Explore the Depths: Koh Tao’s Top 10 Diving Schools for Underwater Adventures

Joy Intisuk

A woman and a man diving along with a school of small, yellow fish in Koh Tao

Have you ever imagined gliding effortlessly alongside majestic sea turtles, weaving through vibrant coral reefs, or experiencing the serene silence of the underwater world? 

These dreams are not just fantasies but attainable experiences waiting for digital nomads in the tropical waters of Koh Tao, Thailand. 

Koh Tao is renowned for its crystal-clear visibility and rich marine biodiversity. It has become a sanctuary for diving enthusiasts and marine conservationists.

Key Highlights

  • With dive schools like Roctopus Dive, Big Blue Diving, and Apnea Total that provide specialized instruction and immersive diving experiences catered to various tastes and skill levels, Koh Tao is a top diving destination.
  • The diversity of the island’s diving environment is seen in places like Roctopus Dive, which offers a youthful and passionate approach; Big Blue Diving, which offers thorough SSI and PADI training; and Apnea Total, which offers tranquil freediving education.
  • Every school provides a different experience for digital nomads. For example, Roctopus Dive gives possibilities for marine conservation; Big Blue Diving offers professional dive guide training; and Apnea Total offers freediving instruction.
  • Several schools are notable for their particular methods; these include the youthful energy of Roctopus Dive, the extensive training programs of Big Blue Diving, and the emphasis on freediving at Apnea Total.
  • Selecting a diving school on Koh Tao can significantly impact your diving adventure. Different schools offer different things to do, like earning PADI certifications, finding secret dive locations, and helping with conservation.
  • The diving schools on Koh Tao offer entry points for discovering the underwater world and support the worldwide diving community by upholding high-quality standards, environmental sustainability, and safety. They are vital in making Koh Tao a dream destination for divers worldwide.

Best Diving Schools in Koh Tao

mong the island’s treasures are the best diving schools in Koh Tao, where the ocean’s mysteries become accessible to all digital nomads, from curious beginners to seasoned divers seeking to deepen their expertise.

So, where is the best school to learn diving in Koh Tao?

Each diving school on the island offers something unique, whether in its approach to teaching, commitment to marine conservation, or unforgettable dive experiences. 

The best school for you might depend on what you seek from your diving journey—whether it’s to gain a comprehensive education from PADI-certified instructors, to explore specific dive sites known only to local experts, or to engage in environmentally sustainable diving practices. 

In the vibrant diving scene of Koh Tao, the ideal school is waiting to transform your aquatic aspirations into reality, setting the stage for a nomadic adventure that goes beyond the ordinary.

1. Roctopus Dive – Koh Tao Diving Center

Roctopus Dive is a vibrant dive school with friendly staff who are enthusiastic about diving and transcend that enthusiasm forward to you.

It is a medium-sized facility that opened in 2011 and has 15 instructors. The young staff members are knowledgeable and passionate about diving.

The establishment welcomes digital nomads and visitors of all ages and demographics, including singles, couples, and families.

The classroom lectures are very thorough. Chelsey, our instructor, puts a lot of effort into explaining the fundamental diving principles in as much detail as she can, considering our group consists of multinationals.

I can assure you that Roctopus diving with its dynamic crew will be a fun experience, whether you want to learn to dive or are just interested in diving.

17 Moo 1 Sairee Beach Koh Tao, Surat Thani, Koh Tao, Surat Thani 84360, Thailand

+66 99 173 6046

https://www.roctopusdive.com

2.  Big Blue Diving

Big Blue Diving is very popular in Koh Tao and nearby areas. They offer SSI Scuba Diving Courses along with PADI courses. 

Many tourists and nomads extend their stays on Koh Tao to complete their SSI instructor course or professional dive guide training in addition to the SSI beginner, advanced, and rescue courses. 

Training sessions are conducted at the pool using all necessary equipment. 

Our dive master that day is Sara. She is very patient and organized. Despite the slight delays due to the weather, our diving excursion went safely and smoothly.

The dive school also has boats that dock in the neighboring bay, making it simple to begin your day of scuba diving. 

Big Blue also owns the most prominent dive school catering to the Japanese language, Big Blue Chaba, and the retail store Drift in Sairee village.

