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  1. #1
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    Diving on Koh Tao

    Hi,

    I am looking for recommendations on a good place to take the PADI open water on Koh Tao. I have read that there are tons of places to do this course on the Island, and I want to go with one that someone knows of.
    From what I've read most of the courses also offer a place to stay. I'd be looking for something in the mid-range price. I'll be heading there in mid February.

    Cheers

  2. #2
    Newbie The Pattaya Ghost's Avatar
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    Why Koh Tao? Pattaya is a great place to learn diving. While more expereinced divers mgiht poo-poo the area, it's a great training ground.

    Since you're not coming until February, you can also start the Open Water course online and do all the theory and exams on the Internet. Then, once you get to Thailand, you get right in the water and do not have to 'waste" a day of your holdiay sitting in a classroom.

    You can register and begin your Open Water course online here:
    ONLINE PADI Open Water Diver Course @ AQUANAUTS Pattaya Thailand

    Prices for OW courses are pretty fixed within a range. In any case, you do not want to choose a dive shop based on price. You will be, after all, 65 feet underwater and cannot immediately surface without risk of injuury or death. You want an established shop with lots of experienced instructors.

    In Pattaya, you can do your course at Aquanauts Dive Centre, which is a PADI 5-Star Career Development Center. CDC is the highest rating awarded to any PADI center and trains all its own instructors. It is also just one of 7 PADI National Geographic Dive Centers in all of Thailand. Thus, there you can take the longer, enhanced PADI National Geographic Open Water Diver course, which can also be started online. Read more about the NatGeo course here:

    PADI National Geographic Open Water Diver Course Pattaya Thailand AQUANAUTS DIVE CENTRE

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the information, I'll have to think about it. You said 7 of the PADI National Geographic Dive Centers in all of Thailand.. Where are the others? Cheers!

  4. #4
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phuketbound
    Where are the others?
    Phuket probably has the most.

    Phuket scuba diving, Thailand liveaboards and scuba clubs information

  5. #5
    Newbie The Pattaya Ghost's Avatar
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    PADI.com has the full list in its member directory, but there are, for the record, only three PADI 5-Star CDCs that are also NatGeo dive centers in Thailand. Aquanauts in Pattaya, one in Phuket and another one somewhere.

  6. #6
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    i did my padi on kt i cant remember the name of the place but it was the biggest on the island.
    the accomodation was a bit basic but the diving was good.its a bit quiet in the evening on kt but its all very picturesque?
    lots ofnice bars and very chilled out,pretty much all the tourists that are there are there to dive.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Pattaya Ghost
    Why Koh Tao? Pattaya is a great place to learn diving.
    I'd stick with you plan and go to koh tao because koh tao has great diving and is a beautiful tropical island. Pattaya is a beautiful .. ...hang on, . .. .erm..... its got something nice, hold on.....you can swim in the, oh hang on no you cant, er......its got some lovley local wildlife.

    I like the idea though of doing your theory on line.

    Here's a pic of some fish that I took in Koh Tao.


  8. #8
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    ^Beautiful pic!

    What dive outfitter did you go with? There are so many out there. Also, I'd be interested in doing the theory part from home here if possible. It would give me more time for diving, and heading to other islands. Thanks.

  9. #9
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    This isn't proper diving I just had a mask and held my breath. We just hired a long tail boat for the day and got the driver to stop at any good spots he knew. But from what I saw with just a mask made me want to take a coarse in Koh Tao next time I'm there.

  10. #10
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    ^Cool! i'll have to invest in an underwater camera too. Did you stay on Koh Tao?

  11. #11
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    Yes we stayed on the main beach which is the one not too far from the port if you turn left when you leave the ferry. Cant remember the name of the beach or guest house.

  12. #12
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    I'd say you should stick with the original plan and go to Kho Tao, nice island and completely dive orientated. I lived there for just over a year and as you said there are many dive schools to choose from, like Bans/Big Blue/New Way/Planet Scuba, to mention just a few, just Google them and you should get results.

    Nice place to stay is Sarree Beach, very nice, clear blue waters, bounty advert sort of stuff. It's easy to do your PADI anywhere there and if you are better qualified then you can do the boat trips or get a job with one of the dive schools. Plenty of bars and restaurants, along with "other" pastimes. I hear the island is well kitted out now, mobile phones possible, ATMs etc, no dramas, daily ferry to Chumpon or Samui etc. Only thing to be aware of is that there is not much in the way of EMS treatment or advanced medical care for say "the bends" etc, that's all in Samui. It might have got better in the last few years but it's not a big island.

    Cheers.

  13. #13
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    Just look for the hunkiest dive instructor. Lots of 'em.

