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Children : (2 - 11 Ys.)
Babies under 2 are usually free
Daily Budget:
Soft Adventures 12 Nights
Island Hop
5, 6 & 12 Nights
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3,4,5,6 & 12 Nights
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6, 9 & 12 Nights
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4, 6 & 11 Nights
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12 Nights +/-
fish thailand Fish Thailand 4, 6, 12 Nights
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  How Not to Dive




Koh Tao

Although these days the divers far outnumber the turtles on ‘Turtle Island’, Koh Tao still deserves its place as the Gulf of Thailand’s pre-eminent dive destination. The island enjoys gentle currents and easy access to over twenty first class dive sites, many of them offering interesting marine life at depths accessible to beginners. In the 30s and 40s a prison island, these days Koh Tao is rather more welcoming to its visitors, offering them a rapidly-growing selection of resorts, restaurants and spas.

Training more PADI divers than any place on the planet except for Australia’s Cairns, the Koh Tao dive operators offer the best prices in Thailand, with a PADI Open Water course going for only THB 9,000.

The beaches are picture postcard perfect but, apart from Ao Leuk, rather too shallow for swimming using anything more vigorous than the breast-stroke. Snorkellers, however, will enjoy the high visibility, even near to the coast and in shallow water. Novice snorkellers, in particular, will appreciate the feeling of safety the conditions give, which will enhance their enjoyment of the cornucopia of underwater treasures on display. If offered sub-standard rental snorkelling gear at their resort, visitors are recommended to decline renting it, and to hire gear from one of the dive shops instead.

Many new divers seem to become almost mesmerized by the pellucid crystal-clear waters, whose shallows shelter all manner of fish and are marbled in brilliant hues of turquoise, emerald and green. Divers are advised to consider resisting the temptation to spend every possible moment below the waves, though, and to take time out to take a walk round the island, whose tiny size, hidden coves and unexpected vistas make an afternoon’s aimless amble very enjoyable. 

Also recommended, except for those who wish to avoid concentrations of other visitors, is a boat trip to the nearby Nang Yuan trio of islets, joined by the most picturesque and flimsy of sandbars at low tide. As well as water-sports such as wakeboarding and water-skiing, Koh Tao offers some of the best ‘bouldering’ in Thailand. For those unfamiliar with the term, bouldering is a rope-free version of rock-climbing where the climber traverses a boulder or rock-face, staying near to the ground and relying on soft sand or a crash mat to cushion falls. Much less bother than roped-up climbing, all that is required is to put on a pair of rock shoes and a chalk bag - plus maybe a pair of shorts, unless the climber really want to show off.

The island, whose landscape is as yet un-blotted by a single multiple storey monstrosity, has skyrocketed in popularity since the 2004 tsunami, after which many divers avoided the Andaman coast in favour of the Gulf of Thailand. The island has a good selection of trendy and lively bars, all of which are hostess-free and which cooperate to ensure that there is somewhere to shake your booty pretty much every night of the year. At heart a water-sports hot-spot, landlubbers in search of a good conversation may tire of the fishy tales that dominate the air-waves.

For those non-divers uninterested in making friends and who just want to enjoy a quiet beach with their companions, however, Koh Tao is a destination to be recommended, as its pretty beaches are seldom too crowded, due to the rest of the visitor population being off on dive boats or studying dive theory. There is a wide variety of accommodation available on the island, including several classy establishments at the far end of Sairee beach which have managed to blend harmoniously into the landscape. See Good Time Adventures on for climbing. Check out Island Cruises on for sailing, including cruises to Ang Thong Marine Park.

Trainee divers are recommended to read the following tips on how NOT to pass their PADI Open Water Test:

* Challenge your instructor to a race to the surface.
* Lie face-down and motionless while holding your breath.
* Loudly proclaim that safety stops are for “woosies”.
* Show up with a set of tables based on your own algorithm “that's WAY better”.
* Spit in your wetsuit and pee in your mask.
* Ask your instructor “which fin goes on which foot?”
* Tell your instructor there is no way you can lift a cylinder with 2000 pounds of air in it.

When asked for your dive plan, hand over a bundle of travel brochures.


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