Simple Life runs two resorts on Koh Tao, both situated along Sairee Beach.
Offers a wide range, from dorm rooms to beachfront villas at the south end of Sairee Beach.
Whitney V. from Alberta, Canada shares stories from her time on Koh Tao:
Prior to the dive internship on Koh Tao, I was working as a labourer for a heavy equipment company in the Alberta Oil Field.
Life on Koh Tao was a dream. It is typical of Island life and everyone is easy-going and relaxed – unless they’re on a scooter, of course. It has this infectious way of making people want to stay there forever. There’s no shortage of sites to see — Mango Bay viewpoint being a must!, activities that are not dive related if you need a little variety (but who really needs that when you have unlimited diving ;), stunning views wherever you go, and plenty of likeminded travelers like yourself. Every day was a good day whether I spent it diving all day long, studying with my fellow DMTs poolside, hiking to a viewpoint, going for a ridiculously cheap massage, or sunbathing while taking my turn as surface cover.
The people I met on Koh Tao were the best and will be lifelong friends. I was nervous heading to the island as a solo traveler for two months but I had nothing to worry about! The kind of people that sign up for this Internship are the kind of people who are gung ho for adventure and great memories so there was never a shortage of fun.
Southwest Pinnacle was my favorite dive site because that is where I saw my very first whale shark! By far, the best day of my underwater life, possibly my entire life 🙂 Myself and a group of about 6 other DMTs were lucky enough to be fun diving that morning. We were on our way to Chumpon when Nam Chai (boat Captain) got a call over the radio of a whale shark at Southwest. He turned that boat around and beelined for the other site. Everyone was kitted up and at the ready, we arrived, dropped down and 3 minutes in, boom, whale shark. (When I say boom, it’s more like frantic, ecstatic tank banging by every diver in the immediate area). Simply amazing.
Second to that would be Chumpon Pinnacle, funnily enough. Beautiful deep dive site with a huge diversity of aquatic life.
Assisting the Instructors to teach new divers was my favorite part of the DM training. Getting to be a part of the new diver’s excitement of exploring the underwater world is a trip! I loved meeting all the people, sharing my passion for diving and being a source of information and confidence for them. It’s a great feeling! Billy and I really got to put our acting skills to the test when we both assisted on a Rescue course, pretending to be drowning victims – I think he may have won the Drama Queen contest between us.
I did my equipment exchange with Jess and we nailed it! The trick is the game plan. Plan your dive and dive your plan, as PADI says. We went through the order of our exchange on the surface before hand and helped each other out underwater – that’s what buddies are for!
Leading dives can be scary at first but it becomes easier with practice. Luckily, you get lots of that doing fun dives with fellow DMTs! My tip would be to dive in and be willing to lead fun dives even if you’re nervous. Instructors and Divemasters are great to ask for tips! One of our Divemasters, Little Jason, showed me how to naturally navigate from Hin Pee Wee to the Wreck and then the next day he got me to lead that same site without a compass. No problems. After that, I was confident enough to volunteer to lead at new sites.
The food is delicious and cheap! If you’re looking to save some baht, Thai is cheaper than Western. I got bugged a little bit for my love of noodle soup, which I ordered at least once a day. You can’t go wrong for 60 baht a huge bowl! Some good places; Tik for Thai food, Blue Chair’s sweet and sour chicken, 995 Duck number 7, BBQ at Sairee Cottage and if you’re looking for a spiffy dinner, Porto Bello is fantastic. And you can’t forget the crepes stand beside 7-11!
Oh, the nightlife! Many memories were made on nights out with friends on Koh Tao; some we’d prefer to forget! It was always a good laugh because of the great group we had. Relaxed beers at Victor’s, dancing up a storm at Diza, moving on to buckets and fire limbo at Lotus, Bar Next To from there then off to FishBowl to end the night was our go-to route for going away parties. I’d recommend the Pub Crawl at least once and the Lady Boy show! A little tip for the men; don’t volunteer to join the Lady Boy show at the end. There is no prize involved, unless you dream of dancing around in your underwear whilst wearing a fashionable yellow wig – something a pair of our DMTs learned the embarrassing way.
Now that I’m properly addicted to diving and the stress-free island life, I am back cracking away at my previous work in the Oil Field, saving up as much mullah as I can to get back out in the water and into the sun. (As I write this, it is almost winter here in Alberta, Canada, so it is about -20 degrees C outside. I’m missing Koh Tao more than ever!) I have a bucket list of diving adventures that is longer than I am tall. I also hope to one day make it back to Koh Tao and see Simple Life’s new shop and maybe take my Instructors course!
Where do I even begin?! Every single day had a good laugh and a great story to add to my collection. I was fortunate to have a great group of other DMTs during my time that were fun-loving and always up for an adventure. I’ll share a few that stick out.
Matt, Amy, Dylan and I’s ambitious hike to Mango Bay that turned out to take 5 hours longer than we expected, down an insanely steep hill where we then had to pay to do some impromptu rock climbing to get to the beach and it turned out the dive boat had gone there as well.. the easy way!
My introduction to the drinking game that is Pub Golf. Shouting of “Buddy Check” meant we had to swap an article of clothing. I wore a dress and short shorts, so a few rounds in my buddy, Blake, ended up wearing a dress and short shorts and I men’s shorts and a particularly vulgar t- shirt. And all the confused looks we got from other bar patrons when over 20 of us hit the floor after someone shouted “Grenade”
Becky’s fear of trigger fish after she and Sophie were chased by one. The fear of triggerfish in general (they are so goofy looking they’re cute!).
My inability to comprehend certain accents from the UK, as well as their lingo always made for a good laugh. Our disagreements in the use of the English language. I’ve been told that since they are English, they are speaking English the correct way and I, therefore am not haha.
Karate “fighting” on the sand during our dives. The time I tried to practise my equip removal and forgot to put on a weight belt aka I nearly floated away from my kit – thankfully we were only 3 or so metres deep, not so thankfully was the group of divers that swam by as I awkwardly tried to get my BCD back on. Tip: remember that integrated weights and an equipment removal can get funny in a hurry.
My advice would be to don’t think twice about it! You won’t regret the experience. The people you meet make it worth while alone, the diving is incredible and the things you learn about yourself and life will stay with you forever. Plus, it doesn’t hurt on a CV and you can tell people you are a professional scuba diver! 😛 I would do the Internship over and over again! Relax, have fun and Keep it Simple! That’s what life is all about 🙂
Sarah O'L. | London, UK
"Amazing… I truly miss being on Koh Tao. I have printed my favourite pictures & blue them tacked up." Read more
Joe M. | Wales
"I remember thinking, wow, is that where I'm going to be spending the next 10 weeks...time of my life." Read more
Janine | Switzerland
"when you turn around and look at the reef itself, it's so full of life. I saw some of the coolest things." Read more