Snorkeling with a whale shark

Where to snorkel with…

Do you have a particular marine creature that you want to see while snorkeling in Thailand? This where to guide is focused on the Andaman sea side of Thailand.

Where to snorkel with Reef sharks

Usually seen at the Surin Islands and Koh Tachai. You have a good chance to snorkel with reef sharks (and Leopard sharks) on the liveaboards. They are also seen on the day trips in the very shallow water by the beach but are in too shallow and rocky water to snorkel with. Black tip reef sharks are the most common.

At Phi Phi there are a few spots that are good for snorkeling with sharks but the day trip boats don’t go to those places. The dive boats (which snorkelers can join) see more sharks. Or if you are staying on Phi Phi you can snorkel independently from Long beach.

Black tip reef sharks at Phi Phi
Reef sharks at Palong wall Phi Phi

Where to snorkel with Whale sharks

You need luck to see whale sharks anywhere. We’ve seen them at Richelieu Rock, Koh Tachai, Koh Bon, the Similan Islands, Phi Phi, Phuket Shark Point, Koh Haa and Hin Daeng. But they are not guaranteed anywhere. Some years get more sightings that others, 2014 was especially good from January to April when whale sharks were consistently seen at Richelieu Rock and Koh Tachai.

You are far more likely to see a whale shark on a liveaboard snorkeling trip. On a day trip to Koh Tachai or Phi Phi there is almost zero chance.

Where to snorkel with Manta Rays

The best places to see mantas are Koh Bon and Koh Tachai. Manta rays can also be seen at Racha Noi and Hin Daeng. I will say again that on a day trip to Koh Tachai or Koh Bon there is a very low chance of seeing manta rays, by the time the day trip boats arrive the mantas have departed. You need to be on a liveaboard boat that is over the reef early in the morning.

Snorkeling with a manta
Manta at Koh Bon

Where to snorkel with turtles

Green turtles and Hawksbill turles can be seen all over the place on day trips or the liveaboard trips. They are at the Similan Islands, Phi Phi Islands and the Surin Islands. The Phuket Marine Biological Research Centre helps sick and injured turtles and regularly releases them back into the wild. You can find them behind the Phuket Aquarium at Cape Panwa. There is a similar operation helping turtles and growing coral at Thai Muang beach.

turtles at the Similan Islands

Where to find Nemo

On a recent Racha Yai snorkeling day trip a guest asked if they would see Nemo. The guide shrugged and said that Clown fish are captured and sold for the aquarium trade for big money. Sad but true. Yet we can still find them in most places with a bit of hunting around, they are on reefs throughout the region.

2 thoughts on “Where to snorkel with….”

  1. Was on a day snorkelling trip yesterday from Phi Phi (“Beyoncé” was the guide can’t remember the company) we stopped at a site called something like Shark Point. Saw about 8 or 9 black tip reef sharks (some might have been the same one twice of course, but at one point saw a family of 4 all swimming together), was an amazing experience. Our last stop for the day was at an amazing reef with amazing red coral and I even spotted a little family of 3 clown fish (nemos) including a tiny baby one! Would recommend it!

    1. Oh yeah, also saw a turtle and dolphins from the boat (but wasn’t in the water with them unfortunately).

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