Garth loves camping under the stars with his Arb III, scuba diving, snorkeling, and also tanning. His favourite snorkel spots include Alanya (Turkey), Koh Rong (Cambodia), and Maui (Hawaii, USA).
He also loves to visit the cenotes in Mexico and he recommends everyone reads the book, “The Soul of an Octopus”, because, he says “they are sensitive, just like me”.
Asia is the largest continent in the world in terms of land mass and population. More than half of the world’s people live in Asia (4.4 billion), as of this writing.
It is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Arctic Ocean to the north.
Since Southeast Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, this article is going to highlight some of the best snorkelling locations in South East Asia you’ll ever come across.
And, we must say, they’re quite impressive! Here is what we are going to talk about today:
- Why You Should Go Snorkeling to Southeast Asia?
- The Best Snorkelling Spots In Southeast Asia
Let’s start by discussing why you should go snorkeling to Southeast Asia…
Why You Should Go Snorkeling to Southeast Asia?
Warm tropical weather, crystal clear waters, breathtaking coral reefs, and some of the most vibrant marine life imaginable are just a few things that make Southeast Asia one of the best places to discover the underwater world.
Southeast Asia has so much to offer: Indonesia and the Philippines alone have around 15,000 islands. Southeast Asia’s mythical seas, such as the Andaman Sea and the Java Sea, are home to some of the most beautiful islands in the world, such as Phi Phi islands, Ko Tao or Bali.
The crystal clear water offers so many coral reefs and shipwrecks that are brimming with clams, angelfish, turtles, small sharks, and man other exotic species.
Whether you are a professional diver or an amateur snorkeler, these waters are some of the finest in the world.
From the tropical waters of Thailand, to the magnificent shores of the Philippines, we present you with our top spots for snorkeling in Southeast Asia that will blow you away.
Warning: Some of our photos may make you want to pack your stuff and book the next first flight to this piece of heaven on Earth.
Koh Nang Yuan, Thailand
You are in Thailand and you love to snorkel. Koh Nang Yuan is the place for you. From Bangkok, fly to Champion.
Board a high speed catamaran to three little teardrops of land connected by a massive sandbar known as Nanyuan.
The traditional long tail boat is a cheaper way to get to your destination, and is only a 15 minute adventure to Nang.
You will immediately want to take pictures of the sand and sea, and send them home. Your friends and family won’t believe the beauty of this paradise.
The topography is exquisite, including the mountains, white sparkling beaches, and warm waters that invite you to view the colourful fish and corals.
Since you traveled practically around the world to get here, you might as well stay at the Nanyuan Resort, which is the only one on the island.
Most of the visitors will be Asian, and it is a little costly. But, you are worth it!
Most of the locals arrive at mid morning, and stay well into the afternoon, because it is so inviting and perfect for couples and families.
You, however, will be staying for a longer time, so you have the option of experiencing this paradise early and late.
Here is a video of snorkelling in Koh Nang Yuan’s waters to show you how beautiful they are.
The island is privately owned, and completely eco friendly. For example, no plastic allowed.
The beach of Koh Nang Yuan is the main attraction, and what is under the water is even better.
Most people say that Koh Nang Yuan is one of the best snorkelling locations in all of Thailand’s waters.
The soft and hard coral reefs surround the island, and schools of parrotfish and angelfish are there to greet you.
The island has the perfect elevation to provide great lagoon shelter to keep things calm for snorkelling, and the water is crystal clear as well.
The banana-shaped long boats will take you to some off island snorkelling if you wish.
Twin Peak and Japanese Gardens are great shallow locations to try. Bring your own gear, or the resort has just what you need, if you prefer to travel light.
Here is yet another video showing snorkelling in Koh Nang Yuang, in Thailand.
Remember that this is an eco island paradise, and touching the coral is not acceptable.
Yes, they have hiking to the highest peak for great 360 views, and zip lining over the turquoise sea. But you are here to snorkel.
Hotels and Accommodation in Koh Nang Yuan
Currently there is only one resort on the island, Koh Nang Yuan Island Dive Resort.
This resort restaurant is also the only place where you can buy food. It is worth mentioning that the food there is pricier than in an average Thai restaurant.
All bungalows in the resort come equipped with a refrigerator and some of bungalows with video,or living room.
On to the next spot…
Koh Rong, Cambodia
How to get there?
Koh Rong is the second largest island of Cambodia. The island is located in the province of Koh Kong.
That should be easy to remember. It is in the Gulf of Thailand, about 25 km off the Sihanoukville’s coast.
There are 43 kilometres of pristine “drop dead” gorgeous beaches. The dense tropical forests cover most of the 78 square kilometres interior.
Hotels and Accommodation in Koh Rong
Koh Rong is not famous for its pristine white sandy beaches, warm crystal clear ocean waters, and a hot tropical climate, but also for its great accommodation.
Amazing ocean views, private pools, and great food are just some of the things you can find in Koh Rong’s hotels.
You can’t go “Rong”?
The world is discovering very quickly how beautiful Koh Rong is, but there is still time for you to enjoy the snorkelling in a very peaceful, uncrowded setting.
There are 7 bays to explore, weather permitting. This is a picture postcard place for some who want to share this gem with few people, and little development.
On the other hand, it can be a party destination extraordinaire, so there are others who would say, “the more the merrier.”
Should it be developed or kept a secret? That is the question.
From bed bugs to palaces?
There are places to stay, if you’re not too fussy. You can live in the villages with the locals, or rent something more commercial, if you like such a “Song Saa”.
If you’re going there to snorkel, you have come to the right place. It is only a 45 minute speed boat ride from mainland Sihanoukville.
There are lots of snorkelling tours to sign up with, but it isn’t really necessary. You can snorkel at the best locations without much help at all.
Here are some suggestions for wonderful snorkelling experiences …
The Dive Shop … Snorkel close to the Dive Shop. They will rent you the equipment. Just jump in the water right there. Seahorses, Diamond fish, and Needlefish are waiting to impress you.
Monkey Island South … Just south of Monkey Island, near the village pier, is a superb snorkeling spot. Yellow boxfish, Rabbitfish, Blue Spotted Ribbontail rays, goatfish, and if you’re lucky, groupers. They all live at this location.
Long Beach West … This is a real gem of a find for the persistent snorkeller.
This next video shows some exquisite Cambodian snorkelling…wow!
If you want to take advantage of Koh Rong’s perfect beaches, diving, snorkelling, and phosphorescent night swimming, go now, or forever hold your peace.
Phu Quoc, Vietnam … Bai Sao Beach
Phu Quoc is Vietnam’s largest island.
It has a beach called Bai Sao, and many say, that it is the best snorkelling beach in all of Asia.
The sand is soft, white powder, and the waters are perfect for underwater swimming. Head to the north part of the beach where a snorkeler’s paradise lies just a few steps into the water. Look out for the rocks in the water.
The water is shallow and very calm, so it is perfect for people of all ages and swimming abilities. Most snorkelling destinations have to be experienced by boat, but not at Bai Sao…. and by the way, it’s free!
Check out this video …
Here are a few specific directions on how to get to this secret gem of a beach, that is very under-developed …
From Ham Ninh Village, travel north on the road for 7 km towards Bai Thom Village and the Da Chong Pier. Bad Sao isn’t far from here.
Snorkelling at its best!
Hotels and Accommodation in Phu Quoc
What makes Phu Quoc such a great tourist destination is the fact that it offers not only crystal clear waters, beautiful beaches, and great snorkeling spots but also a range of activities, attractions, and accommodation.