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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. Exploring the reef extending along the southeast coast of Ko Rok Yai, you will spot a myriad of reef fish in a translucent sea.

Ember parrotfish in Ko Rok
An ember parrotfish at Ko Rok Yai reef.

How to go snorkeling in Ko Rok Yai?

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 Yai island. It includes the coral reef fringing the southeast coast of the island for several hundred meters, including The Plateau and Bermuda Ridge dive spots (see map).

Ko Rok Yai snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Ko Rok Yai

Depending on the tour, you will enter the water from your boat or from the beach. If you are dropped off on the island, walk along the beach in an easterly direction (on your left when you are facing the sea) to get closer to the snorkeling area.

Ko Rok Yai snorkeling exploration tips

Near the beach, the seabed is sandy, before being quickly covered with corals. These corals, mainly massive corals, are not very spectacular but in good condition. On the reef, the water height ranges from 5 to 12ft/1.5 and 4m, creating diverse underwater landscapes.

Singular bannerfish in Ko Rok
The singular bannerfish is very common at this spot.

Ko Rok Islands reefs support hundreds of fish species, as well as a wide diversity of invertebrates. They are called home by large-sized groupers and parrotfish, species that are rarely seen in unprotected areas.

Giant mory eel in Ko Rok Yai
A giant moray, the world’s largest moray eel, in Ko Rok Yai.

The powder blue tang, the lined surgeonfish and the singular bannerfish are also common in Ko Rok, and are among the most colorful fish living on the reef. Moray eels are also often seen at this location.

Crown of Thorn starfish in Ko Rok
A Crown-of-thorns starfish at Ko Rok Yai reef flat. This large starfish, highly venomous, feeds on coral polyps.

The Ko Rok islands are famous for their 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 depth12ft/4m
  • 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.