Finding Nemo: The Best Places to Snorkel in Phuket

Snorkeling the Best Places in Phuket

With clear, warm water, vibrant coral and abundant sea life, there are plenty of amazing places to snorkel in Phuket.

A day on the Phuket beaches is relaxation heaven, but the view on land is only half the story. Phuket’s beaches and islands are blessed with dozens of coral reefs just waiting to be explored. You can feel like you’re starring in your own private version of Finding Nemo as you drift along on the currents spotting brightly colored fish.

Some of these spots are well-known whereas some need a bit more exploration to find, but they’ll all leave you with amazing memories of this tropical paradise.

Ya Nui

The small but perfectly formed bay of Ya Nui is nestled next to Promthep viewpoint. Close to the beach you’ll see lots of brain coral, and the further you venture from shore the better it gets. If you’re feeling energetic then charter a kayak and paddle across the bay to the islet of Koh Keyao Noi. You’ll get great views back of the mainland and the variety of fish here is spectacular.

How to get Ya Nui?

Head to Nai Harn beach then take route 4233 south over the headland. If you have your own transport this is an easy drive from Patong and you’ll be there in about 35 minutes. Otherwise you can hire a red songthaew truck and negotiate a price. Make sure the driver is going to wait for you though, as it can be hard to get transport back from Ya Nui in the evening.

Snorkel in Phuket at Ya Nuji
Photo By Satdeep GillCC BY-SA 4.0, from Wikimedia Commons

Coral Island

Not technically on the mainland, Coral Island is an easy half-day trip from the Phuket beaches and is a fun place to do some snorkeling. The reef isn’t as extensive here as other places but what it lacks in amount of coral it makes up for it in natural beauty. The water is so clear you can see the fish even without your snorkel mask and when you’ve tired of swimming you can lie out on the pure white sand. Hiring a mask costs around 100 baht here so there’s no need to bring your own.

How to get Coral Island?

If you’d like to visit Coral Island as part of an organized excursion then tour operators in Patong and Kata will sort you out for around 800 baht per person. If you’re persuasive then you might be able to get a banana boat ride or a parasail session thrown in! If you’d rather head there under your own steam then hire a longtail boat from Rawai Beach for around 2000 baht. The boats can fit between 4 and 6 people so this be quite a budget-friendly option.

Freedom Beach

The enigmatically named Freedom Beach is one of the most popular snorkel spots in Phuket. It’s well set up for tourists with sunbeds for hire and a good restaurant right on the beach. The snorkeling is spectacular and if you want to take underwater photos then this is the place to do it. Don’t be put off if the coral next to shore is a little disappointing, the 2004 tsunami caused quite extensive damage here. Swim further out and the show really starts. Clown fish dart through the coral formations and starfish hide in the shadows.

How to get to Freedom Beach?

A new road has been built making it possible to get to Freedom Beach by motorbike or taxi. Traveling south from Patong you’ll see the turning signposted before Kata. It’s much more fun to arrive by boat though! You can hire a longtail from the south of Patong Beach for around 1000 baht, or if you pay a little more than you can negotiate a stop at Tri Trang beach along the way.

Freedom Beach is a great place to snorkel in Phuket.
Photo by Channey on Unsplash

Bodegan Insider Tip

Remember never to snorkel if there are jet skis in the area, that’s a dangerous mix. Also remember that the sun here is strong. Like, crazy strong! You can burn after 10 minutes snorkeling if you don’t protect yourself properly. Anyone who has burnt their butt then tried to sit down will tell you that’s a terrible idea! Use high factor sunscreen and wear a rash vest and shorts if you can.

All of these spots will be a great snorkeling experience so choose one, grab your camera and enjoy!

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