Diving in Koh Tao.
Written by Jessie O'Brien, PADI Master Scuba Diver Instructor
You’re during your gap year? You’re a family on holiday in Thailand? You have the diving bug? You just want to see what it’s like to breathe under water? Koh Tao, meaning ‘Turtle Island’ is one of Thailand’s favourite diving hotspots. Any type of diver weather you are taking your first few breaths underwater or if you are an experienced DM/instructor Koh Tao offers over 20 diving spots for every level, with shallow bays to deep pinnacles.
Why is Koh Tao so popular?
The diving conditions are perfect for Discover Scuba Diving courses or your first certification being your Open Water Course, even for following courses after that. Majority of courses people are looking to take are possible here. Unless you’re looking for your Dry Suit Specialty, our waters are way too warm for that, temperatures reach 30 degrees during our hot season and can dip to a not very cold 27 degrees during the colder time of year.
Another reason Koh Tao is so popular for diving is the price of diving. It is literally probably the best place to learn how to dive on a budget with more than 60 dive schools on the small island, prices can be competitive. You can choose those high end fancy resorts where you will pay around 14,000 baht (approximately USD $550) then most dive schools then average to around 9,800 baht (approximately USD $300). Where you find accommodation is also included in the price. Courses are available in multiple languages and once you’re a certified diver, fun dives are then equally affordable costing around 1,400 (approximately USD $42).
Koh Tao is in the Koh Pha-nang District of Surat Thani. It is around 70km off the east coast of Central Thailand and 55 km to the north of Koh Samui. It was only really ‘discovered’ in the early 1899 when King Chulalongkorn visited Koh Tao and has his initals carved on a large boulder at Laem Jor Por Ror on the southern end of Sairee Beach, this place is still worshiped today. Koh Tao Island is only 21 square kilometers, if you hop in a taxi boat for the day you can easily make your way round the island in an hour’s drive nonstop. Which also makes a great snorkeling trip.
How to get there.
There are many different ways to get to Koh Tao. If you have time and are on a budget then you can get an overnight bus from Bangkok to Chumphon, then a high speed Catamaran over to Koh Tao which takes two hours. If you don’t enjoy the bus rides then there is also an overnight train that you can take with similar route. If you are short of time then there are two different flight routes. First you can take a flight from Bangkok to Koh Samui, or a flight from Bangkok to Surat Thani. Both with a short boat journey across.