Review: Phangan International Diving School (PIDS)
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.)
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
I also thought it was really neat that they had PIDS branded shirts to buy in their office.
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.