After taking a number of expensive Discover Scuba Dives up the east coast of Australia while travelling, I fell in love with the underwater world.
A couple of months later I planned on meeting friends in Thailand and it tied in perfectly with getting my Open Water and Advanced Open Water diving courses on Koh Tao, known for its high quality standards and low cost.
So if you’re thinking about taking the first steps into your professional diving career, then here’s just six reasons you should look no further than Koh Tao.
1. Diversity of Marine Life and Coral Species
71% of the Earth is covered with water and as Scuba Divers we are the lucky ones who get to explore it.
In Koh Tao there is a huge diversity of marine life that you are able to see all year round. These range from Angelfish, Butterflyfish, Longfin Bannerfish, Damselfish, Sargent Major Fish, Pink Anemone fish, Trigger fish and Blue Spotted Rays that can be seen on most of our dive sites around Koh Tao.
In the shallow bays we can usually spot Green and Hawksbill Turtles, Banded Sea Snakes and occasionally Black tip Reef Sharks.
At the deep dive sites such as Chumphon Pinnacle, Southwest and Sail Rock we find giant groupers, big schools of fusilier and barracuda, and if we are lucky its our best chance to see a Whale shark as we explore the dive sites.
The diverse reefs that we have around the island mean we can see lots of different species of coral when we go out scuba diving.
Koh Tao dive sites provide the hard table and staghorn corals located close to the island and the softer harp corals that can be found near shark island.
The Coral at these locations benefits from the currents that flow through and at our deep dive sites you can find fields of anemones growing on top of the pinnacles.
2. A Large number of Dive Sites on Koh Tao
Koh Tao has around 30 dive sites situated close to the island. This means we always have dive sites that are sheltered by the island in all weather conditions, allowing us to dive all year round.
Even when diving the same dive site multiple times you never know what you’re going to see and no two dives are ever the same.
Even after being on Koh Tao for nearly a year now I still find myself spotting new things that I never thought I would see.
The vast selection of dive sites that we have to offer is what makes Koh Tao the perfect place to train as a scuba diver. It is not surprising that Tao is commonly accepted to be the most popular destination in the world to learn to dive.
Trips to Chumphon Pinnacle and Southwest are fairly common, two of the best deep divesites in the Gulf of Thailand.
If you have the opportunity make sure you go on the full day trip to Sail Rock, the most prestigious and talked about dive site in the Gulf.
3. PADI Divemaster Scuba Diving Courses
One of the main factors in bringing me back to Crystal Dive to take my pro level Divemaster course was the amazing lifestyle package that they offer!
I was already impressed by the standard Divemaster course that goes beyond the PADI requirements by incorporating more assists in order to give you better preparation for work as a Divemaster.
What appealed to me is the inclusion of the Eco requirement that ran in conjunction with Eco Koh Tao.
This allowed me to get involved with land and ocean based activities such as beach clean-ups, dive against debris and maintenance of Eco Koh Tao’s artificial “Junkyard Reef”.
The added bonus with the scuba diving lifestyle package means there’s no extra costs to your Divemaster with your certification.
It includes one years insurance, medical and first year PADI membership fees all included. Other extras are the Divemaster crew pack that gives you all the PADI materials and the basic equipment you require as a Divemaster.
- Deep Blue Surface Marker Buoy (SMB)
- U/W Slate & Pencil
- Koh Tao Dive Guide
- Crystal Dry Bag (15 litres)
- Crystal Dive T-Shirt
- CPR Pocket Mask
- Dive Knife
- Suunto SK-7 Compass
The package includes sought after specialties such as PADI Equipment Specialist and the PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider that can contribute to you Master Scuba Diver status as well as a Discover Reef Check workshop and Intro to Freediving course.
Once you’ve completed your Divemaster you then have the opportunity to complete the 9 day internship and gain experience of what it’s like to work in a busy dive centre.
Being located on a tropical island paradise with clear, warm water means If you want a little break then why not make full use of the lifestyle packages and enjoy some fun diving.
