When most travelers visit Phuket, the ideal snorkeling trip destinations that come to mind are Koh Phi Phi, Koh Racha, or even the far off Similan Islands a few hours to the north. Some folks opt for a day trip to Coral Island, which ironically doesn’t have much living coral left! However, there is one hidden snorkeling gem right inside Phuket that is very easy to reach on your own, granted you are comfortable on a motorbike or have rented your own car, or if you have a big enough group to split a taxi.
If you are looking for a hostel, I have stayed at Doolay Hostel and can highly recommend it. It’s fairly new, right across the street from Karon Beach, and is one of the highest rated hostels in Phuket – and only about $6 a night!
If hostels aren’t your thing, I’d recommend a hotel somewhere in Karon Beach. It’s centrally located in terms of beach areas and the beach there is several kilometers long and not very crowded.
This spot is called Ao San Beach.
It is located in the southern tip of the island, just 2 minutes drive from Nai Harn Beach. The beach is protected from the horde of overloaded snorkeling trip tour boats that dump tourists at as many beaches as possible, and as a result, Ao Sane has a decent amount of living corals and beautiful untamed fish.
Looking outwards at the beach, swimming to the far right will give you the best underwater views.
You can easily swim all the way to the outermost point on the right, where the beachside bungalows end. If you reach the point in the water where you are looking directly at the last bungalow, there is a very large rock with an opening in the middle, where you can find these 2 guys hanging out. You’ll likely need to swim from shallow to deep water back and forth to spot them!
Going to Ao Sane for your very own snorkeling trip is very simple.
Looking directly at Nai Harn Beach, follow the road on the right all the way til the end where you will come to The Nai Harn Resort. The security guard will happily wave you through. Follow the road to the left around the resort and continue on until you reach Ao Sane. There are several unmarked speed-bumps here and there so don’t get too distracted by the beautiful views!
After the awesome snorkeling trip, the Sunset Bar is an absolutely awesome little spot with a pool and of course tasty drinks! I highly recommend a stop there as the sunset can be spectacular on a clear day.
Enjoy snorkeling and say hello to Nemo’s cousins for me!
Rain ruining your stay? Check out my other related article about some awesome things to do indoors around Phuket.
VD’s Hostel Recommendations for Phuket
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Karon Beach: Doolay Hostel
Kata Beach: TP Hostel
Phuket Town: Phuket Backpacker Hostel
Patong Beach: Patong Backpackers Hostel
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