14/148 Moo 1 Sairee Beach Koh Tao Koh Phangan, Surat Thani 84360, Thailand

+66 77 456 415

https://www.bigbluediving.com

3. Davy Jones’ Locker (DJL) Diving

Davy Jones Locker (DJL) Diving is a medium-sized 5-Star PADI CDC Resort with 22 years of expertise. The diving school was started in 1996. 

Although they offer training at all levels, they are a great place to go if you want to become a PADI diving master or instructor because they have two full-time Platinum-rated Course Directors on staff. 

DJL caters to all ages and demographics, including single travelers, couples, and families.

The staff at DJL is very courteous, accommodating, and knowledgeable. 

My favorite here is Crystal. She is cool and fun to chat with. She knew exactly how to calm my nerves down, especially when my anxiety kicked in during the open-water diving training. 

Whew, I’m so thankful she was our instructor that day. She’s brilliant!

5/52 Moo 2 Mae Haad Koh Tao, Surat Thani, 84360, Thailand

+66 84 001 8293

https://davyjoneslocker.asia

4. Ban’s Diving Resort

Ban’s Diving Resort also offers a PADI Open Water course for people wanting entry-level diving certification.

Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver, Divemaster, and even the PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor course are some of the higher-level PADI courses offered here.

Students receive dive theoretical instruction over four days, practice water safety in one of the pools, and participate in four training dives. 

The dive lessons are available in English, Thai, Chinese, German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Hebrew, Japanese, and Korean. 

For training and recreational dives, the resort has four diving boats, a sizable variety of BCDs and wetsuits in various sizes, regulators, fins, and masks.

Koh Tao, Ko Pha-ngan District, Surat Thani 84360, Thailand

+66 81 979 8025

https://www.bansdivingresort.com/en

5. Apnea Total Freediving Education

All courses at Apnea Total Freediving use a student-centered teaching methodology, regardless of whether a participant prepares for the Freediver beginner or Advanced Freediver course. 

Instead of stressing about checking off items on a checklist, the emphasis is on ensuring the training is done in a relaxing manner. Yes, no pressure here!

A line is used during training, done in small groups with a maximum of three students in the water. This approach made me feel so at ease, especially since I came here with fellow nomads with zero diving experience.

Apnea Total Koh Tao prioritizes the comfort and abilities of the students, allowing them to enjoy the ocean whenever they choose. 

One objective of freediving instruction is to descend to a depth of 20 meters in a single breath.

Between 10 am and 2 pm, their own boat visits desirable locations. The training includes all necessary equipment.

9/224 Moo1, Sairee Beach, Koh Tao, Ko Pha-ngan District, Surat Thani 84360, Thailand

+66 84 878 626990

https://www.apneatotal.com

6. French Kiss Divers

French Kiss Divers is a smaller diving school that has established itself thanks to the excellent diving-related training programs it offers.

Beginner divers can receive their open-water and advanced certifications in small groups of no more than four under the guidance of an experienced dive instructor. 

French Kiss has several sets of children’s equipment and tanks available, so families with young children are welcome to participate in training. 

Since Koh Tao has so many shallow bays, conducting restricted skills training in one of them is standard, allowing dive trainees to immediately become accustomed to the underwater environment.

25/3 Moo2, Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, Surat Thani 84360, Thailand

+66 64 127 6082

https://www.frenchkissdivers.com

7. Big Bubble Dive School

Big Bubble Dive School was one of the first diving schools to open its doors on Koh Tao in 1994. 

Big Bubble has remained a family-oriented company with a laid-back attitude. It is situated in Chalok Baan Kao, in the island’s southern region.

Big Bubble Diving offers PADI courses from beginner through teacher development for anyone looking to advance their diving certification. 

Although the dive center primarily serves the Thai population, it also offers English, German, and French instruction for all scuba diving courses. 

Each skill is practiced in a shallow harbor, and the training and recreational dives are conducted from one of their two private boats. 

The school is permitted to conduct up to five dives daily, including two in the morning, two in the afternoon, and one at night. 

They also provide special excursions to Sail Rock, one of Koh Tao’s most well-known dive sites.

Chalok Baan Kao, Ban Ko Tao, Thailand, Surat Thani

+66 77 456 669

https://divingatkohtao.com

8. Impian Divers

Impian Divers is an internationally renowned European professional diving organization. It opened as a small dive shop at Sai Daeng Beach in 2006 and has become famous for its unconventional approach to diving instruction.

