Bamboo Island (known as Ko Mai Phai in Thai) is located approximately 3 miles/5km off the northern tip of Koh Phi Phi Don. This tiny island has little in common with its Phi Phi archipelago sisters. Here, no high rocky cliffs, but a flat island covered by lush vegetation and entirely surrounded by a strip of white sand. Bamboo Island offers a good snorkeling along the coral reef, from 50 meters off the beach. If the reef is partially damaged, you can still observe a varied underwater life, including the ocellaris clownfish, best known as “Nemo”.
Bamboo Island is mainly accessible from Ko Phi Phi Don, in approximately 45 to 60 minutes by longtail boat. You will have no trouble finding a trip organizer, since a visit on Bamboo Island is included in almost all day tours from Ko Phi Phi. Most day and half-day excursions include stops at other snorkeling spots, especially Maya Bay and Monkey Beach. The half day excursion (including a meal and refreshments) costs on average 1500 baht per person from Ko Phi Phi. Please note that you’ll have to pay a 400 baht entrance fee to the National Park to visit the island.
The trip organizer will take you to the sandy beach, and you can enter the water at any point. Watch out for the many boats sailing in the area (make your presence visible).
The area to explore covers the 30 to 100 meters wide coral reefs located along the beach, north and south of the mooring area.
The coral reefs have been particularly damaged in this spot (breakage, bleaching), so don’t expect vibrant sea beds full of marine life. Nevertheless, you can still observe a good variety of fish and invertebrate species, as Moorish Idol, moon wrasse (thalassoma lunare), pufferfish and colourful giant clams. But the “star” of Bamboo Island is without doubt the ocellaris clownfish -or three-banded clownfish- (amphiprion ocellaris), better known as “Nemo” in Disney-Pixar movie. You will find them on the sea anemones that lives on the reef in places, 2 to 4 meters deep.
Bamboo Island is very popular with tours, which pour their share of tourists on the beach every day. Watch out for boats that come and go on this site when you are in the water.
On the beach, a small bar serves drinks and snacks. Most excursions include meals, however. Ask your tour guide for details and at least take along a snack and something to drink.
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.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.