Top 10 Best Islands in Thailand for Snorkeling and Diving516
BY Rowan Travers (Guinness Bear)

Top 10 Best Islands in Thailand for Snorkeling and Diving

Thailand is renowned for its beautiful coastlines, clean seawater, and abundant aquatic biodiversity. It is an ideal destination for snorkeling and scuba diving lovers. The Andaman Sea and also the Gulf of Thailand are home to many islands, providing limitless possibilities for underwater exploration. Thailand's snorkeling and diving opportunities provide an everlasting encounter with vibrant coral reefs, diverse marine life, and captivating aquatic animals.

Top 10 Best Islands in Thailand for Snorkeling and Diving

Whether you are a beginner or an expert diver, this tropical paradise has something for everyone. Choosing the appropriate island significantly increases your experience of exploring underwater. Let us explore the extraordinary splendor of these islands as we travel through the vibrant marine ecosystem, sparkling seas, and amazing underwater landscapes. 



Top 10 Islands for Snorkeling and Diving in Thailand

Now, let's delve into the depths of these beautiful islands. Every island has its charm; hence, let us examine the factors that make them perfect havens for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. Here is the list of the top 10 best destinations for snorkeling and diving in Thailand

  • Koh Tao
  • Koh Phi Phi
  • Koh Lanta
  • Phuket
  • Koh Karadan
  • Koh Chang
  • Koh Lipe
  • Surin Island
  • Similan Island
  • Koh Pha ngan


Don't just dream about it. Just dive in and experience it for yourself! 


#1 Koh Tao

Beach Sea Koh Tao Thailand

Koh Tao is a renowned diving destination in Thailand's southern region. This island is also known as “Turtle Island”. The island measures 28.6 kilometers in shoreline length. This island has various underwater bodies, including colorful coral reefs, turtles, sharks, and barracuda. A total of 25 dive sites are available on Koh Tao Island, making it an excellent place for divers of all levels. 

The tranquil water around the island makes it an ideal location for beginners to acquire proficiency in snorkeling and scuba diving. This location accounts for about 60% of the global annual issuance of diving licenses. The best time to enjoy diving in Koh Tao is in July and August.



#2 Koh Phi Phi

Long Boat Blue Water Maya Bay Phi Phi Island Krabi Thailand

Koh Phi Phi may have some of the best snorkeling spots in southern Thailand. It is located 40-45 km away from Phuket Island. This island consists of a group of islands. One is Koh Phi Phi Don, and the other is Koh Phi Phi Leh. The biggest island is Koh Phi Phi Don, which is known for having a lively vibe. Koh Phi Phi Leh is smaller but just as beautiful, with its tall limestone rocks and secret lakes. Shark Point, Maya Bay, and Palong Wall are just a few swimming and diving spots on both islands.

The island is known for having some of the most stunning landscapes, clear water, and different coral reef systems, which let you see tremendous, beautiful views. The best time for diving is between January and April.

#3 Koh Lanta

Landscape View Coast Koh Lanta Mountain with Vegetation Sea Thailand

Koh Lanta is in the southern part of Krabi. It is a national park that is 150 square kilometers big and has many beautiful islands surrounded by coral reefs. It's preferable to go scuba diving between October and April.

The best and most well-known places to dive near Koh Lanta are Hin Daeng and Hin Muang. Hin Daeng is called "Red Rock" because it has a lot of soft red coral. Similarly, Hin Muang, known as Purple Rock, has beautiful purple coral. Divers can look at huge groups of fish and other animals or explore the seabed, caves, and steep reefs.

#4 Phuket

View Sea from Phrom Thep Cape Phuket Thailand

Phuket is the biggest and most visited island in Thailand. It is famous for its beautiful beaches and top-notch diving spots. This island is 48 km in length and 21 km in width. It is a great place for new and experienced divers because there are over 30 dive spots.

Racha Yai is the main spot to see the colorful coral reefs and Shark Point to see the beautiful leopard sharks. King Cruiser Wreck is for a unique adventure spot. It is an underground shipwreck full of sea life. As you can see, this island is a popular spot for snorkelers and divers. The best time for diving in Phuket is from November to April.



#5 Koh Karadan

Beautiful View Island with Jungle

Koh Kradan is a small and peaceful island located southeast of Koh Lanta. It is beautiful because of its clear water. This island is 230sqm in Hat Chao Mai National Park. The reef here is virtually undiscovered by visitors. This is one of the least crowded islands in Thailand, and a lot of greenery will make you feel completely alone. There is great snorkeling off the beach, where you can see lots of sea life and coral.

In Paradise Reef's shallow water, you can find bright clownfish, parrotfish, and other tropical fish. Go to Koh Waen for a more difficult dive and see the beautiful blacktip reef, stingrays, and sharks. Koh Kradan is a secret gem for snorkelers and dives in Thailand. The best time for enjoying diving is November to April.

#6 Koh Chang

Beautiful Beach View Koh Chang Island Seascape Trad Province Eastern Thailand Blue Sky Background

Koh Chang is one of the largest and most stunning islands in Thailand. It is close to the border with Cambodia and has a lot of different swimming and diving spots. Hin Luk Bat is the must-see spot where the colorful coral reefs are. The coral reefs are visible at a depth of 5 to 25 meters. 

The Koh Rang National Marine Park can also be visited to see the beautiful leopard sharks. Another spot is Bang Bao Bay to look around an underwater town with brightly colored houses and sea life for an unforgettable trip. Koh Chang has a lot of different sea life and beautiful underwater scenery that will amaze both new and expert dives. The best time for diving in Chang is from November to April.

