Thailand is a special destination for snorkeling with over 3 000 kilometers of coastline. There is the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea, the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean. There is a wide variety of snorkeling spots and access to extraordinary underwater biodiversity.
On the Gulf of Thailand side,
many islands are ideal for snorkeling. Ko Chang, Ko Samui, Ko Phangan, but above all Ko Tao (a real Mecca for diving) are all great options. For truly exceptional sessions, however, you should head to the Angthong National Marine Park and its 42 island paradises, bathed in turquoise waters.
In the Andaman Sea,
the famous Phi Phi islands or the Tarutao National Marine Park are top-class destinations. But the real snorkeling must in Thailand is the Similan Islands, with its nine islands that have been listed as a natural reserve since 1982.
Ao Mae Yai Bay, Koh Surin Nuea
The well-known Surin Islands in the Andaman Sea are home to some of the best dive sites in the world. Under the protection of the Mu Koh Surin Marine National Park, the beaches and surrounding coastlines remain untouched, with an abundance of wildlife both in and out of the water. Though many of the bays found on the Surin Islands are perfect for snorkeling, one of the most revered of them all is Ao Mae Yai Bay, found on the island of Koh Surin Nuea.
Koh Nang Yuan consists of three different islands found just off the northeast tip of Koh Tao. The islands are connected to the popular island. The coral reef here, made up of both soft and hard coral, is protected and relatively shallow, making it a great location for snorkeling. There is an entrance fee to the island as it is privately owned, but it is a small price to pay to explore and snorkel in some of the most stunning, sparkling water in the Gulf of Thailand.
Thailand is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Due to the very high impact of tourists, the coral reefs are deteriorating rapidly, despite the existence of 26 National Marine Parks. Many diving sites have temporarily been closed by the authorities over the past few years. Therefore, please be concerned to not break or damage coral reefs when snorkeling.
What to Expect
During peak seasons, Thailand’s clear waters will grant the snorkeler up to 100 feet of visibility. The sea is consistently warm year-round. Make sure to pack an underwater camera and capture close-ups of the abundant marine life and mystical coral. If you venture onto a boat during a region’s off-season, bring motion sickness pills.