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“Perfect resort for diving”

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Ban's Diving Resort
Ranked #7 of 50 Hotels in Koh Tao
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 1 April 2012

We recently stayed at Bans whilst i did my open water course. My instructor Gordon was brilliant and instantly makes you feel at ease in the water.

We stayed in the garden rooms which were discounted whilst i was doing my course however we found the music from the local bars to be very noisy. As soon as we mentioned this at reception they were extremely helpful and moved us to a more expensive room up on the hills for no extra charge. the view from this room was amazing. i would recommend hiring a quad bike if you stay in these rooms though as its quite a long steep walk.

we rented a quad bike locally very cheaply and made the most of exploring the whole island. Koh Tao is stunning especially if you get away from the resorts and really see it the way it naturally is

  • Stayed: March 2012
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Thank ChelleP_84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,061 - 1,067 of 2,327 reviews

Reviewed 31 March 2012

Stayed here for 3 nights. The hotel is split in 2. One part is on the hillside which overlooks Sairee Beach but heed the word hillside. Depending on where you are it could take 15 mins to walk to Sairee Beach and some rooms are quite high up with a lot of steps.

The lower part of the hotel is down by the main walkway along Sairee beach. Bans really make an effort to maintain the 'jungle esque' area which is impressive (see photos) this is where we stayed. Apart from the occasional large bug or two the only problem here was Fishbowl late bar. Bans operate one of the most popular night spots on the island. So 7 nights a week music is blasted along with upto 200 partygoers. This was ideal when you were out for the night but when getting up early to go diving and you need to sleep by 2am. Not a chance!

Overall rooms were good. Bathroom area is a wet room with poor shower. Good sized living area. No breakfast included as the Fishbowl serves food from early on.

There are 2 pools. One in the lower area. One in the hillside area. As the name suggests, Bans is a diving hotel. Every day there are people using the lower pool for diving lessons and you cant use it. The hillside pool is the same but there is still space to use the pool. The gardens around the hillside pool as well as the actual pool are very nice.

  • Stayed: March 2012
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Thank johnstonj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 March 2012

The rooms were comfortable and clean - we stayed at the new building uphill, which was a bit far from the beach but u get used to it. The course was also fine, professional and effective. My final experience with the hotel service was very negative, though. I bought a boat-train ticket to BKK from the reception, which is part of the service they provide and collect comission for.
The girl from the reception sold me the ticket, given the time of my internatioinal flight from BKK and she assured me that i'll be on time. I asked several times if delays are common and was told that i shouldn't worry. As u can imagine, it was not OK anf if i listened to the advice not to worry, i would definitely miss my flight. I had a terrible experience, stressful and painful (sitting night train) and i do blame the Ban's staff on that and not the Thai Railways.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank mar i
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 March 2012

I originally went to Ban's for my open water course in 2009, based on lonely planet reviews. I returned in March 2012 to do my advanced open water and nitrox cert based on previous experience. I quickly learned that as a returning student there was a plethora of discounts available to me for future courses and fun dives even after all that time. The hotel staff were extremely helpful and the quality of dive instruction was simply amazing. They'll even take for a drink at the end of the day and introduce you to other students and instructors. If you have a chance ask for Jaffa as a dive instructor. Solid guy and he could navigate the dive sites there blindfolded if he ever needed to. He really takes care of his students both in the water, and afterwards if you need help with anything.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled solo
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Thank Daniel E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2012

