Padi Divemaster – Koh tao, Thailand

For the next vacation and my Padi divemaster course I wanted something totally different than the Caribbean. So I decided that had to be Thailand. The beautiful little island Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand, changwat Surat Thani.

That’s a very small island with not much to do but scuba diving.

The divemaster course is a very intensive course what takes about a full month to learn everything you need to know about leading other divers and assisting a dive instructor with the lessons.

With my friends I was always the leading diver. They always asked me to plan our dives, prepare our dive gear and navigate. So I wanted to learn some more professional skills.

This time I only booked a plane ticket to Bangkok, had a stopover for 2 days in that wonderful city and went on to Chumphon by bus, where I took the ferry to Koh Tao. Found the Dutch Padi scuba dive center Impian Divers, where I already booked my divemaster course, and was very warm welcomed by the Dutch Owner Robert. He first showed me around and to the very nice hotel room he had reserved for me.

I took the first day of to explore the island and unwind from the long journey. From my country to Bangkok is about 14 hours and from Bangkok to Koh Tao about 12 hours. And a few days in Bangkok also isn’t very soothing.

The first days of the divemaster course were more fun dives with some practices, but after the first few days the theory lessons also started. I also did my deep specialty with the divemaster course, what didn’t make it easier, but it did make it even more fun than it already was.

I had a very educational and fun time again. Now I’m addicted to scuba diving even more.

As a certified PADI Divemaster you will be able to

  • Guide certified divers on underwater tours
  • Assist in the training of new divers
  • Co-ordinate dive trip logistics in a leadership role.
  • Conduct Divemaster programs such as Scuba Reviews & Discover snorkeling
  • Assist with Equipment Maintenance
  • Advise both student and certified divers on subjects as diverse as Marine Life, equipment selection and where the best diving is!

Requirements to start the Divemaster course

  • Certified as a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver and PADI Rescue Diver or equivalent
  • 18 years or older
  • 40 logged scuba dives
  • Completed EFR Primary and Secondary Care training within 24 months
  • Medically evaluated and cleared for diving by a physician within 12 months

What will you do on the Divemaster (DM) course?

Most of the time the DM program is an internship – working with real divers and real students in training. This means that you won’t have a fixed schedule, because your program will depend on what programs the diving school has running at that time. However here is a sample schedule if you are taking a 14-day “Divemaster Express” program:

Day 1: CLASS and POOL

  • Video presentation to introduce the course
  • Paperwork and check you meet all requirements to start the course
  • Pool skills circuit evaluation to check your basic dive skills

Day 2: CLASS and POOL

  • First theory session
  • First session in the pool focusing on improving your basic dive skills

Day 3: POOL

  • More work on improving your dive skills and refresh your rescue diver skills


  • Assisting an instructor teaching and advanced dive course


  • Learning and practice how to prepare a dive site for a trip and how to give a dive briefing
  • Preparing for a deep dive and taking part in a search and rescue scenario
  • Assisting an instructor teaching a complete beginner on a Discover Scuba program (pool and open water)


  • A mixture of instructor led and self-study theory sessions


  • Work in the pool on advanced diving techniques
  • Final exam session 1
  • Assisting an instructor teaching a student on the Open Water diver course (1st day)


  • Assisting an instructor teaching a student on the Open Water diver course (2nd day)

DAY 9: Open water

  • Assisting an instructor teaching a student on the Open Water diver course (3rd day)


  • Preparing an Emergency Assistance plan
  • Self-study and Instructor-led study on advanced diving theory


  • Underwater dive site mapping
  • Final exam 2

DAY 12: Open water DIVES

  • Giving dive briefing and leading divers underwater

DAY 13: POOL & Open water

  • Assisting an instructor on the refresh program for rusty divers


  • Final exam, complete your Divemaster application form and send it to PADI.

You can see it is a very busy and very intense schedule and you will be amazed at the progress you make. Perhaps the most time on the course will be spent on improving your dive skills from the ordinary to the exceptional.

You will leave the course as a safe, confident, skilful and knowledgeable scuba diver.

Dive site: Koh Tao

Location: Thailand

Type of dive: Wall, wrack, cave

Maximum depth: 40 m

Level: beginner to advanced

Water temperature: 27 – 29° C

When to go: You can dive here year-round, but the best time is from December till May, with top conditions in February and March. From May till August and in October there’s some more rain than average , so the visibility can be a little less than perfect.

Koh Tao has about 24 great dive sites. Some of them are ranked among the best dive sites in the Gulf of Thailand.

Here’s my selection of the top 10 dive sites around Koh Tao.

Sail Rock

Level : All levels

Depth : Main rock until 22 meters and dive site up to 40 meters

Visibility : 15 to 35 meters

Current : weak to medium

When the diving conditions are nice, Sail rock, called “Hin Bai” in Thai, is probably the best diving site of the gulf of Thailand. The only problem, this dive site is far out, in between the islands of Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao. It means that the dive site is 2 hours boat from Koh Tao. It is basically a very large rock rising up to 7 meters out of the sea, which drop down to 22 meters and structured as a long chimney with a vertical swim trough. It is the perfect place to dive with large pelagic such as large tuna, Giant Groupers, King mackerel, Chevron Barracudas, whale shark or manta rays.

