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Located on the east coast of Koh Tao and surrounded by lush hills, Tanote Bay is a remote and picturesque beach, and one of the most untouched on the island. A huge rock juts out of the center of the bay,. This rock is a popular spot for visitors who like rock jumping. The little bay, sheltered and full of marine life, is also ideal for snorkeling.

View over Tanote Bay and its coral reef
View over Tanote Bay and its coral reef.

How to go snorkeling in the Tanote Bay

There are two main ways to reach Tanote Bay:

  1. From the shore. Your first option 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 see the sign “Tanote Bay”. Turn left and head east on the road. The road goes continue east and then curve north along the East side of the island. The entire road is paved, so it is a nice drive. There is a public parking area near the end of the road. The entrance is on the right and it is really steep down to the beach.
  2. By boat. Your second option is to visit this spot on a boat tour. Most dive clubs in Ko Tao offer tours to several snorkeling spots, particularly Shark Bay and Mango Bay. For a day tour that includes 3 snorkeling spots, prices range between 1,000 and 1,200 bahts per person. This converts to between $29 and $35 per person USD.

Tanote Bay snorkeling map, Koh Tao

Entering the water in Tanote Bay

You can enter the water anywhere along the sandy beach.

Tanote Bay snorkeling tips

The water is pretty shallow near the beach then quickly drops off to about 9-12ft/3-4 meters. The whole bay is worth snorkeling, but sea life is more abundant along the giant boulders on either side and in the middle of the bay. Small coral is found on most of the boulders and the fish love to hide in and around them.

Tanote Bay's coral reef is still lively in the deepest areas.
Tanote Bay’s coral reef is still lively in the deepest areas.

Snorkel around the boulders and pinnacles where giant clams, Christmas tree worms and sea anemones inhabited by pink skunk clownfish find shelter. If you look carefully in the cracks, you may spot small moray eels, while wrasses, rabbitfish, and several species of parrotfish can be encountered everywhere.

Adult specimen of floral wrasse
A beautiful adult specimen of floral wrasse.

Dozens of fish species call the little bay home, including several butterflyfish species (Hong Kong butterflyfish, eightband butterflyfish), scrawled filefish, harlequin sweetlips and groupers.

Reef fish in Tanote Bay
A Hong Kong butterflyfish and a red-breasted wrasse in Tanote Bay.

At the center of the bay, where the water is deeper (↕12-18ft/4-6m), you might be able to spot one of the blacktip reef sharks that pay regular visits to the area.

When you are snorkeling close to the rocks, watch out for people who are having fun jumping into the water, as many do so in this area.

Nudibranch at Tanote Bay
A colorful nudibranch noted at reef.

Restaurants and accommodation in Tanote Bay

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.


  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth5m/15ft
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersSea urchins, people jumping from the rocks
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium to high
  • Restaurants nearbyYes
  • 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.