Let's be quite fair - you get what is on the label. The prices are very reasonable (especially the free accommodation if you are taking a dive course!). The dive courses looked very cheap to me as well - about the same price as Philippines. The staff are professional & very friendly/helpful. The rooms are basic and clean. Now the gripes. I think it's great for courses - but we went there as experienced fun divers, & found ourselves in a bit of a 'sausage factory'. I won't tell you how awful our first dive was, with a Japanese DM who treated us like first-dive students, even though she knew our experience level. We had all our camera gear, & warned her we were doing macro - but she wouldn't let us stop underwater for more than 10 secs, without banging her tank & waving us on! At 35 mins into the dive, with over 100 bar left, and at only 14m, she signed us to ascend & carry out our safety stops. This definately wasn't fun diving! To give the Dive Centre it's due, once we explained the problem, they bent over backwards to make it work for us. We were let loose on our own, after a young DM had shadowed us on 2 dives, & seen us both come up after 55 mins with 100 bar left, to his empty tank. After that, it was great, & they couldn't do enough for us. But the downside was the poor dive sites, the same every day. Ideal for Open Water qualifiers or Advanced courses, but a bit too crowded for us, with no variety. And frankly, the quality was very poor compared with the rest of Asia (we normally dive Philippines, Borneo & Palau). It may be that other dive sites around the island were better - we just didn't go there! I normally take 100 or so photos per dive - on most dives at Koh Tao I didn't even switch my camera on. There was just no macro wildlife at all - no shrimps, crabs, nudibranchs, sea horse ie all the usual small stuff. Yes, there were plenty of reef fish to be seen, but not as much variety as we would expect. Frankly, the reefs we dived did not seem too healthy to us.
In summary, I would say that if it's the first time you've dived in Asia, if you want to party a lot, or if you want to do courses - Ban's is probably the place to go. If you're an experienced diver, probably not.
Positives: Professional, cheapish, friendly, helpful, clean. Great for courses. Good for partying all night.
Negatives: Not really for fun divers. Nitrox has to be ordered the day before & 'bought in' ( a bit pricey). The restaurant is a bit expensive, and unlike the rest of the resort, the service is truly appalling - it is staffed by pimply boys who spend their time texting, or re-arranging their weird hair styles. One even tried to take my order with a mouth full of food, then found he couldn't even talk!

Room Tip: Don't accept one by the pool - too noisy!
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank RobertScuba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 March 2012

Me and my husband chose ban's as it is the most famous diving school in thailand. we had our open water diving courses there. as for school and instructors, i give it 5 stars (the instructors had a lot of patience with me as i had problems with my ears and could not managed to finish the course- I practically had an instructor for my own ...:) )
As for the resort, is very large and has a large palette of accomodations.
-the fan rooms are in a 2 storey building and do not have private bathroom - these are free if you complete the diving courses there
- the AC rooms - these are across the fan rooms in similar 2 storey building. you have to pay extra for them when on courses (we paid 600THB), had private bathroom, but the rooms smelled all the time (cheesy smell) - i think it was the mattress or the furniture....rooms otherwise are ok, they look clean, although the bedsheets look worn out. The bathroom is basic and the tiles with some mold but not very dirty. with that smell all the time, i could not feel very comfortable there.
- other deluxe rooms - there were other buildings with rooms that looked from outside more luxurious (they had large glass-doors). probably more pricy.

the beach and water is ok , the bar there is very crowded with divers and nice atmosphere with fireshows and live music band.
they provide taxi service for free to/from peer.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank bmihaela
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2012

We went to Ban's based on good reviews from our friends who had done the Open Water Course. We opted for the same - we stayed in the air con rooms which were pretty basic, but comfortable and private. We had a balcony. In the evenings there were quite a lot of loud people around either celebrating getting their certifications or just being annoying. Our instructor was very thorough, professional and reliable. I was really nervous, but he was really good patient and helped if you couldn't understand (if not more than once!). The course was harder than I thought, but it was very worthwhile. I can agree, however, with sentiments about the Reception staff, and probably the restaurant staff too - not very friendly and there to be of service.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank travellingcee8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ban's Diving Resort

Address: | Sairee beach, Koh Tao 84360, Thailand
Region: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Koh Tao
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Koh Tao
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Koh Tao
#5 Best Value Hotel in Koh Tao
Price Range: £31 - £68 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Ban's Diving Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 200
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Owned and operated by a local family Ban’s Diving Resort has a very special family oriented hospitality that keeps customers coming back year after year. Within our resort are all the amenities needed to make your holiday on Koh Tao both comfortable and fun. Our facilities include a dive center, beach front restaurant, Darawan Restaurant, spa and hair salon, 24 hour mini mart, 4 swimming pools, and the Fish Bowl bar. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ban`s Diving Hotel Koh Tao
Bans Diving Hotel
Bans Diving Ko Tao

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