Free shore access
This spot have a free shore access: you can go snorkeling there freely and without having to book a tour or pay an entrance fee.
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Last updated on September 25, 2023
Nestled between Mango Bay and Hin Wong Bay, Lighthouse Beach is one of the best snorkeling spots on the wild northwest coast of Koh Tao. This small open bay with sandy bottoms near the edge is home to pretty coral reefs in its center, particularly around its famous pinnacle. All the typical reef fish of Koh Tao, such as butterflyfish, parrotfish, clownfish and wrasses, can be spotted at Lighthouse Beach.
Lighthouse Beach, which hosts Lighthouse Reef, is a small bay on the northeast coast of Koh Tao. It is accessible either by road or on boat trips.
If you are on a tour, you will enter the water directly from the boat. If you reach Lighthouse Beach by foot, enter the water from the small beach, then swim above the shallow sandy bottoms to reach the rocky and coral areas.
The most interesting areas for snorkeling at Lighthouse Reef are located around the rocks and corals. The depths are between 10 and 33 ft/3 and 10 meters depending on the area, with the deepest areas found next to the pinnacle.
Despite a fairly large number of visitors, Lighthouse Reef is home to quite healthy corals. Massifs of branching coral are present in the intermediate depth zones (↕10-12ft/3-4 m).
Closer to the surface, you will notice tabular coral, brain coral, and massive porous coral, some of which host hundreds of multicolored Christmas tree worms.
You’ll see at Lighthouse Reef the usual fish living in Koh Tao’s shallows, and in particular large populations of parrotfish, spinefoot, pink-skunk clownfish, and butterflyfish (see species list at the bottom of the page).
Less common but very colorful, the Harlequin sweetlip is a regular visitor to the bay. Just below the surface of the water, hound needlefish are often seen feeding on tiny silverfish.
Encounters with small blacktip sharks and green sea turtles are frequent in the bay, but Lighthouse Reef is not the spot where you will have the best chance of seeing them. For encounters with these two species, head to Shark Bay, in the south of the island.
Lighthouse Beach is in a natural part of the coast, with no food options. If you visit this spot from land, take water and snacks with you.
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.
Rocky bay with reef fish, schools of fusiliers and small sharks
Free shore access
Fringing reef with colorful fish
Free shore access
Shallow bay with blacktip reef sharks