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Becoming an advanced diver on Koh Tao, Thailand

diving koh tao thailand

I can remember perfectly the first time I went diving on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

It was an intro dive, where basically they hold your hand and swim around with you along a coral shelf next to a floating pontoon. You had to do belowdecks to an wire shelf a meter deep in water where you strapped on all the gear for the first time, practiced breathing through the regulator. It all happened so fast the next thing I know the divemaster said, “ok masks on, regs in, let’s go,” and then disappeared under the pontoon which prompted a very loud skeptical “you want me to go WHERE?” response from me.

It’s one thing to jump off a boat for your first dive, but it’s another to have to descend underneath a roof of a boat or pontoon – i.e. no access between you and the surface in case of freakouts and or panic attacks. Of course it was only like 2 meters wide, and I could see sunlight on the other side, but STILL. Freaky.

diving koh tao thailand

diving koh tao thailand

diving koh tao thailand

Luckily, I tried not to think about it and just went with it. And as soon as I saw my first nemo, I knew I had found my new passion. I couldn’t wait to get better. Since then I’ve been diving in Australia again and also in Bali, both of which were amazing.

A few months ago when I was knew I would be going to Sri Lanka from New Zealand via Thailand, I knew this was my chance to up my diving game. Also when an opportunity to visit such a place presents itself, you take advantage.

After all, Thailand is one of the most famous places in the world for diving. This would be my chance! Dive on!

Then I started researching where to go and was immediately overwhelmed.

diving koh tao thailand

Sending a quick FB message to my friend Alex in Wanderland, diver extraordinaire, I asked her where I should go diving in Thailand, and she replied straight away, “Koh Tao.” Travel bloggers are seriously such a great resource. She even put together a list of places I should eat in Koh Tao that would understand my peanut allergy! Rockstar!

As soon as I started digging through her Koh Tao diving posts, I knew I had to go. What an inspiration! I had been dreaming about diving with such beautiful corals, rare fish, turtles and maybe even whale sharks since my last dive.

I love being inspired by other people’s travel stories and pics!

diving koh tao thailand

Inspiring underwater photos from Alex in Wanderland

diving koh tao thailand

More Koh Tao inspiration from Alex in Wanderland

Koh Tao, or Turtle Island, has some of the best dive spots in Thailand, and so many to chose from. For someone relatively new to the diving scene, it would be a great place to improve. It’s a great place for people of all levels. However, because it’s so popular for divers, it was a bit tricky trying to find a reputable dive shop because there are dozens to chose from.

Luckily, through Alex I found out about Roctopus, the best dive shop on Koh Tao.

Located in Sairee Beach, it’s on the best part of the island and right in the center of everything. Since I was in Thailand on my own dime and without knowing anyone, I was hoping to meet some new people and bond with the island.

To be honest I was pretty nervous about going actually; I am definitely over my backpacker party scene days, and I didn’t know if I would even end up like Koh Tao or not.

diving koh tao thailand

The flight into Koh Samui is pretty rad, my first glimpse of Thai paradise before catching the ferry to Koh Tao!

A photo posted by Liz Carlson (@youngadventuress) on

From Bangkok, there are dozens of cheap flights a day to Koh Samui, the closest airport to Koh Tao. From there, it’s a quick ferry ride (less than 2 hours) to Koh Tao, which stops in Koh Phangan on the way, home of the infamous monthly Full Moon Party.

I thought about it for about half a second and then was like, NOPE.Saving that for another time.

This was meant to be a chill trip after the chaos of Sri Lanka, time to relax and recover. Sleep, eat (all the mango sticky rice) and dive in paradise. Repeat.

diving koh tao thailand

diving koh tao thailand

diving koh tao thailand

The boat ride over from Koh Samui was interesting to say the least. The beginning of monsoon season and the end of a storm, we had big swells on the way over, which as you can probably imagine, the hungover 18 year old backpackers didn’t handle well. Yuck.

Welcome to Southeast Asia!

You couldn’t get me off that boat fast enough to flag a “taxi.” As soon as I hopped out of the back of my pickup truck that was my taxi to Roctopus, I knew I was home. What a beautiful place!

