Phuket Beaches Snorkeling Swimming Thailand

Best beaches for snorkeling in Phuket - list of most beautiful places, photos, location

Administrator 01.10.2023
Best beaches for snorkeling in Phuket - list of most beautiful places, photos, location

Phuket Island, Thailand's tourist gem in the Andaman Sea, is famous for its pristine beaches, vibrant nightlife and diverse cuisine, international and Thai food. But beneath the turquoise waves of the Andaman Sea lies a world that is still little explored, filled with marine life and coral. This is great news for snorkeling enthusiasts who choose to spend their vacation in Phuket.

In this article, we have compiled a list of the best snorkeling spots in Phuket, each with its own unique appeal. By the way, you can read a list of the best beaches in Phuket.

The division into rating is of course conditional, and you should visit all these beaches. But personally, I can recommend the finalists - Yanui and Ao San - as the most intense and diverse snorkeling beaches. Whether you are an experienced diver or a beginner, these places will allow you to enjoy the underwater world near this paradise island.

Tips for a good vacation

Although the rich marine life and colorful coral reefs beckon, it is important to approach this activity from a safety and environmental perspective. Here are some important tips that will ensure a comfortable vacation for you and others.

Coral, rocks and waves

Coral reefs, while breathtaking in their beauty, can be quite dangerous. Many corals and rocks have sharp edges that you can bump or scratch yourself on.

There are often many barnacles growing on the rocks, which can cut your skin very unpleasantly. Always be aware of your surroundings and swim with caution. If possible, wear special clothing - coral slippers, a swimming sweater and shorts. This will also save you from sunburn.

In addition, sudden waves or strong currents can be dangerous even for experienced divers. Be alert and preferably swim in the company of people who can come to your aid in case of a health hazard.

Sun protection

The tropical sun can be deceptively gentle, especially when it reflects a delightful blue color off the surface of the water. But when snorkeling, you are exposed to direct and reflected ultraviolet rays. Therefore, it is not recommended to stay in the water for long periods of time - 30 minutes maximum.

To protect your skin, liberally apply a water-resistant sunscreen, easily found at 7-Eleven or drugstores. For extra protection, you can use closed clothing - look out for locals, such as cab drivers, who always cover exposed skin with gloves, a scarf, pants and a hat, even in the hottest weather.

One more important note - even on cloudy days, the sun's ultraviolet rays can penetrate through clouds, so don't be complacent if the sky is gray.

Environmental protection

Marine ecosystems are very fragile, and if you want to enjoy these beaches 30-40 years from now, you must ensure that you minimize your impact on them.

While it is tempting to pick up an interesting shell or touch a colorful coral, it is best to refrain from doing so. Also, if you take snacks or drinks with you, don't leave trash behind - it can harm marine life. Before you leave, check the area to make sure you haven't accidentally dropped anything. If you notice trash left behind by others, consider picking it up - every little act counts.

By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the wonders of Phuket's underwater world, preserving its beauty and richness for future generations.

8 - Kata Noi

Kata Noi, which literally means "little Kata", is a delightful beach tucked away on Phuket's southwest coast. Overshadowed by its larger neighbors, Kata Yai and Karon beaches, Kata Noi is often overlooked by tourists.

But therein lies its underrated charm. This modestly sized beach is a serene vacation spot, perfect for those who prefer tranquility to crowded shores.

The waters here are crystal clear and the sand is a pale golden hue. Snorkeling enthusiasts can encounter an abundance of marine life, especially in the early morning hours.

7 - Freedom

Set in a secluded cove, Freedom Beach is a testament to nature's mastery. The 300-meter stretch of pure white sand is surrounded by lush hills and granite cliffs, creating an atmosphere of privacy and intimacy. The remoteness of the beach largely protects it from commercial interference, allowing the natural beauty to shine intact.

For snorkeling enthusiasts, Freedom Beach offers a delightful underwater escapade. The waters here are calm and crystal clear, allowing you to observe the marine world in all its glory. The rocky areas, especially at the northern end of the beach, are hot spots for snorkeling. Here you can see darting damanfish, wriggling sea anemones and the occasional gliding blue spotted stingray.

Getting to Liberty Beach, however, requires some effort, either by taking a long-tail boat from Patong Beach or a challenging hike through a forested area. But those who make the trek will be rewarded with virtually private snorkeling in one of the most pristine spots in Phuket.

Both of these beaches, with their unique charm and underwater wonders, offer snorkeling enthusiasts not only a visual treat, but also a soulful communion with nature.

6 - Paradise

Paradise Beach lives up to its name in every sense of the word. Located just a few kilometers away from the bustling Patong Beach, this place offers a much more relaxing vacation. The soft white sand and clear turquoise waters provide an attractive backdrop for snorkeling enthusiasts.

The shallow waters offshore are ideal for beginners or those who just want to snorkel in peace. Due to the land protruding into the sea, the beach is closed off from the big waves from the sea side.

As you swim a little deeper, you'll encounter coral formations teeming with a variety of marine life. Here you can see colorful parrot fish, curious clown fish, and the occasional butterfly fish flitting back and forth among the coral gardens. The left and right sides of the beach are more rocky landscapes, where inhabitants such as sea eels and sea urchins are often found.

