Almost everything you could ever need to know about joining a diving internship with us!
You don’t need to be an Olympic athlete to join the program! Normal decent health is fine.
The situation is that when you arrive we will complete some paperwork, part of which is a medical questionnaire which highlights if you have any conditions which might not be suitable for diving.
So long as nothing shows up on the questionnaire we’re fine to go diving. You can see a copy of the form on: https://www.padi.com/documents/padi-courses/2.1.5%20rstc%20medstate%20v201.pdf
If you do answer yes to any of the conditions, you will need to get a checkup to make sure it’s safe for you to dive.
You are welcome to use whatever of our shop rental gear you need – no extra cost.
But if you have some spare cash it’s worth investing in some or all of your own scuba gear; owning your own equipment is more comfortable and familiar.
We can sort you out; We buy a lot of dive gear for both shop rental use and for customers, so have a good working relationship with the main distributors in Thailand, covering all major brands (Scubapro, Mares, Aqualung, TUSA, Suunto etc). We get good savings vs normal retail rates which we can pass on to you. Once you are on Koh Tao we’re happy to talk you through all the popular models of dive gear available, and help you choose a set which is perfect for you. As a rough guide, you’re looking at 45,000 baht and upwards for a full set of professional quality dive gear.
Or another option is to pickup just a few of the smaller inexpensive items which make diving easier and more comfortable; for example, mask, decent fins, compass, safety marker buoy, timing device (or better dive computer), and dive knife are all small and easy to carry, but owning your own is much better.
Yes – the internet access is fine here nowadays.
You have access to free WiFi both at your accommodation and at the dive school.
Most restaurants also provide free WiFi.
Plus it’s possible to connect through the mobile phone network inexpensively.
Internet speeds are usually plenty fast enough for day to day stuff; watching youtube, catching up on emails, making people jealous on Facebook etc 😉
Yes – there are several networks with good reception across Koh Tao. Notably AIS, DTAC and True.
It’s worth bringing your mobile along. You can pickup a pay as you go local Sim Card, which will save you a lot of money.
Everything you want is available. From laid back sunset beach lounges, to crazy late night parties, there’s something going on all the time.
Currently, if you fly into Thailand without arranging a visa, most nationalities will be issued a 30 day visa on arrival. This can be extended with a hop to the border, but depending on how long you are planning on staying, likely it is more convenient to obtain a longer visa prior to entering Thailand.
You need to apply at your nearest Thai consulate / embassy. Their staff will be able to advise on the correct visa for you.
Most common is a tourist visa which is easy to obtain. Once here these are easy to extend at a local immigration office.
When applying for the visa, in the unlikely event any supporting paperwork is requested just let us know – we can supply whatever supporting documents you need.
Living expenses for food and drinks are very cheap here – Thai food is about 50-80 baht for a meal, western food 100 baht upwards. A 1.5L bottle of mineral water costs about 20 baht, a small beer 50 baht. I tend to average about 500 baht per day – obviously that figure can rise if you go out partying a lot! Some people live on a lot less. And it is clearly a good idea to factor in a reserve.
How long prior to traveling should I sort the visa?
Thai consulates are usually quick to issue visas, typically within a day or two. But it wouldn’t be wise to leave it till the last minute. A few weeks prior to your planned internship start date would be sensible.
Most convenient is that there are many ATMs nearby which accept all major bank cards. That’s easiest.
It’s likely you’ll incur some charge, but it’s comparable to other options such as exchanging foreign currency. Plus often on the ATMs it’s a per transaction charge rather than percentage. So, provided you withdraw a few days worth of cash rather than lots of mini transactions, it works ok.
There are also some banks and money exchange places nearby if you wish to exchange foreign currency or travelers cheques.
As I’m sure you can imagine there are a lot of costs involved in running your training, hence we have to charge to cover those costs. (PADI Materials, instructor wages, dive gear, tank fills, compressor maintenance, boat crew, fuel, taxis, boat maintenance, shop rent etc). Unfortunately we’re not able to offer any course fees vs work type scheme.
But certainly once you qualify as a DM or instructor, you could put your new rating to use as a means of recouping your training costs.
Koh Tao’s sheltered position in the Gulf of Thailand means we generally have good weather and calm seas throughout the year. The exception is November when we usually get our monsoon season, which means a couple of weeks of strong winds and heavy rain. We’re still able to dive each day on the sheltered leeward side of the island where conditions are best, but obviously it isn’t as great as the rest of the year, so if you have a choice, I’d avoid November.
But any other time is fine.
You should obtain travel insurance prior to traveling.
Whilst it’s unlikely that you’ll suffer injury or illness whilst here, it’s prudent to be covered.
Health-care in international hospitals in Thailand is excellent, but can become costly for major cases.
So for the small expense, it’s worth taking out travel insurance so you have the peace of mind.
Simple Life Divers has a policy with a local company called SSS Hyperbaric Services of Thailand.
In the unlikely event that you injure yourself whilst diving and can be ‘fixed’ on Koh Tao, there is no charge.
For serious injuries requiring treatment in a re-compression chamber (extremely unlikely – hasn’t happened here at Simple Life), you’ll be evacuated to an international hospital setting on Samui.