An introvert at heart, I usually dread the whole process of meeting people and making friends on the road. Luckily the crew that works at Roctopus are friendly and fun, and welcoming since it’s a major hub for backpackers and travelers, and everyone is in the same boat as you, literally and figuratively. Just what I needed.

diving koh tao thailand

My office in Thailand on Koh Tao with @roctopusdive – yeah, I can get used to this. A photo posted by Liz Carlson (@youngadventuress) on

When I learned to dive in Australia, I was the only one on my course, and I didn’t realize that diving is a whole community and culture until I was in Bali. You’re connected automatically with a group of people who all share the same interests as you, usually on holiday in a beautiful place looking for a good time. In Bali I had a good experience with a dive shop and crappy experience with another, so since then I have made sure that I always try and chose a place with kickass reviews and a fun staff.

Roctopus embodies that fun loving diveshop atmosphere where everyone is friends straight away and hang out together both diving and afterwards. Perfect for solo travelers like me. My first night we all went out downtown to celebrate a big group of students finishing their open water course; it was the perfect introduction to Koh Tao.

I quickly checked in to my room at the Roctopus Hotel right across the street before heading back to meet everyone and plan my dives. It didn’t take much convincing for me to sign up to do my Advanced Adventurer dive course instead of a week of fun dives here and there.

diving koh tao thailand

diving koh tao thailand

diving koh tao thailand

This would mean I got to do 5 dives learning new skills over a few days doing things I had been dreaming about for months. A shipwreck dive, improving navigation, working on perfect buoyancy, a deep dive and dun, dun dun, my first night dive!!!

With all things, safety is the most important thing for me when traveling, so I always make sure to chose companies that adhere to high safety standards, which can sometimes be tricky in developing countries or places where there is a high demand for a certain activity.

Roctopus is run by expats and adheres to Australia safety standards, some of the best in the world which means SAFE DIVING woot woot! I am such a mom sometimes; I can’t believe I just wrote that.

diving koh tao thailand

diving koh tao thailand

I was stoked to meet up with Päivi from Finland who would be my instructor over the next couple of days.

She was so knowledgable and so much fun and has been diving and working on Koh Tao for years and years. She knows the sites like the back of her hand.

I feel like every time I descend I get better and better, it’s such a good feeling, especially since I am not naturally very good at sports or activities. Wahoo! We dived at so many of the famous sites around Koh Tao, and every time I submerged, I fell in love with the underwater world again and again. Swoon!

After diving my first wreck in Bali, I was super keen to do a wreck dive here. This time the ship was sunk on purpose on the day we went out for it, the water was super murky and actually quite spooky, making for a really fun ghost dive.

diving koh tao thailand

diving koh tao thailand

diving koh tao thailand

And my last dive of the course was a night dive, something I can say I love now, but that was certainly not the case when I got on the die boat at sunset to head out. I was terrified.

Can you say sharkbait? What if I got snatched?

I tried to empty my head as I got ready, and my hands were shaking as I pulled on my wetsuit. I jumped in straight away, trying not to think about it, and I can still remember trying to focus on the boat’s lights instead of what was below.

diving koh tao thailand

diving koh tao thailand

We all descended in a big group together along a big rope, and my fears quickly slipped away into wonder – and I mean that in the least cheesy way possible. As we slowly got deeper and deeper, I noticed the water actually sparkled!

Hiding my light I swished my hands in front of my face, moving the water about quickly, making it glow. Apparently it’s filled with bioluminescent plankton, making it feel like I was swimming among the stars in the night sky, reminiscent of the Beach.

What an experience!

diving koh tao thailand

diving koh tao thailand

diving koh tao thailand

As if it wasn’t enough, Päivi said it was one of the best night dives she’s had in ages. We saw a cuttlefish feeding, blue spotted stingrays swimming around, heaps of fish I’ve never seen before, crabs, and the best part, an octopus swimming through the water!

I think I’m becoming a total fish nerd.

It was the perfect experience to help me get over my fear of diving at night.