#7 Koh Lipe

Beautiful Beach Lipe Island Koh Lipe Satun Province Thailand

Koh Lipe is in southern Thailand and is close to Malaysia's border. It is known for its beautiful blue seas and white sand beaches. This island is called the "Little Maldives" because it has beautiful nature. It is in the middle of Tarutao National Park, Asia's longest protected ocean park.

It is a great place for snorkelers and divers, with more than 25 dive spots to discover. You can see corals with lots of different colors. At 8 Mile Rock, you can swim with groups of barracuda. To do something different, go to Koh Adang and look around in the underground caves and tunnels. Koh Lipe is a secret gem for swimming and diving in Thailand. It has a calm mood and a lot of different kinds of sea life. The best time to dive in Koh Lipe is the half-moon period of every month.

#8 Surin Island

House by Sea Moken Surin Islands Thailand

Koh Surin is a group of five Andaman Sea islands famous for their beautiful beaches and coral reefs. It is a great place to go swimming or diving. Richelieu Rock has beautiful coral gardens. This island has a 54.54 sq mi area. There are many great bays for snorkeling on the Surin Islands, but Ao Mae Yai Bay on Koh Surin Nuea is one of the most famous.

You can see many sea creatures, such as barracuda, whale sharks, and manta rays.  Many sea life lives in the beautiful coral, including the clownfish. For people who love swimming or diving, Koh Surin is a must-see because of its beautiful underwater scenery and wide range of sea life. You can swim with sea turtles and look at the beautiful coral reefs. From November to April, people can visit the Surin Islands.

#9 Similan Island

Tropical Beach View Point Similan Islands Andaman Sea Thailand

Similan Islands are located around the northwest of Phuket. There are nine small islands in the Similan. About 10 of the best places to dive in the world are here. The best time to visit Similan Island is from November to April. Every year, thousands of tourists come to this group of islands because of its blue waters, white beaches, and beautiful scenery.

The islands have some of the world's most beautiful, untouched beaches. They are also home to many marine life and amazing coral reefs, making the water a deep-sea diver's dream. You might even see whales and leopard sharks while you dive. The Similan Islands are a must-see for anyone who likes diving or swimming because they have beautiful underwater scenery and lots of sea life.

#10 Koh Pha Ngan

Big Waves Haad Rin Beach Koh Phangan Island Suratthani Tha

Koh Pha Ngan is one of the best places for snorkeling and diving.  It is located between Ko Samui and Ko Tao, two other Gulf Coast islands. The meaning of the island is sandbars all around it. The name comes from "ngan," which means "sand bar." It means it is hard to see what is below the water around Koh Phangan, Thailand.  

The islands and shallow water around Ko Pha Ngan are great for people who have never snorkeled. The island is also a good choice if you want to learn how to scuba dive. This makes getting to many diving and snorkeling spots accessible, such as Sail Rock and Ang Thong Marine Park. The best and most recommended time to visit Koh Pha Ngan is from December to March.



Why are these Islands Perfect for Snorkeling and Diving?

Image Asian Boy Wearing Life Jacket SCUBA Diving Sea Koh Lankajiu Chumphon Thailand

Thai islands provide something for any diver, from beginners to experts. For the best experience while diving, make sure to follow the following points:


  • Accessibility
    • The islands of Thailand are easy to get to from famous tourist spots like Phuket and Krabi.
    • Many dive shops offer day trips to nearby islands to make it easier for tourists to see more than one spot in one trip.

  • Marine Life
    • Thailand's islands are known for their pure nature and many sea creatures. It includes coral reefs, tropical fish, and sharks.

  • Water Clarity and Visibility
    • The islands in Thailand have water that is very clear and easy to see through, which makes them great for swimming and diving.

  • Snorkeling and Diving Facilities
    • With Thailand's developing tourist economy, these islands have several diving shops and snorkeling spots.
    • Equipment rental, guided trips, and diving courses are available for beginners and experts.



Safety Tips for Snorkeling and Diving in Thailand

Happy Snorkel Girl Having Fun Ocean Water Snorkeling Caribbean Vacation Thailand

Thailand can be an exciting place to go snorkeling or diving. But making sure you are safe is the most important thing. Remember these safety tips:

  • Before you dive or swim, you should always check your gear. Bad tools can cause terrible accidents.

  • Listen carefully to what your guide says and do exactly what they say.

  • Do not touch the sea life or make noise near it. Some species can hurt you if they feel threatened.

  • Don't leave your safe zone. You shouldn't go deeper than your training lets you.

  • Ensure you have plenty of air in your tanks before returning to the surface.

  • Before you go out to sea, you should always check the weather.

  • Don't forget to drink water and cover up from the sun.

  • Don't drink booze before you dive because it can make you less smart and raise your risk of getting decompression sickness.


Top 10 Best Islands in Thailand for Snorkeling and Diving


The islands of Thailand are a great place for both snorkelers and divers. These islands offer some of the best diving activities in the world, thanks to their beautiful scenery, wide range of sea life, and one-of-a-kind experiences.

If you want to go swimming or diving, the islands and beaches of Thailand should be on your list. It doesn't matter how much experience you have. So, get your bags ready and get ready to discover the wonderful underwater world of Thailand's islands! Have fun diving! 

Written by
Rowan Travers (Guinness Bear)

Hi! I'm Rowan Travers (Guinness Bear), your go-to travel companion, always on the move to uncover the most breathtaking destinations. Join me as I share my recommendations for must-visit spots and memorable experiences. Dive into my immersive "Top 10" series, and let's explore the world together!


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