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Ko Rok Yai is, with Ko Rok Noi, one of the two Ko Rok islands, a tiny tropical paradise in the Andaman Sea. They are often considered the best day trip snorkeling destinations from Ko Lanta, located about 30 kilometers further north. Protected by a National Park, Ko Rok offers great snorkeling. Slaloming between the coral heads found on the southeast coast of Ko Rok Noi, you will encounter a great diversity of colorful reef fish.

Coral reef at Ko Rok Noi
Most of Ko Rok Noi reef is in good condition.

How to go snorkeling in Ko Rok Noi?

The two Ko Rok Islands, Ko Rok Noi and Ko Rok Yai, are located about 30 km south of Ko Lanta. They are only reached by boat tours. Most tours depart from Ko Lanta, but you can also arrange private tours from other islands, including from Trang archipelago.

Day trips from Ko Lanta (from $40pp.) include several stops around both islands, including at least one on the beach, often Koh Rok Yai. Some island-hopping tours allow visiting the same day the Ko Rok islands and Ko Haa/Five Islands. Most tours include lunch.

The islands are very crowded, so try to choose an operator that leaves at staggered times or offers private tours (more expensive but avoids stopping at the crowded beach if that’s not what you came for).

Ko Rok islands are separated by a narrow channel, and both host several snorkeling spots along their coasts or a little further offshore. The spot described on this page is the main snorkeling site of Ko Rok Noi island. It encompasses the coral reef bordering the west coast of the island, including Seafan Garden and Clownfish Reef dive sites (see map).

Ko Rok Noi snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Ko Rok Noi

Depending on the tour, you will enter the water from your boat or from the beach.

Ko Rok Noi snorkeling exploration tips

Ko Rok Noi reef is between 10 to 15ft/3 to 5 meters deep. The coral heads, mainly massive coral, digitate coral and leaf coral, are quite healthy compared to other Thailand locations. Some giant clams are found in the coral, where you can also find several species of starfish of Linckia genus.

Pink starfish in Ko Rok
A comet sea star in Ko Rok Noi.

In addition to the inquisitive sergeant majors gathering near the surface, you will spot on the reef many types of fish, such as parrotfish, triggerfish, butterflyfish, Moorish Idols and puffers. Several species of anemonefish are also very common in Ko Rok Noi, including the Clark’s anemonefish, the ocellaris clownfish and the pink skunk clownfish.

Scrawled filefish in Ko Rok Noi
A beautiful scrawled filefish.

If you take a closer look at the rocky crevices, you may be lucky enough to spot a moray eel, several species being frequently encountered here. There are also occasional reports of sea turtle sightings at Ko Rok Noi, but these remain rare.

Ocellaris anemonefish in Ko Rok
An ocellaris anemonefish family noted on the reef.

Ko Rok Noi is famous for its underwater visibility, which is generally excellent.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

Lunch on a beach is included in most day tours. There is no accommodation on the islands.

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth15ft/5m
  • Water entranceFrom a boat or a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersSea urchins, crown-of-thorn sea stars, lionfish
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersHigh
  • Access costsCost of a snorkeling our + National Park entrance fee
  • Restaurants nearbyNo

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.