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Where To See Turtles In Thailand – Complete Guide

If you’re looking for somewhere to see turtles in Thailand then you’re in the right place.

Nothing can beat that amazing feeling of seeing a turtle up close and personal in their natural habitat! Why not try it for yourself?

This post will tell you all of the best places to see turtles in Thailand and includes where you can swim with turtles and where you can see baby turtles hatching.

Do You Get Turtles in Thailand?

Yes, turtles can be found in Thailand.

Whilst wildlife encounters can never be guaranteed, your chances of swimming with turtles in Thailand are pretty high.

The most common species of turtle found in Thailand are the green turtles and the hawksbill turtles.

The absolute best place to swim with turtles in Thailand is in the Similan Islands (one of Thailand’s most beautiful locations). 

For the best chance of seeing turtles, I’d recommend joining a Similan Islands snorkeling tour like this one which leaves from Phuket.

Your experienced guides will know the exact spots and locations where you can find turtles without fail so it’s definitely the best option if you really want to see turtles.

Best Places To Swim With Turtles in Thailand

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There are many great places where you can swim with turtles in Thailand from Phuket to Koh Tao and more. 

Below I’ve summarized the best snorkeling spots including both Thai islands and locations on the mainland.

I’ve also included handy links to the best rated tours. These tours are all with reputable companies and have excellent reviews so you can put your mind at ease.

Where To See Turtles in Phuket

One of the best places where you can swim with turtles in Thailand is in Phuket, Thailand’s largest island.

The best place to go snorkeling from Phuket is on the Similan Islands which are a small set of islands located in the Andaman Sea, just 120 km northwest of Phuket island. 

It’s quite hard to get there on your own so I’d recommend joining a snorkeling tour like this one.

This tour will pick you up from anywhere in Phuket and take you over to the Similan Islands. 

You’ll be able to spend most of the day there swimming with turtles and relaxing on the white sandy beaches. 

The tour takes you to several different spots on the islands throughout the day so you’ll get to see as much as possible.

If you’re not in Phuket, you can also join this tour to the Similan Islands which leaves from Khao Lak.

Check out what you can expect from snorkeling in the Similan Islands in the video below:

Another great snorkeling location which you can access from Phuket is on the Surin Islands, which are a group of 5 islands located in the Andaman Sea off the coast of western Thailand.

These beautiful islands feature some of the best scenery in Thailand and are also a fantastic snorkeling location where you can usually see turtles in the shallow reefs.

These islands are actually considered to be one of the best diving spots in Thailand due to the diversity of marine life found there. 

I’d recommend booking a tour to the Surin Islands like this as they will pick you up from anywhere in Phuket.

Whilst snorkeling in the Surin Islands you will be able to see barracudas, reef sharks, leopard sharks, sea turtles, rays and pufferfish. 

Occasionally you can even spot a manta ray or whale shark.

Check out what you can expect when snorkeling in the Surin Islands in the video below:

Where To See Turtles in Koh Tao

Koh Tao is definitely one of the best places to swim with turtles in Thailand. This small island is located on the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand.

Koh Tao is actually known for its tropical coral reefs which are home to a range of species including whale sharks, rays and turtles.

Both hawksbill and green turtles gather around this island to breed so it’s the best place to find them.

My personal favorite way to see the turtles is to go snorkeling as this allows you to swim alongside the turtles and get the best view.

I’d recommend joining a snorkeling tour like this one as the experienced guides will take you to the best spots and locations where the turtles love to hang out.

They take you to a range of snorkeling points including Shark Bay.

Shark Bay is a super famous snorkeling spot in Koh Tao where you can swim with turtles but also blacktip reef sharks (don’t worry, it’s not dangerous).

💡Tip: Bring a waterproof camera like the GoPro Hero 10 to get some photos and videos of you with the turtles.

Check out the sorts of sights you can expect when snorkeling at Shark Bay in Koh Tao in the video below:

Where To See Turtles in Khao Lak

Another great place where you can see turtles in Thailand is in Khao Lak which is a small town located on the mainland just 1 hour north of Phuket.

Khao Lak is a top location if you’re interested in conservation as they have a sea turtle conservation center

All 7 different species of turtle are actually endangered so it’s so important that we do all we can to help their chances of survival.

Baby turtles face more challenges than ever including:

  • Eggs are often crushed by beach activities.
  • Birds take the eggs whilst looking for a meal.
  • Development on the beaches damage breeding grounds.
  • Ocean pollution.

