The Best Places to Snorkel on Koh Phangan

2 May 2024

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 Snorkeling is a great way to get a little closer to the ocean wildlife without being intrusive. Unlike scuba diving, snorkeling does not require any teaching, classes, or practice. As long as you can swim, you can snorkel and enjoy peering beneath the gentle waves at what lies underneath!

You might need to walk out for a distance at some beaches to get deep enough to swim. Koh Phangan's corals can be found on the west and northwest coasts.

Remember to snorkel responsibly. Never touch or step on the coral!

There are lots of small fish, crabs and underwater flora to admire - the experience of seeing underwater is always fun!

Koh Phangan Nature and Wildlife Guide

Popular Snorkeling Destinations on Koh Phangan

Haad Salad

One of Koh Phangan's most beautiful beaches is the Northwest of Phangan. Haad Salad beach offers 600 metres of soft white sand and a lovely remote charm. The coral is to be found around 80 metres offshore. You may need to walk out at low tide before you can swim or snorkel. But you will find beautiful small fish in the clear turquoise water.

Haad Chao Pao

This is another large beach in the northwest which offers a relaxing atmosphere. Be prepared to walk to get to deeper water from where a coral reef lies stretches up to Koh Ma. You may spot a spotted stingray amongst other beautiful wildlife if you're lucky.

Koh Ma and Mae Haad

Possibly the best place to snorkel is Koh Ma, a small island joined to Mae Haad beach by a sandbank. Here you can spend a couple of hours in the sea on clear days admiring the colourful coral, fish and other sea creatures.

You’ll have to pass a shallow stretch of water, but once it gets deeper, you can see more enormous shoals of fish, including parrotfish, blue spotted rays and barracuda.

Haad Khom

Haad Khom is in the north, to the east of Chaloklum Village. This area is a popular spot for snorkelling thanks to its coral reef, which surrounds the bay. This beach is quiet and peaceful, with just a few huts and a restaurant, which is ideal if you visit with your family.

Haad Yao

Haad Yao, an area known for its dive schools, is a clean beach with fine sand lined by coconut trees. A long coral reef lies about 400 metres offshore.

The shallow water is easy to snorkel, but you might need to walk out a little. Porcupines, squirrel fish, parrot fish, fusiliers and blue spotted rays have been spotted here.


Snorkel tours on Koh Phangan

Snorkeling is a fantastic way to explore the underwater world, and while going solo is fun, taking a guided tour in Koh Phangan can make the experience even better. Some benefits include:

  • Expert Guidance: When you join a guided snorkeling tour, you get experts who know the underwater world around Koh Phangan. They'll keep you safe and teach you cool stuff about the fish and coral. It's like having a personal guide to show you the ropes.
  • Safety Matters: Safety comes first, especially if you're new to snorkeling. The guides make sure you have the right gear and teach you how to stay safe. This way, you can relax and enjoy the underwater beauty without worrying.
  • Hit the Best Spots: Koh Phangan has some amazing places to snorkel, and guided tours take you to the top spots. They know where all the cool fish and coral are, so you won't miss out on anything awesome.
  • Get Up Close with Wildlife: Guides can spot sea creatures you might not notice on your own. With their help, you're more likely to see colorful fish and maybe even turtles or rays. It's like having a backstage pass to the underwater show.

Recommended Tours

Snorkeling Day around Koh Phangan

An promotional image for a snorkeling tour from Koh Phangan

This snorkeling tour in Koh Phangan offers a unique experience by taking you to quiet and pristine snorkeling spots with healthy shallow coral reefs. Led by a professional dive instructor familiar with the area, you may encounter diverse marine life, including turtles, parrotfish, fusiliers, pufferfish, clams, corals, and octopuses. The tour also includes a visit to the secluded Bottle Beach, accessible only by boat. As a dive school, the tour provides high-quality snorkeling gear with full lycra protection for safety and comfort. The package includes bottled water, snacks, and the use of snorkeling equipment.


Fluorescent snorkeling with ultraviolet flashlights

An promotional image for a snorkeling tour from Koh Phangan

Blue Horizon Diving, the sole diving school on Koh Phangan offering fluorescent snorkeling and diving activities, stands out with professional equipment including ultraviolet diving lamps, masks with yellow filters, and appropriate diving or snorkeling gear. With almost a decade of expertise, they provide a unique experience accessible to all, particularly practiced at night. Participants, guided by experienced instructors, witness the stunning fluorescence of Koh Phangan's reefs as corals react to ultraviolet light. This exclusive phenomenon, relatively unknown and rarely practiced, allows divers and snorkelers to explore the underwater world in vibrant colors. The package includes the use of snorkeling equipment, white and ultraviolet dive flashlights, yellow filter masks, and a wetsuit.


