Shark Bay (Thian Og)
Shark Bay, also sometimes known as Thian Og or Rocky Bay, is one of the most famous snorkel spots on Koh Tao, and is visited by most companies offering round island snorkel trips. Shark Bay itself is very shallow, and as such is not great for scuba diving. So it is visited almost exclusively by snorkelers and is the best place on Koh Tao to see blacktip reef sharks.
Shark Bay is situated at the very base of the island and faces a southeasterly direction looking out over Shark Island towards Koh Phangan and Koh Samui. You can get there by kayak if you’ve rented from Sai Daeng Beach or somewhere along Chalok Bay, and it is easily accessible by road too. If you are driving, simply go through Chalok Baan Kao and park at one of the resorts just past the turning where the road loops up over the hill and drops down to the parking area for Freedom Beach and John Suwan Viewpoint.
An entrance fee is charged if you access via Haad Tien Resort using the private beach. However, you can reach the water for free from the coastline by walking down from OK View restaurant by Rocky Resort. While there is no mandatory charge, it is always a nice gesture to rent your snorkel gear from the restaurant you use to access the snorkeling area, or alternatively purchase a drink or some food.
Services & Facilities
The restaurant itself is not at sea level, so do grab any water you want before heading down the steps to the shoreline. The OK View decking (which is in reality much better than just ‘OK’!), offers an amazing view looking out over Shark Bay. Quite often the water is so clear that you can see blacktip reef sharks from here without even going down to the water. But of course, to get a closer look, you need to head down to the shore and jump into the sea.
Swimming and Snorkeling
As well as blacktip reef sharks, there are a couple of huge resident green turtles that hang out in Shark Bay. The optimum depth to see sharks and turtles is around 3-6 metres, which means swimming out around 150 metres into the bay. While there are a few tropical fish dotted around in addition to the more famous residents, there is not as much marine life here as at other Koh Tao beaches. This is largely due to the poor coral quality, as much of the reef was destroyed by the El Niño cycle in the late 1990s.
Recommended for… Shark Spotting
With a name like Shark Bay, this really goes without saying! The sharks and turtles are the main drawcards of visiting as other Koh Tao beaches and bays have much better coral reefs. However, as blacktip reef sharks can be seen here all year round, it remains a popular stop for anyone looking for a safe and exhilarating shark encounter.