Budgeting for your Koh Tao Scuba Diving Internship
Thailand is inexpensive, so joining a diving internship in Koh Tao is great value for money.
Our PADI scuba internship programs include absolutely everything which you need for your dive training (courses, fees, equipment, accommodation, etc.) , but there are a few other things you need to budget for. Here's the breakdown:
Flights: After your dive internship fee the next biggest expense is sorting out your flight to Thailand. It's worth shopping around on the internet as you can find some great deals and make big savings. If you're flying from Europe it's worth checking out many of the Middle East's airlines [Etihad, Royal Brunei, Qatar Air etc] - these often have some of the best prices. If flying from the US or Canada, have a look at Taiwanese Eva Air, and Jet Airways.
You should book your flight to Bangkok's main international airport [Suvarnabhumi], from which it's easy to transfer to Koh Tao [see our 'Getting to Koh Tao' page]
Visa: If you enter Thailand without arranging a visa, most likely you'll be granted a 30 day tourist visa. Since all our Koh Tao scuba diving internships are 2 months or longer, you'll need to sort out a proper visa before you come.
The good news is, organising a visa for Thailand is cheap and easy. Even the most expensive 1 year visas are only around 100 pounds, and can normally be arranged by postal application. For more advice on sorting out a visa for your diving internship, see our 'Visas page'.
Daily Living Expenses: Since almost everything you need is covered in your Thailand gap year dive internship package, the only additional daily living expenses you need to budget for are food and drinks.
Thailand is very inexpensive and here on Koh Tao we're spoilt for choice. Tasty Thai food, Mexican, Italian, BBQ Grills, Japanese, Indian and more - whatever you're after you can find it here on the island and at great prices.
Thai food costs 50 - 80 baht for a decent meal, Western cuisine usually 100 baht upwards. A 1.5L bottle of mineral water is about 20 baht, and a small beer about 50 baht. Most people average 400 - 500 baht per day which is a little over 10 USD (some people live on a lot less). Obviously if you go out partying and drinking a often, you'll spend more.
Keep a Reserve: It's also wise to factor in a bit extra as a reserve - better to save up a little longer and be comfortable rather than having to deal with the stress of running low on cash.
This is especially true if you plan to stick around and work on Koh Tao once you graduate as a PADI Divemaster or Dive Instructor. You shouldn't count on making lots of money as soon as you qualify - keep a reserve which will put you in a much better position.
Accessing Money from Koh Tao during your Thailand Gap Year
Koh Tao is pretty civilized and well set up for tourism, so dealing with money is easy here. There are many ATMs which is the easiest way of accessing cash, however it's worth checking with your bank back home to see what withdrawal charges apply.
Consider splitting money into two accounts, so if you did damage or loose an ATM card you still have access to cash. (Even if that did happen and you were stuck, we'd lend you money till the replacement card arrives).
The other safe option is using travelers cheques, which can easily be exchanged on the island. We don't recommend carrying large amounts of cash.
Many of the businesses on the island take Visa/Mastercard payments for purchases, however there's usually a surcharge of around 3%.
Thailand Gap Year Dive Testimonial
Thailand diving gap year information:
Dive Internships @ Simple Life
About Our Thailand Diving Internships
Life on Koh Tao, Thailand
Diving Internship Thailand Specifics
Paid work following a Diving Internship