Join the underwater realm with a diving course in Krabi

Thailand is a great place to learn to dive

Thailand is a great place to learn to dive

By Jan Schauseil

Krabi’s central location along the Andaman Sea in southern Thailand puts it right in the heart of one of the planet’s top 10 diving scenes. Thailand is an ideal place to learn to scuba dive, add a new certification to your PADI card or simply brush up on rusty skills. Apart from a friendly and colourful culture as well as truly amazing underwater scenery and marine life, the costs of learning to dive in Krabi are among the lowest in the world.

Thailand’s low diving prices don’t translate to poor service or unqualified dive instructors. In fact, many foreign dive masters are lured to the sunny islands of southern Thailand to spend a winter (or five) kicking back and teaching newcomers how to dive. An enthusiastic cadre of local Thai dive instructors and support staff round off the crews of the dozen or so dive companies that operate out of Krabi.
Diving in Krabi

The remarkable variety of underwater terrain around Krabi is what makes this region so special. From the stunning psychedelic reefs of the Similans to fathomless headwalls, shipwrecks and gently sloping sandy coral gardens, there’s something here to please every level of diver, from newbies to jaded veterans. Krabi’s diving operators take full advantage of this wide range of environments to create a complete menu of diving courses.

At the beginning of the list is the PADI Bubblemaker Programme, designed to teach young children aged eight years and up the basics of scuba diving. This wonderful concept allows whole families to experience the magic of diving. Next up is a selection of half-day and full-day courses geared towards newbies 10 years and older. PADI Discover Scuba Diving is the precursor to becoming a fully certified diver. Diving basics are covered in a shallow pool at the dive shop, followed by one easy tandem dive with an instructor.

Dive trips are part of the course

Dive trips are part of the course

PADI Scuba Diver is the foundation level of certification, offering two days of in-depth dive training and two dives with an instructor. After completing this level, students can train for their PADI Open Water Diver certification. This is where the adventure of diving really begins, as it allows you to go on dives up to 18 metres deep. This is the most popular level of PADI certification and is recognised all over the world. 
Phi Phi guide

If you really fall in love with the thrill of scuba diving, you can take the Advanced Open Water course which covers five different underwater terrains and allows you to dive up to 30 metres. Additional certifications include Emergency First Response and Rescue Diver courses. If you want to step into the teacher’s fins, you can even take a full PADI Dive Master course. These run for several weeks and are only for the truly dedicated. The great thing about getting certified in Thailand is that even a Dive Master course costs just a fraction of what it does in most other countries.

In addition to the low costs of the courses, accommodation and food at the beaches are quite reasonable. Once you’re certified, you’ll find that the dives in Thailand are among the cheapest in the world. When you’re not underwater, the beauty of Krabi and the laid-back attitudes of the Thais will show you why so many people come to this region winter after winter. The prime diving season in the Andaman Sea around Krabi runs from November to April, although it’s possible to dive all year round. So, if you’ve always wanted to learn to scuba dive but were put off by the high costs of certification, Krabi offers the perfect solution.

Once qualified, or your upgrade course finished, the Andaman’s your oyster with more than two dozen excellent sites, some a mere 15 minutes offshore from Railay beach, others at among the breathtaking beauty of the Phi Phi islands. There are plenty more sites near Koh Lanta if you prefer avoiding the crowds, or you can venture as far as Phuket and beyond to the Similan islands. Sign up for day or night trips or spoil yourself with a live aboard cruise.

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