The Best Places to Snorkel in Thailand

In this article our guest author, Laura Howells takes us snorkelling in Thailand, a fun alternative to diving if you’re on a budget where you can swim with the fishes and pretend you’re starring in The Beach.

When I told people that I was going out to Thailand for a spot of travelling, I think the single piece of advice which I most often received was that I absolutely had to see the marine life. Now my Dad is an avid diver, so he recommended we don some scuba gear and hit the wrecks, but when we got there it soon became apparent that if you’re really travelling on a budget and you’ve got a pretty packed schedule, scuba diving just isn’t an option. Even if you’ve got the 9000 baht (£200) that the scuba training costs, a lot of people , like ourselves, just can’t spare the 3 days of swimming pool training that the courses requires. So we settled for some cheap and cheerful snorkelling, and what a great decision it was!

Boating to Ko Phi Phi Island Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Boating to Ko Phi Phi Island

We went on quite a few snorkelling excursions in Thailand, but my two favourite places were Koh Tao and Ko Phi Phi. The former was booked through our hotel, Asia Diving Resort and cost us only 850 baht (£18). We had transport from the hotel down to the boat, which was very handy and all we had to bring was our sun cream, shades and lovely selves.

Boating to Ko Phi Phi Island Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Boating to Ko Phi Phi Island

We were taken to 5 different snorkelling destinations during the day, the final of which was Nangyuah Island, a gorgeous spot where, if you like, you can climb to the peak of the island and enjoy the incredible views it afforded. As you can imagine, the snorkels we were given weren’t exactly state of the art, but they certainly did the job and other than one of our group accidentally throwing his into the sea and losing it, we had no problems with them at all.  If, like our lot, you haven’t really grown up yet, a big boat with a top deck can be quite a lot of fun, as you get the opportunity to test out your diving skills whenever the boat stops.

Nangyuan island Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Nangyuan island

Once we got into the water we distanced ourselves from the other groups, which was no problem as we were given at least 45 minutes at each destination and lots of room to wander off. The sea life was spectacular in all of the destinations in Koh Tao. We were constantly surrounded by all sorts of brightly coloured, beautiful fish, who were obviously quite used to being around people, as they had no problem swimming up to our outstretched hands.

Snorkelling lesson Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Snorkelling lesson

For those a little anxious about the fish getting too close, you get the added thrill of the staff throwing fish food at you, which results in a good 30 or so fish firing themselves at your body in hope of some grub. I recommend trying to stay at least slightly calm here, as gulping down sea water in a panic really doesn’t make you feel your best. My top tip if you’re going snorkelling on a big boat is to always sit downstairs in the shade. You’re never going to be fully sun creamed when you’re jumping in and out of the water and we learnt, it is far too easy to burn up there.

Ko Phi Phi snorkelling island Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Ko Phi Phi snorkelling island

Our snorkelling trip in Ko Phi Phi was a beautiful sunset tour and was booked through one of the many excursion shops on the island. We paid 400 baht (£10) for a half day trip, which started at midday and finished at sunset. What made this particular tour so great was all of the extras. We were taken to see the monkeys at Monkey Island, to Maya Bay where The Beach was filmed, and to these massive caves inhabited by some pretty hardy Thai people.  Because there were only 10 of us on the boat, the trip was really relaxed and the driver let us stop where and when we wanted.  Although we saw less marine life in Ko Phi Phi compared to some of our other excursions, what we did see was much bigger, brighter or scarier (lots of razorfish) and the quiet spots we visited meant that we were often on our own with a lot of time to explore.

The best piece of advice that I can give anyone thinking of going on a snorkelling trip is to buy one of the waterproof phone cases. If you’ve got a phone with a good camera then bung it in, seal it up and you can take some incredible pictures and videos of your underwater experiences. We brought two and put our iPhones in them and the results were incredible!

