Top 5 Reasons to SCUBA Dive in Thailand
Koh Tao, Thailand has become somewhat of a “mecca” for divers; to those who have traveled in Thailand, you probably already know that the island’s name (which actually means "Turtle Island” in Thai) is now practically synonymous with SCUBA diving.
And with good reason! Koh Tao has gained a reputation as being one of the most beautiful diving spots in the world, as well as one of the most affordable. When I was teaching in Thailand, I was lucky enough to spend part of my holiday between semesters taking a PADI open-water certification course, and I can honestly say that it was one of my favorite things I did in my year in Thailand!
1. Thailand offers great diving opportunities for any experience level
With its gentle waters and wide variety of easy dive sites, Thailand is definitely an excellent spot for the beginner SCUBA diver…but if you’ve already got some diving experience under your belt, then don’t think that Thailand will be boring diving by any means! Each of the islands offers its own array of dive sites with different challenges appropriate for varying levels of diving experience. Even the gentler, “easier” sites offer the opportunity to see plenty of interesting and beautiful marine life. So no matter what your past experience is with diving: Thailand is a dive spot you just can’t afford to miss.
2. The price is right
Depending on where you go in the world, SCUBA diving can be a fairly expensive hobby to maintain—certification classes and fun dives can get expensive. Especially if you’re new to diving and not yet sure if you’ll like it, you may not want to shell out big bucks for a course. If that’s the case, then you’re in luck in Thailand, where most dive courses run at very affordable prices relative to the rest of the SCUBA world. If you’re already open water certified, you’ll find plenty of diving companies throughout Thailand where you can do fun dives or continue with further dive certification classes.
3. You’ll meet really cool people
From the divemasters to the instructors, the boat staff to your fellow divers, you can be sure that when you’re diving in Thailand, you’ll be meeting friendly and interesting people from all around the world. Just like any other hobby, the people that you get to meet and interact with when diving are half the fun! Not to mention that diving with a friend is also a great way to grow closer—divers almost always operate in pairs, meaning that your dive buddy will be your lifeline if anything goes wrong with your own scuba gear, but also your partner in pointing out cool wildlife and monitoring each other’s locations beneath the water. Diving is a great way to grow friendships, both old and new.
4. The first dive certification course opens up other opportunities
Once you take that first open water certification course, you never know where diving might take you from there. You might end up having so much fun that you’ll want to keep taking diving courses and become a SCUBA instructor in Thailand yourself! (Or anywhere else in the world!) Even if you don’t go that far, once you’ve entered the diving community, you might find yourself interested in volunteer opportunities like reef cleanups or even marine research.
5. It’s beautiful
This one might be obvious, but it really can’t be stressed enough. The clear tropical waters are at a perfectly warm temperature pretty much year round, the corals are breathtaking, and the waters are teeming with marine life (you might even see a turtle or a whale shark if you’re lucky!). And once you’re back on land, you’ll still be in a tropical paradise that’s perfect for a relaxing vacation. Thailand’s islands simply can’t be beat in terms of beauty.
So what are you waiting for? Go to Thailand and get diving!
By Mary Beth Cancilla