Best Snorkelling Spots in Asia
There are many sites to go snorkelling around the world, and a number of articles to sift through that will advise you where to go. Our adventure travel specialists have picked the best snorkelling spots in Asia that are not too far from where you will be in each country. There are many factors that play into deciding which spot to pick, from the location, fish variety or tourism options nearby. We have chosen the ones that offer the best of all worlds. If you have any favourites, let us know we would like to add them too!
The Philippines has over 7,000 islands in the archipelago making this a very diverse ecosystem filled with breathtaking wildlife. Dive into the Bay of Donsol for a chance to swim with whale sharks, or delve into the coral reefs outside Noa Noa island. The Palawan island has something for every underwater explorer - discover the fish-filled lagoons, Honda Bay, the Tubbataha reef and a day trip to observe the underwater citizens fo Starfish and Cowrie Island. Camiguin is a small volcanic island located north of the main island of Mindanao and is considered a hidden gem. You can find here underwater, a sunken cemetery, with great spots with the fish port around the 'White Island' and Mantigue island.
In Thailand, there are two main marine areas for snorkelling. In the west, you have the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean, while towards the east you have the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea. Given how cost efficient it is, Thailand is one of the best destinations for snorkelling. The best time to visit the east areas of Andaman is between November to April. The Simian Island is a world-class diving spot and has been a natural reserve since 1982. The water temperature is on average 27C, and if you want to have a peaceful diving session, avoid December & January as it’s peak tourist season. Phi Phi islands have a beautifully stunning array of marine life. You can see some black tip reef sharks and leopard sharks in these waters.
The snorkelling sites along the Gulf of Thailand are around Ko Chang Marine National Park. The weather here is arid from October to April. You can also go to Ko Samui, Ko Phangan, Ko Tao [considered snorkelling mecca], Shark Bay and Tanote Bay for good snorkelling destinations. It would be advisable to check the spots are open before you go as some sites temporarily close to conserve the marine life there.
Indonesia is also part of the Coral Triangle and hence it’s quite easy to see hawksbill sea turtles and green turtles here. You can also see angelfish, clownfish, giant clams or ‘mola mola’ in Indonesia. For Indonesia, the months of May, June & September are dry, so great time to visit. It is best to avoid July & August and Christmas holidays as it’s peak tourist season here. Near a small coastal village in Bali is the famous USS Liberty in Tulamben. To see the wreck of this ship you will need to swim about 30m offshore and is located about 5 - 30 meters deep underwater. It provides a home to corals, sea anemones, sponges and a whole array of lovely fishes. The Coral Garden is also another great spot for snorkelling, and definitely, do head to Palau Menjangan or Deer Island. Palau is one of the most stunning places and you can only visit it by boat or guided tour.
The Komodo islands are also great for exploring some fascinating underwater inhabitants. At Pink Bay, you can swim with rays, schools of groupers etc. and you can discover the undersea garden here. The sea around the Komodo National Park offers over 1000 species of fish 260 types of coral, and 14 types of endangered whales, dolphins, and giant turtles. If that’s not enough to strap on a snorkel, there are also rays, sharks, and a flourishing coral reef to make for a memorizing journey.
As part of the Coral Triangle and being made up of hundreds of islands Malaysia is abundant in marine biodiversity. About 30% of the coral reefs and 35% of the reef fish species on earth are living in this region. You can generally get temperatures from 20C - 30C in Malaysia. Located On the northern island of Borneo, Sabah has about 400 islands and about 75% of Malaysian reefs can be found here. As some of the living reefs are close to the water surface, you can easily access them as a beginner snorkeler. The water temperature is best around April from 26C - 30C, and you can see angelfish, clownfish, green turtles, reef sharks and if you are lucky the majestic manta rays! Located near Sabha are some other islands, which can be a snorkelling paradise. The easiest to access is Pulau Manukan & Pulau Gaya. To see nesting beaches of turtles head to Selingan ‘Turtle Island’, Langkayan for coral reefs, rays, sea turtles and sharks and Mataking for white sand and blue waters.
There are about 22 coral atolls with over 1000 islands that make up the Maldives, with only 200 of the islands being inhabited and open for tourists to visit. All the resort islands are surrounded by its own reef, known as the ‘house reef’, with a shallow lagoon nearby making the house reef a natural swimming pool. You will be able to see tuna, parrot fish, surgeonfish, eagle rays, hammerhead sharks and turtles. Most resorts will provide dive boats and places like the Rasfari and the preserved marine sanctuary of Kuda Haa is great for shallow snorkelling. One of the most stunning islands is the Baa Atoll, also a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. With white sands and blue waters, it is snorkelers paradise.
If this has inspired you to book your next snorkelling holiday in Asia, call one of our travel advisors on 020 7843 3531. Alternatively, you can email us at email@example.com.