Rare manta rays found around Koh Rok islands

Rare manta rays found around Koh Rok islands

People snorkelling in the waters surrounding the Koh Rok Islands in the Krabi Province of the Andaman Sea have sighted Manta Rays, a vulnerable species and the largest type of ray in the world, for the first time in about 18 years.

Paradise Koh Rok

The 2 Koh Rok IslandsKoh Rok Nai and Koh Rok Nok – are tiny paradises 30 km south of Koh Lanta, Krabi. Small, rugged and mostly unspoilt, they’re home to an impressive coral reef system, pristine white-sand beaches, a small ranger’s station, a restaurant and very little else. While there’s some accommodation available so that you can stay on the island, this is mostly in the form of tents and a few bungalows.

As part of the Mu Koh Lanta National Park, the Koh Rok Islands have a thriving underwater ecosystem, where divers and snorkelers can encounter sea turtles, moray eels and black-tip reef sharks. On land, on Koh Rok Nai, the beautiful Koh Rok Waterfall is well worth seeing.

The Koh Rok Islands are widely known for their rich marine life, which has regenerated during the COVID-19 tourism hiatus. Snorkelers were excited to encounter the large Manta Rays as, normally, only scuba divers would be able to see them.

A snorkeler swims with a manta ray

The Manta Rays are between 3 and 6.7 metres wide and weigh up to 1,350 kilograms. These rays are often found in tropical waters, especially near coral reefs. Such creatures are also found near the “Hin Daeng Hin Muang” dive site near the Koh Rok Islands, located within the Mu Koh Lanta National Park.

The manta ray is considered to be endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a result of overfishing over the past few decades.


There’s no public boat service to the Koh Rok Islands, but there are tour companies operating speedboat or longtail boat day trips there from Koh Kradan, Koh Muk, Koh Ngai or Koh Lanta. You’ll need to pay around 400 baht entry fee on arrival at Koh Rok – the national park entry fee. Tours are not available from May to November as the islands are usually closed during this time because of the rough weather.

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About the author

Thomas has a university background in the UK and in Latin America, with studies in Languages and Humanities, Culture, Literature and Economics. He started his Asian experience as a publisher in Krabi in 2005. Thomas has been editing local newspapers and magazines in England, Spain and Thailand for more than fifteen years. He is currently working on several projects in Thailand and abroad. Apart from Thailand, Thomas has lived in Italy, England, Venezuela, Cuba, Spain and Bali. He spends most of his time in Asia. During the years Thomas has developed a great understanding of several Asian cultures and people. He is also working freelance, writing short travel stories and articles for travel magazines. Follow Thomas on www.asianitinerary.com

View all articles by Thomas Gennaro