Diving in Koh Tao

Koh Tao Travel Blog

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It’s called the turtle island; the scuba dive capital of the world. And that’s not for want of a good reason. Only 7 kms long and 2 kms wide, this small, mountainous island boasts close to 40 different dive schools and a myriad of diving sites sure to fit any level or taste. Koh Tao is also one of the cheaper places in the world to do certifications, so obviously it pops up quickly on the radar of backpackers like us. :D


It was here that we made our way to from bustling Bangkok. Departing at 6 am, we arrived in Chumphon on the Gulf of Thailand at 12 in time to catch a 1.5 hour ferry ride aboard a fast catamaran to the island. Upon arrival we were taken to our home for the next few days, the Buddha View Diving Resort.

We had signed Ji up for her open water diving course while in Bangkok and in doing so, she was provided with transportation from Bangkok and free accommodation. Not such a shabby deal!


Our first afternoon she went to the classroom and I rented a snorkel to check out the magnificent bay we were situated on. Unfortunately, the skies were gray and visibility was nil. I thought I’d have better luck in the morning. That night Koh Tao got some torrential thunderstorms, supposedly the first ones since January! I guess we brought the rain.


I rented a scooter that evening for $5 for 24 hours and the next morning while Ji was in class, I got my snorkel gear and headed out around the island. I hit some seriously dodgy roads…’paths’…. though so my going was a bit rough and slow. I actually had to walk the scooter down one road and push it up another one when the gradient got too steep. I was seriously going up a wall carved into the side of a mountain! Unfortunately again, due to the rain the night before, the seas were a bit rough and visibility was seriously lacking. This is supposed to be the dry season. Where’s the sun!?!


That night I signed up for my refresher course the next day since I haven’t done any diving since my initial cert.

in Honduras back in 2007. As luck would have it, I would up on the same trip that would be Ji’s first sea outing. We got on the boat together the next afternoon and headed off around the island to Mango Bay, an easy dive with good visibility (finally!) and shallow waters. My instructor and I headed closer to the beach so I could go through my review in about 3 meters of water. I was a bit aghast in the beginning, trying to remember how to breathe while taking off my mask, weights, and BCD and then putting it all back on again, but things went smoothly and it all came quickly back to me.


We finished up the review rather quickly and set off to explore the reefs along the site. When I first did my certification, I was always a little hyperactive and was the first one to get low on air every time we dove. This time, however, I took things much more slowly and we wound up doing a 12 meter, 52 minute dive. Success! And the sun came out! Finally!


Back on the boat and just in time to see Ji coming in from her exercises, but not before she had to get her gear off, jump back in the sea, and redo her 10 minute ‘float test’ that she’d failed the day before. HA! This time she had no problems and even did her swim test around the boat.

Seeing as how she’d previously had a few qualms about being in the open sea, I was immensely proud of both her initial efforts and her success at completing her tasks. And she didn’t even have to pull a Hapkido ‘turning two’ move on a shark like she thought she might. :D


Tomorrow I’m back in again taking in two dives at sites called Chumphon Pinnacle and Twin Rocks, so I’m excited about that. Ji will do her open water dive to 12 meters as well so it’ll be interesting to hear how she likes it. Until then!


Vikram says:
Very nice set of photos, can't wait for more!
Posted on: Sep 17, 2012
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Buddha View Dive Resort
Buddha View Dive Resort
Koh Tao
photo by: RyanCorrea