Playing in the water Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Playing in the water

bioLaura Howells is part of the Melted Stories travel blog team where she regularly writes about her travel adventures. Aside from exploring the world, Laura has a passion for teaching, reading and music. You can get in touch with Laura on Twitter or Google+.

More tales from Thailand:

Planning a trip to Thailand – what you need to know from Melted Stories
Elephants encounters at Chiang Mai – in Thailand
A culinary trip to Thailand

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

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  • Reply
    Lauren Meshkin
    October 18, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Sounds incredible! I can’t wait to visit Thailand one day. Great tips, thanks for sharing!

    Happy travels 🙂
    Lauren Meshkin´s last blog post ..My 5 favorite places to enjoy Autumn in London!

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      October 18, 2013 at 1:09 pm

      @Lauren Thanks, so please you enjoyed the guest post – I wouldn’t mind being off snokeling somewhere hot just now

  • Reply
    October 19, 2013 at 7:29 am

    I really like the cheap alternative to diving. Almost as good, and a whole lot cheaper. Though the real budget travelers can just hold their breath for a bit…
    SnarkyNomad´s last blog post ..Why the Seven Wonders of the World are totally stupid

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      October 19, 2013 at 1:27 pm

      @Snarky Nomad – yes it seems you can have just as much fun if not more when you’re snorkelling

  • Reply
    October 22, 2013 at 1:54 am

    Makes me really miss Thailand!
    Can’t wait to go back in spring!

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      October 22, 2013 at 6:42 am

      @Beth would love to go to Thailand too on damp autumn days like this

  • Reply
    Mark H
    October 29, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Magic sounding location for snorkelling.
    Mark H´s last blog post ..Undiscovered Virgin Islands

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      October 29, 2013 at 9:01 pm

      @Mark Yes, might put it on the list to go with my teenagers

  • Reply
    Car Rental Pattaya
    January 2, 2014 at 9:54 am

    I love thailand I had been to Ko Lanta, koh Phi phi Phuket , kao lak very nice places i will be back that’s for sure

  • Reply
    David Jarvis
    September 10, 2015 at 4:20 am

    Thank for sharing this post.It is a Great tips.

  • Reply
    November 9, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    This is a great blog! I have just recently got involved and would like to say I think I really found a gem in Thailand for snorkeling! On Phuket, Kata beach all the way to the Northern Rocks there is some excellent snorkeling right off the beach! We saw great colors in the coral and lots of fish! Check out our site at traveleandoblog.com if you want to hear more stories 🙂

  • Reply
    suraj sharma
    July 27, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    stunning photos and video it’s really outstanding i can’t wait to visit to Thailand. it’s my dream destination.

  • Reply
    preetika chahuhan
    October 18, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Well Thailand is beautiful Southeast Asian country with incredible tropical beaches, opulent royal palaces, ancient ruins and ornate temples displaying figures of Buddha.i was visited Thailand before 2 years ago and i visited each and every place which is mentioned in this blog. It was one of my memorable trips and this is really true and useful blog about Thailand places……..
    preetika chahuhan´s last blog post ..5 Delicious New York Restaurants Locals Love

  • Reply
    Joe Black
    December 14, 2016 at 5:50 am

    Thailand is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

  • Reply
    September 23, 2017 at 10:51 am

    What a fantastic adventure. Snorkeling in Thailand sounds great in the warm tropical waters. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    October 4, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    I have been to Thailand twice, to Phi Phi Island and Phuket the first time, and Hong Island and Krabi the second time. Both times I enjoyed snorkeling very much. Thailand is indeed a great country for snorkeling and even diving.

  • Reply
    November 5, 2017 at 5:39 am

    Hi Heather and Laura,

    Thanks for adding to our list of places to go snorkeling in Thailand. Sounds like your decision to give the scuba gear a miss because of the prohibitive costs compared to snorkeling equipment was a good one.

    Your pictures certainly tell a very good story. Thank you.
    Sharon´s last blog post ..How do the best 5 full face snorkel masks compare in 2017?

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