That sigh of relief once your Instructor shakes your hand after the last dive… A huge spreading grin that becomes contagious on the boat… A successful student is always a day to celebrate! We congratulate you on your new certification!! Whether it be Scuba Diver or Open Water Diver, welcome to the underwater world! Now, I bet you are stuck thinking, where am i going to dive next!??
Which dive sites are appropriate for beginner divers?
Once you’re certified, you always tend to start taking diving spots into consideration when booking your next holiday. Sometimes as a beginner, you might not know which sites are appropriate for your experience and comfort.
The best way to get the information you need is ask. Never be afraid of asking a dive center the questions necessary to put your mind at ease. Quite frankly, choosing a dive spot as a beginner, it all comes down to how comfortable you are in the water and when your last dive was.
Reef dives are always a good choice for divers fresh out of their Scuba Diving or PADI Open Water Courses. Also for people who have not dived in a long time (for this we would always recommend a Padi Re-Activate course which goes over the same basic skills you would have learnt in your Open Water Course originally.)
Sometimes you have the chance to start off from a beach or if not, shallow water, which eases you into your depth, and from there you can swim and observe the gorgeous reefs around you. In Koh Tao, for example, the reefs tend to lie around the island itself, leaving the swimming side to sand, so if you’re still trying to perfect your buoyancy, these are great sites to start from.
You are also welcome at a lot of sites deeper than 18m around the world (some sites will not take anyone who is not an Advanced Open Water diver or some places require proof of “x” amount of dives) so this is why it is always good to ask a center before booking with them. Just because the site goes below your current depth limit, does not always mean you cannot dive there.
Popular Dive Spots in Thailand – Chumphon Pinnacle, Hin Wong Pinnacle, and Sail Rock
For instance, here on the East side of Thailand we regularly take Open Water divers out to Chumphon Pinnacle, Hin Wong Pinnacle and Sail Rock. 3 dive sites that have the capability of going all the way down to 30m!! Wowza. However, here in Thailand it is mandatory for you to have a dive guide with you at all times.
If you drop below them at any point they will be getting your attention and signaling you to come up to their level. Or better yet buy your own Dive Computer… especially if you are going to be diving at sites without a Divemaster or Instructor in your group (outside of Thailand), this is a must so you can keep track of your No Decompression Limit and Depth when diving.
As a beginner, it’s crucial to stay within your dive limits.
As much as we try to become fish, we are all human, and it is very easy to duck below the 12m or 18m mark, but from your initial training, every dive you do after that reigns in the importance of staying within your limits. As a certified diver, whether you a fresh out of your course or have a couple of fun dives under your belt, it is your responsibility as a diver to ensure you are staying within your dive limits.
Should you try deeper dive spots?
The deeper sites are nothing to fear though! Stay at the same level or above your dive guide, or with your own computer monitor your depth and No decompression limit… simple!!
The advantage of going to the deeper sites, there is usually a lot more life around them. Big pinnacles under the water tend to attract big schools of fish and bigger fish than around the beautiful coral reefs. Also if you’re a big fish hunter and looking to get lucky and catch a glimpse of something like the Whale Shark, the deeper sites are going to be the luckier ones.
Wherever you go in the world, there is 100% a dive site that will be good for you. Whether you are planning before you go on holiday, or making a spontaneous decision whilst already here, going and talking to a local dive center in Thailand can help you immensely with finding out which sites are better for you.
The more you dive, the more you know
You are the one who knows best when it comes to you, never let anyone push you into doing a dive you don’t feel comfortable with. But sometimes we need to be taken out of our comfort zone to understand our own level.
It also depends on the conditions you trained in, if you learnt in water that has consistent 40m visibility and no current, and then go on holiday and go diving at a site with 5m visibility and a mild current, you might get very anxious as a beginner diver. Completely understandable! All experience is relative when it comes to diving. One thing we can absolutely promise is, the more you dive, the more you know, the more comfortable you feel every time.
Diving in the Gulf of Thailand (East Coast)
Here in the Gulf of Thailand (East coast) it is mandatory to have a dive guide with you at all times. Thailand and Koh Tao is famous for creating and inspiring thousands of beginner divers from all across the globe. One of the most popular diving destinations, and for a great reason! Ample reef sites to dive from ranging from 2m-18m. Deeper pinnacles and Open Water dive sites, Koh Tao has it all!
So if you are looking at coming over for a holiday and wanting to do a dive, you mau contact us via any one of our accessible avenues (email, trip advisor, zendesk, wechat, line, phone) and our staff are more than happy to talk to you and get to know you as a diver, to find out the best options for you.
The Best Dive Spots for Beginner Divers
Our top picks from around the area for beginner divers would be the ff.:
- Mango Bay
- Aow Leuk
- Hin Ngam
- Shark Island
- Green Rock
- Hin Wong Bay
- Twin Rocks
- Chumphon Pinnacle
- Sail Rock
(RELATED: The Best Places to Scuba Dive in Thailand)
All absolutely compatible for Open Water Divers (Scuba divers to 12m max, can go to any of these sites also, however Chumphon Pinnacle is not accessible for Scuba Diver certifications.)
As you can see there is quite a few to choose from already, and there are plenty more where that came from!!
Now if you start getting even more adventurous and can’t help yourself from looking down and wondering what else is there…. it is time for your Advanced Open Water course. This allows you a depth limit to 30m, and can be done straight after your Open Water course. This certification also can allow you access to other parts of diving, like Wrecks for example. A lot of people are interested in Wrecks, but not a lot of them are accessible from Open Water limits. And you are not permitted to penetrate a wreck without your Wreck Speciality certification. So keep this in mind if you hear of some cool wrecks around the area, they may or may not be within your diving limits. Just more reasons to practice and hone those abilities to move up the Padi ladder!!
A Local Dive Instructor can help you find a dive spot suitable for your expertise.
So never fear, Discovery Dive Center is here!! We can help you to plan your fun dives and we will only ever put you in a maximum group of 4, with a dedicated Divemaster or Instructor guiding you. We also do our best to keep experience levels the same, so you should be in a group with divers of a similar experience level to you.
Padi is “The Way The World Learns To Dive” and anywhere you go in the world, there are appropriate sites for you. It just takes a bit of contact with a dive center and a conversation to find out where in the area is going to be the best choices for you.
The best way to know, is to dive! But always remember to keep an eye on that air gauge, and a beady eye on your dive computer. We can easily lose ourselves underwater at new sites, and it can become a bit of a dream like state underwater, but remember where you are and every minute have a quick check! We are not having fun, if we are not being safe!
We look forward to seeing you underwater in your new certified adventures soon…. just think…. NO MORE SKILLS!!!
SEA YOU SOON!