Koh Lanta, Thailand, PADI Divemaster, IDC, scuba diving Thailand

Koh Lanta – The Weather In ‘Rainy Season’

‘Rainy season’, and ‘monsoon season’ are terms often heard when people talk of visiting Koh Lanta, and other west coast of Thailand destinations, between May and September. However, these terms are a little misleading. While it is true there is more rain at this time of year than during the other months, contrary to popular beliefs, it does not rain all day, every day – far from it…

Koh Lanta, Thailand, PADI Divemaster, IDC, scuba diving Thailand
Kantiang Bay, Koh Lanta, during ‘rainy season’…

Does it rain all day, every day ?

According to weather app, yes, it does. But in reality, no, it does not.  The most common weather patterns we experience at this time of year are hot, blue-skied days, with possible heavy rain showers late afternoon/early evening. If you look at rainfall charts for this time of year, there will be a large spike in the amount of rain falling, however, this usually falls in one short, heavy downpour as the day is ending – not as a constant drizzle throughout the whole day as in northern Europe. These 30 – 60 minute downpours are quite spectacular, with a lot of rain falling in a short space of time, and they clear the air and cool things down whilst you are getting ready to venture out for dinner. And they don’t fall every evening…

Scuba diving Thailand, Koh Lanta, Weather, Rain season

The wettest months are the months when the seasons are changing – usually June & September. During these months, you are more likely to encounter the odd wet day, when it does rain through the day, but there is still plenty to do on the island at these times of year too. The months of the so-called ‘rainy season’ between these change-over times are usually as described above – short tropical downpours in the evening, and still nice and hot temperature-wise (even the rain is warm water when it does fall).

These downpours are needed too. After the very dry months of January through April, the island needs a good watering. The wells sometimes run low at the end of the driest months, and the vegetation is calling out for water. The effects of the rain are readily seen – everything quickly becomes greener and lusher, hence the locals refer to this time of year as ‘green season’. The cooling effect of the evening rain is also very welcome. The rain helps lower the humidity, and cool things down for the evening, as well as keeping the dust of dry season down to a minimum.

Is everything on the island closed ?

Another misconception about Koh Lanta is that the island shuts down for green season. This is also not quite true. There are a few businesses that will close for a few months, but many restaurants and bars are open as usual. Also hotels are open as usual, and are often great value at this time of year.

Diving-wise, Koh Lanta Marine Park is closed from May 15th, and re-opens on October 15th. However, the Phi Phi dive sites are open all year and dive trips are still running during this time period.

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Blue skies and calm seas…

Places to go, and things to do in green season…

The National Park at the southern end of Koh Lanta is open, and in all its glory after a bit of rain. It’s always a nice place to relax with its quiet and beautiful beaches, and the lighthouse is a great photo spot.

Just before the National Park the beach at Klong Jark is also very nice. And either before or after a laze on the beach, the short trek to the Klong Jark Waterfall is also spectacular at this time of year – much better than in the dry season.

Koh Lanta Rainy Season, Thailand, Beach, Blue sky, Divemaster Training, PADI IDC

Lanta Old Town is also a great place for a spot of lunch during a drive around the island. Old Town is on the eastern side of Lanta, and a good spot to see a bit of traditional Thai culture, with views over the islands in the bay towards the mainland.

Scuba diving and snorkel trips are available to Phi Phi all year round too. A short sail out across the Andaman Sea, and you can dive or snorkel at some beautiful spots, with some amazing marine life around. Turtles and sharks can be seen regularly, and if you are lucky, you might even get to see the biggest fish in the ocean – the mesmerising whale shark ! Contact Lanta Diver to see their trip schedule – scuba@lantadiver.com

Whale Shark, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

Another activity that many enjoy is to pay a visit to Lanta Animal Welfare, and to maybe even take a dog or two for a walk along the beach…

Where to stay, what to do, and where to eat ?

During green season it is very easy to find a room for your stay, and most resorts offer great value for money at this time of year. Lanta offers accommodation to suit all budgets and needs, but the prices are a little lower during these months. For accommodation, check these places:

Mook Lanta Eco Resort – beautiful boutique resort at the southern end of Long Beach. Nice rooms in a quiet garden setting, just a short walk to the beach. They do a great breakfast too – check out the Mook Muffins !

