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“Koh tao is j ust amazing.”
Review of Assava Dive Resort

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Assava Dive Resort
Ranked #24 of 153 Specialty Lodging in Koh Tao
Reviewed June 18, 2012

I first went to Thailand when i was 12(5 years ago) travelling with my parents and brother,we heard about a little island called Koh tao, and it seemed like it would be a great place to get away from the hussle and bussle of Bangkok, how right were we. We only planned to stay on Koh Tao a week, we ended up staying there two months, learning to dive, getting to know the locals and exploring the island. You can hire motorbikes, there are a few bars, internet cafes, for a small island there is alot to and explore.

The rooms are nice, clean and cheap. I didn't have a problem when i was there and neither did the rest of my family. they were perfect.
Sunshine divers is a perfect place if you want to learn to dive, they let you learn at your own pace they are very professional and they are all so kind, they are so easy and so helpful.The dive sites were amazing and our instructor Bear who i don't think works there anymore was just so patient and reliable and we had loads of fun with him. Him and my brother would play practical jokes on each other, he would never get angry and he just made our time there. If you want to learn to dive go to Sunshine it is an incredible place with such an amazing atmosphere. After learning to dive when i was 12, i dived a few more times around the world as i got older and have realized i want to have a career in Scuba Diving and i would like to learn at Koh tao with Sunshine.
I had such an incredible experience there the first time, i just can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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Thank chloerstringer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded June 29, 2012

Glad you enjoyed your stay with us at Sunshine Divers
and we hope to see you back again soon.
Natalie Hunt,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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86 - 92 of 158 reviews

Reviewed June 16, 2012

After spending 3 weeks relaxing by Sunshine Divers & 4 days completing our Rescue Course with Sunshine's Course Director Natalie Hunt, my husband and I continued on with our Travels. We had 2 months to explore Northern Thailand & Lao, during this time we 'um-ed' & 'ah-ed' over where we should do our Dive Master Program. After a simple "Pro's & Con's" list (simple as there were no con's) we decided to head back to Koh Tao and back to Sunshine Divers.

The reasons as to while we came back to sunshine and keep coming back is the people. Sunshine's Course Director Natalie Hunt is the most amazing person I have ever had the luck of meeting, her personal style, way of being is so positive and upbeat, she is genuinely friendly & helpful as its in her nature to be so. Nat's energy & enthusiasm, after 15 years of diving & teaching, its just incredible to say the least, to be around people like us who truly fell in love with the underwater environment and wish to do there upmost at preserving it is brilliant.

Sunshine's Tribe... the people who work there seem to be the same people time after time, it shows you how much they enjoy their working environment, its also nice being returning customers and seeing the same faces, they really make you feel like you have a family away from family. We've honestly never felt so welcomed so quickly before & as we make the deciding factor as to where we shall spend our money and time its important for us that the environment/ atmosphere is good and Sunshine had one of the best atmospeheres by far, both during diving activities and also afterwards when relaxing in their hammocks or playing volleyball on the beach with them.

But i'd have to say the overall biggest reason as to why we did our PADI Dive Master program with Sunshine Divers was the 'Unlimited Diving' & 'Flexible Duration Length' during the Dive Master Program that they offer. The fact that we could dive up to 4 times a day with the opportunity for a Night Dive every second night if we wished was brilliant, personally this was perfect for me, it made it really easy for me to balance between assisting on course's, learning valuable skills, enhancing my Safe Diving Practices as well as Fun Diving, for both the Fun & beauty of it but also so i could gain confidence with Navigating, leading fun divers & ID-ing Fish. The fact that we were able to take some months for our PADI Dive Master Training was the overall winning factor for us both. Very few schools (worldwide) offer this, which sets Sunshine Divers aside from all the other Dive schools/ resorts & centers, the flexibility in course length really allows you to fully enhance all aspects of your diving skills, to gain the confidence & experience to continue on with your Professional Diving Career, whether working as a PADI Professional Dive Master or, like us, continuing on to become a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor.

