I freakin’ love Thailand, and you might be able to tell from my post here about it or the fact that I spent 2 months in Thailand on my travels around the world. One of the main things I wanted to check off my bucket list before I left on my long trip was learning to scuba dive in a foreign country. After living in San Francisco for a long time and growing up in Idaho, I didn’t have a ton of opportunities to learn. So, I decided to do what many of done before me and take a Koh Tao diving course!

Koh Tao Diving Course: Getting Scuba Diving Certified on Koh Tao

Koh Tao Scuba Diving

After a lot of research, Koh Tao just seemed to be the best fit. Most importantly, it was an island full of divers and dive shops and seemed to have the backpacker travel crowd I was interested in hanging out with. The only problem with it was that there were too many dive shops to choose from! 

In the end, I went with Ocean Sound Dive & Yoga and I am so glad I did. I even went back a few months later to get my Advanced PADI certification because I liked it so much.


I looked at a few other diving courses/shops and wasn’t as drawn in as much as the Ocean Sound & Yoga dive shop. Ocean Sound just seemed extremely professional and they provided dive groups no more than 4 people.

I’m not going to lie, I was FREAKED out to learn how to dive! People had told me scary things about it and I wanted to make sure I had a small class where I could get as much 1:1 time as possible.

Ocean Sound also has a yoga studio and after you dive all day, you can go stretch out on the mat. I took full advantage of these free classes and really enjoyed the relaxation afterwards.

If you’re not feeling the vibe of Ocean Sound like I was, check out these others that came highly recommend to me from friends who have gone through their courses. Roctopus Dive, Sari Cottage, & Big Blue.
Scuba Diving in Koh Tao


Most diving courses for an Open Water PADI course take about 3-4 days. Typically, you’ll spend a few hours in the classroom studying how to dive. Then you’ll spend a day at the pool and finish with an ocean dive. It’s so much fun and you’ll usually meet some cool people along the way.


Check out Ocean Sound prices here. Diving courses usually range from 9,800 baht to 12,000 baht. About $300 to $380.


3.5 days

Day 1:

This is the orientation day. At Ocean Sound, it’s about an hour and a half long in the evening. You’ll watch a video and they’ll give you all of your study materials.

Day 2:

This morning you go immediately to the pool to start learning how to put on all of your gear and how to breathe underwater! After lunch, you’ll do some studying in the classroom to learn more about the theory of diving.

Day 3:

You’ll spend a bit more time in the classroom in the morning and then you’ll take your class exam. After you’ve passed the exam, you’ll go out on the boat on the ocean and complete 2 open water dives!

Day 4:

You’ll go out early on the boat again and complete two more open water dives. Congrats you’re certified!!

I’m not going to lie, diving was rather intimidating at first! Then, it ended up being extremely fun once I felt more comfortable breathing underwater. I’d say learning in the pool on the first day was the scariest part. This was mainly because I had never worn diving equipment before and didn’t realize I didn’t need to come up for air! 🙂

The rumors are true though, you do have to take your mask off underwater and put it back on. The good news is you get keep your regulator in, so you just have to breathe out of your mouth! That’s what I was most scared of, but it ended up being totally fine!  Koh Tao diving for the win! 🙂

koh tao diving course experience



Most of the diving courses will provide you a package with a partner hotel or hostel to stay in. Some of them also allow you to stay in dorms on the dive shop’s property, but you can also book your own accommodation.  Ocean Sound provided a package deal to stay at the Tropicana Resort. I ended up staying here, but wouldn’t stay here again.

It’s a cheap place to stay and really close to the dive shop, but it was very basic. I kind of hated it for the days I was there and would have rather stayed at a nicer Airbnb, hotel or hostel for these 4 days.


Taco Shack 2 – I loved this hostel, but you’ll need a scooter to get from here to the dive shop if you choose Ocean Sound. It was a party hostel, but it had a great vibe, killer air con, and they served tacos! I would go here if you like the party vibe while you’re in Koh Tao and don’t mind it while you’re diving (although being hung over for the dive would suck). Book a room here.

The Dearly Hostel – This hostel is recommended by the dive company and they say it’s the closest and most fun! Book a room here!


Thalassa Hotel – This is my friend Alex’s go-to mid-range hotel  and she recommends it to her friends all the time. I trust her opinion 😉 Read Reviews on TripAdvisor | Book a Room

Aminjirah Hotel – Another go-to hotel and a bit higher end.  Read Reviews on TripAdvisor | Book a Room


Yes, they even have Airbnb’s on Koh Tao and some of them look amazing! Use my $40 off coupon to book your stay.

koh tao diving
ocean sound diving

See & Do

Koh Tao is an amazing place full of backpackers, expats and locals. It’s also my favorite island for fun activities! I highly recommend renting a scooter and taking it for a spin around the island. Scooters are pretty cheap and worth renting in order to check out the island. Just be safe! There were quite a lot of injured people when I was there.

I’ve written all about my favorite things to do in Koh Tao here in extensive detail including where to eat on the island.

Also, if you’re looking for an even more extensive trip guide to the island from a local, check out my friend, Alex’s guide from Alex in Wanderland. Use this code for a discount on her guide: LoveKohTao.

koh tao island diving
koh tao diving course
koh tao thailand diving

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