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Snorkeling

Pattaya Snorkeling Tours

Pattaya area is surrounded by many accesible coral islands, so there is plenty of opportunity to carry out snorkeling.

Pattaya is a coastal holiday resort full of adventure and enjoyment, located on the eastern seaboard of the Gulf of Thailand.

Local scuba shops and tour agencies offer boat trips and organized snorkel tours to the nearby coral islands almost every day of the year.

Snorkeling is an increasingly popular water sport activity for visiting tourists. It is relaxing, relatively inexpensive, and a great way to escape the relentless noise and mayhem found in the city

Thai operated water-based enterprises, such as scuba diving, para-sailing, jet skis, inflatable banana rides, and fishing, are easily accessible for active thrill-seeking holidaymakers, but being family-friendly and easy to participate, helps to make snorkeling trips in Pattaya the favored choice of most sea life enthusiasts.

The Best Snorkeling Spots in Pattaya

There are two distinct groups of islands that are within easy reach by boats from the harbor– Laem Bali Hai - situated at the southern end of Walking Street. Coral reefs around these two areas offer snorkelers very different environments.

The nearest, and largest, is Koh Larn which is less than 10km from the mainland. Public ferries sail to this large and popular destination several times each day and it is one of the few islands that are inhabited in the Pattaya region.

The neighboring islands of Koh Sak and Koh Krok are smaller and less crowded. The ‘inner’ islands offer shallow sandy bays to snorkel in and are the best choice for half day trips.

The ‘outer’ islands of Koh Rin, Koh Phai, and others, take more than an hour to reach by the majority of tour boats. However, being uninhabited, remote, and distant, usually makes them a better experience for snorkeling.

Though the aquatic environment and sea life is similar throughout the region, there is less annoyance by speed boats and jet skis at the far islands.

What is the typical aquatic life for snorkelers to see around the Pattaya Islands?

Common Sea Life on Pattaya Coral Reefs

Common Plant Life Underwater at Pattaya

Typical Price of Snorkeling in Pattaya

The water temperature in the Thai Gulf rarely drops below 28’c and often peaks at 33’c. Pattaya beaches and shorelines are inappropriate for snorkeling. The water near to the beach is less clear and the coral reefs are scarce.

This influences the cost of the tours because you need to take a boat journey to the reach the best snorkel spots.

If you choose to join an organized tour in Pattaya you should expect to pay 1,000 - 1,500 Thai baht ($50US). This price includes Hotel transfers, snorkel equipment rental, food & drinks, and a snorkeling guide.

Most day trips start around 09.00am and return to the pier later in the afternoon. Food on board can be as simple as a Subway sandwich or as tasty as a hot buffet meal of Thai and Western style food.

Things To Review Before You Choose

The cost of any service is usually related to the standard and quality that is provided. Snorkeling is a simple activity that generally needs no instruction. However, if you join a group, it might be important to review our suggestions below before you make the booking.

Most boat journeys out to the islands are safe and comfortable. The boats used for the local tours range from a 6 seat speed boat to a 60 person catamaran. Further considerations may include;

Helpful Tips About Snorkeling In Pattaya

Whether you make an independent trip to the islands or join a scheduled tour with a local expert, this invalid information is meant to improve your safety and enjoyment of the experience.

Assuming that you came well prepared for a boat trip, you will most likely have towels, sun screen, appropriate swimming attire, and maybe your favorite book to read during the crossing. If you are a queasy boat traveler you should also consider taking some medication for sea-sickness prior to boarding.

Drinking water, and eating fruits with high levels of potassium, such as bananas, will keep you hydrated and help to avoid muscle cramps. Be aware of sunburn. You can easily get burnt out at sea - even on a cloudy day.

As you reach the destination you should have the snorkeling gear prepared for use - defog applied to the inside of the mask lens, snorkel tube firmly attached, and swimming fins ready for donning close to the rear of the boat (stern).

In Pattaya, we always recommend using a brightly-colored flotation vest appropriate for snorkeling. This serves two very important purposes. Snorkel vests allow you to float comfortably at the surface and they also warn nearby boat traffic of your position in the water.

There have been local incidents where swimmers, snorkelers and scuba divers have received injuries from speed boats and jet skis. Local tour agencies are aware of this danger and usually take their groups to areas away from these hazards.

Getting into the water is easy if your boat has a ladder. Small speed boats tend to be difficult to get in and out of. As you float around with your head in the water, keep your eyes looking slightly ahead and not directly below.

This will help to keep the snorkel tube in an upright position which avoids excess water running into your mouth. If you are keen on underwater photography, you may need to use skin diving skills to get close to your photographic subjects.

The local snorkeling sites in Pattaya range from 2 meters to six meters deep. The sheltered bay areas of the islands offer protection from the wind and the waves. Most of the year the water is warm, relatively calm, and the clarity of the water is good enough to see the corals and fishes around five meters below.

The reefs tend to be hard coral formations and the fish are mostly small reef fish. However, on a lucky day, you could see dolphins, turtles, or a whale shark.

Although the majority of swimmers and snorkelers remain at the water’s surface, there are two main hazards to be aware of around the shallows. These include sea urchins and stonefish.

Sea urchins in Pattaya are black with sharp spines. They move slowly on the seabed and will not attack you. But if you unintentionally make contact with an urchin, the spines will pierce the skin and may be painful for a few hours.

They are not generally poisonous but puncture wounds can last several days and cause infection in some severe cases. Common treatments for sea urchin wounds include cleaning the injury with an antiseptic and soaking the affected area in hot water and/or white vinegar.

Stonefish are similar to scorpion fish and it is difficult to differentiate between the two for most people. They are not particularly aggressive creatures but great care should be taken if you make contact with the underwater rocks and structures.

Stonefish are highly camouflaged and not easy to see. If you place a hand on the spiny dorsal fin of a stonefish you may be advised to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Compared to other snorkeling spots around the world, the islands around Pattaya offer relatively safe and easily accessible areas to see an underwater environment that is fathoms away from its’ typical holiday temptations. Tropical deserted retreats offer a chance to meet nature, relax in the water, and meet other snorkeling fans.

See here for more information about Snorkeling in Pattaya.