Luckily I had an extra day to do some fun dives too, and really get to know all the fish life around Koh Tao. This time I dived with Emma from Scotland who knows pretty much every single fish by name on Koh Tao. So cool.

Seriously, every instructor at Roctopus has something cool and different to bring to the table. You’re never bored.

diving koh tao thailand

diving koh tao thailand

One of my last nights on the island, I decided I had to experience the famous Southeast Asia nightlife for myself, you know for research purposes.

I’m so busy all the time, I always have excuses for not going out. I need to remember I’m young and allowed to have a wild night once in a while.

And a wild night it was. What started out simply as mojitos by a bonfire on the beach with my dive buddy and friends quickly escalated into more Singhas than I care to remember, getting carried and thrown into a pool (fully clothed) by a 6’2 hockey player from Canada, skipping over a rope that was ON FIRE (which I probably wouldn’t have done if I didn’t have this awesome travel insurance plan) and then a bit of a midnight swim (less than fully clothed) that *might* have led to a fun little fling on the beach.

Sigh, I think YOLO is the only appropriate response here.

diving koh tao thailand

Looking back, I keep noticing how big my smile is in all of my pictures – I think Koh Tao might be my new happy place, and I certainly can’t wait to go back again!

It was a trip that reminded me of how I used to travel before I was a blogger, and it was the prefect example of my goal of taking it easy and doing more hands-on learning trips in the future, and also helped me get over some fears.

I think I can safely say I am now a passionate diver! Thank you Alex and Roctopus!

Are you a fan of diving? Have you ever been to Southeast Asia? Do you like to slow down on your travels? 

*For those who have been asking, most of these shots are taken with my GoPro Hero 3 with my Selfie Stick.

**Housekeeping note – I have a few spots left for anyone hoping to have their travel blog featured here in January

diving koh tao thailand

diving koh tao thailand

Many thanks to Roctopus Dive for helping host me on Koh Tao, aand some of the links on this page are affiliate links. But like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own, like you could expect less from me! 

90 Responses to Becoming an advanced diver on Koh Tao, Thailand

  1. Malin January 6, 2015 at 11:11 pm #

    such perfect timing! I’m leaving for Asia this Sunday and starting with Koh Tao next week so this post was just great!

    Great blog btw, very inspiring and interesting!

    • Liz January 7, 2015 at 10:45 am #

      awesome! You’re going to love it!

  2. Marissa January 6, 2015 at 11:49 pm #

    I also want to become an advanced open water diver. I did diving in Turkey and Australia, but I want more!

    • Liz January 7, 2015 at 10:46 am #

      Oh how was it un Turkey?

  3. Ogla January 6, 2015 at 11:53 pm #

    Congrats on completing the course! I actually did one as well (with PADI) a couple of weeks ago whilst sojourning in the Maldives.

    Night dives are officially the best: it feels like you are floating in space. with lots of cute marine creatures all around you.

    I also picked Drift Diving and Underwater photography. It was quite funny because I drowned my underwater camera during the latter one.


    • Liz January 7, 2015 at 10:51 am #

      I really want to do an underwater photography course! exactly, just like floating through space!

  4. Stacey January 7, 2015 at 12:33 am #

    This post really makes me want to go diving again soon! I got my open water certification back in April and I want to do the advanced course at some stage as a lot of the more exciting dives require it. The problem is I get super nervous at the thought of it (especially deep dives/night dives). Any tips for getting past the fear?

    • Liz January 7, 2015 at 11:04 am #

      I just try and focus on all the things I can see and empty my mind, it really works. I focus on the fish and the corals, it’s like my mind simplifies underwater. Like on the deep dive, I never look up, and think about how far down I am, and at night, well I was terrified but then it was really cool!

      • Stacey January 8, 2015 at 8:37 am #

        Thanks for the advice, I’ll definitely keep that in mind for my next diving trip

        • Liz January 9, 2015 at 9:38 am #


  5. Erin January 7, 2015 at 2:31 am #

    Koh Tao looks amazing! For some reason while reading your post I remembered the first time I dreamed of going diving – I was really little, like 5, and the inspiration was LeVar Burton diving on one of the episodes of Reading Rainbow. I still haven’t been, but I need to put this dream back on my list. And diving with Roctopus in Koh Tao might be just the ticket.

