Things to do in Koh Tao – Snorkelling with a Whale Shark

I’ve been recommended to go on this tour by my neighbours. It’s 600 Baht, departing from the main pier, and includes pick-up and drop-off in the hotel, a snorkel and a mask, a mean, drinking water, tea, coffee and biscuits. Not bad for $20!

The tour can be purchased at about any travel store, hotel or hostel reception. You’ll need an extra 100 baht to enter a private island. It starts 9:30 and finishes about 5PM and includes ~5 stops around the island. I’ve taken the ‘Oxygen’ tour.

The first stop was amazing! There’re 3 islands connected with each other by sand spits, and with beautiful weather, it looks absolutely amazing. On one side, there’s a “Japanese Gardens” coral riff, on the other some other riff. Although the riffs are largely dead, there’s still plenty of colourful fish, large and small.

The disadvantage of this stop was the number of people: many are coming there for diving, and it is quite noisy at places. Luckily, emersing one’s head into the water helps!

On one of the small islands there was a view point, after a 5-minute climb. Our guide advised to leave at least 40 minutes for that, since on the top one might wait for about 30-40 minutes to take a picture! Needless to say I’ve skipped this attraction.

Plastic bottles and cans are not allowed to the island with some bags being checked.

After this stop, we’ve done a few more and used the boat ladder to go snorkelling. The guides had to adjust the route because due to the tide the water in some places wasn’t transparent.

Eventually, we arrived at the Shark Island, a small island in the south of Koh Tao. We were told, that the island is called so simply because it looks like shark fin during low tide.

I was feeling a bit tired after almost 2 hours of snorkelling and got out of the water. At this point, people started to shout ‘Shark!” and pointing to the direction of the few remaining swimmers. Indeed, I saw a fin. Later, a huge whale shark swam by! So big and magnificent!

The guides called everyone on board, and it seemed we’re leaving this place. I climbed to the upper deck of the boat only to find that the shark has decided to play with the boat. It stayed around the boat for another 5 minutes, giving a chance to take some photos!

It is very rare to see a whale shark, so we have been very lucky!

The boat came back just before sunset. I left my wet clothes in the room and went for a sunset beach walk:

I think I’ll do this tour once again!


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