Although there is a fee to enter Paradise Beach - around 200 baht - its natural beauty is well worth the cost. Although judging by the reviews on the Internet a lot of tourists are dissatisfied with the quality of service in deck chairs and in the restaurant. But we came here not to lie on deck chairs, and explore the underwater world - so I think it is not such a big price.

Besides, I think it is possible to swim from neighboring open sea areas to this beach - money is charged for passing through the territory of the hotel, but the beach itself is owned by the king, and in idea there should be no claims to this way. I'll be sure to share my experience in the future. If you are looking for a piece of underwater "paradise" away from the crowds of tourists, this beach is definitely worth a visit.

5 - Laem Ka

Laem Ka is located in the southernmost part of Phuket, and remains one of the island's most secretive and deserted beaches. Due to limited land routes, it is mostly accessible by boat, and this seclusion has helped to maintain its unspoiled charm.

The waters here are calm, making it a favorable spot for novice snorkelers. As you wade through the gentle waves, you can see a variety of colorful tropical fish swimming among the underwater flora.

Although Laem Ka is not replete with infrastructural amenities, its very absence makes it distinctive and romantic. A visit to this place is a gentle reminder of how beaches are meant to be by nature.

4 - Laem Sing

Laem Sing, located between Kamala and Surin beaches, gives the impression of a cut-out from advertising magazines. The beach itself is fairly compact, but what it lacks in area it makes up for in atmosphere. Like Laem Ka, it's quite difficult to get to - either take a boat from neighboring beaches or follow the path from Surin.

Snorkeling enthusiasts will be pleased to know that the rock ledges at either end of the beach serve as habitats for a variety of marine life. The corals are colorful, the fish are numerous, and if you're lucky, you may also encounter the elusive moray eel.

The relatively hidden location of Laem Sing protects it from the crowds of tourists, so you can usually meet 2-3 people on the beach. This allows snorkeling enthusiasts to commune with Phuket's underwater world in private.

3 - Banana

Don't be fooled by the fancy name. Banana beach is a slice of paradise that has managed to remain off the radar of commercialism, despite the fact that many other beaches on the island have succumbed to the relentless onslaught of tourism. Situated in a quiet cove accessible only by boat or a few hidden paths off the road, Banana is everything you would imagine an unspoiled tropical beach to be.

The waters here are amazingly clear and have a blue hue that seems unreal. For snorkeling enthusiasts, the underwater terrain is a mixture of sandy areas interspersed with rock formations.

These rocky areas are teeming with marine life. From schools of yellowtail fin whales to colorful parrot fish, the visual delight is continuous. And if you feel hungry after snorkeling, there is often one small cafe on the beach that makes delicious fruit shakes.

2 - Ao Sane

Often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors, Ao Sane is a snorkeling paradise in its own right. It's intricately nestled between Phuket's west and south coasts near Nai Harn Beach, and although you have to drive a winding road to reach it (you can walk there in 10-15 minutes), the destination is well worth the drive. It's also worth considering that it's quite difficult to find a cab driver for the way back, because they don't want to drive that far or ask for twice the price. Perhaps the best solution is to rent a bike or walk.

The beach is a mound of coarse golden sand with rock formations. Swimming along these rocks reveals the true magic of Ao Sane. Coral clusters stretch along the beach close to the shore, creating underwater gardens of vibrant colors and shapes. You can also swim along the cliffs towards Nai Harn, where you'll also find plenty of fish and sea urchins. If you swim in the opposite direction, you can find a second smaller beach with even more coral and rocks. 

Here you can see blue rays, angel fish and even sometimes sea turtles in their natural habitat. Ao Sane's real appeal lies in its long coral shelf, which allows snorkelers to explore longer stretches without venturing too far offshore.

Keep in mind that there is still construction going on there in October 2023, so getting to the beach has become a bit more difficult. The beach itself is clean, but construction debris and noise can spoil your experience on Ao San. On the other hand - if you go there to dive, these problems are unlikely to be critical, because they do not affect the underwater world.

1 - Yanui

Yanui Beach stands out not only for its beauty, but also for the unique opportunity to swim to the neighboring island. The small, beautiful bay, framed on both sides by hills, is a secluded place despite its popularity.

An interesting feature of the beach is a small island, which is visible from the shore and beckons snorkeling enthusiasts. It is possible to swim to this island on special plastic boats, but if you are a good swimmer - the way to the island in flippers takes about 10 minutes.

Sometimes along the way in the water there is a mesmerizing underwater spectacle. Coral reefs, schools of passing fish and the occasional octopus create a colorful picture.

When you reach the island, the panoramic view of the Andaman Sea and the bay is a wonderful reward. There is also plenty of coral and swarms of fish swimming around the island. Please note that in some areas around the island there is a strong current, which is difficult to overcome even for a trained swimmer. You can carefully make your way out onto the rocks and walk along them.

In my opinion, Yanui has rightfully earned its first place among the snorkeling beaches in Phuket.