KOH TAO DIVING RESORTS

4 Best Koh Tao Diving Resorts In 2024

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Koh Tao has largely earned its name as the most popular place for travellers to complete their PADI open water certification, but why is this?

The Koh Tao Diving Resorts allow novice or experienced divers to take their first breaths underwater and explore life beyond land. Within these resorts the teaching standards are high, and accommodation can be found at a discount with certain resorts.

Most importantly Koh Tao has some of the most affordable courses in the whole WORLD

Accompanied by easy-to-learn sea conditions and a variety of dive sites you can see why Koh Tao is one of the most famous places to learn diving.

There are many MANY Koh Tao diving resorts on the island so understanding the best one to go to can be a tough assignment. 

Do not worry because I have researched for you.

So, let’s begin the journey to understanding the 4 Best Koh Tao Diving Resorts and why you should go there!

Why Go Diving At Koh Tao?

Beyond the great prices, why should YOU learn to scuba dive at Koh Tao… Well:

Koh Tao diving resorts offer scuba divers an unparalleled underwater experience. Renowned for its crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life, Koh Tao is a haven for those seeking the answer to life beneath the waves.

The island boasts an extensive network of dive sites including:

  • Chumphon Pinnacle – this site is renowned for its impressive marine life, including barracudas, whale sharks, and vibrant coral formations.
  • Sail Rock – Sail Rock is a pinnacle dive site famous for its vertical chimney, diverse marine species, and the possibility of encountering large pelagic creatures.
  • Shark Island – this site is a favourite among divers seeking encounters with blacktip reef sharks.
  • HTMS Sattakut Wreck – A former Thai Navy ship intentionally sunk for diving purposes
  • Japanese Gardens – this shallow and sheltered site is ideal for beginners.

Catering to various skill levels, from beginners to seasoned divers Koh Tao has something for everyone.

Koh Tao Diving Resorts ensures comprehensive training, fostering a safe and educational environment for beginners. 

The thrill of encountering schools of colourful fish, sea turtles, and intricate coral formations is an immersive adventure. Embracing the serene beauty of the underwater world at Koh Tao provides not only a memory to last a lifetime but also a deeper appreciation for marine ecosystems. 

There are indeed other destinations like Gili Trawangan (Indonesia) or Dauin (Philippines) that offer equally as impressive scuba experiences however these are not associated with the camaraderie of Koh Tao Diving Resorts.

Everyone who visits Koh Tao is usually there for the same reasons so you’ll be sure to find many travellers trying to get their PADI certification just like you!

Travel to Koh Tao from Koh Phangan or other islands around Koh Tao is relatively straight forward so make sure you are up to date with all the ferry schedules.

How To Decide The Best Koh Tao Diving Resorts

4 Key attributes to look for when selecting the Best Koh Tao Diving Resorts are as follows:

  1. Diverse and Rich Marine Life:
    • The best Koh Tao diving resorts offer access to a wide variety of marine life. A diverse ecosystem enhances the overall diving experience and attracts enthusiasts seeking a range of underwater encounters.
  2. Experienced and Certified Instructors:
    • The best Koh Tao diving resorts are characterised by their team of experienced and certified diving instructors. These professionals not only ensure the safety of divers but also provide quality instruction to divers of all skill levels. The presence of skilled instructors contributes significantly to the overall satisfaction and confidence of guests.
  3. State-of-the-Art Facilities:
    • The best Koh Tao diving resorts invest in modern and well-maintained diving equipment. From well-maintained boats to high-quality gear, having state-of-the-art facilities enhances the overall safety and comfort of divers. It also reflects a commitment to providing a premium diving experience.
  4. Comprehensive Training Programs:
    • Koh Tao Diving resorts that prioritise safety and education offer comprehensive training programs for beginners and advanced divers alike. This includes thorough briefings, simulated dives, eco-friendly techniques and ongoing skill development sessions. A commitment to education ensures that divers are well-prepared for life at sea.

These are the metrics I use when deciding which Koh Tao diving resorts offer the best value for money for new or experienced divers. It is important to note that all the resorts I recommend are for English-speaking students, I will add in some additional schools for different languages at the end. 

