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Last updated on July 28, 2023
Koh Nang Yuan, with its three small, lush islands linked by fine strips of white sand, is a picture postcard setting. On the island lies the Japanese Garden, a small bay with crystal-clear waters, lined with polished granite rocks. In the water you will see clownfish in their sea anemones, butterflyfish, clams, and shoals of parrotfish, but the coral bed is badly damaged.
Koh Nang Yuan is a few hundred yards off the northwestern coast of Koh Tao. A 100 bath pp. admission fee is charged on-site. Most snorkeling tours offered in Koh Tao include a stop at this spot, as well as others nearby snorkeling locations like Tanote Bay and Shark Bay.
Get into the water from the small stretch of sand between the island where you landed and the northernmost island (see map above).
Starting from the beach, you will first cross a few dozen meters of sandy bed, covered in places with pieces of broken coral (↕3-10ft/1-2m). Shoals of parrotfish and spinefoot feed in this area, raising clouds of white sand.
Swim further offshore to reach the reef areas (↕6-12ft/2-4m). Much of the coral is dead, but isolated patches remain, in particular heads of Porites, incrusted with multi-colored giant clams and Christmas tree worms.
A diversity of reef fish, including the pennant coralfish, the red-breasted wrasse and the bluebarred parrotfish, are easy to spot at this location.
Look out for the large green and purple sea anemones living on the reef. Each of them is home to pink skunk clownfish, generally found nestled in the tentacles of their hosts.
In Koh Nang Yuan, the seabed is in very poor condition, which is the case for almost all the snorkeling spots nearby.
This spot is very popular with diving clubs, which come here for first dives. Make yourself visible if you plan to go more than a few hundred meters from the beach.
If you want to stay overnight on the island, you can rent a bungalow at Nangyuan Island Dive Resort. There is a restaurant and a bar near the beach.
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.
Been in Nang Yuan yesterday (1 aug 2019) during snorkel tour visiting 5 sites around Koh Tao. While the best of the 5 sites visited (Nang Yuan, mango bay, Hin Wong bay, Aow Leuk and Shark bay) still huge areas (>80%) are covered with dead coral seabed with Some islands of living coral. Lots of people standing on the coral! Reallifesoap sad…. go to Red Sea instead, is 10x better!
While the best of the 5 sites visited (Nang Yuan, mango bay, Hin Wong bay, Aow Leuk and Shark bay) on snorkel tour around Koh tao, huge areas (>80%) are covered with dead coral seabed with Some islands of living coral. Lots of people standing on the coral! Reallifesoap sad…. go to Red Sea instead, is 10x better!
I snorkeled here in June 2023. Much of the coral is dead, isolated patches remain – it is better further out beyond the buoy line for the boats. The usual local fish Species can be seen, but I did not see anything exceptional in over an hour.
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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.
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