airport_transferbarbathtubbusiness_facilitieschild_activitieschildcareconnecting_roomcribsfree_wifigymhot_tubinternetkitchennon_smokingpetpoolresturantski_in_outski_shuttleski_storagesmoking_areaspastar
Sign In
Koh Tao is one of the most popular islands in the world to scuba dive
Koh Tao is one of the most popular islands in the world to scuba dive | © Roctopus Dive
Save to wishlist

The 5 Best Dive Schools in Koh Tao, Thailand

Picture of Leslie Finlay
Updated: 22 April 2018
Each year, Koh Tao, Thailand attracts thousands of visitors with its near year-round calm and crystal-clear waters and diverse wealth of marine life. In fact, this tiny island of just 21 square kilometres pumps out more scuba certifications annually than nearly anywhere else in the world, second only to Queensland, Australia – but at a much lower price point.

The island’s immense popularity has generated a niche industry driven by dozens of dive schools and resorts, each accommodating all kinds of preferences, languages, and requirements you could dream of. Whether you’re brand spanking new to the sport or have been blowing bubbles for years, how do you know which school is right for you?

Roctopus Dive

Sports Center
Save to wishlist
30724650_1979507808739897_442148762656178176_n
Roctopus prioritizes small group size and high-quality instruction | © Roctopus Dive
This medium-sized shop runs like a well-oiled machine. Their experienced and fun staff is all smiles, all of the time, and divers leave feeling like a part of the family rather than just another passerby. The centre runs its training courses primarily through RAID, a state-of-the-art and globally accepted training agency developed by leading experts in the field. Roctopus also offers a full range of SSI certifications, specialty training like advanced wreck penetration and intro-to-technical diving courses, as well as a fully operational professional arm for aspiring divemasters and instructors.
More Info
Sun:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Mon:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tue:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wed:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thu:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly, Kid Friendly

Services & Activities:

Rentals, Guided Tours, Boat Rental

Atmosphere:

Outdoors

Best for: New divers after small group sizes for more personalized training, niche specialties taught by seasoned experts, those wanting a social atmosphere but without the huge numbers of larger resorts.

Ratios: Maximum 4 divers to 1 leader

Price: $

19884176_1672624822761532_1845056375847950260_n
Roctopus Dive offers some of the best value for money – efficient schedules and small group sizes make for an easy and personalized experience | © Roctopus Dive

Also check out these similar schools: Master Divers, Mojo Divers

Big Blue Diving Resort

Sports Center
Save to wishlist
27858553_1824547167578649_8304641605991076070_n
Big Blue's family-like atmosphere is driven by some of the most established trainers on the island | © Big Blue Dive Resort
Big Blue is firmly among longest-running establishments on the island, and during its tenure has branded itself as one of the most reputable programs around. With regularly packed boats, divers are guaranteed introduction to a huge family of new friends with each new dive, under the guidance of some of the most experienced dive professionals on the island. Its dive master trainee program is among the largest, making it a great choice for those thinking about staying island-bound longer term. The centre offers both PADI and SSI training options. Big Blue also has active conservation activities with plenty of options for visitors to learn more about marine biology and the centre’s eco efforts. Then there’s the freediving centre, in case you’re keen to check out the underwater world without the tank, and technical dive training, to sink even deeper into your scuba training.
More Info
Sun:
8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Mon:
8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Tue:
8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Wed:
8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Thu:
8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Fri:
8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sat:
8:00 am - 7:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly, Kid Friendly

Services & Activities:

Rentals, Guided Tours

Atmosphere:

Outdoors, Touristy

Ratios: Maximum 8 divers to 1 leader

Price: $

28167095_1665284953526713_5625398983376825813_n
Take your diving to the next level with Big Blue Tech, learning specialties like sidemount, using different gas mixtures, rebreathers, and exploring further depths | © Big Blue Tech

