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Ban's Diving Resort
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Reviews (2,607)
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Reviewed December 31, 2013 via mobile

We stayed twice at Ban's: at the end of 2011 and 2013. Firstly when we did our open water course and recently when came just to rest in Koh Tao. So we feel we have a good overview of the range of services and accommodation offered by the biggest diving resort in the world (as apparently they are).

To start with the Overall conclusion, we think Ban's keeps consistently high standard in its class across the board. It seems to have become an institution capable of catering for needs of a diverse audience not only interested in diving but also for those considering a nice place to stay in Koh Tao and taking diving as an option (which is difficult not to given the number of divers practising around). However, bear in mind that this resort won't suit someone who is just looking for a quiet time sunbathing around the pool due to divers (who are superfriendly).

Despite what some may say against Ban's and surely there will be people who had some bad experience we think Ban's deserves 4 out of 5 rating.

Below is the breakdown of what contributed to that score.

1. Diving courses - Good

Pros:
- Ban's offers a full range of courses from open water to specialist pro
- instructors are good and have a strong network within Ban's. All specialities covered
- availability of standard PADI courses is very much immediate
- consistent quality of courses
- if taking a course basic accommodation comes free or you get money off deluxe rooms (20%)
- competitive pricing
- well organised diving trips, minimum hassle

Cons:
- sometimes feels like a factory and you may be in a large group: consider asking for own instructor for you as a couple or smaller group. They will do it for you.
- some diving sites repetitive and used for training. Fun dives may be found boring. However, you can ask your divemaster to show you some surprises and they will do so.
- instructors sometimes a bit weary (but would always cheer up in the bar after classes ;)). Also you can ask to change yours.

2. Basic accommodation - Good

Pros:
- clean rooms
- hot showers
- close to the main beach

Cons:
- can get noisy at night
- not well suited for a romantic break

3. Premium and deluxe rooms on the hill - Very Good

Thi tear We stayed in one of the deluxe suites over Darawan restaurant with a view on the bay and loved it.

Pros:
- clean rooms and suites
- cleaned and towels changed every day
- spectacular view on a beautiful garden and the bay
- quiet and a good setting for a romantic stay but without moving too far
- close to Sairee beach: 5 minutes
- close to swimming pool

Cons:
- rooms can be a bit 'acoustic' especially if you get noisy neighbours
- a little bit pricey, especially in high season (but we found them competitive compared to the others on Sairee)

4. Overall service - would do with some improvement

Pros:
- they can do a lot fo you - just ask
- know their stuff and take care of you
- the Lady Owner sits in the main reception and will always make sure any escalated problem is solved
- rules are clearly set up so you know what to expect in relation to quality and pricing.

Cons:
- sometimes you feel they want to deal with you fast and come across a bit lax showing no real interest in you (asking for something a girl in main reception who does facebook at the same time on her iphone is not particularly inviting)

5. Beach bar and restaurant - Good

Pros:
- fast service
- good quality


Cons:
- not really

6. Parties at the beach bar .. - Great ;))

Just pros here:
- Ban's parties on the beach are great - we spent New Years eve 2011/12 and last Xmas
- friendly atmosphere
- djs
- opportunity to hang out with fellow divers
- opportunity to get together with instructors and staff!


Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
1  Thank WK13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2013

Went to Ko Tao at the recommendation of a friend. Decided to go with only two goals: become a dive instructor and see a whale shark. On my second day of diving I won the virtual lottery and found a whale shark! Upon arriving on Ko Tao, I visited a handful of shops and spoke with their course directors about their IDC (instructor development course) programs. As course directors they were all professional and friendly as one would expect. Then I went to Ban's and spoke with Marcel and within 30 seconds I was sold! I knew I wanted to learn from this man. I didn't know it at the time but was/is another course director named Guillaume. They have opposite styles of sorts which works out really well as it gives you options with how you want your teaching style to be. In every lesson (of which there are many) Marcel's passion for his work is obvious and it actually makes you want to learn. Guillaume is more practical yet always manages to sneak in clever jokes. About the program itself, its called a "development course" as you will hear. And it does just that! I went from being totally unsure of myself to very confident by the end of the course. 100% recommend Ban's for IDC or any level dive instruction!

Stayed: October 2013, traveled solo
Thank TheFarron
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 20, 2013

Everything about this place was terrible-the room was ugly and smelled like it wasn't cleaned for 10 years, the stuff highly unpleasant and not helping, the food was really bad (the only time during the whole trip in Thailand!), no water pressure in the shower at all, we couldn't take a shower after the see, really overpriced (we stayed in a very nice place for 3 nights after that 4 minutes walk from there and we paid less than half price!
Please look at the real pictures and not the pictures they put: it's nothing to have in common!

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Michael A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 11, 2013

Heard a lot of positive feedback about ban's diving school. When I got to Koch Tao, I found out it was a diving resort. The basic room that you get when you sign up for a course is not that good. No hot water. I upgraded to a deluxe room which was fantastic, and the price was fine.
Did the open water and advanced courses with David Cohen, who is a really really good instructor, and made the course easy and safe. Did a nitrox course with Becky who was also really good!
Had a lot of fun on koh Tao in ban's overall. Will come back again maybe to do divemaster.

  • Stayed: December 2013
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2  Thank Jablonx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2013

This is my third time in Kho Tao and we always stay here. This was my first time in a pool hotel room, which whilst a great location in the heart of town is a bit too near the nightclub that stays open 3-4am so very noisy! Would recommend asking for a room in the top pice of hotel that is a recent new addition if you are not hear to party hard!

As for diving, that's really why you are staying at this island and this place is the best. I am advanced but did a refresher here after some bad diving experiences and the morning course in the swimming pool was brilliant and well done.

Alas the diving this dec has not been great, poor visibility and not not much to see, but now is not the greatest time to dive here! Still lots of fun though! Bans have biggest dive boats with free tea, coffee and biscuits. Good quality equipment and some of the best teachers out there! In my refresher, covered things I did not learn first time around, so very comprehensive!

Would highly recommend!

Room Tip: Choose a room in the new complex or up the hill, if you want to be away from nightclub music!
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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1  Thank Louiza D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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