4. Scuba Diving Internship program
One of the great things about the Divemaster course is the opportunity to choose a mentor from one of the senior instructors.
Master Instructors Tina Major and Manu Valdes co-ordinate the Divemaster programme and are super friendly and approachable with any questions you have relating to the course or scheduling.
Many people return after doing previous courses who then go on to take the Divemaster course so if you’ve already built a relationship with one our instructors, you can ask them to be your mentor.
They will provide unlimited advice, guidance and encouragement on what to do on your course assists. They will help with the theory in the Divemaster manual and teach you how to use the Dive Planning Tables and eRDPml.
Anything you’re unsure of throughout the course, don’t be afraid to ask your mentor or any of the instructors, we are all happy to help.
At the end of your Divemaster course your mentor will be there to congratulate and support you by pouring your bucket at the famous snorkel test!
5. Popular Destination in the World to Learn to Dive
Here on Koh Tao, our favourable weather conditions allow for year round diving.
Koh Tao has a reputation of high training standards and a low course cost, which means that we have an influx of customer’s all year round.
With a steady stream of backpackers coming to and from Koh Phangan’s full moon parties, to families travelling during the school holidays.
This is perfect for anyone looking to complete their Divemaster on a reasonable timescale. At established dive schools like Crystal Dive we have diving courses starting everyday, meaning there’s always an opportunity to start your next course assist.
You get to assist with a number of experienced instructors and learn techniques that will help you when you are a certified Divemaster.
At the end of each of these courses, the instructor will also take time to give feedback on your assist allowing you to constantly improve throughout the structured program.
As well as the courses you will assist on don’t forget about your own continued education and some of the other courses that may appeal to you during your stay on the Koh Tao.
The most popular options for Divemaster Candidates is to book extra courses that provide excitement, adventure and a better understanding of skill specific dives.
These are additional to your included Equipment Specialist and Emergency Oxygen Provider courses and allows you to qualify for Master Scuba Diver status.
Deep, Wreck and Nitrox speciality dives are the most popular specialties on the island so if you’re seeking work after you complete your Divemaster they can significantly increase your chances of employment.
We are lucky enough to have the HTMS Sattakut, a WW2 ship sunk just off the west coast of the island that is perfect for exploring on the wreck specialty.
6. A Change of Career and Lifestyle
There is also a well established, structured and extensive Divemaster program that provides ‘flexi-scheduling’ and a comprehensive Marine Conservation module. You will also build meaningful relationships and make friends for life.
On Koh Tao, other DMC’s become like family. You study together on the Knowledge Reviews and for the Exams. You dive together in your free time to improve your own diving skills and you buddy up to do your mapping projects.
It’s not all limited to Divemaster work though with plenty of other options for you to explore if you need a little break from the course.
You can rent a bike and go check out the islands viewpoints. Head up to Love Koh Tao at the top of the island and enjoy a shake while enjoying the views.
If you still want to get in the water make your way across to Shark or Tanote bay and go snorkelling (best chance to spot our blacktip reef sharks!).
Go out for a big group meal. There is a fantastic choice of restaurants across the island so make sure to ask around when you get here to find the best places.
A common favourite is Yangs in Mae Haad known for its low prices and big portions.
If it’s nightlife that you want, then look no further than Sairee Beach. Just a 10 minute walk from Crystal Dive, you will find it’s busy most nights of the week.
Most commonly people head to Fishbowl a bar filled with beer pong tables, and usually it can be the start to a messy night.
Then next door you have BND and Leo bar also popular throughout the night. If you’re craving food at the end of the night you’ll always find a 7/11 open on your walk home selling the famous cheese toastie.
Koh Tao is the perfect place to start your professional level training as a PADI Divemaster. For pro level diver training videos you can check out our You Tube channel and for our marine life and recreational scuba diver courses please subscribe to our brand and lifestyle channel.
Christopher Deans MSDT: #425883