Snorkeling is a popular activity in and around Khao Lak due to the fact it can be safely practiced by mostly anyone, children and adults alike, with a minimum of equipment. Along the 25km length of coast that is known as Khao Lak – from Khao Lak Beach itself in the south, to Baan Nam Khem in the north – the best snorkelling spots can be found at both ends of each beach. If there are rocks in the water, you’ll certainly find marine life around them.
Khao Lak, Nang Thong, Bang Niang, White Sand, and Pak Weep are the beaches that offer the most impressive snorkelling spots. Please note that these spots are several kilometres away from each other. Snorkelling equipment for rent or purchase can easily be found by Bang Niang and Nang Thong beaches, and many beachfront resorts located near these spots can provide their guests with mask, snorkel, and fins.
Located 40 minutes by long-tail boat from Khao Lak, Khao Na Yak Reef is the closest snorkelling spot offshore. With a depth of nine metres, it is frequented by both snorkellers and divers. You can spot lion fish, ghost pipefish, and the occasional leopard sharks there.
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The best snorkelling sites in Phang Nga Province can be found further still offshore: the Similan Islands, Koh Tachai (unfortunately closed in May 2016 for an undefined period of time) and the Surin Islands are world-class snorkelling sites. Day trips to these islands are available only in high season, from November to April.
It takes roughly two hours by speedboat to reach the Similans and the Surins, which are respectively located 60km and 80km from Khao Lak. Most of the departures to the Similan Islands are from Tap Lamu Pier while boats to the Surin Islands sail from Kuraburi Pier. During these day trips, most of the snorkelling sessions are performed directly from the speedboat on the most beautiful sites featuring shallow waters and coral reefs. Snorkelling day trips to the Similans and Surins can be booked at any hotel or independent tour counters in Khao Lak. They are usually charged around 3,500 baht per person (transfer, lunch, and soft drinks included).