Scuba Internship Frequently Asked Questions
Other than the dive internship fee what else should you budget for?
If you will need to extend your visa by taking a trip to Samui, Malaysia or Laos and also if you plan to take any additional courses. If you think that you may want to upgrade your equipment it's worth planning on that too, also most people want to get a Dive computer too, which you may want to buy before you come over as they are easy to carry with you and are often cheaper in your home country.
How much spending money will I need?
Not too much! Your main expense will be food and drinks, which are exceptionally cheap in Thailand.
A decent meal costs between 60 - 400 baht depending on whether you want and if it's Thai then usually 60-100 baht or Western food 80 - 400 baht. A beer costs 60 - 90 baht. As a rough guide we recommend you to budget for an average about 500 - 750 baht per day (about 15 - 23 USD) as some days you may spend more and others less.
If you're determined, you can live for a lot less than this, but this amount is comfortable! It is also recommend to keep a few hundred USD in reserve in case there are any additional expenses that come up and having access to funds at home via Internet Banking so you can get to it if you need it is always a good idea, just in case you decide to stay longer than you originally planned as this does happen surprisingly often.
What Do I Need to Bring with me to Thailand?
Most things in Thailand are cheaper than at home, and you can get pretty much everything you need here on the island, although things are a little more expensive here on the island than on the mainland due to the additional transport costs to get things to the island. So if you are stopping off on the mainland before heading here then perhaps get yourself some sunscreen there before heading over to to Koh Tao.
In general though keep it minimal. Clothes, camera, sunglasses, flip flops - what more do you need? Plus most of these are going to be cheaper in Thailand anyway. These days though a lot of people do bring a laptop or tablet or smart phone with them so they can Skype and Facebook people back home as there are a lot of places on the island that do have free WiFi, our restaurant and bar is one of those.
Also remember that at the end of the scuba diving internship you'll have a bag full of scuba diving equipment & some diving manuals to take back (not as many manuals as before thanks to the eManuals). If you don't want to carry all of your equipment home with you then there is an option to post it back home.
Do I need a visa to come over and take the Internship?
If you are coming over to take the Divemaster Internship then at the moment the easiest visa to get is a 60 day tourist visa which you can apply for from any Thai embassy/consulate. Click here to find the contact details of your closest Thai embassy/consulate. These can be extended by an additional 30 days by going over to Koh Samui to the immigration office.
If you you are planning on coming for over 90 days then it may be possible to get a longer visa, one of the Non Immigrant types of visa which can be for up to 1 year for example. Not all Thai embassies will issue these for coming over to take dive training and so you will have to contact the Thai embassy/consulate that you are planning on applying for your visa through and check with them if they will issue these visas and if they will check to see what they require from us for you to include with your visa application and then let us know. Usually they will require a letter from ourselves to say that you are coming to take dive courses with ourselves and then some documents to show that we are a legitimate Thai business which we can send to you to include with your visa application.
I'm already a certified Diver - can I get some discount on my Gap Year Divemaster Internship Fee?
Yes, when you complete the booking form and enter in your current diving level the price will be recalculated accordingly to reflect the courses you have already completed.
I'm on a Summer Break & don't have a full two months available - what can I do?
The courses can be completed faster, usually one of the things that will determin how long it will take you to complete the Divemaster Internship is if you already have some existing qualifications and logged dives as there are a number of requirements that you need to meet so that you can be signed off as a Divemaster, including theory, swim tests and course assists but you are required to also have a minimum of 60 logged dives to be signed off as a Divemaster. Even if you don't have any previous diving experience or logged dives then you shoulf still be able to get you through the internship to PADI Divemaster in 6 weeks. It is always better to plan to have some additional time than the bare minimum though just in case you have to spend time out of the water with something like an ear infection which is a common problem for people who dive a lot.
The best thing to do is contact us and we can discuss your individual case.
I already own some scuba diving equipment. How will this affect the overall dive internship fee?
Yes this will either reduce the overall cost of your dive internship OR give you can use the credit against additional courses or you can upgrade the other items of equipment in your equipment package when you go to pick that up.
Is Thailand friendly towards lone female travelers?
Yes, but of course we do still advise people taking the usual safety measures like trying to not be out alone late at night. Koh Tao has an enormous volume of travelers, so usually people don't have any problems.
In terms of people taking diving internships here in Thailand we tend to get a fairly even male/female mix.
Also there are many girls living and working on Koh Tao, Thailand so you won't feel left out!
What is the quality of the diving equipment that we receive & is it really all mine to keep at the end of the internship?
It is all brand new and from reputable equipment manufacturers e.g. Aqualung, Scubapro, etc.
Yes - once you finish your gap year / scuba diving internship it's yours to keep.
What if I don't want to get my own equipment can I just rent equipment instead?
Yes you can rent the equipment if you don't want to take the equipment package (some people who are heading off on a Gap Year for example and come here first to take the Divemaster Internship, but then don't plan to work as a Divemaster or dive again during their Gap Year may not want to carry it around with them or post it home) then you can rent equipment whilst taking the Divemaster course for 6,000 baht per month. Whilst you are taking the recreational courses, ie the Open Water, Advanced Open Water and Rescue Diver courses the equipment rental is included'for free. Its just once you start the professional level courses where people are expected to have their own equipment or paý to rent it.
