Who to dive with in Koh Tao, Thailand?
We left Surat Thani aboard the cozy night boat to arrive at 6am on the stunning island of Koh Tao. Slowly waking up, we collected our belonging and disembarked the ship to be immediately bombarded by taxi drivers and promotional staff handing out flyers from all the different companies across the island trying to rope us in on their ‘great deals’. Now I don’t know what you’re like at 6 am, but confrontational conversation isn’t on my list of things to do so we just smiled, said no thank you and strolled on by to find our pre-booked accommodation on the island.
Now when you arrive on Koh Tao, you will discover there is an abundance of dive companies spread throughout the tiny island. However all companies don’t operate they same way. We were lucky enough to find La Bombona Diving, Koh Tao!
Lets talk a little about La Bombona!
La Bombona Diving is a multi language diving school that caters to all of your needs underwater and above land. The staff is extremely professional and knowledgeable and are all about having some fun whilst always operating in a safe and considerate manner. Their dive center is located close to the pier area and offers bargain prices.
La Bombona offers the following courses; Refresher, Try Dives, Open Water, Advanced, Rescue and First Aid and Divemaster. All diving gear is provided by the company on each dive you undertake and is clean and great quality (BCD, Mask & Snorkel, Wetsuit, Fins and Regulator).
La Bombona operates from a spacious and large 3 level boat that motors through the ocean to the best dive sites throughout Koh Tao. Each day brings forth different scheduled dive locations and the opportunity to night dive every other day (This is a must!!).
La Bombona’s owners Rocio and Alberto are exceptional at what they do and have such an amazing team. You will see these two working each day and may be lucky enough to be apart of their group when undertaking your course and training. I can’t tell you the total amount of dives logged for all staff working for La Bombona however I can tell you there is quite a lot, and they are all very well experienced. They know exactly what they’re doing and conduct business in a manner that is so calm and genuine. They truly are an amazing company to dive with as its not just about getting in the water and exploring, but really appreciating the entire experience and the knowledge they can pass onto you. There is no greater feeling than diving with a group of people who have such a great knowledge and understanding of SCUBA diving and the ocean!
Now about the fun dives:
We jumped onboard with La Bombona and took part in two days of fun diving for two consecutive mornings. Fun dives operate both morning and afternoon. For the morning session you meet at the pier around 6:20am and are back on land around 11am. The afternoon session meets around 11:30am and returns around 4pm. Those interested in night diving meet at 5:30pm and return around 8:30pm. It’s important to note for each fun dive you are provided with a guide, all gear, breakfast, fruit and drinks (coffee, tea and water).
So prior to our fun dives we had met with Rocio and Sam (our guide) at the dive centre and were fitted for our dive gear. We had been informed of our dive locations for each morning and were told to meet at 6:20am each morning down by the Pier.
We arrived at the crack of dawn to meet with our guide and be taken to our boat. Now this boat is awesome, and it’s big with lots of space to move about freely. There is even a cat, which lives aboard the boat! We were allocated our tanks and set up our gear. Once this was done we were taken above deck to discuss our dive locations and what we might see. Our first dive location for the day was Hin Won Pinnacle and our second site would be the Lighthouse.
After buddy checking and launching into the water it was easy to see why Koh Tao is one of the best locations in the world to dive. As we hit the bottom we explored into the unknown discovering large schools of barracuda, razorfish, parrotfish and the stunning formations of corals. After climbing back onboard I was yet again ready to jump back into the water. Lighthouse really put on a show for us with such clear visibility we were yet again graced with an abundance of fish and stunning corals. It was great to see our guide knew his way around under water and pointed out certain things we may have missed. This truly made today a special day!
After climbing back aboard we slowly packed away our gear and dried off. We then we taken away by the pure beauty of Koh Tao and the surroundings as we motored back into port. Once arriving back we returned to La Bombona dive shop where we logged our dives and thanked our guide for an excellent morning.
Once again we arrived at 6:20am to meet with our guide and climb aboard the boat. Our dive locations today would be Southwest Pinnacle, which was a 45 minute boat ride from the shores of Koh Tao and Shark Island. Our dive guide let us know quite early on that Southwest Pinnacle is known for the occasional whale shark so I was itching to get into the water and explore. After setting up aboard we sat down and looked over todays dive locations and what we may see. In all honesty all that was running through my mind was ‘whale shark, whale shark, whale shark’!
We got ready, buddy checked and launched into the unknown. Southwest Pinnacle today had some stunning visibility and we were lucky enough to find giant grouper and be circled on several occasions by enormous schools of barracuda, which ranged in sizes from small to large. This truly was a surreal experience to be motionless in the water with barracuda circling you. Our second site Shark Island was an awesome dive as where we launched and dropped down we immediately came across a large spotted stingray and large trigger fish. However there was a strong current this was absolutely fine as we swum around a hundred meters into this and then simply rode this back to the boat.
I came aboard the boat with a smile from ear to ear today and immediately felt the need to organize further advancements in my SCUBA certifications. After conversation with Rocio we agree it would be time for me to do my advanced course. As all my dives with La Bombona had been such great experiences and I had not at all felt rushed, pressured or stressed at any stage I knew this dive centre would be the one for me!
Keep posted for my next article on my experiences of undertaking my Advanced diving course with La Bombona Diving, Koh Tao.
Follow La Bombona on Social Media:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/labombonadiving
Twitter – https://twitter.com/labombonadiving
Instagram – https://instagram.com/labombonadivingkohtao/
Disclaimer: I was a guest of La Bombona in exchange for this review. As always, I would never endorse or recommend a service or product that I didn’t honestly enjoy!