What Are The 4 Best Koh Tao Diving Resorts

Ban’s Diving Resort

Appropriately named the ‘Home of Diving’ in Thailand, Ban’s Diving Resort stands out as one of the most popular Koh Tao diving resorts for various reasons.

With a 5-star Career & Instructor Development Centre its reputation is primarily built on a combination of exceptional service, experienced instructors, and state-of-the-art facilities. The resort boasts a team of highly qualified dive professionals who prioritise safety and skill development. 

Their commitment to personalised training ensures that divers, from beginners to advanced, receive comprehensive and tailored instruction. Whether you want to try diving for the first time, get certified or go pro with a divemaster or instructor course, you can’t go wrong at Ban’s.

Located centrally on Sairee Beach, Ban’s Diving Resort is in a prime hotspot for travellers looking for the full Koh Tao experience with a blend of land-based fun and the ocean. 

There are options from simple, budget accommodation to a luxurious suite for two. In addition, there are many amenities onsite including:

  • 4 Swimming Pools
  • Restaurants
  • Spa
  • Gym
  • Scuba Stores and so on!

Ultimately, Ban’s Diving Resort has successfully cultivated a reputation for excellence, combining quality training, safety measures, and environmental awareness, making it the preferred choice for diving enthusiasts visiting Koh Tao.

Key Takeaways

  • Prime Diving Location:
    •  Ban’s Diving Resort is situated in the heart of Sairee Beach, the most popular beach in Koh Tao, Thailand.
  • Comprehensive Dive Courses:
    • The resort offers a range of PADI dive courses catering to all levels, from beginners to advanced divers. Their experienced instructors provide thorough training, ensuring a safe and enjoyable diving experience.
  • Multiple Languages: 
    • Ban’s has instructors for virtually every language.
  • Diverse Accommodation Options:
    • You can choose from a variety of accommodation options.
  • Professional Dive Facilities:
    • Ban’s Diving Resort boasts state-of-the-art dive facilities, including well-maintained equipment, spacious dive boats, and knowledgeable dive guides. 
  • Environmental Responsibility:
    • The resort demonstrates a commitment to environmental sustainability through eco-friendly practices, such as waste reduction, marine conservation efforts, and responsible diving practices to minimise the impact on the delicate marine ecosystem.
  • Community Engagement:
    • Ban’s Diving Resort actively engages with the local community, contributing to the socio-economic development of Koh Tao. This involvement enhances the overall travel experience by fostering a connection between visitors and the local culture.
  • Recreational Amenities:
    • Beyond diving, the resort offers a range of recreational amenities, including a swimming pool, spa services, and beachfront access, providing guests with opportunities for relaxation and enjoyment outside of diving activities.
  • On-site Dining Options:
    • The resort features on-site dining options serving a variety of local and international cuisines. This convenience ensures that you can savour delicious meals without having to venture far from your accommodation.
  • Social Atmosphere:
    • Ban’s Diving Resort fosters a social atmosphere, creating opportunities for guests to connect with fellow divers and travellers. This communal aspect enhances the overall experience, making it particularly appealing to solo travellers or those seeking a sociable environment.
  • Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
    • The resort has garnered positive reviews and testimonials from previous guests, praising the quality of instruction, the beauty of the diving sites, and the overall hospitality. These testimonials serve as endorsements, instilling confidence in prospective guests.

Pricing

Superior Room£927 Total price for 2 guests in 1 room (7 nights with 12 boat dives each).

Deluxe Hilltop View£1005 Total price for 2 guests in 1 room (7 nights with 12 boat dives each).

Deluxe Pool View£1005 Total price for 2 guests in 1 room (7 nights with 12 boat dives each).

All Rooms Include:

  • 12 boat dives per diver (tick if possible)
  • Meals as per chosen meal plan
  • Free DAN dive accident insurance 
  • Weight Belt/Weights/Tanks
  • Full Scuba Set
  • Transfer from and to the harbour (round-trip)
  • Free WIFI

Drawbacks

Groups can be large so if you’re a beginner and feel you’ll need more specific attention you may want a different school.