    • Liz January 7, 2015 at 10:52 am #

      It definitely is, it’s such a great place to learn!

  6. Krysta Alexa January 7, 2015 at 2:44 am #

    This is what I want to every time I go to Thailand but never manage to actually go diving! 2015 must be the year I go then! Great post!

    • Liz January 7, 2015 at 10:53 am #

      Make it happen!

  7. Rebekah January 7, 2015 at 3:47 am #

    that looks so amazing. I have to admit I’m a bit on the fence about trying diving or not but this does seem awfully tempting.

    • Liz January 7, 2015 at 10:54 am #

      At least give it a try, you might be surprised!

  8. Arianwen January 7, 2015 at 4:01 am #

    This looks great. I learned to dive in 2000 and then sort of forgot about it for 14 years. I visited Thailand and the Galapagos during that time and it didn’t even cross my mind to scuba! Thankfully, I got back into it in the past year in Australia and Central America and now I remember what all the fuss is about. That’s a great shot of the boat entry by the way!

    • Liz January 7, 2015 at 10:54 am #

      OMG! I would love to dive in the galapagos!

  9. Danni @Two Peas in a Pack January 7, 2015 at 4:15 am #

    I just booked my first dive ever in the Philippines. Only eight more days. I’m absolutely scared stiff. Thanks for inspiring me to keep at it.

    • Liz January 7, 2015 at 10:55 am #

      It’s going to be amazing!

  10. Heather @ Colorado Gal January 7, 2015 at 4:53 am #

    I did my open water in Ecuador and my Advanced in Colombia, but diving has fallen to the wayside now that I’m immersed in the mountains. Your photos make me miss it! There is nothing like that feeling when you duck under the water and watch the sunlight disappear. So surreal!

    • Liz January 7, 2015 at 10:55 am #

      Yeah it’s hard to keep up, I live in the mountains too but I am trying to go dive every couple of months

  11. Fiona January 7, 2015 at 6:21 am #

    Love this post. I did my Open Water cert in Australia and my Advanced in Lake Malawi. Really want to go to South East Asia for some diving and this post is giving me itchy feet.

    • Liz January 7, 2015 at 10:56 am #

      ah cool! It’s really great on Koh Tao!

  12. Heather January 7, 2015 at 6:54 am #

    Wow, that looks amazing! I’m so jealous I can’t even tell you. I haven’t been diving yet but I did get to do some snorkeling in hawaii and now I’m hooked! (Just sucks that I currently live in the middle of the desert on Arizona… but we still have dive shops!) i can’t wait to (hopefully) make the move to Hawaii and do some real diving. Thanks for re-inspiring me.

    • Liz January 7, 2015 at 10:59 am #

      OMG how amazing would it be in hawaii?!

  13. Deasy Noel January 7, 2015 at 8:30 am #

    Ah, too cool! One of my goals of 2014 was to learn how to scuba dive. But then I chickened out! I have a huge fear of the water (more specifically The Great Unknown). And yet your photos are more than wonderful, and makes me want to really try again!

    • Liz January 7, 2015 at 11:00 am #

      omg you have to give it a try again! My tip is try not to think to much and focus on the corals and fish, that really takes you mind off the other stuff haha

  14. Alex January 7, 2015 at 9:00 am #

    So glad you had such a wonderful time (and didn’t accidentally ingest any peanuts, seriously). It was so fun to see some of my Roctopus friends in this post — next time you come back it better be when I’m around!

    • Liz January 7, 2015 at 11:01 am #

      I know! I am not going back without you! Also thank you times a million xxx

  15. January 7, 2015 at 11:57 am #

    I loved reading about your experiences, Rocktopus seems like a very social dive school too!
    I did my open water with Bans, because it was the biggest dive school in the world I thought I’d meet loads of people. Unfortunately the opposite was true 🙁

    I was scared of the water before my open water, I faced my fears though and have since dived in the Red Sea.