Snorkel and Kayak Trip to Angthong Marine Park

An promotional image for a snorkeling tour from Koh Phangan

Embark on a full-day excursion by speedboat from Koh Phangan to Mu Koh Angthong National Park, consisting of 42 islands. Led by a local guide, the tour offers opportunities to snorkel at the base of limestone cliffs, paddle a kayak along the coast of Mae Koh Island, and hike to a scenic viewpoint overlooking the Emerald Lagoon. The day includes all necessary equipment, hotel pickup and drop-off, a buffet-style Thai lunch on the beach, and ample beach time for relaxation. Highlights encompass exploring the marine park's diverse islands, enjoying beach activities, and savoring a buffet lunch amidst the natural surroundings. The package also features hotel round-trip transfers, drinking water, fruits, and a light breakfast.


Snorkel Tour to Koh Nangyuan and Koh Tao

An promotional image for a snorkeling tour from Koh Phangan

Embark on a full-day snorkeling excursion from Koh Phangan, exploring the vibrant coral reefs and pristine beaches of Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan. Travel efficiently by speedboat, allowing ample time to snorkel at key spots, swim, and sunbathe. The tour includes hotel pickup and drop-off on Koh Phangan, along with all necessary equipment. Indulge in an authentic Thai lunch on the private island of Koh Nang Yuan. This comprehensive snorkeling trip provides a convenient and enjoyable way to discover the marine beauty of the Gulf of Thailand.


Angthong Marine Park Overnight Tour

An promotional image for a snorkeling tour from Koh Phangan

Embark on an overnight adventure to Ang Thong Marine Park from Koh Phangan, starting with a boat journey to the park's headquarters on Ko Wua Talap. The island offers bungalow accommodation, kayak rentals, and a visitor center. Explore hidden lagoons, snorkel in coral gardens, and marvel at limestone islands, cliffs, and rock formations. The tour is group-oriented, allowing you to make new acquaintances. Accommodation and meals are not included, giving you the flexibility to book your own stay and decide on your meals. Experience the beauty of the marine park through activities like snorkeling and kayaking while enjoying the stunning surroundings. The tour includes the use of snorkeling equipment, as well as breakfast and lunch.


Important notes

  • It is better to book the tour in advance, especially during the Full Moon party week,  as the available seats per boat are limited by law. 
  • Please snorkel with responsibility. Protect what you love and be mindful of Koh Phangan's beautiful wildlife.


Other Snorkeling Hotspots in Thailand

Koh Samui

As one of Thailand's most popular tourist destinations, Koh Samui offers not only luxurious resorts but also exceptional snorkeling opportunities. Coral Cove and Silver Beach provide snorkelers with calm waters and a glimpse into the diverse ecosystem of colorful fish and corals nestled around the island.

Koh Samui Snorkeling Guide

Koh Tao

Often hailed as the snorkeling and diving capital of Thailand, Koh Tao's clear, warm waters are home to some of the most spectacular underwater scenery, including coral gardens, sea turtles, and a variety of tropical fish. Snorkeling spots like Shark Bay and Mango Bay are accessible and offer experiences that appeal to both beginners and seasoned snorkelers.

Snorkeling Guide to Koh Tao

Koh Chang

This less-crowded gem in Thailand's eastern Gulf coast is surrounded by several protected marine parks, making it an ideal spot for snorkeling. Its clear waters host an array of marine life and shipwrecks, providing a unique underwater adventure for those looking to explore beyond the usual coral reefs.

Snorkeling Guide for Koh Chang


Thailand's largest island, Phuket, serves as a gateway to some of the best snorkeling destinations in the Andaman Sea, including the Similan and Phi Phi Islands. The clear turquoise waters around these areas are rich in marine biodiversity, offering snorkelers the chance to swim with schools of tropical fish, sea turtles, and even reef sharks.

Phuket Snorkeling Guide


With its stunning limestone cliffs and crystal-clear waters, Krabi is a snorkeler's dream. The Ao Nang and Railay Beach areas, along with the nearby Phi Phi Islands, provide excellent snorkeling conditions, where one can explore vibrant coral reefs and witness a wide variety of marine life in their natural habitats.

Krabi Snorkeling Guide

Koh Lanta

This tranquil island in the Andaman Sea is celebrated for its diverse marine life and stunning coral reefs, making it a top choice for snorkelers. The waters around Koh Lanta offer a more relaxed snorkeling experience, away from the crowds. Sites like Koh Haa and Koh Rok are especially renowned for their crystal-clear visibility, vibrant corals, and the chance to spot larger marine creatures such as manta rays and whale sharks during certain seasons. The island's laid-back vibe extends underwater, where snorkelers can enjoy serene swims among a breathtaking array of sea life.

Snorkeling Guide for Koh Lanta

Snorkeling on Koh Phangan

snorkeling on Koh Phangan offers an enchanting glimpse into the underwater world, where vibrant coral reefs teem with diverse marine life. From the serene shores of Haad Salad to the remote beauty of Haad Khom, each spot promises unique encounters with aquatic wonders. Remember to snorkel responsibly, respecting the delicate ecosystem by not touching or stepping on the coral. If you're eager for more adventures beyond snorkeling, consider exploring the island's other attractions or joining guided tours to discover hidden gems like Bottle Beach or the fluorescent wonders of the reefs. Check out the related articles for more ideas on where to go and what to do, ensuring your Koh Phangan experience is truly unforgettable.

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