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After a couple of days in Bangkok, my trip led me to the island of Koh Phangan in Southern Thailand. I knew that eventually, I wanted to learn how to dive, but I had always planned on doing that in Central America. It wasn’t until I changed my travel plans and ended up in Southeast Asia instead of Nepal that I suddenly found an opportunity to become a certified diver.
I couldn’t have chosen a better place than Koh Phangan. If you’re interested in diving, I can highly recommend this island that has so much more to offer than full-moon parties. To help you feel the excitement, here are five reasons why you should learn to dive on Koh Phangan.
#1 Huge selection of dive shops
Koh Phangan is famous for its great diving spots. It comes as no surprise that the island is filled with dive shops. Most of them are located in the north and the west of the island, where the dive sites are. If you are staying elsewhere, many offer a pick up service.
We went with Haad Yao Divers, located close to Haad Yao Beach and had a wonderful experience.
#2 Amazing dive sites
While I had gone snorkelling a couple of times before, my only diving experience before coming to Koh Phangan was in a German indoor pool. It is nothing compared to swimming in the open sea, surrounded by fish.
On my first two dives, I noticed that there seemed to be a lot of underwater animals around, from fish to crabs and other funny-looking creatures. But it wasn’t until a couple of weeks later, when I went diving in French Polynesia and on Easter Island, that I realised just how many colourful fish I had seen on Koh Phangan. You will have a hard time finding dive sites as beautiful as Sail Rock, which is the name of the place where I got certified.
Sure, for the first dives, it is more important to figure out what you’re doing underwater. But isn’t it much better to learn to do so in a beautiful environment than in some cold and murky waters?
#3 Great instructors
Seeing as there are so many dive shops and so many people wanting to get their PADI certification, you will encounter many diving instructors from all over the world. We were taught by a wonderful woman named Cass from South Africa, who was very helpful, reassuring and patient with us – and at the same time so excited about diving that it was contagious.
With all those dive instructors around, chances are high that you will find someone speaking your mother language. We met two guys who were taking classes in German and I also heard someone speak French to their student. If language is a problem, ask around and surely, someone can help you.
#4 Amazing beaches
Learning to dive is hard work. You will have to know a lot of theory and your first dives, whether you are training in a pool or in the open water, are going to be exhausting. Fortunately, Koh Phangan has amazing beaches where you can relax afterwards.
If you are staying on the west coast, like we did at Haad Yao, you can spend the evening on the beach and watch some amazing sunsets. Then, go to bed early so you are refreshed for your next day of diving.
#5 It is cheap
If you want to learn to dive, Koh Phangan is one of the cheapest places in the world. I paid less than 400$ for my PADI Open Water course. At the same time, even though diving is cheap on Koh Phangan, you get good quality lessons and equipment. Haad Yao Divers is five-star certified from PADI, a sign that they passed all quality standards.
If, after having finished your course, you want to go diving again, it won’t break your budget either. Diving on Koh Phangan is amazing, with a great quality for a cheap price. And who knows, maybe you’re even as lucky as some of my friends who saw a whale shark here?