Category: To Dos

What to Bring to the Islands in Thailand

A majority of the best diving in Thailand is found on the islands in the Andaman Sea and in the Gulf of Thailand. While islands like Phuket and Koh Samui are highly developed others like Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi and Koh Tao are not.

This means that certain things that you can usually find on the mainland at a decent prize are expensive, and or difficult to find while on these smaller islands. There’s also the issue of shortages due to increased seasonal demand and weather that can affect shipments from the mainland. So the question is, what to bring to the islands in Thailand?

Paradise, if you’re prepared

Paradise, if you're prepared

Here is a list of things that I found I needed while doing my divemaster internship on Koh Tao and that were hard to find, and or much more expensive than they would’ve been on the mainland:

1. Sunscreen – Stores on the islands know that they have you in a tight spot when you need sunscreen. Without it your afternoon on the dive boat is going to result in a hilarious wetsuit tan at best, or a crippling sunburn at worst. This results in the price of sunscreen being greater than at stores back on the mainland, with a bottle costing anywhere from 300-900 baht ($10-$30). This also applies to toiletries and bug spray where you can expect a 200-500% markup from the mainland prices.

2. LED Flashlight – Power outages are not uncommon on the smaller islands where one small facility will provide electricity to the island. These facilities are not always of the highest quality and frequently have to be repaired. There are also long stretches of road with no light, making it useful to have a flashlight on you when you are stumbling home after a late night at the bars… I recommend the MagLite LED Flashlight.

3. Backup Cash – There was on week on Koh Tao while I was there where majority of the ATM’s on the island, specifically around the tourist area of Sairee ran out of cash. Back home you could just use your credit card, but there are very few places on these islands other than the dive shops, dive stores and high-end resorts/restaurants that accept them. Even if they do, you can count on there being a processing fee of 3-6% tacked onto the purchase price. When you’re living on a backpacker’s budget eating at small local restaurants and street carts and you don’t have cash, you’re not eating. This is why it’s important that you keep a stash of cash at your place that is enough to buy food with for a few days.

With a little preparation and forethought your stay on the smaller islands can be a great and cheap time. Just remember your sunscreen, a flashlight and your backup cash.

The Experience

The Experience

PADI professional ladderThe first rung of the  is the PADI Divemaster. This course is done through a divemaster internship at a certified PADI dive shop or resort. To enroll in the divemaster program you must already have your PADI Rescue Diver and have logged at least 40 dives. If you do not meet these requirements, don’t worry, as many shops offer packages that will include the necessary pre-requisites courses, along with unlimited diving so that you can get the required 40 dives. You should have your own scuba gear to use (many packages include basic gear), however many shops will let you use their rental equipment when it’s available. We recommend either buying a package before hand such as Cressi Start Scuba Diving, Dive Gear Package, or buying a divemaster package that includes gear with it.

The divemaster internship itself is a ton of fun and will be an experience that you wont forget; we know we haven’t forgotten ours! Not only will you be doing something you love everyday, you will also be learning new skills that you can then practice during your free time when you get to go diving with the other divemasters in training (DMT’s). This group of DMT’s will consist of guys and girls from all over the world who share your love of diving; not only will they be your colleagues during your internship, they will also become some of your closest friends.

While you have the option to dive on both morning and afternoon boats (plus the odd night boat), you generally will only do one boat a day and/or a training exercise with your PADI Instructor. This is great because it keeps you busy during the day but leaves you the evening and night to enjoy the Thailand Scuba Lifestyle.

Getting Started

Getting Started

The first step to become a scuba diving professional is taking the PADI Divemaster course. This is accomplished through a divemaster internship, which will provide you with training both in and out of the water, you’ll learn: the business of operating a dive shop, how to lead divers on guided underwater tours, how to assist instructors with their courses (from open water up to rescue dive), how to teach a refresher course, how to properly maintain and care for scuba diving equipment and many other in-water skills. The Instructor Development Course (IDC) can then follow this where you will receive the training to become a certified PADI Open Water Instructor.

Welcome to Scuba Internships Thailand, our goal is to provide you with relevant information that will help you find an internship at a dive shop in Thailand. This is the first step towards becoming a scuba professional and realizing your dreams of turning a passion into a career.