Room Tip: Always check the beds for comfort and bathrooms for cleanliness before excepting- no matter where u...
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  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank JanandSi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 6, 2012

My boyfriend and I set out for Thailand in the beginning of May with no set plan, not a single reservation made, just our packs and an open mind. We fell in love with the miles of mountains draped in canopy forest up north, the sandy white beaches of the south, and the local people. It wasn't until Koh Tao though, that our vision of Thailand changed. With our budget dwindling and a countdown to our final days in the land of Smiles, we jumped aboard a night ferry to the island with a few buddies we met in Ton Sai. What the heck, why not we thought! With absolutely no intention of diving prior to our trip, we figured why not make Koh Tao our final stop before heading back to the states; a place to soak up the last days of sand and sun. We arrived around 6am Saturday morning to find the streets lined with taxis, and a sea of vendors trying their hardest to sell you on local dive shops and accommodations. With our brains barely functioning after an all night teeter-totter ride on the gulf, we escaped the crowds, posted up at a coffee shop and scanned a map to get a better baring of our surroundings. We knew we wanted to avoid the tourist strewn beaches of Sai Rei and decided on Cholok Bay. Shuffling through the dozens of pamplets handed to us, Sunshine Divers looked like it might be worth checking out. We stumbled into the beachfront office half asleep still to be greeted by an adorable Aussie smiling ear to ear named Tamara. We rattled off questions curious what the deal was with this open water course we had heard about. We told her we only had till Tuesday, had already gotten rooms elsewhere, and weren't sure we'd be able to compete the course in time if we did decided to do it. Nat, the manager at sunshine, not only had us going through our course material within the hour, but had us in gear learning the basics in the pool by that afternoon. She was more than friendly, and extremely eager to help.

Being desert dwellers who seek refuge in the snow covered mountains of northern Utah and central Idaho, neither Cody or I ever had any real interest in diving. We like to spend our time thousands of feet above sea level on a more solid form of water. To be honest, the notion of being in open water made both of us a bit uneasy. The first few minutes in the pool with our regulators in mouth was down right uncomfortable. I've never relied on an alternative means of air for breathing. Within 10 minutes of jumping in, our instructor Manuel, had us doing buoyancy drills. I could not have asked for a better instructor to introduce us to this new sport. He was a ton of fun, but still managed to keep everyone in control and relaxed under water. In a situation as extreme as being 18 meters deep in the ocean, you want someone you can rely on. The next two days were spent in local dive sites surrounding the island. The feeling of freedom underwater is unexplainable. There is NOTHING like it! Besides the hundreds of fish, the vibrant coral reef, and sandy bottoms where we mastered under-water backflips, it was a way of seeing Thailand unlike any other. Completely high off the adrenaline rush of diving, we contemplated changing our flights to stay for our advanced certification. I wish we had, but we did end our trip on a unique note. A night dive...Had you told me a year ago that i'd be diving in Thailand I'd have said "Yeah right, no way!", had you told me I'd be following up my open water certification with a night dive under the half moon, I'd have "Yeah right, no way! You're f-in crazy!" We came to Thailand average backpackers, and left divers...and Sunshine is responsible for that! Thank you for opening our eyes to a world we knew existed but never thought to explore! We are already planning our next adventure around diving... :) Thanks to all the staff! (Mani, Tam, Nat, Bastian, and Janice) you guys ROCK!!!!!

Room Tip: We stayed down the street at other accommodations as the inclusive package did not suit our needs fo...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Meredith R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded June 29, 2012

Truly appreciate your feedback, and glad to know our instructors taught you well and you enjoyed the underwater experience. See you back again soon.
Natalie

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 2, 2012

We did our Open Water course here. We went to see many different diving schools, but this was the one we had the best feeling with because of the nice people and great atmosphere. We also liked the fact that the accomodation was included to the price of the diving course! Our instructor Manuel was awesome teacher and we had a lot of fun diving with him! I highly recommend this school; even though there's plenty of diving schools in Koh Tao we found this the best one for us. The location is also good 'cause we didn't want to stay at Sairee beach which is too busy and loud. We preferred the small and cozy beach bar next to the diving school instead. It's also next to the Shark Bay which is amazing for snorkeling.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Henna H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 22, 2012 via mobile

We didn't sleep here, but did or fun dives with them. The diving school has a very relaxed atmosphere and their main thing is to keep everything small and personal. The nice thing is that they can offer this with the service and facilities of a big school as they are affiliated with one of the larger schools on koh Tao.

