We're in Chiang Mai for the month of January and would like to do a side trip to a beach - mostly to snorkel. What island would you go to for this? We want to spend as little time traveling between Chiang Mai and the island as possible so we can enjoy a few days at the beach. Would love your recommendations! Thanks much
There are lots of options for islands, but I just returned from a week in Phuket. My daughter flew in from Chiang Mai to meet us - it was a inexpensive 2 hr flight for her. While Phuket is definitely touristy to some extent, we didn’t find it terribly so, and chose it mostly for the ease of getting there - and stayed far from the party beach.
I learned about the Flightsfrom.com website on this Forum. It's great for determining options for direct flights from any airport. This might be helpful for researching beach options from Chiang Mai. We aren't so much beach fans but spent a few days at Kata Beach--can't say that I'd recommend it...not sure which beaches are best for snorkeling.
Depending on your preference. Basically, you can snorkel anywhere. To give you an idea, it is very easy to go on a day trip at Koh Samui or Phuket: you get on a speed boat, and they will take you on a scenic route where you can snorkel. Of course, the more touristy area you choose, like the two examples I give, the more crowded it will be. But as you mentioned, you want to spend as little time as possible, I gave you those two islands as an example as they have a great airport connection with Chiang Mai. If you are heading more south, it will be less touristy.