Open Water Diver Course | 3.5 Days | KOH TAO, THAILAND

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100% of travellers gave more than 4 star rating.
  • Learn to dive in the tropical waters of Koh Tao, Thailand.
  • Gain a worldwide recognised certificate (SSI).
  • Make new friends in a fun, safe environment.
  • One of Koh Tao’s best dive schools: 1,000+ 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor!


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Koh Tao, Thailand is the perfect place to gain your underwater license! The waters are calm and clear… There’s an abundance of tropical sea life… The warm and friendly atmosphere is amazing for making new friends and learning a new skill at the same time… You won’t want to leave this tropical divers’ paradise!

About New Way Diving Open Water Diver Course

When it comes to Open Water Courses, you may have heard many initials; PADI, SSI, RAID, BSAC. So what’s the difference? Apart from a few slight difference with the academic approach (learning videos and classroom teaching), there is no real difference between the Open Water Courses that are offered by these different bodies. At the end of the day, you will qualify with a certificate that is world-recognised and be able to dive up to 18 metres. 

Why did New Way Diving choose SSI?

“At New Way Diving, we chose to teach the SSI method as we believe that the delivery of the course theory is much more fluid than with other certifying bodies. They have an app called ‘MySSI App’ which records your experience and learning journey and keeps things light and fresh. It means that you can learn in and out of the classroom at your own pace. The instructors also have more flexibility on tailoring the course to your needs. Basically the SSI teaching strategy fits perfectly with the proud slogan of our dive school “Dive Your Way”.

Day-to-Day Schedule: New Way Open Water Course (3.5 Days)

  • Day 1: 4pm – 6pm – Course Orientation & Video
  • Day 2: 8am – 10.30am – Theory Session 1
  • Day 2: 11.45am – 5pm – Shallow Water Skills & Dive 1 (max 12m)
  • Day 3: 8am – 10.30am – Theory Session 2
  • Day 3: 11.45am – 5pm – Shallow Water Skills & Dive 2 (max 12m)
  • Day 4: 6am – 10.30am – Dive 3 and 4 (max 18m)

Day 1: Course Orientation – 4-6pm

  • New Way Diving includes free pick-up from the pier upon arrival since taxis here can be expensive.
  • Simply let us know by email which ferry company you’ll be arriving with, what time and where from, and we will send our taxi to collect you from the appropriate pier and bring you to us so we can say hello, and help you get to your accommodation.
  • On your first day, we will meet at the dive shop at 4pm to complete the required paperwork, receive an orientation, meet your instructor and watch the SSI Open Water Diver videos.

Day 2: Theory Session One – 8-10.30am

  • We will meet at 8am to review the core information that was covered in the videos.
  • Your Instructor will inform you of the key course theory, including Scuba Diving Equipment and its safe operation, dive planning, emergency scenarios, the effects of pressure on a diver, scuba diving safe practices and more.
  • There will be a short quiz session to see if this knowledge has been retained.

Day 2: Shallow Water Skills & Dive 1 (Max 12m) – 11:45am – 5pm

  • Unlike many of the Dive Schools on Koh Tao, New Way believe in doing as much training as possible in the environment in which we are preparing for. For that reason, on the afternoon of Day 2, you will head out to the sea to conduct your first skill training session!
  • The boat will head to one of the many beautiful bays of Koh Tao, where we will prepare our equipment, enter the water, and swim to the beach!
  • Once at the beach (and in water shallow enough to stand up in) your instructor will demonstrate a number of the basic scuba diving skills, and then have you repeat the skills. You will already start to see the wonderful Koh Tao Marine Life and whet your appetite for going deeper!
  • If there is enough time and air once the skills have been completed, and if everyone is feeling comfortable, your instructor will take you for a short dive to experience more of this.
  • We will then return to the boat, where we can enjoy some lovely sunshine, beautiful scenery, and refresh ourselves with complimentary tea, coffee, biscuits and fruit, as well as rehydrate ourselves with a plentiful supply of cold water.
  • While we are relaxing on board, the captain will move the boat to the second diving location, where your instructor will enter the water with you after an informative briefing about the dive site, the environment, signals and safety procedures.
  • You will then enjoy a stunning dive at one of Koh Tao’s many dive sites to a maximum of 12m depth. There are no skills to perform on this dive, and the idea is simply to allow you to enjoy the sights and enjoy the weightless freedom that Scuba Diving offers.

Day 3: Theory Session 2 – 8-11am

  • On day 3 we meet at 8am to review the remainder of the course theory, as well as complete a short multiple choice exam (don’t worry, the course is designed for 10-year-olds!).
  • The instructor will also give a debriefing of the day prior, how the skills were performed, and what will take place this afternoon.

Day 3: Shallow Water Skills & Dive 1 (max 12m) – 11:45am – 5pm

  • Very similar to the previous day, we shall head to a lovely bay around Koh Tao, and head into the shallow water.
  • This time the location for the skills will be deeper, in water too deep to stand up in, unless there are some shallow rehearsals to be repeated before.
  • Once again your instructor will perform each skill in turn, and then have you repeat them. If there is enough time and air left, then this will again be followed by a dive.
  • We will likewise then have a surface interval on the boat, which will be followed by an additional dive at a new location. During this dive, your instructor will ask you to repeat certain skills that have been rehearsed over the previous 2 days to assure us that you remember how to do them.