If you only want to get part of the equipment package then providing that you get the BCD and Regulator set then we still class this as taking the equipment package as these are the most expensive (and also important ie they keep you alive underwater) bits of the gear and 'so this will also mean that you qualify for the free fun diving for life here at DJL Koh Tao.
Do I have to undertake a medical examination? How fit do I need to be for the gap year / scuba diving internship?
At the end of your courses, to be signed off as a PADI Divemaster you do need a dive medical.
But don't worry it's quick and easy [costs only around 150 baht]. You can do it here on Koh Tao.
You need to have basic general fitness to enjoy the internship, but don't need to be an athelete. Obviously you can't take part if you have any serious medical conditions e.g. bronchitis, lung disease, pneumothorax, drug abuse heart disease etc. If your not sure, check with your doctor. If you would like to check through the basic PADI medical form that you are required to take Discover Scuba Dives or the Open Water course then just contact us and we can send you a copy of this to check through and if there is anythnig that looks as though it could cause problems then you can just take the copy of of the form along to your doctor to sign off that you are medically fit to dive.
What vaccinations do I need? Is there a risk of malaria on Koh Tao?
Again, best to get in touch with your doctor. In general you'll need the typical vaccinations for travelling.
There is no malaria here so there's no need to take malaria tablets, however people do get Dengue fever here and so it's well worth using mosquito repellant whilst you are here, also to avoid the annoying scratchy bites.
What is banking like on Koh Tao - are there ATMs? What's the best way to bring money?
There are lots of ATMs and a few bank plus money exchanges on Koh Tao, so access to money isn't generally a problem and in emergencies there is also Western Union although this is quite an expensive option.
Check out what charges you'll incur with your bank - if you plan to use either the ATM's or travellers cheques.
For large payments [i.e. the internship fee] it's usually most economical to make a direct bank transfer as even credit card payments have a 3% bank charge on them. So it's a good idea to set up internet banking and ensure that you can make international transfers before you come over. Also it's worth letting your bank know that you will be coming to Thailand as otherwise they do often freeze your ATM and credit cards when you use them in Thailand if you haven't notified them in advance and still sometimes they do this even when you have so ensure you take note of the number of their international help line number for if you have any problems (this is usually printed on the back of the card and if not is sure to be listed on their website).
What if for some reason I'm unable to complete the diving internship?
We'll work out what you have completed from the internship and work out how many dives it is that you have completed and recaculate your bill based on that, as unfortunately when you aren't taking the Divemaster Internship or course then your unlimited fun dives are no longer free as we need to pay our expenses too.
You can also arrange to come back at a later date to complete the rest of the internship.
Everything is straightforward, plus we have experienced, competent instructors so are confident that you'll have no problem proceeding through the diving courses.
What are the opportunities for paid work once I qualify as a PADI Divemaster at the end of the internship?
Koh Tao is a very busy diving destination, so there are always lots of employment opportunities coming up - you just need to apply yourself. As people do tend to only work as a Divemaster here for a fairly short period of time before they carry on either with their travels to go and work in other locations or because they carry on to become an Instructor Divemaster positions do come up regularily. We ourselves do always look to recruit from people we have trained ourselves and we are in a fortunate position being a PADI Career Development Centre to be able see how people progress right through their training with us. Many people we have trained do also work for other dive schools here on the island as well as at dive centres all over the world. Our Instructors running the Divemaster program will also show you how to create a Diving CV as well as show you some of the different resources available to you to help you find positions that are available.
You won't get rich working as a Divemaster, but if you work full time should be able to afford basic living expenses [and will have a great time].
Another option is to check out our Underwater Videography Internship Add On - this is a paid scuba diving internship - you get 500 baht for each DVD that you produce & sell. Again, if you apply yourself you can do well from this.
Do I need to arrange travel insurance? Does DJL Diving have a policy to cover scuba diving?
DJL has a Public Liability Insurance policy with AIG Insurance (Thailand) Public Company Limited and we are also a member of the SSS Recompression Chamber in Koh Samui.
If you suffer a serious injury which requires recompression treatment [extremely unlikely], you'll be evacuated to Koh Samui. For this a percentage of your treatment is covered by the shop's SSS membership - then if for any reason our Public Liability Insurance Policy wouldn't cover your treatment then either you or your own insurance would have to pay the remainder.
It's prudent to get normal travel insurance [i.e. for personal belonging, sickness, cancelled flights etc]. So we advise trying to get one which covers normal scuba diving to 18 or 30 metres or if you are thinking of perhaps taking a Deep Specialty course or some Tech courses down to 40 meters. We can recommend World Nomads, Dan Europe or Dive Assure for this, the World Nomads Policies you can adjust to cover pretty much whatever you want which is handy if you are planning to come and take the Divemaster Internship as part of a traveling Gap Year.
If there's something you think we missed out or have any further questions contact us.
Accommodation for Internships
For people who are coming to undertake internships with us there are a there are two main places we use to put people in if we arrange your accommodation, however you do also have to option to arrange your own accommodation.
CJ's Guesthouse "The Tree House"
This is the closest of the three to the dive school and is less than 5mins walk away. Here you will have your own room with fan, TV, fridge and shared bathroom facilities and there is also a balcony which overlooks the street. Below is a convenience store where you can get almost anything from a curry to a mo-ped!
P'Deang's is about 10mins walk away from the dive school and here again you will have your own bedroom with fan, you will have a shared living room with cable TV, shared bathroom and kitchen with 2 -3 other peoplea