If you want to go snorkelling off the beach in Koh Phangan then the place to go is Mae Haad beach which is next the tiny island of Koh Ma, which you can walk to along a sand bank. There is coral and plenty of colourful fish located about 25 metres from the shoreline.
About Koh Ma
Koh Ma itself is a small island with a very small beach on the southern side of the island which is connected by a sand beach to the larger adjacent Mae Haad beach. Other than some small structures on the tiny beach the island is uninhabited. This is small sided island with no proper paths and we do not recommend trying to climb up it or around it as you are likely to have an accident.
What is special about Koh Ma is that the waters around it are protected; fishing is not permitted in the waters around Koh Ma and this means that there are lots of fish around the rocks and corals.
Mae Haad Beach
Mae Haad Beach has very recently undergone major redevelopment. Up until 2016 the beach front was a lively place with a bohemian feel with cheap wooden beach front bungalows. These beach bungalow have now been replaced by the upscale ‘villas’ of the new Koh Ma Resort, which are very nice but cost a lot more than the old bungalows and the atmosphere of the beach has changed as a result.
This said, the sand is white and clean and the views from the beach are great. Unless you are planning to pay for one of the nice but expensive beach bungalows then you will probably just want to visit for the day and go back to another beach for spend the night where there is a better range of restaurants, shops and bars.
Snorkelling at Koh Ma
The snorkelling is excellent in the area around Koh Ma. There are corals and abundant fish starting at a depth of around 1 metre. The sea bed, however, is very rocky around both the Mae Haad Beach side of Koh Ma and to the North of the Island.
To avoid the rocks on the sea floor then either go snorkelling from a longtail boat, or if you plan to go snorkelling from the beach look for the path which has been been created by clearing the rock from the shoreline of Mae Haad Beach out to the reef. The path is about 2 metres wide and started halfway along Mae Haad Beach.
Travel to Koh Ma
Buy road its 14 km from the ferry port of Thong Sala in Koh Phangan to Mae Haad Beach. There are three road routes you can take. If you plan to travel direct to Koh Ma then we suggest that you avoid using the road which follows the coastline (the Hin Kong Road) as this road is narrow and the surface is in a poor state of repair. The journey is easier is you take either of the two routes which go through the centre of the island. The easiest road to drive is the one which goes via Chaloklum.
There are eight ways to travel from Bangkok to Koh Phangan:
- Bus to Chumphon and ferry to Koh Phangan.
- Train to Chumphon and ferry to Koh Phangan.
- Flight to Chumphon and ferry to Koh Phangan.
- Bus to Surat Thani and ferry to Koh Phangan.
- Train to Surat Thani and ferry to Koh Phangan.
- Flight to Surat Thani and ferry to Koh Phangan
- Flight to Nakhon Si Thammarat and ferry to Koh Phangan.
- Flight to Koh Samui and ferry to Koh Phangan.
Location of Koh Ma
- Koh Ma is in the North West corner of Koh Phangan.