So if you don't like large classes/groups this is your choice: you get best of both worlds!

  • Stayed: May 2012
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Thank Vincev76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2012

This gem is located on the south end of the Island, in what couldn't be a more perfect location! The beach itself is probably one of the nicest on the islands. Food is great, and plenty of low cost options. Even though this is a bit away from the main hustle and bustle of the sairee beach, it's really not that far at all by motor bike. You could even walk. a friend of mine did, he said it took him about 20 minutes or so. The entire island is pretty tiny but with plenty to do. The rooms are very reasonably priced and have air conditioning and warm water. The bed was the size of my entire bedroom at home, although really firm. The only downside was that they only give you one sheet which is very small compared to the size of the king size bed. It's really hot in Thailand, but most of us like to have a little more on our backs than a sheet that blows away from wind created by the fan. They could probably upgrade the linens. I ended up sleeping without it. I liked that they have free use of the wireless access near the main check in area (basically right on the beach). One of my favorite parts of this resort was the little bar on the beach. a couple of the nights I was there they had sort of an open mic thing going on with a really good performer singing classic rock and some newer songs. It was just so peaceful under the sunset with the waves, and a really mellow crowd. It was just great. If you are there to party, just walk down the beach to a few of the other beach bars. No big clubs here, so don't expect that. Near the hotel, like 5 minute walk, there is a 711 and about 2 or 3 grocery stores, as well as an internet cafe, several travel agents, restaurants and motor bike vendors. It's a great location with lots to do. I wanted to point out Nathalie, who e-mailed with me back and forth for weeks to help me find the right accommodation and dive course. The service is really great! She helped me quite a bit with planning my entire vacation!

Now to the Dive training. This was by FAR way more than I ever expected. The thing I like most about the diving courses here is that you are never in a class with more than 4 people. And I'm not talking about 4 people to an instructor, I'm talking about 4 people per CLASS. Every dive resort claims 4 people to an instructor, but often times you are in classes of 10-15 or more. This place, you are guaranteed a really personal lesson plan with no more than 4 people in a class. Our instructor Michelle was amazing and incredibly patient and kind. We were not rushed through any of the program and encouraged to take our time. I felt leaving really comfortable with what I had learned and wished I would have stayed for the advanced course! My brother, another friend of mine, my roommate and his friend have all at some point taken their dive course at this resort. I cannot recommend it enough, if for even the diving course alone. When I got back to Koh Tao (which I most definitely will), you better believe Sunshine dive resort is where I will be going to advance my diving skills!

Room Tip: Try to get one near the beach and spend the few extra bucks and get yourself A/C. Trust me!
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  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled solo
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Thank TrvlMarMil33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 7, 2012

Not sure what the below reviews are whining about. My wife and I did our open water and stayed here too. Yes there are mosquitoes outside and ants, basic toilet, but this is Thailand and it was really affordable. Our instructor was Allison and Gemma and both were fun, attentive and patient. We loved it so much we stayed an extra day and did two more fun dives. I thought it was well organized and I loved how it was small groups and casual. I would hate the fancier vibe, and being stuffed with loads of other tourists.

Great bar, and Chalok Bay is great.

We moved rooms to be further from the bar as it was a bit noisy but I mean...it's an outdoor bar..

I think they could splurge a little for new mattresses though. They were pretty bad, even for Thailand. But great staff, cheap drinks and good vibes. Maybe the Grannies should stay at Bans to have the More luxury experieice.

Room Tip: Stay back away from the bar.
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank patrickinbc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Assava Dive Resort

Address: Chalok Bann Kao, Koh Tao 84280, Thailand (Formerly Sunshine Divers Resort)
Location: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Koh Tao
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #24 of 153 Specialty Lodging in Koh Tao
Price Range: $20 - $67 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Assava Dive Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 40
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Also Known As:
Sunshine Divers Hotel Koh Tao

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