Learn to Dive in Thailand

Learn to Dive in Thailand


Although it is possible to become a certified scuba diver just about anywhere in the world, Thailand offers some major benefits. Learning to dive in Thailand is fairly cheap compared to many locations, and the popular dive areas provide some of the best scuba diving to be found anywhere.

PADI or SSI?

There are two options for scuba diving certification; these are PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors) and SSI (Scuba Schools International). Both are comparable in terms of course content. SSI is often slightly cheaper, as the course materials which the student needs to purchase are less expensive. However, if you are considering a career in scuba diving, or even working your way through your traveling, then PADI is still considered to carry more weight as a qualification.

Where to Learn?

Where to Learn Dive

The main choice anyone who wishes to learn to dive whilst in Thailand needs to make, is where they want to dive. There are two main choices. Firstly the Andaman Ocean, accessible from anywhere on the Southwest coast of Thailand. Most usually people who want to dive in the Andaman Ocean will stay on one of the islands, either Phuket, Krabi or Koh Phi Phi. This offers a slightly better dive experience, but is the more expensive option. The second option is the Gulf of Thailand, which is easily accessible from mainland tourist areas such as Hua Hin as well as the popular islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. Diving in the Gulf of Thailand is not quite as dramatic, but it is quite a lot cheaper.

Diving in the Andaman Ocean

The best scuba diving to be found in Thailand is in the Andaman Ocean. Many of the dive sites are almost completely unspoiled, and the fact that the ocean is tidal means that the water can be cleaner compared to the Gulf of Thailand. However, there is a flip side to this. High seas are more prevalent in the Andaman Ocean, meaning that there are less days diving available each year.

The southwest region of Thailand is also the most expensive tourist area. Phuket, Koh Phi Phi and Krabi are the three most expensive destinations in the country. This is evident in the cost of both accommodation and dive courses; both are typically 25% to 50% more expensive than comparable diving in the Gulf of Thailand.

Diving in the Gulf of Thailand

Diving in the Gulf of Thailand

For people who wish to learn to scuba dive, but are trying to keep the cost down, then learning to dive in the Gulf of Thailand is probably the best choice. Additionally, the diving here is usually easier than over on the Andaman Ocean, the sea is almost always calmer and dive sites are usually shallower, meaning that this is a good option for beginners. There are three main locations to use as a base when diving in the Gulf of Thailand, these are:

Koh Tao – A small island, which has become the Gulf of Thailand dive centre. Koh Tao is all about diving, and at certain times of the year non-divers are unable to book accommodation. Some great beach dives are accessible from Koh Tao, including Mango Bay and Twins, both easy dives for beginners.

Koh Samui – The most expensive option of the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui is predominantly a holiday destination, and this is reflected in the price of accommodation. However, people staying on Koh Samui have access to the same dive sites as people staying on Koh Tao. If you are looking to combine a traditional beach vacation with a scuba diving course, then Koh Samui might be the best option.

Koh Phangan – This is the least developed of the three islands, still something of a backpacker haven, although this is slowly changing. Again, people staying on Koh Phangan have access to the same dive sites as those staying on Koh Tao. Accommodation here is cheaper than both Koh Tao and Koh Samui, as is the price of diving courses. Koh Phangan is a good choice for people on a budget

Whichever you choose, PADI or SSI certification, and whichever location you decide upon, Thailand is a great place to learn to scuba dive. Easy diving, great climate and some of the best underwater experiences to be found anywhere around the globe.

Date posted: 18th December, 2014

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