Sri Lanta – situated in Klong Nin, Sri Lanta is a nice resort with a beachfront area. Nice for a sunset cocktail…

Kaw Kwang Beach Resort – close to the main town of Saladan in the north of Koh Lanta.

Long Beach Chalet – also on Long Beach.

Lanta Riviera – found in the middle of Klong Kong area, close to the beach.

Lanta Sand – at the northern end of Long Beach, within a short distance of many beachfront restaurants.

And when you’re getting a little hungry after a tough day exploring/relaxing…

The Irish Embassy – Great pub food served in a great pub atmosphere, fantastic music, award-winning cocktails, with all your sporting needs on the multi-screens. There’s always something going on here too – Monday is quiz night, Friday is Name That Tune & Killer Pool, with live music midweek too. Situated in the Long Beach area.

May’s Kitchen – To be found close to the Irish Embassy in Long Beach. May’s Kitchen is a favourite amongst the locals. Amazing Thai food, great bbq and ribs, and good selection of western dishes too.

Sole Mare – Italian pizzeria & restaurant in Klong Dao. They have specials on Tuesdays (Pizza Party) and Thursdays (Pasta Party).

The Fat Pig – Also know by its Thai name of Moo Uan, The Fat Pig is located over the water in Saladan, looking out to Koh Lanta Noi. Good ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ breakfast, and live sports shown too.

Ni Restaurant – Small, family-run restaurant close to Relax Bay, at the southern end of Long Beach. Good Thai & western dishes, and nice prices too.

Happy Veggie – If you fancy a healthy, or vegetarian, option, The Happy Veggie is found between the southern end of Long Beach and the northern end of Klong Kong beach.

To find out more about what’s going on in green season, join the Koh Lanta Info Facebook group…

PADI IDC, Divemaster, Thailand, Koh Lanta, Koh Tao, Phuket, Phi Phi

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PADI IDC & Divemaster courses, Koh Lanta, Thailand

Teaching Tips: Regulator Recovery…

Most instructors, or PADI IDC candidates, have few worries regarding teaching the regulator recovery skill.  They have performed it many times, and most people would consider it to be one of the ‘easier’ skills to teach.  However, with the shift in teaching methodology more towards neutral buoyancy teaching, we just have to be a little careful of meeting the stated performance requirements for this skill when teaching in confined water:

PADI IDC & Divemaster Courses, Confined water teaching presentations.

To teach this skill correctly in confined water, we must ensure that the regulator has been recovered from ‘behind the shoulder‘.  With the old-style teaching, when the students were on their knees, this was quite easy to achieve with either the sweep  method or the reach method of recovery.  However, nowadays, when teaching the skill in a more horizontal position, we have to be careful that the recovery was deemed to be ‘from behind the shoulder‘.  In a horizontal ‘diving position’, the regulator will naturally fall below the shoulder, and if we just use the sweep method of recovery, our students will not meet the performance requirement.

In this horizontal position – on fin-tips or in mid-water – we must use the reach method of recovery, so that the hand reaches behind the shoulder to recover the regulator.  We can also teach the sweep method, so the students learn more and will know two different techniques for recovering their regulator, but the reach method is needed to meet the course performance requirements in confined water.

PADI IDC & Divemaster courses, Koh Lanta, Thailand

To teach this method in Confined Water Dive #1, we must first help the students attain neutral buoyancy and a horizontal position.  One way of doing this is to add little bits of air to their BCDs as you coax them into the correct breathing pattern for diving (read more about this in a previous blog – here).  Once in this horizontal/neutral state, we then continue with the skills from CW#1, including the regulator recovery skill.

During an Open Water Course, I would still teach the sweep method of recovery first, as it is perhaps a little easier.  With the confidence gained from this, we can then move on to the reach method of recovery too, and then we will meet the confined water performance requirements.  Later on in Confined Water Dive #5, we can then re-practise both methods during the mini-dive, whilst swimming around the pool neutrally buoyant.

PADI IDC & Divemaster Courses in Koh Lanta, Thailand.

