Koh Tao is known to have some of the best snorkelling spots in Thailand and Southeast Asia. Some of these snorkelling places can be easily reached by walking, hiking, or scooter but for some, you will need to take a taxi boat.
The best way to explore the whole island is by booking an around-the-island snorkelling trip and seeing a bit of everything. You can choose between a shared boat which costs about 800 Baht per person, or a private longtail boat for about 2.400 Baht. Longtail boats can be hired anywhere from Saire Beach and you don’t have to book in advance!
Here are the best places for snorkelling around Koh Tao:
Tanote Bay Koh Tao
Tanote Bay Koh Tao has something for everyone – a beautiful white sand beach with good snorkelling and diving possibilities! Tanote Beach is located on the east coast of Koh Tao, is very well developed, and it is like the Sairee Beach of the East Coast. One downside of the beach is that the road down to the beach is crazily steep!
The reef is absolutely beautiful and starts almost immediately off the shoreline. This is the place to go if you want to do some snorkelling without worrying about seeing many other people. The reef slopes from around 2 meters below sea level to around 18 meters.
Marine Life: Colourful reef fish, pufferfish, angelfish, butterfly fish, groupers, anemone fish, blue spotted ribbontail stingrays, and corals.
Aow Leuk Koh Tao
Aow Leuk beach is very easy to reach by scooter and it is actually one of my favourite beaches in Koh Tao! A lot easier to reach. This beach is private but if you consume something like Coke or beer, you will get a sunbed for free! Aow Leuk is one of the most popular sites for snorkelling – I saw a baby shark within the first 5 minutes of snorkelling! Don’t worry – the adult sharks are found further out, about 400-500 metres from the beach, off the north shore.
There are amazing reefs on both sides of the bay with amazing fish life, such as butterflyfish, monocle breams, nudibranchs, Jenkins rays, saddleback clownfish, and sometimes even lionfish.
Mango Bay is one of the most beautiful sceneries of Koh Tao! Mango Bay is a small beach with a beautiful reef. The first time we tried to reach the beach was by scooter – and it was a very BAD Idea! The road is awful and steep, and afterwards, you have to pay 100 BHT per person to go down to the beach. So, the second time we took a water taxi – much easier and as far as I can remember, we didn’t pay an entry of 100 BHT.
Mango Bay is very shallow, secluded, and pretty big – it is one of the best places to go snorkelling! So much fish arts and the visibility was great!
Marine Life: Stunning reef fish, coral nurseries, and baby black-tip reef sharks.
Shark Bay, or Haadtien Beach, is located in the southeastern part of Koh Tao and is a great spot for underwater world lovers. Shark Bay is not just a name – here you can see many Blacktip Reef sharks while snorkelling! The blacktip reef sharks are small reef sharks (50cm – 1.4m) that stay very shallow in the bay.
Marine Life: Lots of turtles and sharks.
Laem Tien is a very small rocky beach with crystal clear waters, perfect for snorkelling! The beach is a great spot for cliff jumping and also for scuba divers since they can swim through underwater tunnels!
Depth: 0 – 17 meters
Location: On the east side of Koh Tao
Marine Life: Turtles, stingrays, jacks, triggerfish, corals, etc.
White Rock Koh Tao
White Rock is the place where numerous sting rays and moray eels call their home! What you could also spot here are hawksbill turtles and different kinds of corals. Its location offers some of the best biodiversity around Koh Tao!
Depth: 0 – 24 meters
Location: On the West side of Koh Tao, 10 minutes by boat from Sairee Beach
Marine Life: sea turtles, nudibranchs, blue spotted stingrays, barracuda, angelfish, moray eels, triggerfish, soft and hard corals, butterflyfish, herbivores, etc.
The Japanese Gardens are located on the east side of Koh Nang Yuan and is definitely one of the best snorkelling spots around Koh Tao! The small island is only a 10 minutes taxi boat journey away from Sairee Beach. The reef is stunning! The Japanese Gardens have more biodiversity of coral species than anywhere in the world for an area of this size.
Depth: 5 – 18 meters
Location: Koh Nangyuan
Marine Life: nudibranchs, soft and hard corals, lionfishes, nudibranchs, many small fish corals, etc.
Hin Wong Bay Koh tao
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