Snorkeling Tours
›› Coral Islands

Pattaya Coral Islands Review

Having reviewed the facts we admit the islands off Pattaya are not the foremost for snorkeling sites such as the Australian Great Barrier Reef or the Caribbean. Nevertheless, you might be somewhat surprised by the exclusivity and remoteness of the uninhabited Pattaya Far Islands.

There are two main groups of islands near Pattaya for snorkeling tours. The nearest archipelago is only seven kilometers from the beaches of Pattaya and Jomtien.

It takes most snorkel boats less than one hour to reach the biggest and nearest islands of Koh Larn and Ko Sak. Nonetheless, when the conditions are optimum, we like to travel an extra 30 minutes to reach the farthest pinnacles of Koh Rin or Ko Phai. Here is where you will discover more marine animals and appreciate cleaner seas.

Despite almost every tour agent agreeing that Pattaya’s best snorkelling sites are clearly the unparalleled far island chain, the premier destination for public and private trips from the mainland are the crowded nearby isles. This is especially true of Koh Larn, the inaptly named Coral Island Pattaya, Thailand. Koh Larn is the most populous because of three crystal clear reasons.

  1. Tourists can take a cheap public ferry from south Pattaya Pier to the island’s port.
  2. Koh Larn is geared for tourists with bars, restaurants, and water sport activities.
  3. The largest of the Pattaya nearby islands and beaches afford most shelter from strong winds and sea currents.

Pattaya Near Islands

Koh Larn Snorkeling Sites

Koh Larn is rated by most as the best island near Pattaya. It certainly has excellent facilities and activities for tourists who make the trek from the mainland for the coral island tour. Koh is translated to 'island' in Thai and Koh Larn is regarded as the leading ‘Coral Island’ by the locals.

The golden sandy bay to the west of Koh Larn has colourful varieties of hard and soft corals and here is your best chance of spotting Tawny Nurse Sharks and blue spotted Rays.

Koh Sak and Ko Krok Snorkeling Sites

Thai people think that Koh Sak and Koh Krok look like a mortar and pestle, so they named them after the kitchen tools that they use for crushing peppers. The sheltered, shallow bays at this small isle means they it is very popular for snorkeling trips to Ko Sak Pattaya. There are large sandy areas and small crops of coral reefs which provide homes for rabbit fish, butterfly fish, octopus, morays, stingrays, wrasse, angelfish, and damselfish.

This finger shaped island of Ko Krok is the nearest to Pattaya Port. It is often a good place to choose as the second island to visit because it is on the return journey in the afternoon. You will be extremely unlucky if you do not see anemones, clown fish, nudibranchs, and turtles on the west side of Koh Khrok.

Pattaya Far Islands

Koh Rin Snorkeling Sites

Koh Rin is highly regarded as the leading destination out of all the remote Pattaya far islands. It takes about ninety minutes to reach the far island snorkeling sites, but they tend to be less troubled by speed boats and other water based activities. The clearer visibility and increased marine life makes these sites worth the extra 30 minutes journey.

The Island of Koh Rin has great snorkeling spots, including two small pinnacle islands called North Rock and South Rock. With a variety of hard and soft corals, whips and feather stars, you should not be disappointed with the aquatic life around these rocky outcrops.

At Koh Rin, you will be almost guaranteed to see huge multi colourful discuss shaped emperor angel fish, torpedo-shaped chevron barracuda, spheroid-shaped brain coral, and butterfly fish characterised by their elongated snout.

Ko Manwichai Snorkeling Sites

The main snorkeling area at Ko Manwichai has splendid staghorn coral and probably the best table corals in the area. Here is also where you are most likely to see larger predatory fish such as barracuda and jacks.

Koh Phai Snorkeling Sites

Heading from Pattaya to Koh Phai is not a daily occurrence because the large island is controlled by the Royal Thai Navy. The beaches off this island, along with many others, are restricted to tourists. However the south of this large island offers the best snorkeling, with a small sheltered bay offering ideal conditions for weak swimmers and novice snorkelers.