When we then move to open water, our students can choose to recover the regulator by either method, as PADI Standards do not stipulate that the regulator must be recovered from behind the shoulder in open water (only in confined water).  Personally, I prefer to have the students complete this skill on Open Water Dive #1 whilst swimming along, as they did in Confined Water Dive #5.

Teaching this skill in this manner will help your students be better, more confident divers.  By employing this teaching technique, we have not only met the PADI performance requirements, but we have also taught two different recovery methods, and focused on maintaining and improving the buoyancy of our entry-level students –  make neutral buoyancy a habit, rather than a skill..

During our PADI IDCs on Koh Lanta, Thailand, we focus on neutral buoyancy teaching, and teaching our students to be good instructors, not just to pass an exam.  If you are looking to become a PADI Instructor soon, send us an email if you have any further questions about teaching neutrally buoyant skills.  Likewise, if you are already a PADI MSDT, you could join us for your PADI IDC Staff Course and also get an insight into joining the ranks of instructors who teach skills whilst neutrally buoyant…

PADI IDC, Divemaster, Thailand, Koh Lanta, Koh Tao, Phuket, Phi Phi

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The Dive Sites of Koh Lanta

The thought of visiting Thailand conjures up images of white-sand beaches, swaying palm trees, delicious food, and fantastic diving.  And the west coast of Thailand offers the best diving in the region, with regular manta ray and whale shark encounters…

Koh Lanta is situated in the middle of Thailand’s west coast – a short drive from the international airport at nearby Krabi Town.  Its warm, clear waters and stunning beaches make it a great choice as a holiday destination, and with such great diving, it’s a top diving destination in the region – arguably Thailand’s best land-based diving.

Scuba diving Thailand, Koh Lanta, Open Water, Advanced, Rescue, Divemaster IDC

Suitable for all diving levels, Koh Lanta offers a nice variety of dive sites, and has something for everyone to enjoy – shallow, colourful reefs; deep drop-offs; small critters; large pelagics; and a couple of wrecks.  Let’s have a look at the dive sites on offer:

Hin Daeng / Hin Muang

Manta Ray, Koh Lanta, Thailand, SCUBA Diving, Divemaster, PADI IDC, scuba diving

The twin-pinnacles situated to the south of Koh Lanta are perhaps the biggest draw for experienced divers.  Famed as Thailand’s best wall dive, Hin Daeng (and neighbouring Hin Muang), provide divers in the area with great chances of watching numerous manta rays circling the cleaning stations on the shallow parts of the reefs. The two dive sites take their names from the abundance of soft corals covering the rocks – ‘hin’ is the Thai word for ‘rock’, ‘daeng’ translates as ‘red’, and ‘muang’ means ‘purple’.

The two sites are just a couple of hundred metres apart, and a dive trip here usually includes one dive at each site.  Hin Muang is a submerged, elongated pinnacle, with the shallowest section just below the surface, and the sea-bed a little deeper than sixty metres.  Hin Daeng resembles an underwater mountain, again rising from around sixty metres, with its summit protruding a few metres above the surface.  The pinnacles offer oases of life in the middle of the open ocean, and can present lucky divers with some great marine life encounters, both big and small.

Marine life: whale sharks, manta rays, ornate ghost pipefish, leopard sharks, seahorses, schooling trevally and barracuda, ribbon eels, spearing mantis shrimp, and octopuses.

Koh Ha

Scuba Diving Thailand, Koh Lanta, Koh Ha, Phi Phi, Krabi, Phuket

The name of this cluster of islands translates to ‘five islands’, and they offer a number of different dive sites at one location with varying topography. Koh Ha #1 is famed for its chimney – a vertical swim-through suitable for experienced divers – that is often teeming with fishes and life.  the chimney is a nice way to end the dive as it takes you up to five or six metres – perfect to start your safety stop.

Koh Ha Lagoon Dive Site Map, Koh Lanta

In the middle of islands #2, #3, and #4 is the lagoon area (as seen in the photo above).  this is great dive site for students and experienced divers a like.  Divers can start in the middle of the lagoon, at a depth of around six metres, and then follow the sandy slopes between the islands down to a maximum of thirty metres.  The outside of the islands are covering with a rainbow of soft corals, and are home to many cool and amazing creatures.

