Shark Bay

Ever dreamt of swimming with sharks? The snorkeling spot of Shark Bay, in Koh Tao, is one of the best in Thailand for living this unique experience. 6 to 12 feet from the sea bed, many blacktip reef sharks, some of them over 6 feet long, criss-cross the bay, before the fascinated eyes of the snorkelers.

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How to get there?

There are two ways to explore Shark Bay. The first is to go to the beach under your own steam (by scooter or on foot) and to get into the water from the shore. From Sai Ree or Mae Haad, head south to Chalok. Then follow the signs first to Sai Daeng Beach, then Jamakhiri Resort & Spa, which is on the beach. Many taxis will also take you there. The second option is to visit the spot on a guided boat tour. Most tour guides in Ko Tao organise full- and half-day excursions taking in a number of snorkeling spots, particularly Shark Bay, Tanote Bay Mango Bay or Lighthouse Bay. For an excursion including stops at 3 or 4 spots, the price is between 1 000 and 1 200 bahts per person. If you don't have much time and you want to explore the island's best spots, this option is a good idea.

Water entrance

You enter the water either from the beach (if you go there on your own) or from a boat (if you are on an organized excursion). In the latter case, follow your guide's instructions.

Aerial view


Snorkelers visit Shark Bay to swim alongside the many blacktip reef sharks that come there each day. The best time to see the sharks is between 7am and 10am. They vary in size, with some measuring almost 6 feet, but the smaller specimens also venture into the shallow waters near the beach.

From the beach, swim out to sea in the central and northern part of the bay. You will soon come across the silhouette of a shark, from a depth of 3 to 6 feet. The tour guides' boats head for a deeper area (↕10-12ft/3-4m) and further away. Here you can see the particularly impressive, larger specimens. There have never been any incidents with sharks here, as they come and go peacefully above the sea bed.

All over the area, the sea bed is badly damaged and consists in a grey carpet of pieces of dead coral. Here and there, a few sea anemones, inhabited by pink skunk clownfish, add a little colour to the decor. You may also come across some butterflyfish, triggerfish, needlefish, parrotfish, sergeant majors and, if you are lucky, sea turtle.

This spot is very popular with guided tours, which pour their share of tourists into the bay each day. Some visitors are clumsy, and know little about the rules of correct snorkeling behaviour, so watch out for collisions and stray swimfins. At certain periods (particularly in December/January), small jellyfish invade the bay. Although the jellyfish are harmless, being repeatedly stung by them may well force you out of the water sooner than you planned.

Restaurants & accommodation

Two hotels, the Haadtien Beach Resort and the Jamakhiri Resort and Spa directly overlook the beach. Ko Tao island is small, but is easily accessible.

Snorkeling Report gives the most precise tips possible about the snorkeling spots and potential dangers, but each one of us is responsible for our own safety in the water. For more information, take a look at the snorkeling safety page. If you want to add extra information or make any corrections to the spot descriptions, please contact us.

Spot’s weather forecasts (°C)

Spot tips

  • Type of spot
  • Level of difficulty
    Intermediary level
  • Maximum depth
    25ft (8m)
  • Water entrance
    From a boat
  • Potential Dangers
  • Lifeguard
  • Visitor numbers
  • Access costs
    Free or excursion price (approx. $40/pers.)
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Public toilets & showers

Spot map

Spot photos

Underwater spot photos

Species you may spot while snorkeling Shark Bay

Common name Scientific name Abundance Fishbase Wikipedia
Live sharksucker
Echeneis naucrates
Pink skunk clownfish
Amphiprion perideraion
Bluestreak cleaner wrasse
Labroides dimidiatus
Indo-Pacific sergeant
Abudefduf vaigiensis
You encountered a specie at this spot that is not listed here?
  • Farang

    There is a public entrance right at the upper left corner of your yellow box. You drive past chalok town, and just a few meters past the entrance to freedom beach there is a parking lot. This is the main road on the island and it is very easy access. You can park your scooter here and then walk down underneath the restaurant there. The path literally goes under their restaurant and then down a long flight of stairs with an entrance to the water there. When I visited in June of 2015 the water was much more clear than when I visited in June of 2016. The visibility was still decent, but there was little white specs all over in the water all around the island.