Scuba Diving Koh Tao is one of the leading destinations in the world with regards to dive certifications. People flock from all over Asia to experience their first breaths under these waters. The courses are very affordable, the standards high, and there are many dive sites along this island.
With more than 70 diving schools here, it is easy to see why a person can become overwhelmed when planning a trip to this beautiful island.
PADI or SSI – Which do You Choose?
There are more than 50 different types of training systems across the world, but here in Koh Tao, there is generally only a choice between Scuba Schools International (SSI) or the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PDAI). They each develop their own materials to teach with, but they are basically governed by the WRSTC – the World Recreational Scuba Training Council.
Whichever certificate you get, you will still be seeing the same fish, using the same equipment, and be diving in the same spots. The certification is recognized throughout the world, but there are a few differences between the two.
This is the leading training organization in the world, and if numbers matter to you, then this is the way to go. This organization does almost one million certifications per annum. Divemasters and instructors working for PADI are also allowed to work independently, while anyone working for SSI may not do this.
SSI was once a small part of the diving industry, but it has now exploded and controls 50% of the market. All the work is available online, making it a green choice.
What is the Course Like?
The first certification that you will complete is the Open Water course. Many people go to Koh Tao to get their certification, and some get so involved, they end up becoming instructors. Some may get this right, but it is better to just take one thing at a time – it can be a lot to take in.
There are half-day choices available, but they will not get you any type of certification. It is recommended that you only go this route if you really do not have the time to complete a full course, or if you are not 100% sure that diving is the thing for you.
It usually takes between 3 and 4 days to complete an Open Water course. You will be required to watch videos, read the material given, take tests, and actually go diving. This might sound hectic, but kids as young as 10 complete these courses successfully.
More or less what you can expect from the course
Day 1: Orientation and welcome, paperwork to complete, and videos to watch.
Day 2: Learning about basic equipment, skills, and the effects that diving will have on your body. In the afternoon you will be in the pool or a shallow dive site working on skills needed.
Day 3: In the morning you will be back in the classroom finishing off the details of what is needed for diving and you will take some quizzes. In the afternoon, the fun begins with open-water dives, which will stay in the shallows and be rather low-key.
Day 4: You will go out on a boat in the morning and finish off the open-water dives, where you will get to go a bit deeper than before.
Scuba Diving Koh Tao is more fun than you can imagine.