Scuba diving in Thailand takes place both off the east coast in the Gulf of Thailand and off the west coast in the Andaman Sea. While the Andaman Sea is considered the best diving in the country, it is generally more expensive than the east cost and in our opinion is a better place to dive recreationally, or to work after you’ve become a professional. For your divemaster internship and IDC I recommend the east coast, specifically Koh Tao.
Diving in Thailand is split into two seasons, one for each coast. October to April is the best time for diving in the Andaman Sea on the west coast, the water is at it’s clearest and the average surface temperature is 28 degrees Celsius (82.4 Fahrenheit). Plus between March and April giant manta rays come to the Similan Islands, making it a prime dive spot. During May to September the west coast experiences heavy rainfall and one is better off diving in the Gulf of Thailand, with the best diving being around Koh Tao.
Two of my favourite spots to dive in the Gulf of Thailand are Chumpon Pinnacle, located 11km off of Koh Tao and Sail Rock, which is situated between Koh Tao and Koh Pha Ngan.
Whale Shark at Chumpon Pinnacle
Chumpon Pinnacle is one of Koh Tao’s best dive sites and is suited for advanced open water divers and up with the depth of site ranging from 14 – 35m. It consists of a large main pinnacle that is surrounded by several smaller ones. These pinnacles have multiple plateaus that are blanketed with branch corals, barrel whips and sea sponges, they are also frequented by schools of chevron barracuda. Chumpon Pinnacle is also the best dive site to spot whale sharks in the Gulf of Thailand (with the best months being March, April, May, September and October).
Sail Rock from the dive boat
Sail Rock is at first unassuming, but once you enter the water you’re quickly surrounded by chevron barracuda, schools of trevally, jacks and mackerel. There’s also the possibility of encountering whale sharks depending on the season and manta rays. One of Sail Rock’s most famous features is its natural chimney that you can enter at 6m and drop down through it to exit at 18m!
After you complete your PADI Divemaster Internship there are many opportunities for what you can do next. The first option for many new PADI Divemasters is to work at the place you trained at, or another shop/resort in the region, this work includes:
- Leading underwater tours of certified divers
- Conducting PADI Scuba Reviews
- Assist PADI Instructors during the training sections for any PADI Diver course.
You can also pursue further training to specialize as a:
- PADI Discover Scuba Diving Leader
- PADI Digital Underwater Photography Instructor
On top of these opportunities you also have the possibility of becoming a certified PADI Open Water Instructor, so that you can teach courses of your own. This requires that you have had your PADI Open Water certification for at least 6 months and that you’ve finished the PADI Divemaster Course. With so many opportunities out their for Divemasters and Scuba Diving Professionals now is the time to find your Scuba Internship in Thailand and begin the training to become a pro!
In our experience choosing a smaller dive shop that has an IDC Staff Instructor for your AIC can be beneficial, because you will be in a smaller group of students and receive more specialized attention from your instructor, thereby making you better prepared for the following parts of the IDC. Your dive shop should also handle all the arrangements for you to take the OWSI and IE sections of the course at a nearby instructor development center. It’s also worth noting that if you are interested in working at a specific shop after you complete your IDC, then it would be beneficial to do as much of your IDC through them as you can. This will let you establish a relationship with the instructors and management of the dive shop, thereby getting your foot in the door for future employment opportunities.
An important thing to look at when deciding when and where to do your IDC is when the IE will be offered in that location. In some places in Thailand such as Khao Lak or Koh Chang the IE is only conduced twice a year, whereas on Phuket and Koh Tao it’s conducted once a month. For up to date information on when IE’s will be held in Thailand please check the PADI IE Schedule.
One of the primary selling features about life as a scuba professional in Thailand is the low cost of living. For less than 30,000 baht ($1000 US) a month you can enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle that includes: accommodation with A/C, your own scooter/motorbike, majority of meals eaten out at local restaurants and a drink or two after a day of work. This is one of the main reasons of why we consider Thailand to be one of the best places to do your divemaster internship; you just can’t go wrong for the price.
Monthly Breakdown, Cost of Living Koh Tao
To provide an example here is the monthly breakdown of my monthly costs when I was living on Koh Tao.
- Rent for a very nice one-room apartment with A/C, hot water, a small balcony, weekly maid service, TV, a mini-fridge and Wi-Fi. 10,500 baht
- Food, with all meals eaten out at local restaurants and street carts. I also would eat on average on more expensive western meal a week. 7,000 baht
- Drinking, casual drinks most days after work with one or two nights of partying a week. 6,000 baht
- Miscellaneous expenses, Advil, Band-Aids, shampoo, soap, etc. 800 baht
This gives me a monthly living cost of 24,300 baht ($810 US a month). Now this would be the monthly cost if you were living alone. I was there with a friend so we actually split the monthly rental cost, making my monthly cost actually 19,050 baht.
If you wanted to rent your own scooter youre looking at 200 a day, 1000 a week, or 3000 baht a month. You also have to factor in the cost of gas, which is around 50 baht a liter, although scooters use very little fuel (so this will only be around 300 baht a month).
Thailand, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, is a great place to learn the skills you’ll need. It has some of the best dive sites around the globe, with over 2000km (1250 miles) of coastline, hundreds of coastal islands (both inhabited and uninhabited) and 22 established marine parks. Add onto this the low cost of living, amazing food, crazy parties and friendly locals; whats not to love? Thailand is the place to do your scuba internship and begin your career as a scuba professional!
Why Scuba Diving?
Imagine how different your life would be as a divemaster or scuba instructor, working in Thailand. Being a scuba professional means a career doing something you love. No more sitting in a cubicle hunched over a keyboard, counting down the minutes until 5pm. Instead your days consist of: teaching, leading dives, helping customers select the best dive gear and most of all, sharing your passion and love of diving with others. Plus you get to earn a decent income, while living in a place where most people only get to go to on vacation!
This dream can easily be made a reality and we want to help you do it! With plenty of divemaster and scuba instructor jobs across Thailand, now is the time to do an internship. So please, browse our site and make use of our research. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.