
Itinerary - 5 days and 4 nights
The PADI Open Water
Course is performance based. That means you have to understand and
pass the theory and perform the in-water skills correctly and with
ease. Therefore, the itinerary can vary slightly from course to course.
The course will take 3 to 4 days depending on the students enrolled. To
give you an idea of what to expect, see the itinerary below