It’s true that Ko Samui has great pristine beaches, amazing gastronomic delights, captivating culture, and other great attractions such as the beautiful temples and intelligent acting monkeys. However, your experience of the island will not be complete until you have gone snorkeling in Samui.
Ko Samui and its neighboring islands have a hidden beauty underwater with all the corals, unique fish, turtles, other sea creatures, and bizarre rock formations. If you want to see these without having to dive or go underwater, snorkeling is the next best thing for you. Fortunately, there are lots of snorkeling tours being offered to tourists. These tours will take you to the top three snorkeling destinations: Ko Nangyuan, Ko Tao, and Angthong National Marine Park.
Before you go snorkeling in Samui, if you haven’t done this before, be sure to attend short courses for basic snorkeling. Most snorkeling tour packages often come with such basic lessons so you don’t have to enroll in a separate course. Once you have learned the basics, you are all set to experience the beauty of the underwater scenery with your mask and snorkel. If you don’t know how to swim or are not too confident about your swimming skills, always wear a life vest when you go down to the water.
You can choose from many snorkeling destinations, but the best ones are Ko Nangyuan, Ko Tao, and Angthong National Marine Park. Ko Nangyuan is about 90 minutes away from Samui by speedboat. There are a lot of interesting snorkeling sites in Ko Nangyuan, one of which is the Japanese Garden. This is a sloping area where large coral formations are found. The area goes down to a depth of 23 meters all the way to Ko Nangyuan Pinnacle. Some caves and swim throughs can be found near this dive site.
Ko Tao, also called Turtle Island owing to its turtle-like shape, is just 60 minutes away from Ko Samui by speedboat. Trips to this island often include snorkeling at Hin Wong Bay and Gluay Thoen Bay, areas that are both not crowded. Gluay Thoen Bay, though not among the most popular snorkeling sites in Ko Tao, is one of the most untouched and well preserved.
Of course, Angthong National Marine Park is included in the top destinations for snorkeling in Samui. This marine park served as the inspiration behind the book “The Beach” which later found itself on the big screen starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The islands comprising the marine park are all uninhabited save for Ko Paluay, in which sea gypsies live.
The northern islands in Angthong National Marine Park is Ko Wao provide some of the finest snorkeling sites in the marine park. It is home to large coral tables, different kinds of fish, sea turtles, and sea snakes. Some odd-looking rock formations can also be found there.
When you go snorkeling in Samui, remember not to disturb the corals and other marine life. Do not pick them up or take them as souvenirs. And after you’ve eaten your snacks or meals on one of the islands, never forget to take your trash back with you; do not leave them behind.