Snorkeling Koh Tao

Sunday, October 08, 2017
Koh Tao meaning Turtle Island is the snorkeling paradise in the Gulf of Thailand. Several bays provide some of the best snorkling in South East Asia. Jump on a boat for a day of snorkeling around the island. Prices range from 400-500 Thai Baht.

School of Doublebar Rabbitfish at Lighthouse Bay on Koh Tao, Thailand
Koh Tao is a popular tourist destination for scuba divers, snorkelers and marine-lovers alike. Which means the good spots have been mapped out pretty excessively. Our first stop was Shark Bay. We saw no sign of any reef sharks, actually we didn't see much marine life there. The coral reef seemed to have died completely and we spent our time there practicing our free diving depths.

Snorkeling-seflie at Shark Bay on Koh Tao, Thailand
A bit disappointed from our first impressions of Koh Tao's marine life, we didn't expect much at the next stop; Aow Leuk Bay. Luckily we were positively surprised. The marine life was blooming and getting close to fish and corals here was exceptionally easy.

Slingjaw Wrasse at Aow Leuk Bay on Koh Tao, Thailand
Sailing from Aow Leuk Bay up the East coast of Koh Tao, keep an eye out for the face-shaped rock located close to Mao Bay Beach. The nose is very clear and as you pass around it, a mouth and eye is also easily spotted.

Face-shaped rock near Mao Bay Beach on Koh Tao, Thailand
Next stop; Lighthouse Bay, proved to be just as lively. Huge schools of rabbitfish, pairs of butterfly fish and some of the largest parrotfish I've ever come across. Photo of the day, however, was two of the most common fish around these waters; Sergent Majors, having a kiss (which, in relality, is actually a territorial fight).

Fish kiss at Lighthouse Bay on Koh Tao, Thailand
Next stop was Mango Bay, which unfortunately turned out to be the biggest disappointment of the day. The sea bed was literally covered in dead coral. Snorkeling here we had a feeling of of being in a cemetery. The only interesting sighting was a lonely Titan Triggerfish, which swayed across the dead sea bed looking for food.

Lonely Giant Triggerfish swaying across the dead-coral sea bed at Mango Bay on Koh Tao, Thailand
Last stop of the day was Koh Nang Yuan a small island near Koh Tao, only connected as one landmass by a narrow sand dune. The islands are pretty well-protected, which means no plastic bottles allowed, no sitting on your towel on the beach and no fins for snorkeling. We decided to hike the viewpoint first thing, which took us about 10 minutes.

Koh Nang Yuan viewpoint near Koh Tao, Thailand
The snorkeling around Nang Yuan was both good and bad. The best place was the Japanese Garden, which is located on the right furthest away from the viewpoint. The corals there were amazingly large and lively, the other two bays had less to offer and often functions as training grounds for scuba divers to be.

Territorial Honeycomb Grouper at Nang Yuan Island near Koh Tao, Thailand
We ended our day back at Koh Tao with a Leo beer, watching the sunset at Sairee Beach. One of the best sunsets I've seen in Thailand and South East Asia for that matter. Do not miss out on that one.

Sunset at Sairee Beach on Koh Tao, Thailand

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