Koh Ha Yai – the biggest island of the group – is another stunning dive with the chance for experienced divers to enter ‘the cathedral’.  A natural hollow within the island that allows divers a unique experience – surfacing inside an island !

Koh Lanta, Thailand, Harlequin Shrimp, IDC, Divemaster

Marine life: whale sharks, black-tipped reef sharks, harlequin shrimp, seahorses, turtles, ornate ghost pipefish, peacock mantis shrimp, spearing mantis shrimp, and nudibranchs.

Koh Bidas

The two Bida islands – Bida Nok & Bida Nai – are two limestone rocks jutting out of the water to the south of the Phi Phi islands.  Both sites are covered in beautiful soft corals, and are home to a myriad of varying species of marine life.  Diving at the Bidas is a great spot for shark enthusiasts, with regular sightings of leopard and black-tipped reef sharks, and also the occasional appearance by the world’s biggest fish – the whale shark.

Whale Shark, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

The Bidas are also a great place for the smaller critters.  A nice relaxed swim along the reef usually allows divers to find nudibranchs, ornate ghost pipefish, seahorses, and cuttlefish hiding beneath the sweeping school of yellow snapper that frequents the reefs.

A trip to the Bidas from Lanta usually involves the first dive at Koh Bida Nok, and the second dive at the slightly shallower Koh Bida Nai.  If you are on a three-dive trip, then the chances are you will do a third dive at the nearby Hin Bida – a submerged dive site on the way back to Koh Lanta, and a favourite resting place for the leopard sharks.

Marine life: leopard sharks, whale sharks, ghost pipefish, nudibranchs, yellow snapper, barracuda, turtles, seahorses, frogfish, black-tipped reef sharks, and bent-stick pipefish.

Kled Kaew Wreck

Wreck diving, Koh Lanta, Phi Phi, Kled Kaew, Divemaster, IDC, Thailand

The HTMS Kled Kaew is a former naval gunship in the Royal Thai Navy.  The Kled Kaew was built in 1948 for the Norwegian Royal Navy, being launched initially as the RnoMS Norfrost. Eight years later it was acquired and renamed by the Royal Thai Navy. In 2014, she was brought to her final resting place near Koh Phi Phi Ley and purposefully sank.  The wreck sits in around 26 metres of water, with the shallowest section of the wreck reaching about 14 metres.  As is so often the case with wrecks, the ex-naval launch provides shelter to many different species of marine life, and has large schools of fish circling just above the structure.

Wreck diving, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Phi Phi, PADI, Divemaster, IDC

The 47-metre long wreck is a nice easy wreck, with some occasional current at certain times.  She’ s a great wreck to dive as part of your PADI Advanced Open Water Course, or a perfect dive for Nitrox, with the reduced nitrogen levels affording a longer bottom time on the decks.

Marine life: barracuda, trevally, lionfish, scorpionfish, frogfish, nudibranchs, moray eels, batfish, and catfish.

Frogfish, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Scuba diving, IDC, Divemaster

All the above dive sites are easily accessible from Koh Lanta.  Lanta Diver offers regular trips to these sites on one of its three dive-boats.  If you would like to know more about the dive sites and the trips from Koh Lanta, please email Lanta Diver – scuba@lantadiver.com.

Photos taken by Narcosis Nick U/W Photography, Richard Reardon, and Steve Branson.

PADI IDC Thailand, Platinum Course Director Richard reardon
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PADI Divemaster Course on Koh Lanta

Always dreamed of living on a tropical island ?  Sunshine everyday ? The commute to work a stroll down the beach ?  Then maybe life as a PADI dive professional is for you…

PADI Divemaster Course, Koh Lanta, Thailand, PADI Pro, IDC

At Lanta Diver we offer PADI Divemaster training in a stunning location, with great diving, at a PADI CDC training facility.  All the professional-level PADI training is run by an experienced Platinum Course Director with a wealth of experience and knowledge to pass on.

Koh Lanta is a small, idyllic tropical island on the west coast of Thailand.  It offers divers the best land-based diving in Thailand, with regular sightings of both whale sharks and manta rays.  The smaller marine life is plentiful too – seahorses, harlequin shrimp, ghost pipefish and nudibranchs are commonly seen on all dive sites too.

