With around 160 kilometres of coastline meeting the emerald Andaman Sea, as well as its myriad islands, Krabi boasts more than 32 dive sites and countless more snorkelling spots. If you are fascinated by life underwater, Krabi offers a rich marine environment, with superb corals, pinnacles, underwater caves and rock formations. Leopard sharks, turtles, and even dolphins are regularly spotted.
The majority of dive locations are shallow and thus suitable for all levels of divers, from beginner to pro. A handful of PADI-certified dive schools exist to teach newbies, either on a day-long ‘Discover Scuba Diving’ trip, or a more serious Open Water course, upon completion of which you will receive an internationally valid diving licence. Courses are taught in most major European languages, plus Russian and Thai. We have a separate article with advice about choosing a dive school in Krabi, plus the range of courses on offer.
Those who are already qualified can go on ‘fun dives’ with knowledgeable, locally-based guides, or further their existing skills with the full range of PADI courses and specialities, right up to Instructor level. Krabi provides a more laid back and less intense environment than the “dive factories” over in Koh Tao on the Gulf coast – not to mention more varied diving.
Another plus for Krabi as a place to base a diving holiday is that it offers a wide choice of other activities for non-diving companions. Friends and family are welcome to join the dive excursions as a snorkeler or passenger, and these trips can offer a good opportunity to visit islands and reefs not on the usual “island tour” itineraries. Though there are no beach stops on these trips, the boat is a comfortable cruise vessel with open and covered decks on which to relax throughout the day.
If you serious about snorkelling and want to visit places other than the same old, often badly damaged, reefs on the mainstream island-hopping trips, we would recommend seeking out a “snorkelling cruise”. These go out on larger cruise boats and are focussed on marine life encounters rather than beautiful beaches. There is usually a premium price tag, but this gets you access to the diving reefs, as well as a dedicated snorkel guide in the water – worth it for those who are into marine life.
The other option is to charter your own boat, either from the beach, or with a private tour company, and ask the driver to take you to good snorkelling spots. Nearby the Ao Nang coast, the “rock islands” of Koh Si and Koh Haa offer excellent snorkelling year round; Koh Yawasam and Yawabon also have fairly intact reefs to explore.