Vietnam is not a top snorkeling destination, but some sites are fascinating and the country is slowly growing in popularity. You’ll find along the extensive Vietnam coastline several islands and small archipelagos hosting various and diverse snorkeling spots, especially in Nha Trang, Phú Quốc and Côn Đảo areas. From the surface, expect to explore nice reefs covered with coral and sponges where clownfish, butterflyfish, damselfish and nudibranchs are commonly spotted.
Almost all snorkeling spots in Vietnam are located on the islands scattered along the country’s 3260km-long coastline.
Nha Trang is the most popular snorkeling area in Vietnam, with great snorkeling spots located just offshore, particularly in the Hòn Mun Marine Protected Area, reachable with boat tours. It is thought that 350 coral species are found in Nha Trang waters.
Just 50km north to Nha Trang is Hòn Ong (Whale Island). This small island is renowned for its shallow and calm waters found right off the beaches. Book a stay at Whale Island Resort to get some of Vietnam’s best shore snorkeling.
Côn Đảo, an idyllic archipelago of 16 mostly uninhabited islets just off the southern coast of the country, is also a great option. Protected by a National Park, this area offers some of the most pristine snorkeling spots in Vietnam, with a dozen great sites around the islands. Côn Đảo, located some 80km off the mainland’s coast, has really clear waters and provides better snorkeling conditions than anywhere else in Vietnam.
Located in the far south of Vietnam, close to Cambodia, Phú Quốc is also a fantastic snorkeling destination. Although underwater visibility can be an issue here during the rainy season, Phú Quốc boasts beautiful coral reefs and varied marine life. Take a boat tour to the An Thoi archipelago to snorkel Gam Ghi, Mong Tay and May Rut islands, the most popular snorkeling spots in the area.
Other exciting snorkeling hotspots in Vietnam are the Cù Lao Chàm Marine Park (the Cham Islands, a group of 8 small islands off the coast of Hoi An, where you can snorkel for example in Hon Tai) and the shore of Núi Chúa National Park, a secluded coastal area some 60km south to Nha Trang.
Vietnam may not have the best underwater sightings opportunities compared to Thailand, Indonesia or the Philippines, but its marine life is quite varied.
Some snorkeling spots are rich in soft and hard corals, sponges, clams and nudibranchs. In the reef areas, expect to see a range of tropical fish from butterflyfish and clownfish to moray eels and pufferfish. If you are lucky, you may also spot green or hawksbill sea turtles, sea horses or frogfish in some specific spots.
You can snorkel year-round in Vietnam, where the climate is tropical with a water temperature is constantly around 21 to 25°C (70 to 77°F). The best time to snorkel the south of the country -including Phú Quốc and Côn Đảo islands- is from November to March.
For the mid-coast and Nha Trang region, February to October is the best period, as the monsoon season extends from October to January in this area. Underwater visibility can be poor around the islands, especially during the rainy season and close to the deltas.
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On most of reef spots, including in Gam Ghi Island
Common around Nha Trang
On all reef spots
On all spots
Shallow coral reef with colorful fish
Small island fringed by a coral reef
Fringing coral reef with colorful fish
You could search for Half-moon Reef in Phu Quoc Island, its pretty beautiful and very worth for diving and snorkeling
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