everything is better underwater – so simple, natural, beautiful, peaceful, relaxing
Place – Coral Grand Resort
Cost – 9000 Baht for a PADI open water dive course, room rate is discounted. Contact Coral Grand for prices
Facilities – PADI Accredited scuba diving courses, scuba diving day trips,and gear for sale and rent, restaurant, swimming pool, beach access, pool towels and beach chairs
Review – Really nice looking resort. We paid for a cheaper fan room, which was very basic with only a bed, toilet and shower and a sink in the room which was fine and all we needed. You can pay extra for nicer bungalows that have a TV and air conditioning. It is a National Geographic recommended Dive Centre, and has PADI accredited scuba diving courses and instructors. The instructors are really friendly and experienced – ask for Kev. Perfectly located on a beautiful beach with endless beach front eating options, and only a short stroll to the town centre for more food and shopping.
Website - http://www.kohtaocoral.com/
PADI Open Water Dive Course. A 4 day course which involves a combination of theory, quizzes, confined diving, open water diving at depths of 12-18m and a final exam. The theory can be quite overwhelming, the text book is quite thick, and you need to read at least 2 chapters per evening. The diving itself is really easy. I was really nervous about getting into the water, worried that I would not be able to equalise my ears or would freak out underwater and not follow through. And, because we are learning many skills which were only to be used “just in case”, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the steps involved. I was worried I would forget what to do and fail. However, we had a great instructor called Kev, who took us through each skill properly and was very experienced and supportive. Not only that- scuba diving is one of the most natural experiences I have ever felt and once you are under the surface breathing underwater, everything is more relaxed and peaceful. You cant go wrong and I highly recommend it!
Loved – scuba diving. It is such an amazing experience: great dive sites, great instructors. There are endless opportunities with scuba diving- photography, night diving, search and rescue and more. I loved how people have made a living off scuba diving. There are 3000 instructors that live on Koh Tao and scuba dive nearly every day, whilst also working at the resorts. They seem very happy, relaxed and stress-free.
Hated – too many tourists- everywhere I looked I saw tourists. There was no opportunity to experience Thai culture. Meeting a nice Thai person was hard. They seemed rude towards us, probably stemming from the constant bustle of tourists wrecking their island paradise; aware of what Patong Beach and Koh Samui have turned into and not liking it one bit.
Food – little to none street food which was disappointing. Restaurants everywhere ranging from local to western. It is easy to find cheap Thai food however they don’t make it spicy unless you’re lucky. Note of caution- be careful when eating string beans: green chillies camouflage themselves amongst them and can cause unexpected burning. Restaurants on the beach make great eating spaces: sitting on the deck on a straw mat, a cushion and a low table while you look out towards the ocean – beautiful.
Tips for next time – If you go to Koh Tao, you must scuba dive. There is one company that offers rock climbing and other adventure activities which I would also try to fit in between dive days (see http://www.gtadventures.com/ ). Koh Tao has some of the cheapest scuba diving in the country from what I have seen compared to Krabi and Koh Phi Phi so I would take full advantage of this.