Snorkeling in Thailand
Snorkeling in Thailand is a popular activity thanks to the country’s gin-clear water and gorgeous tropical islands. Visibility is usually stellar, and plenty of tropical fish dart through the waters.
You can find snorkeling tours wherever you find a beach or island. Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan, Ko Tao and Ko Chang are all great islands for snorkeling, as is Ko Lanta, the Trang islands, and the islands around Ko Samet. Tours range from large wooden boats packed with tourists, to small speedboats with half a dozen customers. Often your tour will include lunch or a snack, and drinking water is usually free.
Though Thailand’s natural beauty pretty much guarantees a wonderful snorkeling trip, there are a few things you can do to make sure your day is perfect. Read below for our tips on snorkeling in Thailand.
- Make sure you have a mask that fits; many operations only have one size so if you have an especially small head (like me), buy one that fits and bring it along. I only had to sit out on one trip that didn’t have children’s masks before I got my own.
- Make sure there aren’t any hidden charges. On a trip I took recently, the brochure said that snorkels and life vests were included – but failed to mention that fins would cost 100 baht extra. What started out as a cheap trip got a bit more expensive.
- If you can, book one that bills itself as eco-friendly. I’ve seen too many tour operators not respect coral by allowing their customers to stand on it. If you’re on a tour where they don’t have any restrictions, implement your own. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.
- Find out how large your tour is and where it’s going. Many sights are packed with boats that carry 50 people or more, and you’ll spend your time trying to avoid other snorkelers rather than enjoying the underwater sights.
- Buy a disposable underwater camera for fun photos.
- Insider’s Tip: Book through a scuba company, and, if you can, go on a trip that is also taking divers. You’ll often be in a much less crowded area and with far fewer people on your boat. These trips might cost a bit more, but the extra cost is worth having space to swim and more personal interactions with your guides. These are also usually more safety-oriented than big-boat snorkel trips.
Thailand travel guide
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Best beach towns in Thailand
Beaches and Islands in Thailand
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