Koh Tao is a small but busy island. It is a popular destination for divers. The island is surrounded by a coral reef, but like many other places the corals are not as healthy as they used to be. You can still find good snorkelling here though. This is my guide to the best offshore snorkelling beach.
My favorite beaches are the 3 beaches in the South West of the island. Jansom Bay and Sai Nuan 1 and 2. They all offer a good range of corals and colourful fish. The beaches are small and beautiful, all are really good swimming beaches and you can easily find shade under the palm trees.
How to get there from the pier: Go up the street and turn right towards Blue Diamond Resort. Pass the hotel and walk through Sensi Paradise Hotel. After the pool you walk straight up the hill and you will soon see some signs pointing you in the right direction. From here it is about a 15 min walk to Jansom bay and 25 min to Sai Nuan 1 and 2. It is a beautiful walk where you can be lucky to spot some Komodo dragons.
When you reach Jansom Bay have a Cocktail at Elvis bar, but just one! They are seriously strong : )
At Sai Nuan #2 you will find the Banana Rock Bar – the coolest bar! No Cocktails, just beer and rum. A real authentic Thai bar. You can watch the sun go down and listen to slow reggae music.
Another beach worth mentioning is Nang Yuan Island. It is a 15 min boat ride from the pier in Maehaad. You have to pay 200 Baht to enter as it is a preserved area. That means a lot of tourists and the heavy numbers ruins it a bit. I would still recommend you to go an a day trip, opening hours are from 10-17. The snorkelling is great – clear water and sandbars. The best snorkelling you will find in the Chinese Garden, it is on the right side of the sandbar. There is a restaurant and two small shops. You can stay for the night at the resort there but we did it and I do not recommend it! It is very pricey and the only cool thing about it is that you have the whole island to your self, when the beach closes.
If you want to see Black tip Reef Sharks, then go to Sai Deng Beach: The snorkelling is quit good too and there is a good chance to see the small and non dangerous sharks. I have been at the beach two times but I never spotted a shark (Hop fully next time) If you see one, please shear the story and some photos with me.