Also check out these similar schools: Crystal Dive, Simple Life Resort

Goodtime Adventures

Sports Center
Save to wishlist
30726768_10160426371060158_4050265296701751296_n
Goodtime Adventures is a choice bet for travelers after flexible scheduling and easy access to a wide range of Koh Tao activities | © Goodtime Adventures
This fun-loving shop specializes in small groups and personalized experiences. Its fleet includes two speedboats, which makes for extra-flexible schedule options that allow for a bit more sleep in the morning (for those that gawk at the 6 a.m. wake-up calls common among many centres) and easy access to more niche dive sites not always visited by bigger schools on stricter schedules. Goodtime’s diving operations merge seamlessly into its wide range of other activities, including rock climbing, abseiling, cliff jumping, booze cruising, and even flying trapeze, and its divers enjoy discounts on the lot.Short on time or want to test the waters before signing up for an open water certification course? Goodtime Adventures is also one of the only shops that offers a half-day “try dive” experience in both the morning and afternoon to accommodate any schedule.
More Info
Sun:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Mon:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tue:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wed:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thu:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat:
9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly, Kid Friendly

Services & Activities:

Guided Tours, Rentals, Boat Rental

Atmosphere:

Outdoors

Best for: New divers, flexible scheduling, speedboat access to the premier dive sites, packages with other island activities.

Ratios: Maximum 4 divers to 1 leader

Price: $

13882587_10157258658360158_7593617024886762883_n
Goodtime Adventure’s versatile fleet includes its signature “big boat,” similar to almost all other centres, as well as two speedboats | © Goodtime Adventures

Also check out these similar schools: Davy Jones Locker, New Heaven Dive School

Sairee Cottage Resort

Sports Center
Save to wishlist
2
Sairee Cottage's dive site schedule is diverse, rotating among the best spots around the Gulf of Thailand to up your chances for encounters with the best marine life Koh Tao has to offer | © Peach Snaps Underwater Photography / instagram.com/peachsnapsphotography
Another well-established centre, Sairee Cottage offers a spectrum of PADI courses, but what sets it apart is has a dedicated fun dive boat for certified divers, making cruising directly to Koh Tao’s premier dive sites a breeze. For those who are a bit nervous about taking the plunge, this centre is also among the few that conducts the first portion of its “try dive” program in the swimming pool rather in the ocean to build your confidence before taking on the open water.For photo-enthusiasts, the resort also has one of the top underwater photography trainers on the island in its staff. Sairee Cottage boasts impressive facilities as well. Its gorgeous beachfront resort includes plenty of accommodation, two saltwater pools, a swim-up bar, and great classrooms for training programs.
More Info
Sun:
7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Mon:
7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Tue:
7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Wed:
7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Thu:
7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Fri:
7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sat:
7:00 am - 7:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly, Kid Friendly

Services & Activities:

Guided Tours, Rentals

Atmosphere:

Outdoors

Best for: Certified divers, open water certification courses in medium-sized groups.

Ratios: Maximum 6 divers to 1 leader

Price: $$

18198555_1383315138400793_9177187055282757139_n
Those with an eye for photography are in luck – Sairee Cottage’s in-house photographer Peach Snaps Underwater Photography is one of the most experienced and recognized trainers on the island. | © Sairee Cottage / Peach Snaps Underwater Photography

Also check out these similar schools: Scuba Junction, Phoenix Divers

ACE Marine Expeditions

Sports Center
Save to wishlist
11816984_678757318926855_2582881632955856560_n
ACE Marine's course customisation is one of its stand-out perks. Their staff will come to wherever you're staying for skills training, or arrange for coursework at one of the island's best facilities | © ACE Marine
This private centre is all about personal customization. Dives are organized as private charters and scheduled based on the best times to visit popular dive sites – when no other boats are there. If you’re taking a course, their professional staff will come to teach you at your accommodation for the ultimate ease and flexibility, and they can adjust schedules based on your time requirements and preference.The owner is also a well-respected underwater photographer, happy to customise photography training based on individual goals.
More Info
Sun:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Mon:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Fri:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sat:
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly, Kid Friendly

Services & Activities:

Rentals, Luxury, Boat Rental, Guided Tours

Atmosphere:

Outdoors

Ratios: diver preference – one on one and up.

Price: $$$

1907303_449935631809026_8882515393421738941_n
Make those diving memories tangible with ACE Marine’s full underwater photography training options and camera rentals. | © ACE Marine

Also check out these similar schools: Jamahkiri, Dive Wishes and More