This season our instructors have taught a variety of courses; from simple refreshers and the basic open water course, to more speciality courses such as photography. The Similans are the ideal place to start or further your diving education as there are a variety of sites here for each skill level.

The way that we conduct course here at Thailand Dive and Sail is by first listening to what you want. Of course this is essential when talking to customers ;), but we do try to go that step further and listen to guest’s needs and wishes. If someone is visiting on a tight schedule, we’ll do our best to accommodate their travel plans and fit the course around their arrival/departure. Likewise, if we have people who have booked a luxury hotel in Khao Lak and do not want to spend nights out on a boat, we can also conduct courses from day trips.

Open Water Course in Khao Lak
Ella and Colin, after completing her open water course

Open Water Course in Khao Lak

We’ve seen an increase in people wanting to learn to dive with us this season, and we believe its due to the effort we put into our courses and the flexibility that we can offer. From the first point of contact we start to create a tailor made course right for each individual student.

Step 1: PADI vs SSI

Firstly, we determine whether the student would like to learn with PADI or SSI. Both dive schools have their benefits and it’s entirely up to the student which one they choose. Our instructors are able to teach both.

As I have already mentioned, both PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) and SSI (Scuba Schools International) have their own benefits. Each has it’s own fanbase, and each is internationally recognised. They both follow the regulations set out by WRSTC (World Recreational Scuba Training Council) and both have comprehensive courses following strict safety standards.

The most important thing to bear in mind when choosing a course is not the examining body, but the instructor and course structure that is right for you. It will be your instructor who guides you through the theory and course, how well they do this will determine how good of a diver you will be.

SSI Courses in Khao Lak

Step 2: Manual or elearning?

Secondly, we determine whether they will start the theory before they arrive in Khao Lak, or whether we will start when they get here. Online learning has opened up a whole new structure to the course and is excellent for those in Khao Lak on a short holiday and wanting to minimise classroom time. Having said that, our instructors will always go through everything with the students when they get here, just to make sure that they have actually read and understood everything. We may be flexible, but we are still adamant that divers will leave us as competent, confident divers.

There are most definitely some strong advantages to taking the online learning for an Open Water Course. For a start, it’s likely that students will be travelling or on holiday when they are here: that usually means that they want to spend as little time in a classroom as possible. With elearning the theory segment of the course can be done before even arriving in Thailand, this saves a whole day when you get here.

Learning from a manual with your instructor has it’s benefits too. How the theory segment of the course is structured will depend largely on the instructor teaching the course, however, our instructors are keen to do as much one on one theory with their students as possible. This is how they know that the student is ready to get into the water when out in the Similans.

Step 3: Day Trips or Liveaboard?

Thirdly, we establish whether learning from day trips or an overnight vessel would be best for the student. This will depend on time constraints, budget and also whether they are travelling with already qualified divers. We’ll try to suggest the best option that suits everyone concerned.

When taking an open water course we believe that at least a two day one night liveaboard is the best option for the diving segment of the course. With the boat that we use, the MV Nemo I, students have 6 dives over 2 days. This means that there might be at least one fun dive thrown in as well, which is hugely beneficial (and of course FUN) for a newly qualified diver. The amount of time on the boat also means that students get more time with their instructor too, meaning more time for questions and learning ;)

Courses from Khao Lak at the Boonsung Wreck
Teaching on a Boonsung Wreck Day Trip

Day trips are fine for those who want to stay in their resorts at night. We usually try and visit the Similans on day one and then the Boonsung Wreck on day two. This means that students will get only the four required dives to complete the course.

open water course in khao lak
Colin setting up equipment for the confined pool session

Step 4: Start the Course!

Lastly, we fix the schedule. We plan classroom time, swimming pool confined session and book trips on the relevant boats. When everything is confirmed, we can either start the online learning process or issue the manual as soon as the student arrives in Khao Lak.

Taking an open water course in Khao Lak is one of the best ways to learn, not only do we cater the course to your own schedule and learning needs, we are also ideally located near to the best dive sites in Thailand for courses.

Get in touch with us if you have any questions about learning to dive or would like to know the upcoming availability.