Chumphon Pinnacle

Level: Advanced diver

Depth: Up to 45 meters

Visibility: 10 to 30 meters

Current: weak to medium

Chumphon pinnacle, located north-west of the island, is probably the most famous dive site of koh tao. It is in reality composed of four pinnacles covered with anemones. About 45 minutes away from Koh Tao, the dive site is often crowded but offers a large variety and abundant marine life with very good visibility most of the time. At Chumphon Pinnacle, all year round you can dive with giant groupers, barracuda, bat fishes, trevally, big eye jack, … During the whale shark season, from mars to May and august to October, you might be able to spot whale shark, Remoras and Cobias.

South West Pinnacle

Level: Open water diver and advanced divers

Depth: Up to 33 meters

Visibility: 10 to 30 meters

Current: weak to average

The diving site South West Rock, also called south west pinnacle, is sometime considered as the second best dive site of koh tao. The dive shops of Koh Tao often go there for the 3rd dive of the open water diver course but, in our point of view, it is more suitable for advanced divers. It is composed of many small pinnacles with a larger one in the center. On this dive site you should be able to find scorpion fishes, yellow tail Barracudas, Leopard Sharks, Grouper. Lucky ones will meet the great whale shark and extremely rarely, people spotted Whales there.

White rock

Level: Open water diver

Depth: Up to 24 meters

Visibility: 10 to 30 meters

Current: weak

White Rock is one of the most visited dive sites of Koh Tao, because of its proximity (10 minutes boat) with the main beach of the island. It is also one of the largest diving sites of koh tao. It is particularly popular for night dives or for the fourth dive of the open water course. You can meet a wide range of life local marine with, for example, sea turtles, nudibranchs, blue spotted stingrays, barracuda, angel fish, moray eels, triggerfish and for the luckiest, Wrasses. It also has a wide variety of soft and hard coral.

Shark island

Level: Open water diver and advanced divers (level 2)

Depth: 15 meters in average, 24 meters maximum

Visibility: 5 to 30 meters

Current: weak to strong

Unlike the name maybe suggests, there are no sharks around Shark Island. Its name comes from the fact that on the surface, the pinnacle has the appearance of a shark fin. The site is located southeast of Koh Tao, is particularly large and has a varied fauna and flora is rich in soft corals. You can dive in with turtles, sea snakes, triggerfish, clown fish and other common fish.

Green Rock

Level: Open water diver

Depth: from 5 to 28 meters

Visibility: 10 to 25 meters

Current: weak

Green Rock is a very interesting site often seen as a cave diving site because of its many small cavities and underwater tunnels. You will also probably discover the “Trigger Pit” where some Titan triggerfish come to give birth. The site is particularly suitable for buoyancy exercises. It’s a real fun dive that will delight beginners and more experienced divers. You can come across titan triggerfish, sea snakes, hawksbill and green turtles and the usual marine fishes of the Gulf of Thailand.

Japanese Garden

Level: Open water diver

Depth: from 5 to 18 meters

Visibility: 10 to 30 meters

Current: weak

Japanese Garden is a beautiful dive site that will delight lovers of nudibranchs and of soft and hard corals. It is also a snorkeling site so do not expect to go very deep. There is also a small wreck of an old dive boat, interesting to explore, nearly fifteen meter deep. You will meet lion fishes, nudibranchs and many small fish corals.


Level: Open water

Depth: up to 22 meters

Visibility: 10 to 30 meters

Current: weak

Twins, also called Twin Peak sis a pretty good dive site, mostly for the ones who loves searching for small marine life as shrimps and sea horses. The dive sites is composed of two large rocks 8 and 20 meters deep. You will be able to moray eels, clown fishes, angel fishes, trevallies, yellow tail barracudas, blue spotted stingray, and pink anemones.

Laem Tian

Level: All levels

Depth: up to 17 meters

Visibility: 10 to 25 meters

Current: weak

Laem Tian is a relaxing dive during which you can explore small caves and swim through. You can dive there with turtles, stingrays, jacks and triggerfish.

HTMS Sattakut

Level: Advanced divers

Depth: From 22 to 28 meters

Visibility: 10 to 30 meters

Current: weak

The artificially sunk military vessel of 49 meters long and 7 meters wide was sunk in 2011. It is located 50 meters south of the Hin Pee Wee dive site and very close to Sairee beach. Le boat lies at a depth of 29metres.

The dive site is perfect for experienced divers and dive shops of Koh Tao often go there for the PADI Wreck Diver course. Fusiliers, barracudas, groupers, trevally, wrasses, snappers, morey eels, grey reef sharks and putter fish has already decided to inhabit this artificial reef.




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