    Rocktopus for my advanced 🙂

    • Liz January 7, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

      Roctopus is great because it’s the perfect size, not too big and not too small, and you easily make friends with everyone there straight off.

  16. Paula Through the Looking Glass January 7, 2015 at 12:00 pm #

    love Koh Tao… Sounds like you had a blast. Quick question: do you use the timer on your go pro to get your shots??

    • Liz January 7, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

      I either shoot video and pull screenshots, not so great quality, or I do a burst mode 🙂

  17. Christy January 7, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

    Although diving isn’t necessarily anything I’m particularly interested in, I’ve enjoyed reading your posts about it. It’s been inspiring to see someone else (you!) get out of their comfort zone and push themselves to learn something new and then begin building skills in that area. Especially another introvert with safety concerns! 🙂 I’m looking forward to more of these types of posts in the new year!

    • Liz January 7, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

      Oh good, I’ve got lots of them planned!

  18. Andrea January 7, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

    Love this! I dived a little while down south in the Dominican but I would love to become advanced in beautiful Thailand, known for its oceans and beaches! Can’t wait to read more!

  19. Miles of Happiness January 7, 2015 at 2:36 pm #

    You had such great fun, don’t you? I love following your adventures! I hope I’ll get the chance to visit Thaïland this year. I’ve only been to Chiang Mai. There’s so much to see there…

    • Liz January 7, 2015 at 5:58 pm #

      Next time I am definitely visiting Chiang Mai!

  20. Victoria (Girl Tries Life) January 7, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

    Bahahaha, that’s my Canadian people for you – pool throwers. Sounds like you had an incredible time. I tried diving years ago in South Africa but my ears just couldn’t equalize. I’m hoping to one day get the cahones up to try it again, ideally pain free. Glad you had such a great last night on the island.

    • Liz January 7, 2015 at 5:59 pm #

      Hahaha yup, it was a wild night! that sucks about the ears, maybe give a try again 🙂

  21. Marissa January 7, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

    I love this!!! I’m leaving for BKK, Koh Tao and Chiang Mai in 3 days!!!! Can’t wait. Thanks for the resources….I’m going to check Alex in Wanderland’s info about Ko Tao 😀

    • Liz January 9, 2015 at 9:15 am #

      have a good time, Alex has heaps of great info up!

  22. Desert Safari January 8, 2015 at 3:01 am #

    Hi. Thanks for posting these lovely pics…felt like ive finished seeing a whole movie!…HAppy New YEAR!

    • Liz January 9, 2015 at 9:16 am #

      Ah cool, thank you!

  23. scott January 8, 2015 at 3:25 am #

    Liz, that looks like a great experience and really great photos too. thanks for sharing, great inspiration for my upcoming trip to SE Asia 🙂

    • Liz January 9, 2015 at 9:16 am #

      Cheers! Hope it helps!

  24. Erin January 8, 2015 at 4:07 am #

    Looks like such a great experience!!! Would you be willing to share that list of peanut-allergy-friendly restaurants on Koh Tao that Alex in Wanderland shared with you? (I’ve been both desperate to visit Thailand and scared for years! haha) Thanks!!!

    • Liz January 9, 2015 at 9:20 am #

      Sure thing I can forward her message to you – email me? Liz @

      • Charlotte January 21, 2016 at 2:05 am #

        I know this post is a year old but I don’t suppose you still have that list? Just booked a trip to Koh Tao in March. This will be my second trip after I figured out 18 months ago Thailand doesn’t have to be off limits because of my allergy. 🙂

  25. KMunoz January 8, 2015 at 4:44 am #

    This is so timely! Water kind of freaks me out, but I’m heading to Honduras in about two months and decided yesterday that I’d try out diving while there — figured it’d be a good challenge for me! Loved seeing these photos. Thanks for sharing!

    • Liz January 9, 2015 at 9:21 am #

      Give it a try, you might be surprised!

