My boyfriend and I stayed here for two weeks Jan 2012. We stayed in a Garden View room with air con and a hot shower. The rooms are quite basic but I've stayed in much more basic, we had our own bathroom, hot shower, and air con for cheaper than you'd pay for a fan room with shared bathroom in other parts of Thailand and Malaysia. We booked with the resort directly, I would advise doing this as there are two more sunshine resorts either side if the dive resort with slightly different names so it could get quite confusing. You can contact them directly via their website and their facebook page. We were quoted 800 baht a night when we weren't doing dive courses and 500 baht when one of us was, 400 baht when we both were. These prices will vary depending how busy they are etc but its definitely worth emailing them to see what they can do or just turn up and chance it if you prefer that way of doing things. if you're just turning up go to the dive shop office to ask about accommodation not the little restaurant next door. In the end we did so many courses beyween the two of us that they gave us the room for 500 baht a night for our whole stay, which was really good of them! (Beware there was a 3% fee to pay by card so if you can take the cash with you it might be worth it, it's worth weighing it up against bank charges etc and I'm very sure it isn't the only place on Koh Tao that charges it. I know I've been charged more elsewhere).
As I say, the rooms were basic but clean. Clean sheets and a blanket were provided on arrival and anytime we asked for clean ones. It was my boyfriend rather than me pushing for the air con and hot shower but I have to admit I was very glad of that hot shower after diving some days!! Ssh, don't tell him!
Diving: I'll be honest, the diving off Koh Tao wasn't as good as I was expecting. I learnt in Malaysia last year and didn't realise how spoilt I'd been. I think The reefs may be suffering from a little over diving but it may just be climate change related, i don't know enough about it,. That said, there is plenty to see, especially as it gets later into the season and the visibility improves. We had some really beautiful dives, the water was 27/28 degrees and we even saw a whale shark, amazing! I need to get an underwater camera!
My boyfirend did his Open Water, Advanced Open Water, and Nitrox Speciality whilst we were there and I did my Rescue Diver and Nitrox Speciality. Both our instructors were great. Sunshine is the sister company of Bans on the busier Sairee Beach so if they need to they can bring instructors in from over there. This means that although it's only a small dive school we didn't have to wait to start our courses. My Rescue instructor came over from Bans which was great. As I just mentioned, it is only a small dive school which was why I picked it. Both the courses and the fun dives are usually done in groups no larger than 4 which I think is exactly how it should be when you're learning to breathe underwater! If you prefer the anonimty of large dive schools that churn out Open Water qualifications by the dozen everyday then there are plenty of, very good, schools like this on Koh Tao but if you're after a more personal, intimate, and friendly touch then go to Sunshine.
If you're in any doubt about whether you want to learn to dive then this is the place for you to learn. The small groups mean that nervous first time divers get the attention they need and aren't pushed too hard to progress faster than they want to (a little gentle pushing is necessary!). As one of the most nervous first time divers ever when I learnt last year I know what I'm talking about!! Also if you're taking a course their classroom is outdoors on stilts over the beach, where better to learn?! It would also seem that a lot of the instructors had been there for a few years. I've know of plenty of seasonal places with a high turnover of dive staff so the staff at sunshine obviously enjoy their jobs and the island.
I loved Koh Tao. I think the two hour boat trip involved to reach the island from Koh Samui (if you want to see how the building of an airport can ruin a place go see) has warded off too much development. If you're looking for a Thai island that's still clinging on to the chilled out side of the back packer atmosphere then try Koh Tao. Sunshine is on the quieter of the two main beaches on Koh Tao and I was very glad we picked this one. There are a few bar/restaurants but none playing ridiculously loud music. If you chose a room too close to the small sunshine bar infront of the dive shop (different management) then the music might be a little annoying if you wanted an early night but we were a few bungalows back and it wasn't a problem at all. I've heard much much worse! The little restaurant next to the dive shop (again different management same name) is fine for a quick pad thai at lunch but I wouldn't go any further than that. The man here is possibly the most miserable man in Thailand but it can be quite entertaining if you stay light hearted about it! Go eat at Taraporn along the jetty (good food, beautiful views, friendly staff) or one of the other eateries around the bay. The bars and restaurants are easily reached by taxi.
As a rule I don't go back to places I've already been to, there are just too many places in the world to visit, but I think Sunshine just might be one of those places that drags me back. I met plenty of people there who had gone for two weeks and found they were still there two years later...
- Also Known As:
- Sunshine Divers Hotel Koh Tao