Koh Lanta is a beautiful island off the coast of Krabi in Thailand. It’s on the West side of Thailand which makes it much better for snorkelling due to calmer waters and coral reefs of the Andaman sea. Today, we’re going to explore the thrilling experience of snorkelling in Koh Lanta.
When to go Snorkelling in Koh Lanta
The best time to visit Thailand and to go snorkelling in Koh Lanta is the peak tourist season from September through to February. Outside of these times you enter rainy season and the weather conditions may affect your snorkelling visibility.
How to get to Koh Lanta
You are likely to travel South to Koh Lanta from Bangkok. Your best bet is a direct flight from Bangkok to Krabi airport which takes approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes. Thai Smile, Air Asia and Vietjet are all comfortable and reasonably priced airlines that can get you there.
If you don’t mind the 11 hour journey then you can get a bus from Bangkok to Koh Lanta for no more than $10 with Ignite Tour. Most buses will pick you up at Bangkok Sai Tai Mai Bus Terminal (Baromrajchonnee Road) and drop you off at Krabi Taladkao bus terminal (around 25 minutes from Ao Nang Beach).
From the airport or the bus terminal, you can then take a tuk tuk or Songthew to Hua Hin Peer for the Koh Lanta Ferry to get you to the island.
Snorkelling in Koh Lanta – Where to go
Beaches on the West coast of Koh Lanta
The best beaches and snorkelling spots are on the West coast of the island. There are three main snorkelling destinations in Koh Lanta where you can go snorkelling straight off the beach – Long Beach, Klong Dao and Nui Bay. Long beach is one of the most popular beaches on Koh Lanta and has a small headland where you can find lots of fish congregating. On the very North of the island there is a small reef at Kaw Kaweng (North end of Klong Dao beach) where you can see quite a few colourful fish at high tide. At the Southern tip of the island (near the famous lighthouse) there is a small coral reef where you can go snorkelling.
Hin Daeng and Hin Muang
Hin Daeng (red rock) and Hin Muang (Purple Rock) are named after the colour of the most common corals found on them. They are the most popular dive sites of Koh Lanta. However, these sites are only for very experienced divers rather than just hobby snorkelling as they are deep (maximum depth 60 metres), the currents can be strong and Hin Muang is completely submerged underwater. The journey is long but these dive sites offer a good chance of seeing manta rays and whale sharks. Hin Daeng is the easier of the two dives and you can often see baracudas and needle fish in the shallows.
Exploring the Other Islands for Snorkelling Opportunities
Although Koh Lanta is a beautiful spot for enjoying the beach, most beaches are sandy there and so it’s doesn’t always make for the best snorkelling opportunities. If you really want to enjoy the best snorkelling near Koh Lanta, you need to hop on a boat and explore! Here are some of the best spots around Koh Lanta on the other islands.
Koh Hua means five islands, and if you head North from Koh Lanta by boat you will find the five islands which are popular with divers as they are full of caves and caverns with swim-throughs. Koh Haa 1 is mostly well known for its chimney-like swim-through. The maximum depth is 35 metres with visibility of 20-25 plus metres.
Koh Phi Phi Islands
The Kho Phi Phi islands is a selection of islands in the Andaman sea that are great for snorkelling and diving. The water here is greener than Koh Hua which tends to attract more fish and their preditors.
The main island of Kho Phi Phi Don is surrounded by smaller islands that make a fantastic trip. In the North of the island group are Ko Yung and Ko Mai Pai (known as Bamboo Island) which are excellent dive spots.
On the main Island, Monkey Beach on the South West side of Tonsay Bay is an excellent spot for snorkelling. Pretty much all of the Koh Phi Phi boat tours stop there.
To the South of the main Koh Phi Phi island is Koh Phi Phi Lee, made famous by the Leonardi Di Caprio film ‘The Beach’. Stop for a photo opportunity and relax on Maya Bay, but then head to Pileh Lagoon for some amazing snorkelling with the opportunity to see Clown Fish, sea anemones and even sea turles! Off the North West Coast of Phi Phi Lee there is a King Cruiser Shipwreck on the Shark Point Reef which is very popular for Scuba Diving.
South of Koh Pho Phi Leh are too much smaller islands – Kho Bida Nai and Koh Bida Nok which also have excellent dive spots. Leopard sharks are frequently sighted off Bida Nok.
4 Islands Tour – Koh Mook, Koh Kradan, Koh Chuak and Koh Ngai
The most popular snorkelling boat trip from Koh Lanta is the 4 islands tour including Koh Mook, Koh Kradan, Koh Chuak (rope island) and Koh Ngai – a group of islands to the South East of Koh Lanta. On this trip you will get the chance to go snorkelling in a vast aray of coral reefs around Koh Lanta. With many of these trips you will get the chance to enjoy a delicious lunch on the beautiful Koh Kradan white sand beach. The highlight of the 4 islands tour is the chance to swim inside the famous Emerald Cave of Koh Mook.
I hope that you enjoyed this article on snorkelling in Koh Lanta. You might also want to read: snorkelling with glasses – is it possible?!?!