For this a percentage of the costs will be covered, however you’d be liable to meet part of the payment (the cost of which could potentially be considerable).
There are many personal policies which can give you additional cover and peace of mind.
Many regular travel insurance policies (discussed above) give cover for adventure-sports activities including scuba diving.
Or there are inexpensive diving specific policies. Two of the most popular are:
Sure! The Full Moon Party takes place each month on Koh Phangan just a short ferry ride away, and is a major tourist attraction.
Whilst so close, it’s well worth taking a little time and to go and see the mayhem first hand! There’s usually a group of people headed from Simple Life Divers to the Full Moon Party.
Here comes a long answer 😉
The internship structure is very flexible.
All the dive training you’ll be working through comprises a mix of scuba diving theory, shallow water work developing new skills and of course getting out on the boat diving. Throughout your internship we’ll keep you steadily working through each, making sure that each day is exciting and enjoyable, and you’re progressing through your dive internship.
For diving schedules, we’re lucky enough to have two great dive boats so can run three trips daily. In the mornings we depart at about 7 a.m. visiting two different dive sites and returning at about midday (in time for lunch!). We run a later 10am trip visiting three dive sites, then in the afternoon, we head out again at about 12:30, again making two dives and returning early evening. Night dives also run several times per week.
Dive sites are scheduled so that we rotate around all the best spots around Koh Tao, so there’s a lot of variety. Most likely two of the dives each day will visit shallow easy dive sites, (suitable for new and inexperienced divers), then the other half day session will visit deeper, more challenging dive sites, (perfect for advanced divers and higher level PADI training), and the three dive trip covers a mix.
You could make in excess of thirty dives per week! However we don’t recommend that – firstly you’d become very tired, and secondly (& most importantly), the cumulative buildup of dives would mean you’d only be able to make very short bottom times in order to stay within safe limits (something we’ll teach you about). Much better is to maintain a more sensible diving average and enjoy them instead! For these reasons, normally you’ll be sticking to 2-3 dives per day average. As mentioned, the internship includes unlimited diving, so if you want to take a break between training, you’re still welcome to head out on the boat and enjoy some ‘fun dives’ (non-training dives). This is actually one of the best ways of developing your navigation skills and learning the dive sites.
When you’re not out on the boat diving, we’ll be working through the other components of your PADI courses. This will include scuba diving theory and learning new skills in shallow water.
Throughout the week we run a range of workshops and shallow water training sessions which you can choose to attend. This is a good system as it’s very flexible; you’re able to control your own schedule and proceed at your own pace, moving through bits you find easy more quickly, or giving extra attention to other areas.
And you’re welcome to take days out whenever you want, to relax and check out the other attractions of the island and region – all that we ask is that you let us know, rather than simply not turning up to a scheduled activity due to an impromptu late night out or whatever.
So in summary, the internship structure is extremely flexible. You’re able to proceed at your own pace, rack up lots of dives and experience, with the freedom to take a day out whenever you want.
Usually we have about 10-20 long term trainees, spread amongst the various programs which we offer and each at different levels of progress.
This is just about ideal for a dive shop of our size; there’s a fun social atmosphere with lots going on, whilst we’re able to stick to running all training activities in very small group to ensure everyone gets plenty attention, receives quality instruction and qualifies as a competent dive professional.
Add to that our crew of Divemasters, Instructors and support staff, plus day to day customers taking dive courses and tours, and you can imagine it’s a lot of fun to be involved in.
Pack light – you don’t need much here!
Beachwear, flip flops, sun glasses, sun lotion etc. Swimwear to wear under the dive gear.
As mentioned above, it’s worth bringing your mobile so you can pickup a local sim card and get cheap calls.
Likewise if you have a laptop it’s worth bringing. Many PADI course materials are available in digital version, so you can save having to carry a bunch of books around.
For working once you qualify, there are no guarantees as obviously it depends on you. However I’d add that provided you apply yourself during training, have the right kind of personality and are able to get on well with people and work as part of a team you shouldn’t find it hard. Koh Tao is a very busy dive destination so opportunities come up on an almost daily basis, and we have a good working relationship with dive shop owners and managers across the island so can help point you in the right direction. And obviously we like to keep our best graduates here at Simple Life. I’d also add that of our past trainees, those that have chosen to stick around after their internship have all been successful.
Yes – we can put together a customized package for you. Get in touch and let us know your situation, and we’ll be able to send you all the details.
We’re confident that we’ll be able to get you through. All training proceeds in gradual steps, where our team of instructors will make sure you are comfortable and competent before proceeding. It’s a lot of fun.
But in the unlikely event you can’t finish (say due to events back home or illness), we’ll only charge you for the bits of the package you’ve completed. And you can always return at a later date to complete the remainder if you want.
Sarah O-L, London, UK
Amazing… I truly miss being on Koh Tao. I have printed my favorite pictures and blue tacked them up.
Lisa & Ash, ZW & UK
made more friends in that short time on the island and had more fun than we have in 3 years in the UK rat race.
Barny Thorsby, UK
the loosest place ive ever lived, koh tao is your ticket to a new world. Just take the plunge