Whether you are looking to learn to dive for fun (be it scuba diving, wreck diving, or drift diving), or if you are looking to become PADI qualified, there can be few places as exotic as Koh Samui, in Thailand, to experience this.
The island of Koh Samui has some of the world’s best dive sites along the Gulf of Thailand and is the perfect base if you are looking for an exciting underwater adventure.
Why Koh Samui Is a Great Place to Learn Diving
With a well-developed infrastructure and highly experienced instructors, you can find lessons for all levels and types of diving in Koh Samui.
Furthermore, Koh Samui is also known for its stunningly clear waters, lush jungles, and sandy beaches, making it an ideal destination for learning to dive, whilst also being surrounded by natural beauty and a great climate.
The island’s crystal-clear lagoons are filled with colorful coral reefs and tropical fish that can be seen from as close as a few feet away.
These shallower depths make for perfect conditions when learning how to dive or practicing newly acquired skills.
For more advanced divers looking for something more challenging, Koh Samui also has deeper waters that offer an abundance of exciting dive sites.
The island also provides easy access to other nearby dive sites as well as day trips around Koh Samui for those looking for something extra special during their dives.
In addition to the wealth of dive sites that can be found around Koh Samui, there are many other activities and attractions that make it a great destination for divers.
How the Diving Lessons are Conducted
In Koh Samui, finding professional instructors for all levels of diving, from beginners to more experienced divers, is quite easy.
Courses are tailored to each individual diver’s experience level and needs, allowing everyone the opportunity to learn in a safe and comfortable environment.
While the initial lessons are conducted on the Koh Samui mainland, the actual scuba diving happens in the waters surrounding its neighboring islands.
Diving schools use their boats to take you to the diving sites and back.
They normally provide you with the necessary gear and safety instructions.
Most guided tours also include lunch within their diving package.
Diving Schools in Koh Samui
Here are seven of the best places to learn diving in Koh Samui:
1. Big Blue Diving School
Big Blue Diving School offers PADI-certified courses for both beginners and experienced divers.
They have multiple dive sites around the island that are suitable for all levels of experience, plus their instructors provide excellent service and safety instruction.
2. Crystal Dive Koh Samui
Established in 1996, Crystal Dive has become a favorite among divers in Koh Samui for its quality teaching and safety standards.
They offer courses from beginner to professional levels, as well as specialty courses such as night diving and underwater photography.
3. Sail Rock Divers (Ko Pha Ngan)
If you are also interested in learning on the nearby island of Ko Pha Ngan, then a dive training center I recommend is Sail Rock Divers, on the west coast of the island.
Well organized, equipment provided, a friendly bunch of instructors, and a great exotic location.
With their experienced instructors and the surrounding stunningly clear waters, you can easily explore the rich marine life that surrounds this unique site.
Best Places for Learning Scuba Diving in Koh Samui
Here are the 7 best spots for learning scuba diving in Koh Samui:
1. The Big Buddha Dive Site
Located near Big Buddha Beach, this dive site offers fantastic visibility and easy access to an array of corals and marine life.
2. Sail Rock Dive Site
This site is ideal for advanced divers due to its strong currents and deep depths.
Sail Rock is home to a variety of marine life, including sharks, moray eels, and even whale sharks.
3. Angthong National Marine Park
The shallow waters of this park are perfect for beginners who want to explore the area’s many coral reefs without having to go too deep.
4. Chaweng Beach Dive Site
One of the most popular dive sites on Koh Samui, this spot features easy access and excellent visibility year-round.
It also has plenty of colorful corals and diverse aquatic life that make it ideal for learning.
5. Koh Tao Dive Site
A great spot for beginners and experienced divers alike, this site offers crystal-clear waters and an abundance of marine life.
With its easy access and shallow depths, the Koh Tao Dive Site is perfect for anyone wanting to learn scuba diving in a relaxed atmosphere.
6. Laem Sor Dive Site
This is one of the more challenging sites on Koh Samui due to its strong currents and deeper depths, making it better suited for advanced divers.
But with its abundant marine life and excellent visibility, Laem Sor is worth exploring even if you’re a beginner.
7. Hin Wong Bay Dive Site
Located at the eastern edge of Koh Samui, this site is perfect for those who want to take their scuba diving skills to the next level.
With its numerous sunken ships and impressive walls of coral, Hin Wong Bay offers a unique underwater experience that you won’t soon forget.
Koh Samui’s Neighboring Islands
Koh Nang Yuan is made up of three smaller islets connected by a sandbank of velvety white sand.
At its eastern end, the Japanese Garden is a marvelously sheltered site for divers to practice advanced techniques.
There is a second diving site called Twin Peaks on the western side of Koh Nang Yuan.
The Aow Leuk and Leam Tien beaches on the turtle-shaped island of Koh Tao are also popular among divers.
A group of over 40 small islands form the Angthong National Marine Park; here, you can learn diving with stunning tropical rainforests and natural limestone formations as a backdrop
Species You Can See in Koh Samui Waters
The clear tropical waters around Koh Samui are home to innumerable species of fish in a great range of sizes, shapes, and colors.
Near the surface, you will find pink, red, and purple anemones floating about.
Clownfish, surgeonfish, and bannerfish add to the diversity of Thailand’s marine life in the shallower waters.
At medium depths, you can spot groupers, batfish, bull sharks, leopard sharks, and gray reef sharks.
One of the highlights of the diving experience is the rare sighting of the majestic Whale Shark.
PADI Diving Certification
If you are serious about learning to dive, you can enroll in one of the PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certification courses.
The first part is theoretical classroom training including diving videos if time permits.
You may be itching to jump into the water, but it is important to know this information first.
Later, you will practice the breathing techniques you just learned in a swimming pool.
Finally, you can then begin to dive into the open water to earn your certification.
Some Tips for Diving Tours in Koh Samui
1. Avoid booking a diving tour during the monsoon season between November and February; the usually calm, clear waters can get quite choppy and murky.
2. You can opt for an individual trainer but a group class offers the chance to make new friends who share your passion for diving.
You may be vacationing in Thailand with family or friends who are not interested in diving.
They can still accompany you on the diving tour in Koh Samui and enjoy peaceful snorkeling, swimming, or sunbathing while you explore the underwater beauty of Thailand.
Travel Insurance for Diving in Thailand
When planning a diving trip to Thailand, it is important to make sure you have the right travel insurance coverage.
Diving can be an exciting and dangerous activity, and if something goes wrong, you’ll want to be covered.
Travel insurance for diving should include coverage for medical expenses in case of an accident or injury while underwater.
It is also important to make sure the policy covers emergency evacuation if needed, and medical repatriation if necessary.
When considering a travel insurance plan for a diving trip in Thailand, you should also look into plans that include coverage for lost or damaged equipment while underwater, as well as personal liability coverage in case you accidentally harm or damage property owned by another diver or person while on your trip.
Check the exclusions of the policy to make sure it is not excluding coverage for diving-related activities.
Take care to read the small print and to ensure that any water sports such as diving that you plan to be involved with during your trip, are covered.
Koh Samui Travel Resources
- Booking.com – The best site I have found for hotel and accommodation bookings.
- Flights – are also now offered by booking.com and as I love the brand this is my first port of call now for flights.
- Safety Wing Travel Insurance – I love Saftey Wing as they cover everything I need to be covered and they have a simple-to-use site, and again, I have found their customer service very good, when I needed to ask questions.
- Hostelworld – Book backpacker hostel rooms around the world with Hostel World.
- Get Your Guide – is an excellent site as a one-stop shop for booking attractions, local tours, activities, and excursions. Great customer service and an easy-to-use site.