Whale Shark, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

Above the surface, Koh Lanta also has a lot to offer – stunning beaches, great restaurants, and sunsets to die for.  Check out some great photos of Lanta here.

Koh Lanta, Thailand, Beach, Divemaster training, PADI IDC, best diving

The PADI Divemaster course is the gateway to a life as a professional scuba diver, and gives you a passport to great diving destinations all over our blue planet.  During the course you will learn how to guide dives and how to function as an assistant to PADI Instructors.  After qualification, you will be able to start working in the dive industry, guiding divers around dive sites, and showing them the rich marine life that Koh Lanta has to offer.

Manta Ray, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

Koh Lanta, Thailand, Harlequin Shrimp, IDC, Divemaster

If you fancy the challenge of becoming a PADI Divemaster in Koh Lanta under the watchful eye of a Platinum PADI Course Director, then send us an email for further information on how you too can live in paradise. For this season, we are also including the Manta Conservation Diver & Dive Against Debris Specialty courses ion all our Divemaster programmes !!

PADI IDC, Divemaster, Thailand, Koh Lanta, Koh Tao, Phuket, Phi Phi

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Neutrally Buoyant PADI IDC

At Go Pro In Paradise we are trying to push more and more towards neutrally buoyant skills during our PADI IDC programmes at PADI CDC Lanta Diver on Koh Lanta, Thailand. We are trying to stay off the knees, and teaching more on fin-tips or in mid-water. The dive environment is becoming ever more fragile, and we need to train the future generation of divers to be even more environmentally aware, and with even better buoyancy skills than in the past.  There is no need to spend any time on the knees during diver training – we should promote proper weighting and positioning in the water right from the first moment new divers get their heads under the water.

PADI IDC Thailand, Neutrally Buoyant, Platinum Course Director

It starts with Confined Water Dive #1 of the Open Water Course.  During our IDCs, the first time we take our IDC Candidates in the pool we conduct a CW Dive #1 workshop, and teach our candidates the importance of not over-weighting their future students, and how to get them neutrally buoyant before proceeding with the rest of the skills in CW Dive #1.  We achieve this by teaching the ‘Breathing Underwater’ skill as an introduction to the fin pivot (as described in a previous post).  All other skills in confined water can then be performed on fin-tips.

PADI IDC Thailand, Neutrally Buoyant, Platinum Course Director

We also then conduct a neutrally buoyant skill circuit, with all skills demonstrated on fin-tips – staying off the knees.

PADI IDC Thailand, Neutrally Buoyant, Platinum Course Director

PADI IDC Thailand, Neutrally Buoyant, Platinum Course Director

After this skill circuit, we then conduct a Confined Water Dive #5 workshop, where we teach our IDC candidates how to help their Open Water students to make the transition from performing skills on their fin-tips to now performing them mid-water whilst swimming around the pool neutrally buoyant.  We also highlight the importance of correct weighting and the value of practising swimming in shallow water without touching the bottom or breaking the surface – demonstrating good trim and horizontal body position.

PADI IDC Thailand, Neutrally Buoyant, Platinum Course Director

PADI IDC Thailand, Neutrally Buoyant, Platinum Course Director

PADI IDC Thailand, Neutrally Buoyant, Platinum Course Director

For the rest of the IDC, we then expect our candidates to perform all their teaching presentations in this manner.  Hopefully we can do our bit to inspire the next generation of PADI dive instructors to teach better buoyancy, trim, and environmental awareness in their future Open Water Courses…

PADI IDC Thailand, Neutrally Buoyant, Platinum Course Director

If you would like to know more about our PADI IDC programmes, please feel free to visit our website, or to send us an email

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How To Choose Your PADI IDC

Choosing where to take your PADI IDC can prove a little daunting at first – there are many places offering the PADI Instructor Development Course, so how exactly do you choose your PADI IDC ? Here’s a few things to consider and questions to ask…

