For an exciting holiday ever, you can now head up to Thailand and get a certificate of scuba diving

Have you ever thought of celebrating a western New Year in a Buddhist country like Vietnam, Thailand or Cambodia? Southeast Asia will bring you a surprise different from predictable holiday at your homeland. Not only can you enjoy all the spirits with lavish dinners, shopping, decorating and New Year parties, you will have new memorable experiences from temples to visit, exotic beaches to discover, and the finest weather that SE Asia offers all year round.

But what will you do in Asia to make it special for New Year? Curiosity led people to desire to walk on the Moon – We did; want to dance in the Mars – We are working on it to make our dream come true in a very early future. But until it becomes popular activities, it’s hardly possible for you to explore the space unless you are a millionaire to pay around $75 million per seat. Or you must be an astronaut.

Let’s think about other options. How about the ocean?

Exploring the ocean? Sounds good to me!

I assure at least once, in your lifetime, you may wonder what marine life looks like under the water? It is a whole new world and learning scuba diving like opening a door to this wonderful land. And if you want to experience this, nowhere else is better than Thailand. With its long coastline, numberless islands and the crystal clear water, Thailand offers some of the best scuba diving locations in the world.

Have you ever wondered about the mysterious world under the water?

Have you ever wondered about the mysterious world under the water?

Koh Samui is the best place to learn

Although you can dive all over the country, the best destination for travelers and local to learn is Koh Samui for its vibrant coral sand the variety of marine species. This is the second largest island, lies in the Gulf of Thailand off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus – a perfect place if you want to escape from the tourist crowd. You can either lay on white sandy, palm-fringed beaches during the day or hop into a bar and get a drink with strangers at night. 

Koh Samui is over 700 kilometers from Bangkok, so easily the quickest way to get here is by airplane. You can get flights to Koh Samui from Bangkok with Thai Airways who fly twice per day, whereas Bangkok Airways has frequent flights, departing almost hourly. Other ways to access the island are by train, bus, and ferry.

Koh Samui island is famous for vibrant coral sand, the crystal clear water and the variety of marine species

The cost for a scuba diving course in Koh Samui starts at 3,700 Baht for one-day activity. I decided to take 4 days course which cost me 12,700 Baht. You can consider booking a tour of Exotic Voyages to Thailand. The price they provide is much more reasonable with lots of priorities: You can choose either Koh Samui, Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, Phuket, Koh Lipe or Similan Island depending on your interest.

Choose a school before you go

It’s better to do a little research before you go. You will find many programs on the internet or just simply ask your hotel’s receptionist for a name but my advice is searching it on your own because some people just tell you the schools that pay them for their recommendation, even if it’s expensive and the service is terrible.  

It’s better to do a little research before you go

It’s better to do a little research before you go

Remember that, the dive experience depends mostly on the instructor a dive school provides. So make sure to read reviews on popular websites like TripAdvisor or asking your trustful travel agent before selecting a school. Big schools give big chance to meet new people, it would be lots of fun to hang around with new friends but these schools are for those who are comfortable underwater and don’t need personal attention. Small schools are best for those new to scuba diving like me. You will have a feeling of being safe whenever you are under the water. But of course, the group is small with fewer people.

When I found a school, all that I needed to do was calling my travel agent and they will contact the school. After my breakfast in the next morning, I was picked up by a friendly tour guide to the terminal, we accessed Koh Samui island by plane. My tour guide knows a lot about scuba diving, he learned it before and was enthusiastic to share with me some of his experiences which were really helpful.

Heading to Koh Samui by plane. The school will arrange a taxi to pick you up at the airport

When we arrived the airport, a hotel’s staff was waiting with a taxi to take me to the hotel to relax before getting know about the new experience. I had a very nice room in Koh Samui with a large bed, free wi-fi, air condition and an outdoor balcony. Accommodation is included in diving course price so I think it’s pretty cheap. The most wonderful thing is, the program doesn’t require you to know swimming. What a bonus to me!

Suggested tour: Island Hopping

Scuba diving could be a lot of fun and the marine life is amazing!

My first day was for traveling and resting. I just start my course on the second day. We watched videos and learned scuba diving theories including diving practices, equipment, confined water skills and other things to keep you safe under the water.

In the afternoon, you will be trained in swimming pool to familiarize with scuba gear, learn how to deal with underwater emergencies, hand signals and help a friend in emergency situations. We started in a very shallow water first then got deeper to gain confidence.

Your first lesson is at a swimming pool. You learn to familiarize with scuba gear, how to deal with underwater emergencies, hand signals and help a friend in emergency situations

Your first lesson is at a swimming pool. You learn to familiarize with scuba gear, how to deal with underwater emergencies, hand signals and help a friend in emergency situations.

Day 3 was the best. We hopped onto a boat that took us to the first dive site down to a maximum depth of 12 meters. I was eager to explore the coral reefs and hidden marine life. During the dive, we had reinforced the theories and skills we learned in the pool. I was a bit nervous at first, you know, it was totally different between the ocean with the pool where you could easily stand up and got out of the water. But my instructor was really patient and guided me through it. I actually saw a baby turtle.

We went to a second location where we were tested on more skills and saw a lot of bright corals, tropical fish, eels and even stingrays. This was like a dream come true and all of my worries had long gone.

Jumping off the boat might scare you a bit

Jumping off the boat might scare you a bit

But the instructor is always there to guide you through it

But the instructor is always there to guide you through it

Day 4 was to explore the depth of 18 meters. I practiced more about diving and increased confidence by repeating some skills plus make an exploration of marine life in Koh Samui. The next dive locations were to emergency skill practice. However, it was lots of fun. We had an underwater videographer to capture our experience on film. He was a funny guy and asked us to do crazy things underwater. Some walked in hands, some danced and some blew bubbles… We had a great time and laughed a lot when we watched the movie in the evening.

You will practice more about diving in the next day plus make an exploration of marine life

You will practice more about diving in the next day plus make an exploration of marine life

I am graduated!

I did it! Spent my New Year in a foreign country and got a wonderful time and a marvelous gift. Being away home in New Year was not too bad, I had my most memorable holiday.

Not to mention, I’m now a fan of scuba diving. I’ll book a travel to Thailand again to discover other dive locations. My next trip would be Koh Phi Phi, I’ve heard many things about this magical island.

With all the amazing moments in Koh Tao, I’m now a fan of scuba diving

With all the amazing moments in Koh Samui, I’m now a fan of scuba diving.

If you are in Thailand now, you can start searching a scuba diving program. If you are not, don’t worry, the best time to learn is from November to April. You have plenty of time ahead. Just book a tour and wait to see your dream come true.

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