Koh Rok: The day I fell in love with the ocean
I’ve had this post in my drafts for yonks and truthfully I’ve found it really hard to write. The photos have just been sat on their lonesome whilst I’ve tried to find the words to describe an undescribable day.
I’ve never been much of a swimmer (I had a God awful swimming teacher) and I hate getting my hair wet/sharks/not being able to touch the bottom. Snorkelling has never been something I’ve been that arsed about but as my boyfriend is part fish, I decided I would man up and do something that he enjoyed together, rather than sending him off by himself.
We tried snorklling at Monkey Beach at Koh PhiPhi but our tour boat was so jam packed with people (a boat had broken down so ours was double booked) it wasn’t enjoyable in the slightest. There was a 20 strong group of middle aged men who couldn’t swim and were constantly grabbing on to others and panicking despite wearing life jackets and being under the watchful eyes on the boat staff – Not ideal when I’m a nervous swimmer myself.
After the shitty trip to Phi Phi we didn’t have high hopes for our trip to Koh Rok, an small island with a 500m beach, half an hour South of Koh Lanta by speedboat. As usual when it comes to Jody and I, we were proven wrong.
I mean look at that water!
So the nitty gritty stuff. We booked our day tour with Opal Speedboat and we paid 1700thb/34gbp each. This cost included a lunch of chicken and rice, unlimited water, transfers to and from our guest house, fruity snacks and all snorkelling equipment – Not too bad for a full day hey?
The crew were Indonesian and they were great. They were knowledgable about all the different sea creatures, made sure everyone was feeling okay and they were pretty funny (which is always nice isn’t it?).
At the first snorkel spot I stupidly thought I would be okay without a life jacket. I eased myself in and then totally panicked. The lovely Jody was there though to give me a guiding hand but as I couldn’t really see that many fish I went back to the boat feeling a bit disappointed – In both the lack of fish and my own stupid fear.
Until the second snorkel spot that is.
Spot number two was out of this world. You know that feeling you used to get when you were a kid when you would discover something for the first time and it was just the best feeling ever?? Well that’s the feeling I got when I donned my life jacket and jumped in second time around.
I could see the fish from the boat and just seeing all the different colours washed my fears away and I found myself jumping in before Jody had even got his mask on. Swimming around in the warm water with all the different fish was amazing and it was then that I realised why everyone made such a fuss about going snorkelling.
It was like being in Finding Nemo.
As you can see from this photo the water clarity around Koh Rok is incredible, with up to 18m of visibility.
The amazing thing is that if you are really unconfident about your swimming abilities you can snorkel from the small beach and still see quite a few fish – Although it isn’t quite as mind blowing as the variety of marine life a bit further out.
The beach itself is made up of fine, white sand and despite there beign quite a few tourist boats moored up it didn’t feel too busy. It’s also super clean as well so make sure you take any rubbish home with you.
Koh Rok itself is a lovely little island – The only people who live there are the island rangers so you can imagine how quiet and well preserved it is.
The beach itself is only 500m long but if you travel inland a bit you can go on a bit of a hike to the highest point of Koh Rok. This hike offers great views but be warned, it’s not as easy as you think. Signs say that the viewpoint is only a few hundred metres from the beach but in reality it feels a lot further.
To get to the viewpoint you have to climb up quite a lot of steep steps and when you factor in the densely packed trees and the searing Thailand heat, you have a hard little trek on your hands. Make sure you take a bottle of water up with you.
If you really want a truly authentic deserted island experience, you have the option to camp on the island. There aren’t tonnes of tents so you won’t be joined by a zillion other people but there are monitor lizards who linger around hoping for some leftovers.
After a couple of hours sunbathing, hiking and snorkelling it was time to load up the boat, head to one final snorkel spot then return back to our accomodation.
I saw loads of fishies while I was in the water – Clownfish, Parrotfish, Wrasse, Clownfish, Moorish Idols, Tangs, even Sea Cucumbers. It was pretty amazing and just thinking about it has me itching to book the first beach/snorkel holiday I come across.
Koh Rok was one of the highlights of my time in Thailand and I would go back in a heartbeat. Whilst it didn’t make me any keener to try out scuba diving, it did help me take a step in the right direction and made me realise maybe the ocean isn’t quite as scary as I thought.
Do you have any recommendations for great snorkelling?