With over 50 dive schools on the tiny island of Koh Tao, as a newly arrived tourist how on earth do you decide which to choose?
The choice must seem endless and quite intimidating when you first arrive on the island, touts trying to sell you a course on the boat before you even get to the island, people shouting at you on the pier when you step off the boat, and all the dive schools trying to ‘outbid’ each other to get your service, offering ‘free’ dives and breakfasts as added extras.
The best piece of advice would be to do your research. Nowadays there are endless sources of information on the internet but one of the best sites is www.tripadvisor.com written for tourists, by tourists. Each dive school on the island survives because they all provide a different experience. Many dive schools on the island specialize through languages with some of the smaller dive schools catering almost solely to a specific language, useful if your English, the main language on the island after Thai, isn’t great and you wish to go to a dive school where not only your tuition, but the whole experience will be provided in your mother tongue. The larger dive schools on the island try to cater to as many languages as possible with instructors available in the vast majority of languages. These larger dive schools provide an endless supply of new found friends to go for some drinks with after a day of diving, but may not provide a service that’s as personalized as some of the smaller dive schools.
The smaller dive schools have fewer customers that means that not only your instructor, but most other instructors at the school are going to know your name and be able to help you out with any questions or problems you might have. Smaller classes often consisting of only two or three people mean you’ll come out a better, more confident diver at the end of your course. And then there’s the post diving social side where as part of a smaller dive school, whether you’re here for a day or a month you’ll find yourself quickly integrated into the local side of the island and enjoying one of the famous Koh Tao nights out