Review: Phangan International Diving School (PIDS)

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Location: Phangan International Diving School, Baan Tai (which is close to the port in Thong Sala, Koh Phangan.)

Date: May 2016

Cost: Roughly £230


Phangan International Diving School was already our top choice before arriving on Koh Phangan – all after doing some internet research. We were really happy with what we had read about them online. The cost was comparable to Koh Tao (which I had heard was the second cheapest place in the world to learn to dive after Honduras.) The Half Moon Party was later that week so we planned all of our diving around that.. This meant that learning to dive on Koh Phangan was going to be a lot easier than heading to Koh Tao. To learn on Koh Tao we would have had to go there, then come back. Or try to squeeze it in after (we flew home a few days after.)

Tip read: Where to stay on Koh Phangan

When we got off the boat we headed to our hotel and the guy on reception (we later found he was called Bond, like James Bond!) said he had a friend who taught diving and would we like him to come by to answer questions. We agreed out of politeness as we already knew which school we wanted to go with. Luckily for us it was James from PIDS who turned up. We found it really great that he went out of his way to meet us and answer any questions. He understood we were short for time and offered to get us in the pool for the tester session that afternoon!

Phangan International Diving School
Me and David


Phangan International Diving School uses the pool at a hostel to do their training and they have a main office near the Big C. They are both based around Baan Tai. There are a bunch of places nearby you can stay. We stayed at Charm Beach which was within walking distance for going between the pool and the offices.

Click here to save money on a tour of Koh Phangan island


There were a range of instructors. There was even another Scottish guy there! Our assigned instructor was an Australian called Ali. Ali was really nice, helpful and able to answer anything we came across. James was around all of the time to help is we needed anything too.

Phangan International Diving School
Ali going over the last points before our final dives

I found that Ali really listened and was so understanding when I got sick and had to reschedule. She also drove us to the boat after our last dive which was so thoughtful and really helped as we were short on time.

Click here to get £15 toward your hotel on Koh Phangan

My favourite part

I loved everything about diving with Phangan International Diving School. I love that the school offered a free taster session to those on the fence. It really lets you know what you are signing up for. I really liked meeting new, like-minded people too. Those people genuinely wanted to help too which was refreshing. They all wanted to see us do well.

Phangan International Diving School
David helping me check my gear

I also thought it was really neat that they had PIDS branded shirts to buy in their office.

Tip read: The best of Koh Samui

My least favourite part

This is nothing to do with the school but obviously it sucked getting unwell half way through the course. I hated having to reschedule and let down the team that day.

**Since we weren’t skilled enough at diving it was suggested we leave our camera at the hotel. We paid Matt to take pictures so all these pictures are his and credited to him. You can find Matt and his work here.

Phangan International Diving School (PIDS) #travel #thailand
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Phangan International Diving School is the best place to get certified #padi #thailand
Highly recommend this diving school! PIDS, Pin us!


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  • What an adventure!! I am so afraid of water. I didn’t learn to swim as a kid either as we didn’t have access to a pool and since my mom is afraid of water, too, we didn’t find ourself at the beach or anything either! So, I’m determined to give my kids more access. They both swim like fish and we often snorkel when we travel….I’m thinking diving is in our future when they get older!! I don’t want to give them my fear. The world is a big and wonderful place!

    • You are so so brave. I am not sure I could overcome my own fear to benefit my son but I sure as day would want to. I really admire that. You should really try it, you do not really need to be able to swim when you are actually diving, but to pass the test you need to be able to a little

  • I learned to dive on Koh Tao, but this seems like an awesome place too. Glad you had a great experience, it’s so interesting to learn about diving isn’t it? It’s a shame you got sick half way through, weirdly the same thing happened to me.

  • Wow! I haven’t done any diving or snorkeling yet! Good to know about these places which provide training at a low cost!
    Whoo! International instructors incl Scottish & Australians? Cool!

  • I have always wanted to try diving. I love snorkeling but the thought of going deep under the water still kind of frightens me. Someday though… someday! Awesome picture under the water, by the way!

    • Thank you! It was a great photographer for the school who came and got pictures for us. You can do it, it is scary but so, so worth it

  • PIDS sounds like one of the best diving schools. I like that the instructors helped you a lot and answered your questions. It can be daunting as a first timer. The underwater photo looks good. I live in Oriental Mindoro, Philippines. We have diving schools here too. I am more eager now to learn diving after reading your post.

  • Scuba diving is an interesting experience – it’s unreal how beautiful the underwater marine life is. Sadly, I flunked out of diving class. I only done this once too. But I haven’t stopped dreaming about the beauty that is lurking underneath the water.

  • Water scares me however I did do the submarine diving in Mauritius last year. My recent experience with snorkeling in Koh Chang was not one of the best but yes I want to have the courage to diving some day. This inspires for sure.

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