Hi, I'm planning to do a beginners PADI course while in Thailand around April 2007 and i've been told Phi Phi and Tao are probably the best places.
Has anyone had any good/bad experiences or any recommendations?
I don't want to jeopardise safety but on the other hand i haven't got loads of money to throw around so I'm obviously looking for a good value & safe school.
I've been told masterdive do a 7day course on Kho Tao for £316 inc about 4 dives, accom & meals - is this good??
Any advice/comments appreciated!!
I'm doing my PADI course in Jan and, having been to Phi Phi and Koh Tao (snorkelling) i'd say that koh tao is definitely cheaper than phi phi. There is, however, an island named Koh Lanta not far from phi phi. Having been to all three islands i feel koh lanta is my choice for the PADI course. MY sister and brother in law are coming along as well and they have done many dives in the past on all the islands and swear by lanta.
I hope this helps.
slightly off topic question...but do you have to do a PADI course to go diving? even just the once?
Drewster - check out Lanata Divers on Koh Lanta, i've only heard very good things about this Swedish ran dive set-up. I've dived Koh Phi Phi and it wasn't cheap. If price is an issue you're probably best going to Koh Tao.
Jennygro - you can do a try dive without doing a full PADI course, but you'll need to learn a few essentials / basics. This should give you a good feel for what diving is like, albeit with an instructor holding on to you all the time.
koh tao is definitely cheaper than phi phi
you can try this address :
they are cheap, very professional and nice people !
I have been through most of Thailand was in your shoes only 2 months ago.
I chose to do my diving in Koh Tao. Your Open Water will cost about 9800 baht if you do it alone (you will save on that price if you share a room with a friend). If you like it and want to stay longer to do your Open water advanced you will get a discount making it about 7,600 baht. All in all it is a great deal when you consider the prices of these courses around the rest of the world.
About Koh Tao - I love the island. It is quiet, beautiful and has a great vibe. It is my favorite of the three western islands. You can relax here or you can party. Plus, it is a gateway to Koh Phangan and Koh Samui.
About Phi Phi - you will get a little bit better diving, but you will pay at least 1000 baht more per cert plus a lot of money for accomadations. I do not know if you will get a discount either if you want to stay and do your open water advanced after. I would recommend this island to do snorkeling, post cert diving, sight-seeing and partying.
About Koh Lanta - Have not been, but i think they diving will have a bit better clarity, but again you will pay a lot more for accomadations and certs.
All in all, from what i saw on Koh Tao and Koh Phi Phi, I would recommend Koh Tao. Not just because it is cheaper, but because it is a better dive atmosphere. Everyone for the most part is in Koh Tao for the same reason, diving. This makes life there so much more fun and interesting. Either way you can't lose when it comes to diving in thailand because anywhere you go there is great diving.
If you choose Koh Tao I can recommend Crystal Dive School.