Last Updated on October 5, 2022 by Natalia
Koh Phi Phi is home to some of the best snorkelling in Thailand, thanks to an abundance of marine life and great visibility. The main island of Koh Phi Phi Don has amazing snorkelling at both Nui Beach and Long Beach – the latter of which is home to the incredible Shark Point. It’s possible to see a range of species whilst snorkelling in the Phi Phi Islands, including blacktip reef sharks, cuttlefish, lionfish, sea snakes, and much more! There are some incredible snorkelling spots to visit, including the famous Maya Bay – one of the best beaches in Koh Phi Phi! No visit to Koh Phi Phi is complete without a snorkelling tour, or at least a trip to Shark Point to discover the island’s amazing marine life. Having spent over a month living on the island we’ve come up with this list of the 4 best snorkelling spots in Phi Phi Island.
Looking for the best hotels and resorts on Koh Phi Phi Island? Make sure to check out our guide to the best hotels and places to stay in Koh Phi Phi!
Best Snorkelling on the Phi Phi islands
Shark Point is known for being one of the best snorkelling spots on Koh Phi Phi and it’s our personal favourite place to snorkel on the island. In our opinion it’s home to the best snorkelling in the area, and is conveniently located at Long Beach on Phi Phi Don Island.
Having visited Shark Point ourselves on multiple occasions, we were fortunate enough to see a cuttlefish, lionfish, eels, clownfish and much more. We saw several blacktip reef sharks every time we visited, and in some instances saw more than 20 in one trip! There are plenty of other species to be seen in the area, and if you’re extremely lucky you may even seen a leopard shark.
With so many species found in the area, it’s no exaggeration to say that Shark Point is home to an abundance of marine life – so it was an obvious inclusion on this list of the best snorkelling in the Phi Phi Islands.
To visit Shark Point you will need to head to Long Beach – which you can either do by walking there or taking a longtail boat. Long Beach is around a 30-40 minute walk from Tonsai Beach, but if that’s a bit too much effort then a longtail boat should cost 100 baht per person one-way from Tonsai pier.
Once you’re at Long Beach head towards Phi Phi The Beach Resort, and from there you should be able to see some rocks in the sea. These rocks serve as a kind of location marker for Shark Point, so just swim out in this direction to discover the area’s incredible marine life. If you don’t have your own snorkel then you can also rent snorkels and masks for 50 baht from Phi Phi The Beach Resort, and if you want fins they cost an additional 50 baht to rent.
There is plenty of coral in the area, which is why you’re able to see a range of different species here. The sharks tend to be the beachside of the rocky island, but if you swim to the back there is some great coral to explore and this is where we saw a cuttlefish.
If possible, we recommend snorkelling at Shark Point in high tide as the water can be quite shallow in low tide and there are lots of sea urchins in the area – so make sure to be careful!
As Shark Point is just off the shore of Long Beach, you can easily spend all day here by taking breaks between snorkelling and relaxing on the beach. There are also a number of restaurants and bars along the beach, so you can easily get a drink or a bite to eat if you need some energy before snorkelling some more! The snorkelling here is so good that it’s at the top of our list of best things to do in Koh Phi Phi!
Maya Bay is most famous for its stunning white sand beach, but it’s also home to one of the best snorkelling spots on the Phi Phi Islands. The only way to reach this spot is on a boat tour to Koh Phi Phi Lee, with many trips including a stop to snorkel at Maya Bay.
There is a good mix of marine life to see here, and the highlight on our trip was seeing a sea snake, but we also saw barracuda, parrotfish, clownfish and much more! With a bit of luck it’s also possible to see blacktip reef sharks at Maya Bay, so make sure to keep an eye out for a glimpse of these beautiful creatures! There are jellyfish in the water in the area, so make sure to be careful whilst snorkelling here.
A tourist ban was in place from 2018 until January 1 2022 to allow the nature to recover, as much of the coral at Maya Bay had died. Since reopening, swimming at Maya Beach isn’t allowed in order to protect the nature, but thankfully the snorkelling spot is on the edge of the bay so you’re allowed in the sea. The only way to access this spot is by boat, and once your boat has got there you can jump in to enjoy some of the best snorkelling in Koh Phi Phi.
Boat trips to Maya Bay and around the Phi Phi Islands normally include snorkelling gear, but make sure to clarify before booking just to be sure. We recommend taking a private longtail boat trip, which should cost around 1800 baht for 2 people for 3 hours, but will cost more depending on your group size. Our private longtail boat trip ended up costing 2000 baht for 5 people, but group tours are also available with prices being around 600 baht per person.
If you want to go onto Maya Beach itself there is an entrance fee of 400 baht for foreigners. Visiting the beach is optional, but it is so beautiful that we’d recommend paying the fee to have the chance to visit it properly rather than just see it from afar.
