This page have been written in collaboration with iamthefarang (6 spots)

Located on the east coast of Koh Tao and surrounded by green hills, Tanote Bay is a remote and picturesque beach, one of the most untouched in the island. A huge rock is jutting out of the center of the bay, much appreciated by visitors for rock jumping. The little bay, sheltered and full of marine life, is also ideal for snorkeling.

How to get there?

There are two main ways to explore Tanote Bay. The first is to reach the beach by road and to get into the water from the shore. From the pier at Mae Haad town, head south on the main road until you get to the sign “Tanote Bay”. Turn left and head east on the road. The road goes east then curves north along the East side of the island. The entire road is paved. There is a public parking area near the end of the road. The entrance is on the right and is really steep down to the beach. The second option is to visit the spot on a boat tour. Most tour organizers in Ko Tao can arrange excursions when you will visit several snorkeling spots, particularly Shark Bay and Mango Bay. For a day tour including stops on 3 or 4 spots, the price ranges between 1 000 and 1 200 bahts per person.

View over Tanote Bay coral reef

Water entrance

You can enter the water anywhere along the sandy beach.

Tanote Bay snorkeling map, Koh Tao

Exploration

The water starts out pretty shallow at the beach then quickly drops off to about 3 or 4 meters. All the little bay is worth exploring, but underwater life is at its most abundant along the giant boulders on either side and in the middle of the bay. The coral is built all over the boulders and the numerous fish love to hide in and around them.

Pink skunk clownfish at Tanote Bay, Koh Tao

Snorkel around the boulders and rocky pinnacles, where giant clams, Christmas tree worms and sea anemones –inhabited by pink skunk clownfish- find shelter. In the cavities dug out in the rocks, try to spot an unsuspecting moray eel, while wrasses, rabbitfish, surf parrotfish or blue-barred parrotfish will no doubt tag along as you explore. Dozens of other typical fishes from the island inhabit the little bay, including several butterflyfish species (Wiebeli butterflyfish, 8-banded butterflyfish), the scrawled filefish and goliath grouper.

Butterflyfish and wrasse at Tanote Bay, Koh Tao

At the center of the bay, where the water is deeper (↕4-6m), try to spot one of the blacktip reef shark that pay regular visits to the area.

When you are snorkeling close to the rocks, watch out for people having fun jumping into the water.

Restaurants and accommodation

The Montalay Beach Resort is located on the beach. Around Tanote Bay, you will also find the Tanote Villa Hill Resort, the Diamond Beach Resort, the Poseidon Resort, the Lai Beach Bar, the Mountain Reef Beach Resort, the Family Tanote Bay Resort and the Tanote Good View Resort. At the top of the hill, after it starts to get steep down to the beach, you will find the Sun Moon Restaurant & Bar.

Species you may spot while snorkeling Tanote Bay
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME ABUNDANCE FISHBASE WIKIPEDIA
Blacktip reef shark Carcharhinus melanopterus  
Bluebarred parrotfish Scarus ghobban  
Tripletail wrasse Cheilinus trilobatus  
Red-breasted wrasse Cheilinuys fasciatus  
Barred thicklip wrasse Hemigymnus fasciatus  
Pink skunk clownfish Amphiprion perideraion  
Eightband butterflyfish Chaetodon octofasciatus  
Hong Kong butterflyfish chaetodon wiebeli  
Streaked spinefoot Siganus javus  
Bluestreak cleaner wrasse Labroides dimidiatus  
Blackspot sergeant Abudefduf sordidus  
Scrawled filefish Aluterus scriptus  
Giant clam Tridacna sp.  
  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth5m/15ft
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersSea urchins, people jumping from the rocks
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium to high
  • Restaurants nearbyYes
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.