PADI IDC, SCUBA Instructor Course, Dive, Diving, Go Pro

Experience

One factor to consider is how experienced is the person who will be teaching your PADI IDC. But what is experience and how is it measured ? For some people it’s just a case of asking ‘how long have you been a Course Director ?’. But really, it goes a little deeper than this. Time is a consideration, but it’s also good to know in which locations the Course Director has worked before – have they only taught in one location, or do they have experience of conducting PADI courses and skills in different locations with different water conditions and logistics ? Have they taught in cold and warm water ? Have they taught skills on wall dives, or just shallow sandy sites ? Do they have any experience teaching in strong currents ? Did they fast-track their way to Course Director, just meeting the minimum requirements, or did they spend a few years teaching in different locations ? It might also be worth checking if the Course Director will be teaching the whole course, or using less experienced IDC Staff Instructors to do the teaching, and if the Course Director advertised on the website is the same one that will be running the course.

PADI IDC Thailand, Koh Lanta, Platinum Course Director, Tao, Phi Phi, Phuket

Questions to ask:

How long has the Course Director been conducting PADI IDCs ?

When did the Course Director become a Divemaster and an Instructor ?

Does the Course Director have the ‘Platinum’ rating ?

Will the Course Director teach the whole IDC ?

Where has the Course Director worked before, both as a Course Director and as an Instructor ?

How many students has the Course Director certified – both at recreational and professional levels ? And can I see a copy of their Student Count Report ?

PADI Elite 300 Instructor, PADI IDC Thailand

Teaching Style

With the revisions to the PADI IDC programme coming later in 2019, it is more important than ever to research your potential Course Director’s style of teaching.  PADI will be putting a bigger emphasis on training whilst neutrally buoyant.  Therefore, look for a Course Director that has experience teaching skills neutrally buoyant – not on the knees.  Many Course Directors have adapted to this style of teaching already – with all skills being performed either on fin-tips or in mid-water.  Have a look at the Course Director’s or dive centre’s Facebook pages for recent photographs from their training, also read any blogs they may have posted regarding their training, and check out their YouTube channels to see if they are still suggesting demonstrating skills on the knees.

PADI IDC, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Neutral buoyant skills, fin tips, Divemaster

Another aspect to research is whether or not the IDC will be conducted using the most up-to-date and modern PADI eLearning materials.  PADI have been encouraging the use of electronic materials for a while now, yet some IDCs are still being run using the paper materials to teach from.  As a new instructor, it is important that you are familiar with, and comfortable with, these new PADI digital materials.  During the IDC you should get a chance to utilise the full range of PADI digital products – eLearning student manuals, the PADI app, PADI Library app, and the Project AWARE app – as well as a workshop on how to certify divers using the updated Online Processing Centre.

Questions to ask:

Do you teach skills on knees or whilst neutrally buoyant ?

Have you written any blogs on this subject that I can read ?

Will be be using the latest digital PADI teaching materials in class ?

PADI IDC, Divemaster, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Tao, Phuket, Phi Phi

Facilities

It’s important to know what facilities the dive centre that you are considering has. Do they have a comfortable, air-conditioned classroom ? Tropical destinations are very popular for PADI IDCs, and you want to make sure you will be comfortable in the classroom as that’s where the majority of course time is spent. You should also find out where the confined water and open water training will take place. Does the centre have a pool, and how suitable for training is it ? If, for example, the pool is too shallow it would be problematic to teach something like a hover, or 5 point descent without touching the bottom, where plenty of depth is required – a purpose built dive pool is ideal, with at least 3 metres depth. The pool should also be well-maintained – you don’t want an ear infection in the middle of your training. There should also be good equipment washing facilities, with different tanks for different pieces of equipment – washing wetsuits and regulators in the same water is not ideal. The water for rinsing equipment should be clean and changed frequently. You should look for a PADI Career Development Centre – the top rating for a training centre – with a good reputation, and ask to see their facilities.

PADI IDC Equipment Wash Area, Thailand

Questions to ask:

Do you have an air-conditioned classroom ?

How big is the classroom and how many candidates do you usually have per IDC ?

Do you have a private training pool ?

How deep is the pool ?

