So you’re ready to explore the expansive underwater playground that SE Asia has to offer? Check out these tips for learning to dive in Southeast Asia to ensure you find the right school and get the most out of your diving experience:
- When considering where to learn to dive, check the weather.
The weather varies considerably throughout SE Asia and certain dive areas may be closed for a few months during the monsoon season.
- Some great places to learn to dive in SE Asia are Ko Tao, Phuket, Bali and The Gili Islands but while you’re learning, somewhere with calm water and decent instructors are your main priorities and virtually all dive centres offer PADI courses.
- Become a confident snorkeler.
If you are nervous about diving, spend a day snorkelling. Once you are confident swimming with fins, swimming in currents, diving below the surface and clearing you mask of seawater and fog, learning to dive is an easier and calmer experience.
Look at this beautiful Pufferfish in the video below taken in the Japanese shipwreck in Amed
Amed | Bali | Indonesia
- Before paying for your course, take a Discover Diving introduction course.
Diving isn’t for everyone so this short experience will allow you to make up your mind before committing to an expensive course.
- When choosing your school, find the right balance between popular and overcrowded.
Legally, 8 is the maximum number of students in an Open Water PADI course but the fewer the better, particularly if you are a nervous diver. Too few would leave me dubious about the quality and reputation of a company but you will generally know if you feel comfortable with a dive instructor as soon as you meet them. So shop around, talk to the instructors and fellow divers in the area.
- Don’t choose a school based on price.
Prices rarely fluctuate dramatically as dive shops usually agree on a standard price. Beware if one school is considerably cheaper than another.
- Ensure you are comfortable with your equipment.
Most equipment comes in a wide variety of sizes and some dive shops even have different brands available, so don’t be afraid to swap and change until you find the right fit as it makes your diving experience more enjoyable.
- Learn at your own pace.
All instructors are remarkably calm and patient and will encourage you to go as slow as you need to. You need to feel confident and comfortable before you move onto the next step.
- You need to be relatively fit and healthy to dive.
If you are concerned about your health, arrange for a dive medical with a doctor. This is also necessary for anyone planning on taking their diving qualifications further than Open Water such as an Advanced PADI course.
Don’t drink too much the night before you dive. It’s common to go for drinks with your new dive buddies after a dive but there’s nothing worse than diving with a hangover so stay away from the whiskey buckets!
This post was adapted from a post by Monica Stott. Please view the full article here or follow her on twitter: @TotalTravelBug.