Whilst travelling the Thai islands I had heard a lot about the diving schools in Koh Tao. It’s known for being the easiest and cheapest place to qualify as a certified diver. Now I know that usually suggests that the quality of the diving school is poor, but I’m happy to say that was not the case.
I didn’t have a lot of time to shop around and decided to go with Crystal Dive; a friend’s recommendation who had been there a few months before.The Dive School offer a lot of options including the certification you want and whether or not you require accommodation. I was on a strict 4 day schedule with a friend in Koh Tao so I made sure everything was ready in advance via email.
They were very helpful from the start, giving me the option of a very busy 3 day course instead of the usual 4 day (I decided to stick with 4 days due to how much goes into it and I would be in a group rather than on my own).
I also got money off because I would be staying in a hostel elsewhere and to top it off they arranged my pick up and drop off everyday. Amazing!
I knew from the emails that I had chosen a great dive school. So I booked in my PADI open water, which would make me a certified diver up to 18m… as long as I passed the course.
Day by day breakdown:
Day 1: Theory and knowledge review
So much theory. UGH. Just like being back in school really. It’s dull and long but gets all the boring bits out of the way and you learn a lot of important things.
Day 2: confined water practice (in the swimming pool)
7:30am start. Lovely.
We got our diving kit together and learnt how to put it together and take it apart – starting at the basics, but obviously necessary.
Then into the swimming pool to learn all the underwater skills; breathing, mask on and off etc.
You also have to show that you can swim 10 lengths and float for 10mins (after 5mins floating gets boring).
I didn’t struggle myself but this is the point where you find out if you can ‘do it’ or not – I met quite a few people that dropped out after the pool skills because the whole breathing underwater thing didn’t go so well.
Day 3: Training dives in the ocean
Basically everything you’ve learnt so far you put into use, in the sea. What could go wrong?!
Our first dive went great until we got back to the surface and found ourselves in a big storm. The waves were crazy, one girl was sick and we had to struggle in and out of our BCDs (everything that’s on you except your swim suit).
The second dive was better – how could it not be?
Day 4: Final exam and final two dives
dn dn dnnnnn…
I was nervous about the exam and the day before asked if we needed to revise anything. I was told ‘no, you know it’, and I did!
You don’t realise how much you pick up and learn throughout the course and luckily 90% of the questions were a breeze.
Our final two dives were all about us showing we could dive with very little or no assistance, we had a moderator who watched us through the day and checked us off at the end making us certified.
We (my dive group) paid a little extra to get a dive video made – check it out below!
Best Bits and Top Tips
- A dive school with their own boat is a huge benefit! You don’t have to waste time whilst several dive schools organise a schedule and it also gives the dive school added flexibility.
- Friendly staff who are more than happy to help – what more could you ask for?
- Good and safe equipment is a MUST! If you have any concerns about the equipment always get help, and if the equipment looks rundown or un-cared for I would think twice about the dive school.
- Good, organised dives. They do it for a living, they know the good spots and will want to show you them. If you’re lucky you could see turtles and even a whale shark!
Details and Information
Koh Tao, Thailand
The price of the PADI Open Water course is 9,800 THB per person (approx. £223). This is an all-inclusive price with accommodation.
The price of the PADI Open Water course is 8,600 THB per person (approx. £195). This is an all-inclusive price without accommodation.
Have any questions about the PADI Open Water Diving course?
Leave me a comment below!