PADI IDC, CDC, Thailand, Phuket, Platinum CD,

Duration

Before you sign-up for an IDC, you should also make yourself aware of the time commitment required. In accordance with PADI standards, an IDC can be taught in as little as seven days. Many PADI IDC centres offer course over nine or ten days, however this usually translates to long days in the classroom – sometimes twelve hours. There is a lot of information to take in during an IDC, plus you need to prepare for the next day after finishing. It is possible to find extended, more relaxed PADI IDCs where your day will finish around 4pm – giving you plenty of time to prepare your presentations for the next day, eat a good meal and relax a little. A 12 – 14 day IDC programme is ideal – any longer and you are losing time that you could be certified and teaching your own students with. After a relaxed 12 day IDC, you arrive at the Instructor Examination feeling relaxed and confident rather than stressed and tired. These slightly longer IDC programmes typically include extra workshops (such as Confined Water Dive 1 workshops, neutral buoyancy teaching, how to teach hovering effectively) and extra presentation practice, rather than just hitting the minimum training requirements set out by PADI. Ask to have a look at the schedule…

PADI IDC Thailand, Phuket, Platinum Course Director, Workshop, Confined Water
Search & Recovery Workshop

Questions to ask:

How long is the IDC programme ?

Are there any extra workshops ?

Are any Specialty Instructor ratings included ?

Do you conduct a ‘Mock I.E.’ ?

How many teaching presentations will I deliver ?

What time does each day start and finish ?

Location

The location is perhaps the least important of these factors to consider, but it’s still something to think about. Most of an IDC is spent in the classroom, but it is nice to be able to go diving before or after the IDC to relax underwater with some mantas or sharks. It is also nice to take the course in a relatively quiet location, free from distractions – it might be best to avoid the party islands or towns.

Also, after the IDC has finished, you will need to wait a week or so for your paperwork to be processed before you can start teaching. This is the perfect time to take some Specialty Instructor Training and learn even more. If this is something you’re considering, think about which Specialties you would like to teach. If you want to become an AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty Instructor, you need to be somewhere that offers current, if you want to teach the Wreck Diver Specialty, you would need a location with a wreck. Also find out if the Course Director has written any Distinctive Specialities, or can offer any unique Specialty instructor training which will help your CV stand out when applying for jobs – such as Manta Conservation Specialty, or the new Adaptive Techniques Specialty. Some places, such as Koh Lanta, are very fortunate in that they can offer conditions and dive sites conducive for teaching most Specialties. And if you are looking to gain these extra qualifications, find out if the Course Director will be diving with you, or just asking a less experienced IDC Staff Instructor to do these dives instead.

Reef Shark Awareness Distinctive Specialty, PADI IDC, Thailand, Phuket, platinum CD
Reef Shark Awareness Distinctive Specialty

Questions to ask:

What type of area is the dive centre located in ?

Do you offer any free diving before or after the IDC ?

What is the water temperature ?

Do you have wrecks ?

Which Specialty Instructor ratings can I do with your Course Director ?

If I take Specialty Instructor ratings, will the Course Director be in the water with us ?

PADI IDC, Dive Against Debris, Specialty Instructor, Divemaster, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Ko Tao

If you need any further help deciding where to make the step up from PADI Divemaster to PADI Instructor, or IDC Staff Instructor, please feel free to email and ask…

If you are looking to complete a PADI IDC soon, then also check out our blog post ‘How To Prepare For Your PADI IDC‘…

We also offer career programmes so you can keep progressing after the IDC with IDC Staff Instructor Courses, Master Instructor Prep programmes, and even an internship designed to prepare you to attend the CDTC and become a PADI Course Director !

PADI IDC, Divemaster, Thailand, Koh Lanta, Koh Tao, Phuket, Phi Phi

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The Beauty Of Koh Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi, in the Krabi region of Thailand, is a stunningly beautiful island – both above and below the surface.  There’s no coincidence that travellers and Hollywood directors with film crews alike have chosen to spend time basking in its sun-drenched glory.  Whilst in this tropical location, there are many activities to engage in to pass the time.  Of course SCUBA diving is one, but not the only one…

PADI IDC Thailand, Koh Phi Phi
Ton Sai Bay, Koh Phi Phi

 

Koh Phi Phi boasts great accessibility to its local dive sites, all year round.  With the dive sites so close, it’s also ideal for people who like to do half-day trips (two dives) and still have the rest of the day free to enjoy the other delights that Phi Phi can offer – including hitting the beach, rock-climbing, and walking to the view points for stunning vistas of Koh Phi Phi Don’s twin bays.