Maya Bay and Loh Sameh Bay will be closed to tourists between 1st August 2023 and 30th September 2023 as part of an annual plan to allow nature to cover from tourism.
Another great spot for snorkelling in Koh Phi Phi is at Nui Beach. Situated on the main island of Koh Phi Phi Don, it’s a beautiful white sand beach located in a relatively small cove.
Snorkelling at Nui Beach offers the chance to see a good variety of marine life, including nudibranchs, parrotfish, and a number of other fish species. We were lucky enough to spot a sea snake here in the sea close to the cliffs, so if you’re lucky you might see a snake too!
As well as being a great snorkelling spot, Nui Beach is also one of the best beaches in Koh Phi Phi. It’s an extremely picturesque beach thanks to the white sand and cliffs, so make sure to take a break from snorkelling to relax and enjoy the scenery whilst you’re here.
The easiest way to get to Nui Beach is to take a longtail boat from Loh Dalum Beach, but you can also kayak or walk there if you’d prefer. Prices for a longtail boat do vary depending on group size and your negotiation skills, but we paid 250 baht per person for a return trip to Nui Beach for 6 people. Snorkels and masks may not be included if you’re just getting a longtail taxi boat each way, but you should be able to rent them at Loh Dalum Beach for around 50 baht per person.
Kayak rental starts from 200 baht per hour, but you will need a minimum of two hours to account for a 30-45 minute journey each way, and even then that doesn’t allow you much time to snorkel! Walking to the beach is free but does take around an hour through the jungle if you’re coming from Loh Dalum Beach.
One thing to be wary of when snorkelling at Nui beach is that during low tide the sea gets very shallow. This can make it a bit hard to get to the beach easily as it’s quite rocky, so just make sure to be careful if you’re heading back to the beach in low tide.
When it comes to snorkelling in the Phi Phi Islands, it doesn’t get much better than a trip to Bamboo Island. This spot is a paradise for marine life, and the amount of fish in the sea here is truly astonishing!
It’s hard to do justice to the sheer number of fish to be seen when snorkelling at Bamboo Island, but it really is incredible. The sea here really is teeming with fish, and the crystal clear water means the visibility is great. In fact the water clarity is so good that it’s the best we saw on all of our snorkelling trips in Koh Phi Phi.
There are a number of species to see at Bamboo Island including clownfish, pufferfish, eels and sea snakes, but be careful as there are quite a few jellyfish about too. If you’re VERY lucky you might see a shark at Bamboo Island, but sightings are quite rare so Shark Point is the best place to see sharks snorkelling in the Phi Phi Islands.
We recommend taking a private longtail boat trip to Bamboo Island, with prices starting from around 1800 baht for 2 people for 3 hours. The cost will go up depending on how many people you have and if you want to visit any other spots for snorkelling in the Phi Phi Islands, but snorkels and masks are normally included in the price.
It’s around a 45-minute one-way trip to Bamboo island from Koh Phi Phi Don, which gives you around 1½ hours to snorkel if you take a 3 hour trip. Alternatively if you don’t want to arrange a private trip then there are organised snorkelling tours which visit a number of spots around the Phi Phi Islands.
If you want to go onto Bamboo Island itself there is a charge of 400 baht for foreigners. It does have a lovely white sand beach, but we personally think you’re best off spending your time enjoying the amazing snorkelling as there are plenty of other great beaches nearby – like the incredible Maya Beach!
Phi Phi Island Snorkelling Tours
One of the best ways to visit a number of these spots in one day is to take a Phi Phi Island snorkelling tour. There are plenty of longtail boats for hire around Koh Phi Phi Don Island, so you can easily arrange a personalised day trip through one of the boatmen at either Tonsai Beach or Loh Dalum Beach. You can normally negotiate a bit, so it’s worth asking around to get the best price.
If you would rather book a tour online then there are a variety of different options available through Get Your Guide. These tours have more of a set route, so make sure you’re happy with the itinerary before booking.
One of the most popular tours Get Your Guide offer in the area is a Koh Phi Phi island hopping and snorkelling tour by speedboat. This tour includes a number of the snorkelling spots on the list above, as well as stops at Monkey Beach, Runtee Bay and Loh Samah Bay. This Phi Phi Island snorkelling tour starts from 1,850 baht per person for a 10-hour tour!
Another option is to take a private islands, beaches and snorkelling day trip around Koh Phi Phi, including stops at Shark Point, Bamboo Island, Nui Beach, Maya Bay, Monkey Beach and more! This tour costs 5,847 baht for a private group of up to 4 people, and visits some of the best snorkelling spots in Koh Phi Phi!
If you want to go snorkelling in Koh Phi Phi but aren’t staying on the island then the best option is to take a day trip from either Krabi or Phuket. Speedboat tours run every day from both Krabi and Phuket, and you can also book online in advance through Get Your Guide!
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