Q. Where is the best place to snorkel in Thailand?
The Similan Islands has the clearest water, the biggest fish and the largest schools of fish. This is the closest you can get to being inside an aquarium. Turtles are common here.
The Surin Islands are less visited than the Similan Islands and the hard corals are better. Reefs are shallower too so it’s ideal for snorkeling.
Phi Phi Islands has a huge diversity of marine life. Leopard sharks and black tip reef sharks can be seen, we have even snorkeled with whale sharks here. Turtles are also common. There is a nice variety of hard and soft corals, anemones and sea fans. There are many islands in the Phi Phi Islands chain and most snorkeling tours visit a few of them including Phi Phi Don, Phi Phi Ley and the beautiful Bamboo Island.
Snorkeling trips to Phi Phi are often combined with other side activities and sightseeing such as seeing monkeys at Monkey beach or swimming at the famous Maya bay on Phi Phi Ley. A speedboat from Phuket to Phi Phi takes about 45 minutes and often stops along the way to swim at Koh Yao of Koh Khai Islands.
Racha Yai Island (Koh Raya) has mainly hard corals in the small sheltered bays that are ideal for snorkelers to get close to schools of fish. Eagle eyed snorkelers may see moray eels, garden eels, stingrays, pufferfish, parrotfish and trigger fish among others. Corals include staghorn, brain, mushroom, cabbage and leave coral.
Koh Bon is a good place to snorkel with manta rays which are attracted to the cleaning stations and the strong currents. Best visited as part of a liveaboard trip.
Koh Tachai is another great island to snorkel with big pelagics like manta rays and whale sharks plus leopard sharks and reef sharks. Best visited as part of a liveaboard trip.
Richelieu Rock is where scuba divers go to see whale sharks. It’s close to the Surin Islands and some liveaboard go here.