PADI IDC Thailand, Koh Phi Phi
The reward for walking up to the viewpoint…

 

The local dive sites offer spectacular underwater scenery too.  My favourites, The Bidas (Bida Nok and Bida Nai), are two small islands just off the end of Koh Phi Phi Ley.  Both are stunning sites.  The coral is stunning – a rainbow of soft corals, large intact sea fans and great hard coral cover too.  The beauty of these sites is that they are great for all levels of training, from Discover Scuba Diving students, Open Water students, and also more advanced training (I often conduct IDC training out there) and are also awesome for certified ‘fun divers’ too.

PADI IDC Thailand
PADI IDC action from Bida Nok, Koh Phi Phi…

 

Bida Nok has a nice bay at one end which offers good protected, sandy areas for conducting DSDs and skills for Open Water courses.  If you follow the reef that extends from this bay you can easily reach 30m too.  Coming out from the bay, one side of the island is also more sheltered and shallower than the other, and is ideal for less experienced divers, while the more experienced can check out the delights of the deeper water on the opposite side.

PADI IDC Thailand, Koh Phi Phi
A leopard shark at Koh Phi Phi, Thailand…

 

All the local sites offer varied marine life too.  Turtles (mainly hawksbill, but also green) are very common.  Also very common are the leopard sharks (or zebra sharks depending on your preferred common name), and black-tipped reef sharks too.  We get many of the usual suspects in and around the reef (moray eels, octopus, cuttlefish, scorpionfish, Kuhl’s stingrays in the sand etc), but are also very lucky to have seahorses as a relatively common sight.  We can also spot harlequin shrimp and frogfish from time to time.  Not something that I’d lead people to expect, but when lucky we can also see passing whale sharks on the reefs too.

IDC Thailand Koh Phi Phi Harlequin Shrimp
The beautiful Harlequin Shrimp (courtesy of Neutral Buoyancy images)

 

We are also lucky to have large schools of yellow snapper, barracuda and fusiliers dancing around the reefs, often being hunted by jacks…

The diving on Phi Phi offers relatively easy and gentle conditions.  Currents are mild, visibility averages 20m, and the water temperature hovers close to 30ºC year round.  The best time of year to visit is from October through to May, but the weather is fine year round – maybe evening showers more during the rest of the year.  With the 30ºC water temperature, many people opt to dive with just a rashtop and board shorts.  Phi Phi Barakuda offer 3mm shorties as standard, but we also have longer suits available for people who feel the cold more.

When not diving, there is also plenty to do to keep the visitor occupied.  Thai food is awesome and there are plenty of restaurants to try.  There are also walks to the viewpoints to overlook the bays (very nice for sunset/sunrise).  Traditional Thai massages are readily available too.  The beaches are also stunning and a great place to spend an afternoon after two morning dives.  Phi Phi is also a good place for rock-climbing.

Also another water activity is to snorkel with black-tipped reef sharks on Long Beach.  This is best early in the morning, but possible throughout the day.

PADI IDC Thailand, Koh Phi Phi
Black-tipped reef shark cruising its reef… (photo courtesy of Neutral Buoyancy Images)

 

There are also many boat/snorkelling trips on offer, including the famous Maya Bay, where Leonardo DiCaprio and friends filmed the movie ‘The Beach’.  Maya Bay is also where we often eat our lunch during surface intervals on our dive trips.

Koh Phi Phi is relatively easy to get to.  There are many options to suit all budgets.  From Bangkok you can either fly to Krabi or Phuket airports or you can take overnight buses down too.  From Krabi or Phuket you then jump on the ferry across to Phi Phi Don.

PADI IDC Thailand, Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, Phuket
Map of the region.

 

Phi Phi locals are very friendly and welcoming to all foreign visitors.  Visitors should be aware of local traditions/customs on Phi Phi as much as anywhere else in Thailand.  Thai New Year (Songkran) is an especially good time to visit, as basically the day (April 13th) involves a huge water-fight and is a great experience.

So, what are you waiting for ?  Book your flight now and come see for yourself the myriad of pleasures that await you on Koh Phi Phi…

PADI IDC Thailand
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