  14. #14
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    KhoTao looks cool, I've heard you can't get a bungalow without
    taking up a diving course.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiLeakHunt View Post
    KhoTao looks cool, I've heard you can't get a bungalow without
    taking up a diving course.
    Nonesense. Lots of places offer good deals if you do an accomadation/dive course package, but there is no problems in booking accomadation only. Most of it is cheap and cheerful (fan rooms mostly).

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jet Gorgon View Post
    Just look for the hunkiest dive instructor. Lots of 'em.

    she already has a boyfriend, apparently.,

  17. #17
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    Spitfire, I agree Sairee beach is great. That is where I've already completed my PADI. Look at the date I posted originally.

    Quote Originally Posted by SiLeakHunt View Post
    KhoTao looks cool, I've heard you can't get a bungalow without
    taking up a diving course.
    You can get a bungalow without doing the dive courses, but it makes it hard to find. Most dive packages come with accomodation included (fan room). I would highly recommend booking (and paying a down payment if not the full price), before you go to Koh Tao.

    Here is why?

    When I arrived to my dive school called "DJL Diving," I had already pre-booked, but I didn't pay anything. They assured me via email that they had a place for me. When I arrived, they did pick me up at the boat, but when I got to the resort, they told me that they were full, and that there were no bungalows available (I thought, WTF?).

    The owners (British run), said that there was a influx of backpackers the night before, because there was a big band name playing on the island that night, and the full moon party had just finished a few nights prior, so the island gets filled up.

    I was thinking though, that it wasn't my fault, and I had already booked with them. So, they showed me some other accomodations, but one was a guesthouse five mins walking distance away. It seemed that I didn't have a choice. I was ready to just flounce, and go look at other dive places, but the word was the whole Island was packed, and rooms were hard to find. For the first night, they drove me to another beach, and I stayed in a nice big bungalow. The next day they picked me up, and then I moved into the guesthouse for the next three nights.

    The dive school was good, other than the whole mess up with the room. The owner of the dive school came to talk to me and apologize. He said, that the front desk girl, overbooked for that first night.

    Just a little story, for others to book and pay for part or all of your stay, before you arrive to a dive school on Koh Tao.

    Sairee Beach is beautiful. Also, at night, the have fire twirlers, and you can sit/lay on the beach on cushions, and by the many bars that open up at night. Lovely place!

    Last edited by phuketbound; 09-05-2009 at 10:08 AM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spitfire View Post
    Only thing to be aware of is that there is not much in the way of EMS treatment or advanced medical care for say "the bends" etc, that's all in Samui. It might have got better in the last few years but it's not a big island.
    Cheers.
    Just to correct this, I am pretty sure there is a recompression chamber on Koh Tao. And indeed, a quick google brings up this:

    Welcome to the SSS Recompression Chamber Network


    To be fair, if I remember correctly, it is a single chamber, and indeed, other medical facilities are at the level of clinics. Nearest multichamber facilities and hospitals are, as you say on samui.

  19. #19
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    PB, give withnallstoke a PM. He stayed on Tao for a year diving, sure he'd be able to advise which the best companies to go with are.

    Have fun.

  20. #20
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    ^^Yes, there is one decompression chamber on Koh Tao. I remember walking by it. It is on Sairee Beach.

    ^Thanks, somtam, but I think my next destination for diving is Australia, or the Philippines.

    Another pic of Sairee Beach.


  21. #21
    splendid and tremendous
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    Soz, hadn't read the thread properly, doh.

  22. #22
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    Anyone have any experience with Big Blue Diving? I am looking for a place close to restaurants and what not.

    Thanks

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by RickThai View Post
    Anyone have any experience with Big Blue Diving? I am looking for a place close to restaurants and what not.

    Thanks
    Not directly. I knew some people from other bases that joined them, but never dived with them myself. The location, behind the 7 Eleven and right on the beach, is very central. It's close to everything in Sairee... but TBH, so are all the other dive bases in Sairee.

    The beach has beach-grill restaurants at night, plenty of other restaurants in Sairee - I used to enjoy the White Elephant for Thai food. It's just past Choppers which is good for a bit of pub food, drink and maybe some music too.

    You'll be close to the popular dance/drink spots that stay open late, so you may want to pay attention to the location of your room WRT noise. If you don't usually take aircon, you might want to in case you need to close windows to sleep.

  24. #24
    Member pescator's Avatar
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    Big Blue Diving is long running.
    I got my certificate there 16 years ago.

    I guess that it should say something about this business as it is still there.

  25. #25
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    Thanks a lot for the info. I will probably book with them if I can get my bank to accept thai e-pay.

    Rick

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