As discussed in my previous Conservation post, I left Madagascar with the realisation that a career in scuba diving was something that would not only fuel my nomadic spirit but would simply be my dream job. So this time last year, after I graduated from university, I made my way to the small island of Koh Tao, Thailand to make this dream happen.
Koh Tao, Thailand
When informing friends and family about this trip, I kept on receiving the same response…something along the lines of …. ‘Thailand, isn’t it so touristy now?’.
And yes, I can’t deny Thailand is a popular destination for ‘crazy’ gap year students and the like. However, when I was living on Koh Tao, I stayed in the quieter village of Chalok. This was away from the more bustling and rather hectic Sairee section of Koh Tao, but it still was home to some sweet reggae bars and zen yoga spots if you fancied it. It also meant I had only a short walk to my dive shop every morning. This was important as I would be there from 6:45am if doing the two morning dives! (which were always better than the afternoons)
I completed my divemaster course through Dive Careers at the dive shop Buddha View. I took around 4-6 weeks to complete my training…and I wish I had given myself even longer! The experience I gained as a diver was so valuable and I made some great friends along the way.
I originally found this shop because some friends who had gone a couple of years before recommended it to me. I immediately felt really comfortable there.
One of the best parts about the programme is that you get to Dive as much as you can / want. There are a lot of courses going on so you can help instructors teach those nearly every day. I assisted on various courses including: open water, advance and rescue. The extent of help you can give to the instructors on these courses ranges too depending on how good you are in the water. Naturally your ability and experience as a diver develops overtime during your training
The guidance I received during my course was absolutely fantastic. There is a lot to learn from the positive motivation, knowledge and love for diving many instructors emulate and want to share. Plus, at Buddha View, the instructors really enjoy DMT’s (dive master trainees) assisting on courses if you have the right mentality. More importantly, there is a lot to learn from shadowing experienced instructors and it will help you develop your individual teaching skills later on from what you learned through them. This particularly put me in good stead when I went on to do my IDC (instructor development course) training in Bohol, Philippines.
The scuba diving in Koh Tao certainly isn’t the best, but it attracts a lot of young people who want to learn how to dive without taking too much out of their budget. Some people say that it’s turned the island into a ‘factory’ churning out scuba divers. The amount of people I saw certified during my stay here certainly contests to that argument. On the other hand, I believe it is a very appropriate place for a diver who wants lots of experience in perhaps a shorter time than other destinations.
Overall my time in Koh Tao was a beautiful one and I will remember it dearly. I even returned after my time in the Philippines to start teaching as an instructor for a short while. The village of Chalok is particularly special to me as I had at my fingertips my diving, yoga and a laid back, hippy like community. I would definitely recommend this place!
Please let me know if you would like a more in depth description of the island itself or advice on where to go there ✌️️
*COMING SOON*…..a review of my travels around other parts of the country including Bangkok, the North and other islands off the Central Gulf Coast of Southern Thailand.