Koh Tao Simple Life Resort

Koh Tao Simple Life Resort stands out as a premier destination for scuba diving enthusiasts, particularly for those seeking an exceptional learning experience.

This Koh Tao diving resorts affiliation with Simple Life Divers, a distinguished PADI 5-star dive centre, ensures a top-notch education for diving enthusiasts. Ideally situated on the captivating Sairee Beach, the resort provides direct access to Koh Tao’s renowned dive sites.

Simple Life Divers, with its team of experienced and qualified instructors, offers comprehensive and safe diving instruction, catering to both beginners and seasoned divers. The resort seamlessly integrates comfortable accommodations with great diving facilities, creating a convenient and immersive environment for guests.

The dive centre distinguishes itself with modern equipment, personalised training programs, and a commitment to eco-friendly diving practices. This approach not only ensures the safety and skill development of divers but also underscores the importance of environmental responsibility.

Koh Tao Simple Life Resort’s commitment to fostering a sense of community among divers, coupled with its prime location and dedication to sustainability, solidifies its reputation as an optimal choice for those embarking on a scuba diving adventure. 

Key Takeaways

  • Strategic Dive Hub:
    • Koh Tao Simple Life Resort’s location positions it as a strategic dive hub, providing easy access to renowned dive sites like Chumphon Pinnacle and Sail Rock, making it a haven for diving enthusiasts seeking world-class underwater experiences.
  • Dive Certification Expertise:
    • Affiliated with Simple Life Divers, the resort stands out for its comprehensive dive certification courses, catering to beginners and advanced divers alike. With small groups, the professional instructors and well-organised programs ensure a safe and enjoyable diving journey.
  • Instructors: 
    • Include 2 dive boats, a training pool, a dive shop, and an air-con classroom.
  • Diverse Accommodation Options:
    • From budget-friendly rooms to spacious bungalows with stunning sea views, the resort offers a diverse range of accommodation options.
  • Exquisite Beachfront Dining Experience:
    • Koh Tao Simple Life Resort elevates the culinary experience with its partnered beachfront restaurant. Find a diverse menu of Thai and international delights, all set against the backdrop of the stunning Gulf of Thailand. The picturesque setting and delicious cuisine make every dining experience a memorable affair.
  • Direct Beach Access:
    • With a prime beachfront location, you have direct access to the sandy shores. This allows for leisurely beach walks, water activities, and a front-row view of breathtaking sunsets.
  • Eco-Conscious Initiatives:
    • Koh Tao Simple Life Resort aligns with eco-conscious travel trends by actively participating in marine conservation efforts. Simple Life Divers’ commitment to environmental responsibility adds a commendable dimension to the resort’s ethos.
  • Community-Centric Design:
    • The resort’s design promotes a sense of community, with communal spaces and organised social activities. 
  • Professional and Approachable Staff:
    • Standing out in hospitality, the resort’s staff is both professional and approachable, ensuring that guests receive specific attention. 
  • Tranquil Atmosphere:
    • Koh Tao Simple Life Resort is crafted to offer a serene and relaxed atmosphere, providing guests with a peaceful retreat. This makes it an appealing choice for those seeking a break from the urban hustle.
  • On-site amenities: 
    • Pool, sun beds, its on spa and so on. Creating a relaxing environment for your time in Thailand.

Pricing

Standard Room £718 Total price for 2 guests in 1 room (7 nights including 10 boat dives each).

Boutique Room£737 Total price for 2 guests in 1 room (7 nights including 10 boat dives each).

Superior Room – £775 Total price for 2 guests in 1 room (7 nights including 10 boat dives each).

Deluxe Room£812 Total price for 2 guests in 1 room (7 nights including 10 boat dives each).

All Rooms Include:

  • 10 boat dives per diver (tick if possible)
  • Meals as per chosen meal plan
  • Free DAN dive accident insurance 
  • Weight Belt/Weights/Tanks
  • Full Scuba Set
  • Free WIFI

Drawbacks

Less Scuba time with only 10 dives.

You have to leave the site for some amenities.

Coral View Resort

Coral View Resort is for divers who want to stay at accommodation outside of the normally followed track around Sairee Beach.

