Koh Nang Yuan, with its three small, green islands connected 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 granite rocks that have been polished by the water. In the water you will see clownfish in their anemones, butterflyfish, clams and shoals of parrotfish, but the coral bed are damaged in some places.

How to get there?

Koh Nang Yuan is a few hundred yards off the coast of Koh Tao. It costs around 150 bahts per person for a one-way trip to Sai Ree Beach (minimum 2 people) in a long-tail boat. An admission fee of 100 bahts per adult (50 bahts for children) is charged on site. A large number of snorkeling excursions are organized in Koh Tao, including a stop at this spot, as well as others nearby (Tanote Bay, Shark Bay, etc.). For an excursion including stops at 3 or 4 spots, the price is between 1 000 and 1 200 bahts per person.

View on Koh Nang Yuan, Thailand

Water entrance

Get into the water from the small stretch of sand between the isle where you landed and the island to the north (see map below).

Koh Nang Yuan snorkeling map, Koh Tao

Exploration

Go straight ahead from the beach, crossing a few dozen yards of sandy sea bed, sometimes covered with pieces of dead coral (↕3-10ft/1-2m). Shoals of parrotfish and spinefoot feed tirelessly in this area, raising clouds of white sand. Move on further to reach the coral areas (↕6-12ft/2-4m). Soon you will see some heads of porous coral, incrusted with multi-colored giant clams and Christmas tree worms. Look out for the large green and purple sea anemones attached to the sea bed. Each one is the home of pink skunk clownfish, which will keep a worried eye on you if you come too close, as they nestle in the tentacles of their hosts. In the Japanese Garden, the sea bed is in poor condition, which is the case for almost all the snorkeling spots nearby.

Koh Nang Yuan coral reef

This spot is a great favorite with diving clubs, which come here for first-time snorkeling and lessons. Make yourself visible if you plan to go more than a few hundred yards from the beach.

Pink skunk clownfish at Koh Nang Yuan

Restaurants & accommodation

It is so easy to go to Koh Nang Yuan for the day that it is not essential to have accommodation there. If you wish, you can rent a bungalow at Nangyuan Island Dive Resort for a much higher price than at Ko Tao, however. There is a restaurant and a bar near the beach.

Species you may spot while snorkeling Koh Nang Yuan
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME ABUNDANCE FISHBASE WIKIPEDIA
Pink skunk clownfish Amphiprion perideraion  
Barred thicklip wrasse Hemigymnus fasciatus  
Indo-Pacific sergeant Abudefduf vaigiensis  
Scissortail sergeant Abudefduf sexfasciatus  
Eightband butterflyfish Chaetodon octofasciatus  
Blacktip grouper Epinephelus fasciatus  
Giant clam Tridacna sp.  

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth25ft (8m)
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersUsual precautions
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersHigh
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyNo
  • 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.