Impian Divers Koh Tao relocated to Mae Haad Bay in 2012. They conduct most courses using the IDD curriculum (Instructor Dive Development). 

PADI and SSI courses are also available, but most students choose to become IDD-certified. 

Every dive course adheres to the general format and skill-practice exercises for the Open Water, Advanced, and Rescue courses and follows international dive standards.

6/5 Moo2 Mae Haad, Mae Haad, Koh Tao, Surat Thani 84360, Thailand

+66 77 456 369

https://impiandivers.com/en

9. Phoenix Divers

Phoenix Divers was one of the first dive schools in Koh Tao and has 30 years of experience.

The full range of SSI diving courses, from introductory to professional, as well as specialties for more adventurous diving and SSI Instructor Crossover, are offered at Phoenix Divers, which their customers view as the “genuine” diving school where they can enroll. 

Languages other than English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, or Thai are available upon request for diving courses. 

Courses can begin on a day that works with your vacation schedule, or you can join daily diving trips in small groups for exciting dives at breathtaking dive sites near Koh Tao.

1, Sairee Beach Koh Tao, Ko Tao, Amphoe Ko Pha-ngan, Surat Thani 84360, Thailand

+66 77 456 033

https://www.phoenixdiverskohtao.com

10. Calypso Diving Koh Tao

Calypso Diving is a pleasant and welcoming dive business that prioritizes quality over quantity. 

They provide CMAS and SSI diving courses at essential to expert levels, including complimentary lunches. Anyone over eight is welcome to take a diving course in German, English, French, or Thai.

Calypso dives on the island’s east side most of the time and departs a little later than other shops so that you may escape busy and crowded times and dive more slowly. I really appreciate this approach; it allowed us to appreciate the beauty of our diving experience more.

Aqualung dive equipment is utilized and frequently serviced internally to ensure safety standards are met. Customers can request service for their own equipment during training.

Tanote Bay 40/20, Koh Tao, Surat Thani 84360, Thailand

+66 84 841 5166

https://diving-calypso.com

Final Thoughts: Choosing the Best Dive School in Koh Tao

Exploring the underwaters of Koh Tao is a journey that transcends mere adventure. Digital nomads are led through a vivid world of marine biodiversity with unmatched beauty. 

The best diving schools in Koh Tao are among the treasures that make this island a diver’s paradise. 

Known for their commitment to excellence, these institutions have carved out a niche in the global diving community. Offering beginner to professional-level courses, they prioritize safety and environmental sustainability and ensure every dive is a memorable exploration. 

So, where is the best school to learn diving in Koh Tao?

From Roctopus Dive’s enthusiastic transmission of diving passion to Big Blue Diving’s comprehensive SSI and PADI courses and the historical significance of establishments like Big Bubble Dive School, each school brings its own unique flair to the diving experience.

As such, the best school aligns with your personal diving aspirations, whether that’s becoming a certified diver, exploring deep into the ocean, or even pursuing a career in diving. 

With Koh Tao’s rich marine life and exceptional dive sites, each dive school offers a gateway to discovering the wonders beneath the waves, making the island a destination and a launching pad for diving dreams worldwide.

FAQs

Koh Tao is well-known for its beautiful coral reefs, abundant marine life, and crystal-clear seas. It is the perfect place for divers of all skill levels, with year-round diving possible due to its warm tropical waters and superb visibility.

Koh Tao’s Diving schools absolutely accept students with zero to extensive experience. Many provide introductory classes where you can study and practice the principles of scuba diving in a secure setting.

Divers can earn various certifications, including PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) and SSI (Scuba Schools International), from beginner levels to professional dive instructor courses.

Each course level has a different duration. For instance, finishing a PADI Open Water Diver course typically takes three to four days, which includes both theory and practical dive lessons.

Koh Tao is lucky to enjoy good diving conditions year-round. However, March through October usually offers the best visibility and weather.

Joy Intisuk is not only a seasoned travel writer and a native of Chiang Mai, Thailand, but also a Director and Chief Editor of Thailand Nomads. Specializing in the digital nomad lifestyle, Joy leverages over a decade of experience exploring Southeast Asia to bring a deep and personal insight into the vibrant culture and hidden gems of Thailand. Her expertise is particularly focused on the logistical nuances of living and working remotely in the region.

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