Thailand has some amazing places to dive, but if you don’t want to take the plunge or just don’t have time to go through a certification course, consider snorkeling instead. Almost every beach or island in Thailand has some good spots to snorkel nearby with colorful coral and fish. If the best snorkeling isn’t found right off the coast, you can either go out on your own or take one of the scores of organized group snorkeling tours offered at any travel agent.
Boat tours from Phuket, Krabi, Samui and other very popular areas almost always include some time for snorkeling and it’s a convenient and relatively inexpensive way to give it a try if you’ve never done it before. For more experienced snorkelers who know where they’d like to explore, doing so is as easy as negotiating with a longtail boatman to take you out where you want to go. It’s also possible to charter speed boats but that can cost a few hundred dollars for half a day.
If you’re taking a snorkeling tour, you’ll be provided with a mask, snorkel and fins so you don’t have to worry about anything. Some longtail boatmen also have their own gear that they rent out. Not all do, so make sure to ask ahead of time and find some gear if necessary.
Here are a few tips to make your snorkel trip more fun:
Find a face mask that fits well and is comfortable. There's nothing worse than snorkeling with a leaky mask or one that fogs up quickly. Ask to try a few different ones before deciding which one you'll use.
Pay attention to your surroundings. If you are snorkeling in open water be on the lookout for boats.
If you're not a strong swimmer, wear a life preserver while you snorkel.
Don't step on the coral! The beaches and islands of Thailand are already heavily taxed by the volume of tourists that visit every day. Plus, it can lead to nasty infections.