Koh Tao Scuba Diving (2022, The Complete Guide)

Koh Tao (which means ‘Turtle Island’ in English) is a scuba diving paradise. The islands beauty stretches both above and below the water, with its magnificent stunning reefs and abundance of marine life.

Koh Tao is an ultimate divers wonderland, laced with white sandy beaches, and a lush terrain of emerald palm trees spanning across 21 square kilometres.

We are going to cover everything you need to know about Scuba Diving in Koh Tao.

Is Koh Tao Worth Visiting?

Despite being smaller than her neighbour islands, what Koh Tao lacks in size, she certainly makes up for in beauty. The island’s weather remains consistent throughout the year, reaching temperatures of up to 35 degrees.

As the island situates in the gulf of Thailand, the island remains reasonably sheltered. This protection allows for the waters to stay calm and keeps the visibility clear, thus resulting in the idyllic location for newbie divers.

Whale sharks, shark rays, turtles, dolphins, and seahorses are just some of the marine life you can expect to spot on your underwater adventures. However, some species only appear in certain months, making September the most optimal month for sightseeing.

What Are The Best Dive Centres In Koh Tao?

In total, there are over 60 dive centres on the small island of Koh Tao. We have listed a few of our favourites below:

  • French Kiss Divers- offers SSI diving at all levels
  • Coral Grand Divers- five star PADI awarded centre
  • Crystal Dive Koh Tao- five star PADI awarded centre
  • Big Blue Diving- Operating for an impressive 25 years. They offer PADI, SSI, and SDI courses at all levels.
  • Simple Life Divers- five star PADI awarded centre
  • Ban’s Diving Resort- hold multiple awards including a PADI award for teaching over 100,000 divers.

What Are The Best Dive Spots On Koh Tao?

sea turtle koh tao

There are over 20 popular diving spots around the island. We have compiled a list below with the rough depths for each location:

  • Lighthouse Bay – shallow waters (down to 14m)
  • Mango Bay – shallow (down to 16m)
  • Japanese Gardens – shallow (down to 16m)
  • Red Rock – medium depths (down to 20m)
  • Hin Wong Pinnacle – medium depth (down to 26m)
  • Shark Island- medium to deep (down to 28m)
  • White Rock – medium to deep (down to 28m)
  • Green Rock – deep (down to 30m)
  • Sattakut Wreck – deep (down to 30m)
  • Chumphon Pinnacles – deep (down to 36m)
  • Sail Rock – very deep dive ( down to 40m)

Is Koh Tao Good For Diving?

To ask the question ‘Is Koh Tao Good For Diving’ would be like asking if the north pole is still cold. Ok, maybe that wasn’t the best analogy. But, yes, Koh Tao is excellent for diving!

Renowned for its dive culture, Koh Tao is considered the capital of scuba diving in Thailand. The two most popular diving bodies to become accredited are PADI (The Professional Association of Diving Instructors) and SSI (Scuba School International).

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There is a selection of dive courses that cater to all experience levels. Whether you’re new to diving and consider yourself a beginner, or you are a more experienced diver looking to take your skills to the next level, we have compiled a list of classes to choose from:

Half-Day Discover Scuba Diving Course

This course was created for prospecting divers looking to get a taste for the underwater world and diving. The half-day session is a supervised underwater tour where you will learn how to operate the dive equipment and where you can reach depths of 12m.

Open Water Course

If you’re looking to take your first steps into diving, the open water course is the initial training for any novice diver. On this course, you can expect a mixture of practical and classroom-based learning. Included is a total of four dives in shallow waters with depths of up to 18m.

This course is four days long and always completed in a safe area such as a bay or swimming pool, so even divers as young as ten years old can participate.

Advanced Open Water Course

Commonly seen as a course for competent divers who are looking to proceed to an expert level; the advanced open water course will test you both physically and mentally with depths up to 30m. In this course, you can expect up to five dives. Divers 12 years old upwards can enrol.

Rescue & EFR Courses

Before taking this course, you must first collect certificates in first aid and CPR. The course has been designed with an end goal to make divers equipped with the skills to save and help others in an emergency.

If you lack the medical qualifications, then an extension course can be combined to make sure you get your CPR, AED, and primary / secondary care qualifications. This extensive course is known as Emergency First Response (EFR). Divers as young as 12 years old can participate in the Rescue and EFR courses.

Professional Diving In Koh Tao

scuba diving koh tao

Divemaster Course

Often the first step to becoming a professional diver. The divemaster course is roughly a 4-6 week program which requires you to be at least 18 years old and have a minimum of 40 dives under your belt.

Additional requirements include completing your PADI advanced open water dive course, EFR primary and secondary care training, and to be given the go-ahead by a medical professional.

PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC)

The IDC is a two-week course, designed for individuals who are looking to become teachers. Like the divemaster, there are specific requirements to enrol onto the course.

Naturally, the requirements are a little more specific as it is a specialist course.

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To participate, you must be at least 18 years old and have completed a minimum of 60 logged dives in varying circumstances: night diving, deep diving, and underwater navigation. You also need to have been a certified diver for at least six months and be an accredited divemaster with the EFR certificates, too.

PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer Course (MSDT)

The Master Scuba Diver Trainer Course (MSDT) is one of the best dive courses you can take to improve your diving abilities.

To partake in a MSDT course, you must be at least 18 years of age and have completed a minimum of 100 logged dives. Other requirements include being a certified diver (for a minimum of 6 months) and possessing the appropriate EFR qualifications.

Scuba Diving Courses For Children

Intended for children as little as 8-years-old, the PADI bubble maker and PADI seal team will give your children experience in the underwater world from an early age.

PADI Bubble Maker

Conducted in a safe environment, the PADI Bubble Maker is only ever exercised in depths of two to four meters, such as a swimming pool or one of the shallower dive sites. Bubble Maker is the child equivalent of the Discover Scuba Diving course and targets youngsters with zero experience.

How Much Does It Cost To Dive In Koh Tao?

koh tao waters

Prices vary depending on course length, course type, and time of year. You can find the average prices for these dive courses below:

Fun Diving: Prices from 1,000 – 2,000 THB. Will vary depending on the number of dives/duration of days.

Children’s Dive Course: From 2,000 THB.

Discover Diving Half-Day Course: From 3,500 THB.

Open Water Course: From 9,000 to 12,000 THB.

Advanced Open Water Course: From 10,000 THB.

Rescue and EFR Course: From 10,000 to 14,000 THB.

Professional Diving Course: From 30,000 to 39,000 THB.

Our Top 5 Diving Tips and Tricks on Koh Tao

scuba tips
  • Make sure you do your research and use a reputable diving academy.
  • Choose which scuba diving certification you want to receive (SSI or PADI) before you commit to any dive school, as not every centre will offer both.
  • Invest in your own personal dive gear if you plan to enrol in a few courses, as the cost of renting equipment adds up.
  • If you’re planning some fun dives, investigate which dive sites you want to visit beforehand as they are each unique in their own right and other a diverse experience.
  • Book your accommodation near your dive school or try to find accommodation onsite. This way, you get to spend time with the other divers and can fully immerse yourself in the experience. 

More Thailand Guides:               

Is Koh Tao Safe
Leela Beach Koh Phangan
Bottle Beach Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan Nightlife
Koh Tao Vs Koh Samui


James Ardimento has spent the last 12 years journeying around the globe ! With its precious experiences and tips he gained around Asia, South America, Europe and the US he is a precious asset for this blog and for its readers