Located on the east coast of Koh Tao and surrounded by green hills, Tanote Bay is a remote and picturesque beach, one of the most untouched in the island. A huge rock is jutting out of the center of the bay, much appreciated by visitors for rock jumping. The little bay, sheltered and full of marine life, is also ideal for snorkeling.
There are two main ways to explore Tanote Bay. The first is to reach the beach by road and to get into the water from the shore. From the pier at Mae Haad town, head south on the main road until you get to the sign “Tanote Bay”. Turn left and head east on the road. The road goes east then curves north along the East side of the island. The entire road is paved. There is a public parking area near the end of the road. The entrance is on the right and is really steep down to the beach. The second option is to visit the spot on a boat tour. Most tour organizers in Ko Tao can arrange excursions when you will visit several snorkeling spots, particularly Shark Bay and Mango Bay. For a day tour including stops on 3 or 4 spots, the price ranges between 1 000 and 1 200 bahts per person.
You can enter the water anywhere along the sandy beach.
The water starts out pretty shallow at the beach then quickly drops off to about 3 or 4 meters. All the little bay is worth exploring, but underwater life is at its most abundant along the giant boulders on either side and in the middle of the bay. The coral is built all over the boulders and the numerous fish love to hide in and around them.
Snorkel around the boulders and rocky pinnacles, where giant clams, Christmas tree worms and sea anemones –inhabited by pink skunk clownfish- find shelter. In the cavities dug out in the rocks, try to spot an unsuspecting moray eel, while wrasses, rabbitfish, surf parrotfish or blue-barred parrotfish will no doubt tag along as you explore. Dozens of other typical fishes from the island inhabit the little bay, including several butterflyfish species (Wiebeli butterflyfish, 8-banded butterflyfish), the scrawled filefish and goliath grouper.
At the center of the bay, where the water is deeper (↕4-6m), try to spot one of the blacktip reef shark that pay regular visits to the area.
When you are snorkeling close to the rocks, watch out for people having fun jumping into the water.
The Montalay Beach Resort is located on the beach. Around Tanote Bay, you will also find the Tanote Villa Hill Resort, the Diamond Beach Resort, the Poseidon Resort, the Lai Beach Bar, the Mountain Reef Beach Resort, the Family Tanote Bay Resort and the Tanote Good View Resort. At the top of the hill, after it starts to get steep down to the beach, you will find the Sun Moon Restaurant & Bar.
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.
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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