During our travels to the island of Koh Tao, my boyfriend and I decided we wanted to do our open water diving cerfitication. We had been informed numbers times that Koh Tao was the cheapest place to do it and with over 65 dive schools on the island, we weren’t short of choice. After searching around and comparing a number of prices and previous reviews, we enrolled on the open water scuba diving course with Phoenix Divers.
When booking the four day open water course, the dive school also offered four nights free accommodation at the ‘AC resort’ next door, including free breakfast! For the price of 8,500 Thai baht (around £160) which seemed like a pretty good deal at the time. However, I strongly recommend NOT to make use of the free accommodation here. My boyfriend and I survived one night in a very small, unclean hut with no air conditioning, amongst loud frogs underneath the hut, cockroaches on the floor and bedbugs on the mattress!! After one traumatising night we checked out straight away and stayed at Lotus Paradise Resort for the remainder of the course with Phoenix Divers.
In comparison to our stay at AC resort, the course itself with Phoenix Divers I cannot fault.
When we first booked on the the course all the members of staff there were very friendly and helpful in answering any questions about the course which we had. They also provided a full in-depth breakdown of what we would be doing each day on the course so we knew exactly what we were paying for.
On the first day of the course we got introduced to our dive instructor, Clause. Clause has over 25 years experience in teaching diving and has certified the most amount of open water divers in the world, so it truly felt like we were learning from the best! We also got introduced to our classmates, we had a relatively small class compared to many other dive schools, it was only myself, Gavin and three others- a Canadian, French and German! The French girl didn’t speak as fluent in English as the rest of us so Phoenix Divers provided another member of staff on the course, Hugo, who also spoke fluent French and could translate for her.
Day one of the course consisted merely of classroom work! We watched a two hour long health and safety video about diving, got given study books, and homework questions to fill out.. All the fun stuff!!
Day two we recapped the theory with our instructor before learning to set up our equipment and then trying it out in the swimming and practicing various diving skills until everyone felt comfortable and could confidently carry out the techniques asked.
Day three was our first dive out in ocean together, we dived to a maximum depth of 12 metres and for a total time of 45minutes for the first dive, then went back on the boat for some fruit and water provided by the company while the boat took us to a different diving site and about an hour later we back in the water for dive number two (another 45 minute dive to a depth of about 15metres this time).
Day four was an early rise with our first dive commencing at 6.55am, we traveled to the other side of the island to a place called ‘shark bay’. This time we did another two dives, 40-45minites each at a depth of 18metres! We then went back to the classroom and had our final exam which consisted of 50 multiple choice questions.
In the end, everyone in the class passed the course and received their open water certification as well as a logbook to record all their dives in.
Overall, our experience with Phoenix Divers was an extremely positive one. All the instructors we dealt with at the center were extremely helpful and friendly with a very chilled, laid back attitude while still remaining professional at the same time. We would both highly recommend this dive school, for their high quality service, professional standards, excellent dive locations and overall, good value for money!