Some of these baby turtles struggle to make it to the ocean because of this and need extra help from volunteers. This is where the turtle sanctuary comes in.

They actually nurse the baby turtles for 6 to 8 months before releasing them out into the wild.

You can actually go to the conservation center and visit the baby turtles by joining this turtle conservation tour.

On this tour, you’ll get the chance to try out bamboo rafting where you’ll float down an idyllic river enjoying the stunning rainforest views around you.

You’ll then make a stop at the turtle conservation center to see the baby turtles and learn more about what they do.

Where To See Turtles in Koh Lanta

Another place where you can see turtles in Thailand is on Koh Lanta, an island which lies off the west coast of Thailand, between the Phi Phi Islands and the mainland.

The best place for swimming with turtles near Koh Lanta is on the small uninhabited island of Koh Rok which lies just south of Koh Lanta. 

To get there, I’d recommend joining a one day Koh Rok snorkeling tour from Koh Lanta

This tour makes the whole process super easy for you so you can just focus on swimming with the turtles and not think about transport.

Koh Rok is renowned for its diverse marine life which has been able to prosper given the fact that the island is uninhabited so the creatures that live there remain undisturbed. 

Koh Rok is the perfect place to jump in the water and snorkel right alongside turtles. It’s a magical experience that you won’t forget.

Check out the huge sea turtle spotted whilst snorkeling in Koh Rok in the video below:

Where To See Turtles in the Phi Phi Islands

Another place where you have the chance to swim with turtles in Thailand is at the Phi Phi Islands.

The Phi Phi Islands, which are often considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the world, are a group of islands located between Phuket and Koh Lanta.

The best place to swim with turtles in the Phi Phi Islands is at the Turtle Rock dive site which is located on the second largest island, Phi Phi Ley.

Both divers and snorkelers have a great chance of seeing turtles here.

Snorkelers will see turtles as they come up to the surface to breathe. Divers can see them swimming around rocks and rummaging for food.

Check out the sort of sights you can expect whilst diving at Turtle Rock in the video below:

Tips For Swimming With Turtles

First time swimming with turtles? 

To ensure the turtles remain safe, there’s a few key things to bear in mind when swimming with them in Thailand.

Remember that all of the different turtle species are endangered so it’s important that we do all we can to help their chances.

  • Don’t be too loud. Try to be as quiet as possible when swimming up to a turtle as loud noises will scare them away.
  • Do not touch the turtle. Turtles are wild animals and should be respected.
  • Do not get too close. This might scare the turtle and they could bite you if they get really scared (don’t worry this is super rare!).
  • Do not feed the turtles. They don’t need help finding food.
  • Always approach a turtle from the side. This gives them a clear view of you and a clear path ahead of them if they want to swim onwards.
  • Don’t disrupt the turtle’s natural behavior. You can enjoy the turtles by watching them do their thing but try not to disturb them.

These key tips protect both you and the turtles.

Fun Sea Turtle Facts

To get you prepared for your trip to Thailand where you’ll hopefully see some beautiful sea turtles, here’s some fun turtle facts.

  • The correct word for a baby turtle is a ‘hatchling’.
  • A typical hawksbill sea turtle will be 2 to 3 feet long and weighs between 100 and 150 pounds.
  • Sea turtles tend to build their nests for their eggs in the same location that they were born.
  • Mother turtles lay up to 100 eggs in each nest.
  • It is estimated that only 1 out of 1,000 hatchlings survives to be an adult so they need all the help they can get.
  • In their lifetime, female turtles lay thousands of eggs so at least a few will survive.
  • Sea turtles have been on Earth for more than 100 million years, even outliving the dinosaurs who became extinct 65 million years ago.
  • All species of sea turtles are either threatened or endangered.
  • Sea turtles never get to meet their babies as after laying their eggs, the mothers return to the ocean.
  • Male sea turtles spend their entire lives at sea.
  • The gender of a baby turtle is determined by the temperature of the nest – warmer temperatures tend to lead to females whereas cooler temperatures tend to lead to males.

Thanks for reading this post on where to see turtles in Thailand. 

There are lots of turtle beaches in Thailand which give you the chance to swim alongside the turtles and observe them in their natural habitat.

Don’t forget your waterproof camera so you can capture some memories to take home with you.

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