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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3 spots added - 32 photos shared
Last updated on July 20, 2023
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.
There are two main ways to reach Tanote Bay:
You can enter the water anywhere along the sandy beach.
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.
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.
Dozens of fish species call the little bay home, including several butterflyfish species (Hong Kong butterflyfish, eightband butterflyfish), scrawled filefish, harlequin sweetlips and groupers.
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.
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.
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.
While staying in hotel at Tanote bay for 5 days found that there are isolated spots of living coral around central rock and southern side of the bay amidst lots (>90%) of dead coral to see. Deen An occasional turtle and black tip reef Shark. Quality if the coral has seen better times. Sad, 1 aug 2019
I snorkeled here in June 2023. Best place on Koh Tao by far, Ao Leuk next best.
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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.
Coral reef with colorful and small sharks
Rocky bay with reef fish, schools of fusiliers and small sharks
Free shore access
Sheltered bay with corals, fish and turtles
Free shore access
Shallow bay with blacktip reef sharks
Fringing reef with colorful fish
Sheltered cove with corals and reef fish