On the northern and southern Gulf Coast and the Andaman Coast, there are over 500 inhabited and uninhabited islands of Thailand. Some of them are good for snorkeling. Travel specialist Franziska describes which of our TOP 5 islands for snorkeling in Thailand are…
Snorkeling in Thailand:
1. Koh Tao
This rocky island, only 21 square kilometers in size, is located approximately 70 kilometers from Chumphon and approximately 40 kilometers north of Koh Phan Gan off the southeast coast of Thailand. Especially as a beginner, you are right on Koh Tao. Over 40 diving schools offer dives and the equipment. The most beautiful places for diving are the Sail Rock, the Chumphon Pinnacle, and the Green Rock, where you can see kingfish, colorful sea anemones, rays, and, with a little luck, whale sharks.
But even if you are a snorkeler, there is a lot to discover here. The best snorkeling spots are Laem Thian in the east, the calm rocky coast at Hin Wong, at Light House Point, and in front of Shark Island, where you can admire small sharks, mussels, and countless fish.
When you’ve had enough of the underwater world of Koh Tao, hiking through the jungle in the hinterland might be an alternative for you, or for example, a trip to the peaks of the island which are about 300 meters high.
2. Koh Hai
Koh Hai, also called Koh Ngai, is only 5 square kilometers big. Covered with hills and forests and coconut plantations on the coast, it is on the Andaman coast near to the Malaysian border. On the east side of the island, there is a 2 km long, beautiful sandy beach, which is almost completely interspersed with coral rock. You can usually snorkel directly from the beach. Those who dive would like to find beautiful places near the island. In most cases, you go out by boat (about 20 minutes). You can also go on excursions to other islands or to the mainland, for example, to Koh Mook, Koh Rok, or Koh Kradan. On Koh Hai, you can come to rest and relax undisturbed, because apart from a small diving school there is only the beach, palm trees, and forest.
3. Koh Yao
Koh Yao is in Phan Gan Bay and comprises 2 small islands: Koh Yao Yai, the larger, southern island, and Koh Yao Noi, the smaller, northern sister island. The archipelago belongs to the Ao Phan Nang Marine National Park. The pearls grow in the wide bay to the west of Koh Yao Yai. The two islands encompass 137 square kilometers of forest, beaches, and rocky headlands. Many Thais still live on Koh Yao Yai, who earn their living from rubber and palm oil plantations. Koh Yao Yai is the ideal starting point to get to the surrounding islands, e.g. to the bounty island Koh Hong, where you can go snorkeling. Otherwise, you can go to the beaches and relax on Koh Yao Yai. You can also take a leisurely stroll through the village where you can usually meet many friendly Thais.
4. Koh Phi Phi
The lively island of Koh Phi Phi is also always worth a visit. It comprises two wildly jagged rocky parts (Koh Phi Phi Leh and Koh Phi Phi Don), overgrown with jungle and coconut palms, connected by a flat land bridge, which is surrounded on both sides by a semicircular snow-white sandy bay and is also on the Andaman coast. Danny Boyle’s film “The Beach” was shot in Maya Bay near Koh Phi Phi in 2000, which is why up to 400,000 tourists come to Koh Phi Phi every year. For this reason, the island is now terribly busy.
But from here you can also get to many beautiful snorkeling spots, for example, Long Beach (also called Hat Yao), Lo Ba Kao Bay, or the Bamboo Islands, where there are many coral reefs and colorful fish to discover. Especially beautiful on Koh Phi Phi are the many limestone cliffs, which are ideal for climbing and attract athletes from all over the world.
5. Similan Islands
Another highlight is the Similan Islands, a group of nine uninhabited islands. They are also in the Andaman Sea, about 75 kilometers from the mainland. The Similan Islands are part of the Mu Ko Similan Marine National Park, which is one of the most beautiful snorkeling and diving areas in the world. Experienced scuba divers can enjoy the diverse underwater landscapes at depths of 12-40 meters. You can expect visibility of 25 meters.
The Similans are also an attraction for snorkelers. The coral gardens and reefs start at 2 meters deep but mostly go up to 9 meters deep. From Khao Lak and Phuket excursions to the Similan Islands are offered, where you can spend the night in tents on the otherwise uninhabited islands and relax from the hectic city bustle and become one with nature.