where is the best snorkeling along Thailand's West Coast?
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Apr 13, 2009 12:48 PM Last Post By: cjm1982
Jan 27, 2008 9:29 PM
where is the best snorkeling along Thailand's West Coast?We will be in Krabi and further south, not in Phuket.
Where is the best snorkeling along Thailand's West Coast?
is there any that is beach access?
we want to go from the beach as well as by boat.
Does anyone recommend the Hat Jao Mai National Marine Park
or the Ko Tao National Marine Park?
(we're also on a tight budget)
Jan 27, 2008 9:44 PM
1We've been to Thailand 6 times and our
favourite island is Ko Lipe in Ko Tao marine
Check our story at
Ko Lipe, Thailand
Realistically I don't think snorkling off the shore
is that great anywhere in Thailand, better join
a snorkeling trip or hire your own longtail boat.
Having said that, it is still okay on Lipe as long
as you avoid the low tide.
Have a good trip,
Anyone interested in writing for my independent
travel site please read Submit travel story or send me a pm.
Jan 27, 2008 9:57 PM
2I'm kind of a snorkling enthusiast and was just there in late dec and early jan and did several snorkling trips. Here is a recap:
Ao Nang/Krabi Area: Did a day trip to Hong Island and several other area islands. Spectacular scenery, lots of crowds...snorkling was terrible. No visibility. I did not do the local "four island tour" of the closest area islands (Chicken Island, etc.). No snorkling off the beach that I heard of.
Phi Phi: Right off the end tip of Long Beach (below the Phi Phi Hill Resort) is some great snorkling. Saw several sharks around the rocks 100-150 yards offshore. During mid day in the high season the area is over run with day trip speed boats, but great early in the morning. I also did a day trip to the area islands...Bamboo Island was beautiful with good snorkling, monkey beach was overrun with other boats and tourists, every place we went on Phi Phi Leh was overrun with boats and tourists. The famous Maya Bay was literally jammed with over 20 speedboats and 20 longtails, the beach covered with tourists...couldn't wait to leave. If you are going to snorkle around Phi Phi I would recommend chartering your own longtail and hitting the hot spots early or late in the day. During primetime it's all mobbed. Also, if you're on a budget you can't beat the Phi Phi Hill Resort...non-AC bungalows for 650/700 bht in an unbelievable setting. Great restaurant, incredible setting, cheap food.
Similan Islands: Did a day trip out of Phuket. Great scenery, way too many other boats and tourists. Snorkling was disappointing. Again, probably nice if you can avoid the crowds. The well worn tourist trail I saw wasn't worth the effort.
Ko Lipe/Tarutao Marine National park: For me, the jackpot. Far south and takes effort to get to, but hands down the best snorkling I saw in Thailand. The marine park is paradise with lots of gorgeous beaches/islands and few other boats and tourists to have to share with (probably won't be that way for too much longer). There is supposed to be decent snorkling off the beaches in Ko Lipe as well, I didn't have time to explore though. Ko Lipe is a nice combo of remote and quiet, with plenty of bungalows/restaurants/etc. to keep you occupied. It's the only place in Thailand I would go out of my way to return to (not that I'm trashing the other places..Krabi and Phi Phi are beautiful...just too "touristy" for my taste)
Hope this helps.
Jan 27, 2008 10:04 PM
Jan 28, 2008 5:17 AM
4It's north, not South, but we have found the Surin Island's to have the best and most interesting snorkeling. It's not great on the tours arranged by hotels, but either on your own, or in small groups. Then you get to see some incredible places and stay ON the islands.
Khao Lak Diving
Jan 28, 2008 10:58 PM
5The best snorkeling off a beach i have done is on Laoliang Island. The best snorkeling period is on Ko Rok. easy to get there from either Ko Lanta or Ko Ngai. Then the Taratao/Lipe is a good call. just hop on the Tiger Line ferry and check out KO Ngai with a day trip to Ko Rok; then take the ferrry to Laoliang for a few days. then hop on the ferry again for lipe. never needing to travel on the mainland.
Apr 13, 2009 12:48 PM
6I used this thread to help plan my trip, so just thought I'd add my thoughts. My girlfriend and I are both snorkeling enthusiasts and just visited Thailand in Jan/Feb.
1. Ko Lipe: Snorkeling is not good off the beach except for around the 2 small islands (don't remember the names) right off the beach. The tiny islands make a great circumsnorkel with clear water and good snorkeling. Like others have said, Ko Lipe has by far the best value for snorkeling trips in Thailand. The price is right and the snorkeling is great by Thailand standards. Ko Lipe is the best place on the West Coast for snorkeling that we went to. We loved Ko Lipe.....some people think it is starting to get overcrowded but we found it to be the best mix of restaurants and activities while still feeling secluded. It is easy to find your own private stretch of beautiful beach.
2. Ko Kradan: The best snorkeling right off the beach on the West Coast. Probably better than off the beach in Ko Lipe. However, the longboat mafia and seclusion means very little options for snorkeling trips from the island. We couldn't even go 1/2 km across the water to Emerald Cave without paying a ridiculous price to the longboat mafia, which seemed to be run by the very unlikeable guys at Andaman Resort. That being said, we loved Ko Kradan. You feel truly secluded on the island, which is beautiful. We stayed at one of the small, new bungalow resorts which provide welcome competition to the horrible Andaman Resort without feeling like an intrusion to the beach. A new luxury resort may soon bring upscale guests, though. Go to Ko Kradan now!! Regarding the snorkeling, the water was not crystal clear since it was right off the beach but the coral was beautiful and we even saw a giant moray!
3. Ko Lanta: No snorkeling off the beach that we knew of. The snorkeling trips were average price and average quality. Lanta is a cool place, though. We would definately return.
4. Ko Phi Phi: Forget Phi Phi unless you are only going to Long Beach and Phi Phi Hill Resort, as mentioned above. We saw a few sharks off of Long Beach, but the water was so unclear you could hardly see them. Snorkeling trips are crowded and below average. The beauty of Phi Phi in general is overrated when compared to the Trang islands. The town and main beach are horrible. I will probably never go back to Phi Phi, although we did enjoy Hill Resort.
5. Phuket & Krabi: We didn't stay because we hated them the moment we arrived. I imagine the Similan Islands have great snorkeling, but I wouldn't even want to try around Phuket. Although we only stayed in Phi Phi, Phuket, and Krabi a total of 3 days, even that was too much and we wish we would have stayed longer elsewhere.
6. Ko Tao: On the East Coast, but the best snorkeling in Thailand by miles! In almost every location around the island the water is crystal clear with amazing coral and marine life. You could spend days just snorkeling right off the beach around the island. The snorkeling tours are higher priced than Ko Lipe but worth it. The island in general is beautiful and very cool. There are alot of restaurants, resorts, etc. but it is still uncrowded compared to Phi Phi, Phuket, and Krabi. We rented a 4-wheeler and had a blast. We decided to try diving and are now set on getting our PADI certification, it was awesome! I would highly recommed it.
In summary: For a great snorkeling trip to Thailand, visit Ko Lipe, Ko Kradan, and Ko Toa!! Skip Phi Phi, Phuket, and Krabi.
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