This post was written by Lauren, one of our Expert Travel Contributors!
**As a note, The Blonde Abroad always recommends looking for a certified PADI Dive Shop along your travels, and especially when getting scuba certified. For more information on locating PADI Dive Shops around the world, click here.**
There’s so much to see just beneath the surface! I’ve always loved the beach but never realized quite how stunning the ocean is until I learned how to dive.
Getting PADI Open Water certified was something I’d always wanted to do, but I could never decide where to go for it. While planning a trip to Koh Tao in Thailand, I discovered that this is one of the most beautiful diving locales in the worlds- and I knew it was the perfect timing! I decided to reach out to Roctopus Dive.
Here’s my experience getting scuba certified in Koh Tao with Roctopus Dive!
Diving in Koh Tao
Located in the heart of the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Tao is everything you’d expect from a tropical paradise. With the exception of a few rainy weeks in October and November, the weather is flawless with the average day ranging from the mid-70s to the high 80s year-round.
Koh Tao has earned a reputation for being one of the greatest diving spots on the planet, and it’s easy to see why. With good visibility, calm seas, and warm waters, this place has it all. On top of being great for beginners like yours truly, there are dive sites for every level with an amazing variety of marine life.
Roctopus Dive on Koh Tao
Dive companies vary so much in Thailand and I’d highly recommend doing your research and checking out reviews before you book anywhere. I went with Roctopus Dive and had an incredible experience. They often customized services and have a fun, highly educated staff.
Given that they mostly do SSI and RAID certifications, Roctopus is not a PADI Dive Shop so they set me up with a private instructor, Desa, to go through the PADI Open Water Diver course at my request. She walked me through the entire certification process from the beginning to end. I really can’t imagine a better teacher. In her many years of experience, she has instructed and dived all around the world.
She has so much knowledge to share and she really has a knack for teaching.
Roctopus Dive also has great facilities. They have their own offices with classrooms and a private pool, as well as high-quality equipment and an all-around friendly staff.
Just as importantly, these guys have marine awareness. There are way too many companies aimed at tourists that are destroying the local environment, so it’s good to see a company that really takes environmental and marine life protection seriously.
PADI Open Water Diver Course
Having spent most of my life in and around the ocean, I’m a decent swimmer but I had zero scuba experience prior to walking in the door of Roctopus. Fortunately, all you need to get started is basic swimming skills. Here’s how it works.
The PADI Open Water Diver course consists of three main phases:
- Knowledge development to understand basic principles of scuba diving (this can be online or classroom-based classes, or through independent study).
- Confined Water Dives to learn basic scuba skills.
- Open Water Dives to use your skills and explore.
The first day, I spent the morning studying then hit the dive shop’s private pool to learn all basic skills. My instructor, Desa, walked me through everything. She taught me how to use all the basic scuba gear, including my regulator, buoyancy control device (BCD), and my tank so that I was feeling confident with the essentials.
On the second and third days, I did two dives per day. Each one was focused on different skills that I had to show my instructor I had mastered. Fortunately, Desa was there every step of the way to help, and remind me (and sometimes laugh at me!).
If you’re headed to Thailand, I’d highly recommend getting over to Koh Tao to do some diving. Roctopus has an awesome dive shop where you can get set up and, of course, check out their Open Water or Advanced Certification courses.
Learn more about Roctopus Dive here!
Thank you to Roctopus Dive for hosting me during my diving course. As always, thoughts and opinions expressed in this article are entirely my own.