  26. Amy - Toothbrush Travels January 9, 2015 at 8:41 am #

    Alex was the person who inspired me to get over my fear of water and go diving! She has a ‘wanderful’ blog! Loved reading your post about diving, although i think i’d be too frightened to jump in on the night dive. Did you take torches etc with you? I’ve never done one before so would be amazing to hear(read) more! x

    • Liz January 9, 2015 at 10:28 am #

      Yeah you have torches with you, makes it much easier haha

  27. Jac January 10, 2015 at 10:12 pm #

    I’ve only ever dived in South East Asia (warn waters FTW) – I really liked Manado (lots of small amazing creatures) and Cebu in Philippines had some great dives too. Maldives also had amazing whaleshark and manta encounters!

    I dive for leisure mostly but I took my rescue diving course and I thought that was actually pretty helpful in making me a better and safer diver, becoming more aware of the way I impact the environment and my fellow divers. It can be tough during the course because it involves having to physically haul people out of the water (hard for a smallish girl) and knowing the very many ways you could easily die underwater, but I think it was a good move in the long run.

    Food for thought if you’re planning to dive more! 🙂 happy to share more thoughts if you want to know more!

    • Liz January 16, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

      I need to do a rescue course too! Great tips, I’ll deffo be hitting you up soon!

  28. Brad Imming January 11, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

    I cannot wait until I am a certified SCUBA diver! I just took NAUI SCUBA class for credit during my final year at Penn State University. I am hoping to finish my certification this Spring/Summer in Florida.

    Liz I am curious, what has been your most rewarding diving experience?

    • Liz January 16, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

      Probably doing a night dive on Koh Tao – so cool and helped me get over my fears. Otherwise diving the USAT Liberty wreck in Bali because it’s STUNNING!

  29. Beth January 12, 2015 at 5:51 pm #

    Congrats on finding your new passion … the underwater world is a place we all need to see with our own eyes!

    • Liz January 16, 2015 at 6:05 pm #

      Totally is!

  30. Katelyn @ Diaries of a Wandering Lobster January 15, 2015 at 11:56 am #

    After reading your post and Alex’s, getting my dive certification is creeping up to the top of my “bucket” list. And I’m a total believer than anyone is good at sports. You just need to figure out which one is yours. I suck at anything that requires hand eye coordination and balls. But I’m not half bad at triathlon! I think you found your sport girl! 🙂

    • Liz January 16, 2015 at 6:22 pm #

      woot woot!

  31. Brittni January 22, 2015 at 4:33 pm #

    When I did my open-water certification, I remember the absolute scariest parts being the first time I went under at all (your brain still thinks you can’t breathe underwater, even with the gear) & when we had to do back-roll entries in some seriously choppy water. I’m aiming for my advanced this year as well & can’t wait! Your post is definitely inspiring me to put night diving on the list.

    • Liz January 22, 2015 at 7:23 pm #

      Cool! Have a good time!

  32. Britt January 22, 2015 at 7:16 pm #

    YOLO!- Absolutely love it. I really want to get my PADI done but just finding the time to do it. And its about double the price in Australia vs Thailand so I might have to wait till I’m over that way.

    It looks amazing- diving has always really appealed to me although the night dive looks super scary.

    • Liz January 22, 2015 at 7:22 pm #

      Don’t worry the night dive was the best of them all!

  33. Saleem January 23, 2015 at 4:23 am #

    I did my first ever dive of life in koh tao Thailand…magical experience…

    • Liz January 23, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

      So mangical!

  34. Rachel January 26, 2015 at 3:26 am #

    Your photos are absolutely gorgeous.

    I’ve lived in Thailand for the past 12 years – came for a year, never went home – and do something similar to you (running websites) except I spend more time in Thailand currently than anywhere else. Leaving the US was the best decision I ever made. Can’t imagine living there again, not when you see what so many other countries have to offer.

    Haven’t made it to New Zealand yet, but that’s hopefully on my list for this year or early next.

    • Liz January 26, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

      Ah cool, it’s really amazing!

