What is the difference between snorkeling and scuba diving?

What is the difference between snorkeling and scuba diving?

Koh Tao is renowned as a premier destination for sea lovers, and for a good reason! The crystalline waters surrounding the island offer unparalleled snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities, attracting adventurers from around the globe.


Koh Tao is the top destination for ocean enthusiasts from all over the world both divers and snorkelers


You can't go wrong with either snorkeling or scuba diving. Both activities are great ways to experience life under the sea! That being said, there are several key differences between snorkeling and scuba diving.

But how do you know which activity is best for you? How are they different? Do they both require previous experience? Which one to try? Let's find out!


SNORKELING VS. SCUBA DIVING: What's the Difference?

Both activities offer glimpses of stunning marine life but provide unique experiences.

Snorkeling allows you to observe sea life from the surface, while scuba diving immerses you in the underwater world.


Let's Cover the Basics:

  • Snorkeling involves wearing a mask, a breathing tube (snorkel), and fins to swim on the water's surface. Snorkelers typically stay near the surface, enjoying views of the expansive ocean floor.
  • Scuba diving entails using a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, commonly abbreviated as SCUBA, to explore the depths of the water. Equipped with scuba gear, divers can breathe easily as they delve into the mysteries hidden beneath the ocean's surface.


Now that you know the primary distinctions between snorkeling and scuba diving, what other information should you consider before embarking on your underwater excursion?


If it's your first time snorkeling, here's what you need to know: 

Snorkeling doesn't demand any prior experience and can be learned in just a few minutes. While swimming skills are essential, you don't need to be an expert. Snorkeling is a straightforward and inclusive activity suitable for the entire family. If you aspire to try scuba diving someday, snorkeling provides an excellent introduction to underwater exploration.



Koh Tao is surrounded by impressive rock formations adorned with breathtaking coral reefs and teeming marine life, all just a stone's throw from the shore. Throughout most of the year, the conditions are superb, boasting crystal-clear waters and tranquil seas, making snorkeling in Koh Tao an activity suitable for adults and children alike.


sea turtles in Koh Tao

One of the most popular ways to experience the beauty of Koh Tao's underwater world is by joining one of the 'Around the Island' boat tours. These tours offer a convenient and immersive way to explore multiple snorkeling sites while enjoying sightseeing opportunities along the island's picturesque coastline.

For those seeking a more serene and leisurely experience, planning a snorkeling trip by foot or kayak is also an excellent option. Whether by boat, foot, or kayak, a diverse array of marine species awaits discovery, including parrotfish, Porcupinefish, angelfish, blue spotted rays, and sea turtles. With luck, you may even encounter the graceful presence of a blacktip reef shark!


If it's your first-time Scuba Diving, here's what you need to know: 

Scuba diving warmly welcomes adventurers as young as 10 years old, extending accessibility through programs like Open Water Diver Course and Discover Scuba Diving experience. The beauty of scuba diving lies in its capacity to provide a deeper exploration of the underwater realm. Unlike snorkeling, where breath-holding sets limits, scuba diving empowers you to descend deeper and remain submerged for extended periods. This opens doors to a wealth of underwater marvels waiting to be explored, ensuring each dive is an unforgettable journey.

However, scuba diving does require more preparation compared to snorkeling. To partake in diving activities, formal training is necessary. Don't let that intimidate you, though! Learning to scuba dive is easier than you might think. In just three days, you can earn your certification. Alternatively, if you're not ready for a full certification yet, the Discover Scuba Diving 1-Day Program offers a fantastic introduction to the underwater world.



Scuba diving is accessible to almost anyone, but it's important to be in good health and reasonably fit. This means being free from serious heart or lung conditions. If you have any medical concerns, it's advisable to obtain a health certificate and seek approval from a physician if necessary. Like snorkeling, basic swimming skills are required, but more importantly, you should feel comfortable and confident in the water. With the right training and guidance, you can embark on your scuba diving journey with confidence and excitement!



Koh Tao stands out as a premier destination for diving enthusiasts, offering crystal-clear waters and an incredible array of marine life waiting to be explored. With more than 30 dive sites scattered around the island and its surrounding waters, divers are spoiled for choice when it comes to exploring the depths of Koh Tao's marine wonders. Each dive site in Koh Tao has its own distinctive features, ranging from vibrant coral reefs teeming with life to captivating rock formations and diverse marine ecosystems. These sites cater to a wide range of interests and skill levels, providing opportunities for both beginners and experienced divers to discover the amazing sights beneath the waves of Koh Tao.



When it comes to choosing between scuba diving and snorkeling, it ultimately boils down to your preferences and what you hope to experience beneath the waves. Snorkeling offers the chance to witness marine life from the surface, providing a glimpse into the underwater world without the need for extensive equipment or training. On the other hand, scuba diving allows you to delve deeper into the ocean, immersing yourself in its wonders and exploring marine ecosystems up close.

For those seeking adventure and a deeper connection with the marine environment, scuba diving is the ideal choice. With scuba diving, you have the opportunity to venture into the depths of the sea, where you can encounter a diverse array of marine creatures and explore fascinating underwater landscapes. Whether you're marveling at colorful coral reefs, gliding alongside majestic whale sharks, or exploring hidden underwater caves, scuba diving offers a truly immersive experience that snorkeling simply can't match.

However, it's important to consider your swimming abilities and comfort level in the water when choosing between scuba diving and snorkeling. While snorkeling requires minimal swimming skills and can be enjoyed by individuals of all ages and fitness levels, scuba diving requires more advanced swimming abilities and entails additional training and certification. If you're new to diving or unsure about your swimming skills, snorkeling may be a more accessible option to start with.


Scuba Diving with Whale sharks in Koh Tao


If you're planning a trip to Koh Tao and have your sights set on scuba diving, look no further! Coral Grand Divers offers a range of courses and experiences for divers of all levels, from beginners to experienced divers. Join us for an unforgettable underwater adventure and discover the magic of scuba diving in the crystal-clear waters of Koh Tao!

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