This Koh Tao diving resorts quiet atmosphere can be found on the quiet side of the island in Haad Sai Daeng, Koh Tao. These 26 bungalows are situated within their own tropical garden also offering air-conditioned balconies/terraces, hot showers and so on. 

If you’re seeking a relaxed atmosphere the Coral View Resort is the place to be.

The on-site restaurant serves up both Thai and Western dishes but not only that you can partake in a local cooking class if you wish to take a part of Thailand home with you!

This Koh Tao diving resorts affiliation with Coral View Divers enhances its appeal, it’s the opposite of a large, factory-style operation. You’ll be in small dive groups in a relaxed but safe and responsible atmosphere away from the bulky crowds.

The instructors at Coral View Divers are known for their professionalism and dedication, fostering a safe and supportive learning atmosphere. 

With 20+ dive sites situated within 10 minutes of the accommodation, Coral View Resort should be high on the list of divers who want an easy ride.

Key Takeaways

  • Professional Dive Instructors:
    • PADI certification often requires experienced and qualified instructors. The presence of professional dive instructors can be crucial for guests, especially beginners, as it ensures a safe and educational diving experience.
  • Relaxed Atmosphere:
    • As the resort is on the quieter side of the island, this resort appeals to the traveller who wants a less social more relaxed atmosphere.
  • Various Accommodation Options: 
    • Ranging from Hillside Cabins to Seaview Chalet’s this resort has various options with their luxury accommodation. 
  • Small Dive Groups:
    • Coral View Divers ensure that groups are kept small (maximum of 5 per group) to allow new scuba divers the chance to progress at their own rate and not be forced into situations they are not yet comfortable with.
  • Diverse Marine Life: 
    • Chance to see turtles, clownfish, angelfish, barracuda and boxfish. It’s also possible to dive with majestic whale sharks between April and June.
  • Training Conditions: 
    • With experienced guides and a range of training facilities Coral View Resort is one of the best places in the world to try diving for the first time with discover scuba diving or do your PADI Advanced Open Water Course.
  • Multi-Lingual:
    • English, French, and German speakers will be fine at this resort.
  • Bonus Activities:
    • This resort offers the opportunity to abseil off of Koh Tao’s best viewpoints and rock climb back to the top again.

Pricing

Hillside Cabin£793 Total price for 2 guests in 1 room (7 nights including 10 boat dives each).

Beachfront Room£855 Total price for 2 guests in 1 room (7 nights including 10 boat dives each).

Seaview Chalet£934 Total price for 2 guests in 1 room (7 nights including 10 boat dives each).

Beachfront Room£949 Total price for 2 guests in 1 room (7 nights including 10 boat dives each).

All Rooms Include:

  • 10 boat dives per diver (tick if possible)
  • Free DAN dive accident insurance (if trip value > USD 2500 per person)
  • Full scuba set
  • Boat fees
  • Housekeeping/cleaning
  • Free WIFI
  • Transfer from/to the harbour (round-trip)

Drawbacks

Taxi to town can be expensive so ideal for people who can ride scooters.

Not that social so if you want expansive nightlife DO NOT stay here.

Assava Dive Resort 

Assava Dive Resort is located in the Chalok Baan Kao area of Koh Tao. A more relaxed and quiet part of the island. The resort boasts a prime location in proximity to some of the world’s most renowned dive sites, making it a haven for diving enthusiasts.

The resort offers a variety of amenities such as the Cove restaurant and bar directly on the beach, a pool for relaxation, and personalised services that contribute to a memorable stay. 

The immersive environment, coupled with environmental responsibility, distinguishes Assava Dive Resort as a destination where travellers can seamlessly combine adventure with comfort for an unforgettable getaway.

Assava Resort conducts its dive training in the pool initially before moving onto the boats. You will be in a group of 4 no more. For those who do not scuba dive or are feeling overwhelmed, the beach is perfect for snorkelling.

The resort’s commitment to providing a holistic diving experience is evident in its state-of-the-art facilities, knowledgeable instructors, and a diverse range of courses catering to all skill levels.

The accommodation at Assava Dive Resort is the perfect blend of communal and private options allowing travellers to specialise the experience exactly how you wish. Stay in an 8-person dorm or a bungalow the choice is yours!

