Phuket has a long-standing reputation as one of the premiere travel destinations in Southeast Asia. And as Thailand’s largest island, Phuket offers one-of-a-kind, endless stretches of beaches with a variety of activities, including some of the world’s highest-rated snorkeling spots.
To save your time, here is a compiling list of the 10 best snorkeling spots in Phuket. So grab your passport, strap on your gear, and get ready to experience some of the most pristine marine ecosystems on the entire planet.
Coral Island, Similan Island, and Bon Island are one of the best Phuket’s snorkeling sites. Unsurprisingly, Phuket is enclosed by many isles and islets, tucking away in prime location supporting healthy aquatic life and are only a short boat ride away.
Experts recommend a two-to-three day trip island hopping to experience these spots fully, as some of their beaches are sprinkled across many separate islands and will need a handful of planned rides to reach.
Similan Islands, mainly, are made up of nine different Isles. You can’t go wrong in picking a beach or two at random, spending a day swimming amongst some of the clearest and warmest waters in the world.
Kata Noi Beach
With rocky promontories sheltering an abundant amount of sea life, Kata Noi is a Phuket snorkeling staple. At an impressive 850-meters long, the beach doesn’t disappoint in range. Coral reef of every color along with a bony fish and an impressive rock cod and butterflyfish populations. Though make sure to catch snorkeling here during high season (December to June), as low-season snorkeling is not recommended due to its strong waves.
Nai Thon Beach
Perched on Phuket’s western shores, Nai Thon is unique as it rarely has any jet skis or parasailing. This leaves the water clear and ready for snorkeling, with fish coming close enough to shore to make your swimming nearly effortless. However, it is not recommended to swim or snorkel during low season (July to November) due to the strong waves. Nai Thon also has one of the longest and widest beach spreads, to make your experience even more comfortable.
Often crowded during peak season, Paradise Beach is sheltered by large beds of granite rocks, and its coral reef sits a little more than 100 meters out. The swim isn’t nearly as daunting as it sounds, and hoards of surgeonfish and even angelfish have been spotted among its reef.
Ao Sane Beach
One of the island’s smallest and most secluded options, Ao Sane offers one of the best snorkeling spots in Phuket. It has two snorkeling spots depending on what you’re looking for. The first contains a sharp drop-off into deeper water teeming with parrot, clown fish, and even eels – a snorkeling site for those looking to be adventurous.
The second spot sits on the right edge of the beach and is only accessible during high tide, where its coral pools are covered in seawater. If you time your visit correctly, the scene is worth the wait.
If you’re looking for a special or secret beach, look no further than Banana. As one of the least-known destinations in all of Phuket, it remains relatively undeveloped, with only one restaurant perched off its shore and an extensive white sand spread. Try to hit up Banana Beach during low season, as crowds will be even more sparse and your snorkeling range would be almost entirely your own.
Laem Singh Beach
Don’t be fooled by the many restaurants and vendors to dot its perimeter. Laem Singh still holds a beautiful snorkeling option on its southern edge, nestled between boulder buildups whose tide flow keeps the beach’s fish population bountiful. Just make sure to bring your own gear. Laem Singh’s popularity means crowds can be thick and good gear hard to come by, with a price tag to match.
Ya Nui Beach
Though one of the tiniest on the list, Ya Nui has the feel of a true tropical beach. With its rocky inlets and easily accessible islet, you can swim right into the heart of a brain coral reef and swarms of fish species. Ya Nui also has considerably shallower waters compared to many of Phuket’s beaches, which means those new to snorkeling will feel especially comfortable in its waves.
Another must-see during high season, Freedom Beach is worth the long-tail boat ride you’ll need to take to get there. It holds some of the most pristine white sand and clear, turquoise waters in all of Phuket beaches, breathtaking from the sun up to sun down. It is also one of the most underutilized snorkeling spots, giving you the feeling you’ve discovered a secret gem all to yourself.
Laem Ka Beach
Rounding out the list is Laem Ka, an underutilized and undisturbed beach on Phuket’s southern tip. Lined with coconut trees, Laem Ka is also built of rock formations that safeguard plentiful marine life. And because of its location, Laem Ka will be one of the most sparsely populated beaches you will visit – truly a great way to spend a day in the Thai sun.