  35. Lara // the passage January 26, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

    Reading your post got me super excited for some amazing scuba diving in Thailand…in the middle of planning a trip for March and I can hardly wait! And thanks for mentioning your friend Alex in Wanderland’s blog- I have been reading through some of her posts and getting more ideas. Now I just have to figure out how to fit it all in!

    • Liz January 26, 2015 at 8:49 pm #

      Ah cool! Let us know if you have any questions!

  36. Karen February 23, 2015 at 11:56 am #

    I’m nervous about diving because I kinda freak out if I feel like I’m not in control and can’t get out; I’m afraid all the equipment will make me feel like that. But is it sort of like sky diving, where once you’re out of the plane you have no fear? Once you’re underwater is it just gone?

    • Liz February 26, 2015 at 10:20 pm #

      yeah everything simplifies underwater, it’s really peaceful and not adrenaline fueled like skydiving

  37. things to do in vietnam April 22, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

    Thailand is one in best beautiful places for traveling.Addition Vietnam,singapore,philipine…
    don’t miss that places.There are a lot of things to do is waiting for you discover

  38. Caity September 14, 2015 at 3:43 pm #


    Thanks so much for writing this blog and suggesting Rocktopus! I read this article a few months before I ventured into SE Asia and kept Roctopus in the back of my mind while I decided whether I wanted to get certified in Thailand or not. Once I decided I definitely did want to, I hit up Roctopus and come July my boyfriend and I were open water divers through this great company and directly went on to our advanced diver certifications as well! We had the best time, and the best instructors, I can’t thank you enough for suggesting Roctopus in Koh Tao. Keep on writing informative, entertaining, and wonderful articles. You’re the best!
    Take care,


    • Liz September 17, 2015 at 8:18 pm #

      Wahoo, that makes me happy to hear!

  39. Scubanomad October 8, 2015 at 4:31 am #

    The photos look super vivid.What a fun trip you had. Those remarks of the last night sounds unforgettable!

  40. Rachel January 8, 2016 at 9:35 pm #

    Hi Liz!

    I’m heading to koh Tao in March for my first solo trip, will be booking with Roctopus after both yours and Alexs recommendations. So excited!!! What was your opinion on the Roctopus hotel accommodation? I can’t find much reference to it online as is only available if you are diving with Roctopus i assume.

    Would love to hear your thoughts!


    • Liz January 18, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

      It was good!!! I was there for a week and it was great

      • Kelsey January 21, 2016 at 9:11 pm #

        Sorry, jumping on this train because I was going to ask the same question!

        Did you find the rooms super hot/miserable after a day of diving without AC?? And did you just book the accommodation along with your dive course? Can’t seem to find how you book that.


        • Liz January 24, 2016 at 6:01 pm #

          I emailed with Roctopus. It was ok, there were fans. I wish I had AC, they might have rooms with AC, but I was fine with the fans

  41. Jordan January 13, 2016 at 1:00 am #

    I am going to Koh Tao soon, I also have a peanut allergy is it possible to get your list of restaurants to eat at that you know are safe?


    • Peanuts stink March 6, 2016 at 6:15 am #

      I was about to make the exact same post as Jordan did, then I saw his. Hook up your fellow peanut avoiders with that list, Liz!

      • Liz March 6, 2016 at 8:00 pm #

        I”m gonna try and find it!

  42. Peanuts stink March 30, 2016 at 10:19 pm #

    Liz! I fly to Thailand tomorrow, don’t let the peanuts get me!!!

    Going with Rocktopus based on your spectacular writeup.

    • Jordan May 4, 2016 at 2:38 am #

      Liz is there any update on the list of restaurants that are safe for peanut allergies?


  43. amar shekhar May 3, 2016 at 6:59 am #

    I was also there at Koh Tao island and I must say this post of yours reminded me again of my trip 🙂 thanks for sharing

  44. Jen October 18, 2016 at 4:54 pm #

    Also curious about travelling in Thailand with a severe peanut allergy -i dream of going there but I’m so scared! Would love any info/tips you have!

  45. yatramantra November 22, 2016 at 9:37 pm #

    Simply superb photos liz..

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