Day 4″ Dive 3 & 4 (max 18m) – 6am-10.30am

  • During these final dives, you can expect to see even more of Koh Tao’s Marine Life than on some of the previous dives. This is due to 3 main reasons…
  • Firstly, your buoyancy and diving skills will have improved by now, which improves divers’ confidence, making divers more relaxed, which in turn means that you spend a lot more time looking around and enjoying what the environment has to offer.
  • Secondly, these deeper dive sites are often further from land, meaning that many fish congregate there for breeding and food purposes. This, in turn, attracts larger predators, such as Barracuda’s, Trevally and Big Groupers.
  • Thirdly, New Way dive first! We are often the first dive school at most of the Dive Sites around Koh Tao, which means that we often dive before the marine life has been scared away. With over 100 Dive Shops in operation in Koh Tao, this makes a BIG difference.
  • On this final day, we head out to two of Koh Tao’s deeper, more challenging dive sites, such as Chumphon Pinnacles, Southwest Pinnacles, Shark Island, Green Rock, and Sail Rock. We visit Sail Rock three times a week, which is the best dive site in the Gulf of Thailand!
  • With this final day complete, you will be certified as an SSI Open Water Scuba Diver! This is your license to dive around the world to a depth of 18 metres.
  • You can then continue diving with us if you like, and receive each of your fun dives for 800 THB, or if you didn’t make it to Sail Rock, you may join us at a discounted rate of 2,600 THB.

Accommodation in Koh Tao

The course price does not include accommodation.

  • However, we work with BP Hostel to offer our customers 3 nights in an AC Dorm for 300 THB per night.
  • We also work with Koya Guesthouse, who offer our customers a private room with Fan for 700 THB per night, or a private room with AC for 1,000 THB per night.

If you would like to book either of these accommodation options, simply send us a message requesting this and we will organise everything for you. Or, if you’d like to book your own accommodation on Koh Tao, that’s no problem.

Am I Fit to Dive?

Diving requires only basic fitness. If you have any concerns, please send us a message and we shall answer any medical related questions you may have. You must be able to float for 10 minutes and swim 200 metres OR snorkel 300 metres in order to take the course.

Refund Policy

  • In order to book this experience, you will need to pay a deposit online via South East Asia Backpacker.
  • This deposit is fully refundable if you wish to cancel up until 48 hours before the start of the activity. PLEASE NOTE: This policy refers to the payment made to South East Asia Backpacker at the time of booking. All subsequent payments to the operator of your chosen activity fall under their own refund policy
  • For cancellations made fewer than 48 hours before the start of the activity there is no refund available.
  • You can request a change of date at any time.
  • Date changes are entirely down to the availability of the operator and nothing to do with South East Asia Backpacker. 
  • If your date change is not agreed upon, as long as it is more than 48 hours before the start date you originally made your booking for, your deposit can be refunded in full if you wish to cancel.
  • The remaining payment for the experience is payable directly to the operator.
  • The operator can request the remaining payment via an online payment link or upon arrival at the destination.
  • The refund of the second payment, which goes directly to the operator, is based on the terms and conditions of the operator, over which South East Asia Backpacker have no control.
  • Please see our customer terms and conditions for more information.


What's Included

Included in the Price:

  • SSI Open Water Materials
  • Professional Instructors
  • 4:1 Maximum Ratio (Group Size)
  • All Equipment Rentals
  • Taxi Collection & Return from / to the pier
  • Tea, Coffee, Water, Biscuits & Fruit

What’s not Included

  • Food
  • Accommodation (we can organise for you)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Transport to Koh Tao

Operator Information


With both Western and Thai owners, New Way Diving has been established for over 20 years on the island of Koh Tao offering the best service possible. With highly-experienced and qualified instructors (English-speaking) they are able to ensure that each beginner diver feels confident and safe in the water. From day one you will be in good hands and will feel guided and nurtured every step of the way, whether you're a beginner diver or training to be a Dive Master... See over 1,000 5-star Trip Advisor Reviews for more details!

What is unique about New Way Diving?

  • Small Groups - Unlike some of the larger dive schools, New Way prefer a small and friendly approach. There is a maximum group size of 4 students to 1 instructor, which assures that each student receives the necessary attention.
  • Environmentally Active - New Way Diving are extremely active in making the island of Koh Tao a better place for creatures great and small. They host regular beach and reef clean-ups which you can get involved with while you're there!
  • No Swimming Pool Learning - All of the training at New Way takes place in the sea in calm, warm shallow waters to begin with. Why spend hours in a swimming pool watching hair and plasters float past in order to then go diving in the sea? Instead, you can start immediately in the ocean and watch the beautiful marine life from your first breath underwater!
  • More Dives - Because of the 'straight to sea' policy, New Way students leave Koh Tao with more dives than normal since there is a short diving tour after each skill segment is complete, meaning that you will finish having completed up to six dives instead of the usual four. This gives you more chance to explore the amazing dive sites around Koh Tao.
  • Sail Rock! - Unlike other dive schools, New Way dive at Sail Rock, the best dive site in the Gulf of Thailand EVERY DAY. This is now a standard part of every Open Water Course, weather permitting!

1 review for Open Water Diver Course | 3.5 Days | KOH TAO, THAILAND

  1. Michelle

    My instructor is from Scotland so some of his instruction maybe hard to understand but he was patient and repeat his instruction again to make sure we understand, especially activities under water which requires mutual understanding. First day of orientation was all video class by myself so that was dreadful. Im expect to have class teaching instead. New Way Diving staff were all very kind and knowledgeable. Luckily there was a free staff who can shoot for us underwater on the final dive cuz we were not allow to bring camera while doing the OW diving. Sail Rock is prettu amazing! Nikki from Backpacker was very helpful and was able to help me with the ferry ticket by showing me 12Go Asia. I had a great time!

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