Koh Phangan is a beautiful island with so many great things to do for whatever type of traveler you are. There are hikes and water sports for those who want to be more active as well as beautiful beaches, spas, and tons of breathtaking view points for those days when you just want to relax. And of course, there are always great parties in the evening where you can dance the night away.
When you are staying on such a great island with lovely beaches and ocean views you might feel inclined to spend more time exploring the marine life that calls these waters home. A favourite activity for young and old who visit our island and want to get closer to all the fish is snorkeling. While there are tons of great options for snorkeling tours which include breakfast and/or lunch and take you on a boat to beautiful spots, Koh Phangan is situated in a great spot for those who want to simply grab some snorkel gear and go themselves.
One such lovely spot is Mae Haad Beach. Just a quick and not too hilly 20 minute drive by car or motorbike from central Thong Sala and you will arrive at the beach. Some of the shops and convenience stores just before you reach the beach will rent out masks and fins to you for 100 baht for the full day. So you don’t have to worry about bringing too much with you. Make sure you bring more cash than just that because there is a 500-1,000 baht required deposit that you get back once you return the gear. You might also feel inclined to enjoy a thai massage with jasmine and lavender oil on the beach once you’re there. Or sip a pina colada on a beach chair in between swimming out to see the fish.
Snorkeling at Mae Haad is a real treat for everyone. During low season the water is shallow enough to stand in for quite some time so it is great for children and those who aren’t the strongest swimmers. You will see an array of colorful fish large and small. And don’t worry about those large fat black worm looking things you may get a glimpse of— those are just sea slugs and they are completely harmless and barely ever move. Do be mindful to not step on a sea urchin though! While they are amazing to look at, accidentally getting one stuck in your foot is a quick way to ruin an afternoon.
Once you’ve had your fill of snorkeling and fruity beverages on the beach and maybe gotten a bite to eat at one of the beach side restaurants serving up all of the favorite Thai dishes, head up to the nearby viewpoint to catch a breathtaking sunset before leaving the area. Trust us, that is a sunset worth seeing especially on clear sky days with few clouds.
A day spent at Koh Ma beach snorkeling and relaxing with friends or family is a great low cost way to spend your day. All you need is a bit of cash, a motorbike, and a swimsuit and you are good to go! And for the snorkeling fanatics, once you’ve gone to Koh Ma you can easily move onto one of the several other beaches with just as accessible snorkeling on the island!
Written by Naja Pulliam Collins.