Key Takeaways

  • Accommodation Range: 
    • Personalise the experience by staying in one of the mixed dormitories or bungalow rooms, the choice is yours!
  • Excellent Dive Instructors: 
    • As per reviews, you’ll be greeted by familiar faces all year round. Safety is held to the highest standard by the Assava team.
  • Small Groups: 
    • No more than 4 per group to allow for specialised help.
  • Various on-site facilities:
    • Shared lounge, a garden and a private beach area. For the comfort of guests, there is free WIFI in all rooms, a mini market, a daily cleaning service, a taxi service, and a ticket service available during your stay. 
  • Vibrant Community:
    • Away from the busy Sairee Beach, with 50 rooms this resort fosters a sense of community you’d only find in hostels. If you’re a solo traveller who does not want to experience the heavy nightlife of Koh Tao but wants to still be social this is the resort for you.
  • Multi-Lingual: 
    • The resort hosts a whole range of languages including English, French, German, Spanish etc.
  • Close Attractions:
    • John-Suwan Viewpoint, Sai Nuan Beach are all relatively close to this resort. and so on.

Pricing

Bed in a dorm£307 per person (Average per person, includes 7 nights and 12 boat dives).

Standard Room£676 total price for 2 guests. (includes 7 nights and 12 boat dives).

Superior Bungalow£802 total price for 2 guests. (includes 7 nights and 12 boat dives).

Triple Room£896 total price for 2 guests. (includes 7 nights and 12 boat dives).

All Rooms Include:

  • 10 boat dives per diver (tick if possible)
  • Meals as per meal plan
  • Free DAN dive accident insurance 
  • Full scuba set
  • Free WIFI
  • Transfer from/to the harbour (round-trip)

Drawbacks

Pool dedicated to diving so not really able to use it recreationally.

More suitable for people completing a course than a one-off fun dive.

Other Dive School Options

If staying at a resort does not interest you there are other ways you can do your PADI open water qualification, fun dive, or even try freediving.

Here are some of the options you could look to explore:

  • Big Blue Diving Koh Tao
    • Located at Sairee village this dive school has been open since 1991 and stands as a very reliable place to learn diving. Renowned for experienced instructors, state-of-the-art facilities, and a comprehensive curriculum, it ensures a safe and immersive learning experience. Big Blue can host a range of nationalities and has the largest Japanese language dive school with Big Blue Chaba, also in Sairee village. 
  • French Kiss Divers
    • Given away in the name this is for predominantly French-speaking individuals although they can cater for English too. Skills are initially practiced in a shallow bay rather than a swimming pool so if you want that comfort another school will benefit you. 
  • Calypso Diving School Koh Tao
    • You can choose to learn diving in German, English, French, or Thai, and they welcome anyone aged 8 and above. Offering CMAS and SSI qualifications if you want a PADI certification you will need to look elsewhere. Calypso are affiliated with Family Tanote Bay Resort so for discounted rates check it out!
  • Crystal Dive Koh Tao
    • An award-winning PADI development centre with over 25 years of experience. An array of certifications and be achieved with Crystal Dive and I have read reviews where they catered for Chinese-speaking individuals so be sure to check it out if you’re from China!
  • Free Dive Koh Tao
    • The first AIDA freediving school on the island of Koh Tao which is considered the most popular and recognised freediving standard in the world. Offering an array of courses with multiple 5-star reviews Free Dive Koh Tao is the place to be for freedivers.

Unlike other countries in Southeast Asia, I never found anywhere in Thailand that rented out a GoPro for daily use. Therefore if you want to make sure you get to capture life underwater make sure to bring a GoPro with you so you can create that insane Instagram content!

Read my post on which GoPro underwater is best suited!

Final Thoughts

If I had to go back in time and choose the Koh Tao diving resort that would suit me, I would pick Ban’s Diving Resort.

This Koh Tao diving resort is in a prime location for travellers and has had hundreds if not thousands of positive reviews therefore I would feel in extra safe hands.

As I mentioned earlier I only had time for a fun dive but when I return in the future Ban’s will certainly get a call and that’s the Koh Tao diving resort I would recommend.