Koh Samui’s warm weather and crystal-clear waters make snorkelling or diving a must during your holiday. There are several hotspots for exploring the area’s beautiful underwater world, both in the bays around Koh Samui and on the coral reefs of some of the scenic neighbouring islands that are just a short boat ride away.

For those who want to stay close to home, Koh Samui offers some prime snorkelling spots without having to leave the island. The small bays of Coral Cove and Crystal Bay (also known as Silver Beach) between Chaweng and Lamai are popular, or head to Chaweng Noi. These beautiful bays are sheltered thanks to the protection of large boulders – local fishing boats are known to head to them for safety during a storm.

Daytrips are available to the nearby island of Koh Tao, considered one of the best  snorkelling and diving spots in South-East Asia. It takes about 90 minutes by ferry to get there from Samui, and if it’s choppy on one side of the island, it’s likely to be flat and calm on the other – your guide will navigate to the calmest locations and most colourful coral reefs. Some tours will also take you to stunning Koh Nang Yuan, where sandbar beaches connect three islands in spectacular fashion. Twin Peak, White Rock and Green Rock are all great dive spots to seek out.

A one-hour speedboat ride will get you to the archipelago of Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park; a daytrip will take you to three islands for you to snorkel to your heart’s content. The island of Koh Tan, just 15 kilometres off Koh Samui, offers untouched coral reefs and numerous marine creatures on which to feast your eyes. Reasonably priced dive courses are easy to find, and instruction is usually in the shallow waters of sheltered bays. Numerous dive locations for beginners dot Koh Samui and nearby islands, and you can find world-class sites for advanced divers at Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park and Sail Rock. Expect water visibility to range from 3 to 30 metres. Many tours also include kayaking, hiking or elephant rides as part of the package.