Thailand is well known for its beautiful beaches and exceptional snorkelling spots and there is no better place than the Krabi region. We recently stayed at Crown Lanta on the island of Koh Lanta with the kids and we wanted to take them out for a snorkelling trip they would never forget. Koh Rok snorkelling is tough to beat!
Craig and I honeymooned on Koh Lanta and while there we did a day trip out to Koh Phi Phi. I was keen to take the kids there again but after talking to the lady on the tour desk at Crown Lanta, we decided the best option for the kids would be to visit Koh Rok. We booked with Sinthongchai, Speedboat Travel & Tour.
The lady on the tour desk said that Koh Phi Phi was very busy and not great for the kids. She also said that the 4 island tour required a lot of swimming so this might not be great for them either so we agreed that Koh Rok would be the best option! Koh Rok snorkelling was also not the most expensive tour either which made me believe that she wasn’t trying to just get extra money from us.
The 4 island tour includes Koh Chuek, Koh Book (the Emerald Cave), Koh Kradan and Koh Maa known for it’s variety of rich corals, plenty of fish, crystal clear blue water and white sandy beaches. The tour desk operator said it required a lot of swimming including through caves so that’s why it wasn’t the best for kids. I think that if we return another time and they are a bit older we would probably do that one then. All tours provide snorkelling gear so no need to bring your own.
Our speed boat was relatively new and in good working condition. The tour is well organised and runs like clock work. The costs are as follows:
Adults 1300b ($52AUD)
Children 650b ($26AUD)
Koh Phi Phi
Adult 1500b ($60AUD)
Children 750b ($30AUD)
4 Island Tour
Adult 1200b ($48AUD)
Children 600b ($24AUD)
We had to be at reception of our hotel at 8am to be picked up with an estimated return time of 3.30pm. Our guide was on time and we headed off, on foot, through the neighbouring resort. Here we picked up a couple of extras and followed the guide out on to the beach for our speed boat pick up.
The boat headed down the coast picking up at various other resorts on the way to Koh Rok. Our boat had 5 stops, including the resort that Craig and I stayed at on our honeymoon, and we had about 40 people on board when we finally headed across to Koh Rok.
A couple of people on the boat got seasick from the ride out and had to be dropped off on the beach, with the guide that would be staying behind to prepare our lunch. These guys missed snorkelling and spent the day on the beach. There was some coral reef you could swim out to just off shore if they started to feel better.
We then headed out to the first of three reefs for the day to snorkel. It’s only about 100m off shore so you could still see the beach of Koh Rok. The snorkels and face masks were handed out and we were instructed to jump off the back of the boat. In we jumped one by one. We had 30 mins at this spot until the tour guides called us back to the boat.
In we all jumped, it took the kids a bit to get the hang of it and then we were off, I had Alannah’s hand and she was squealing away through her snorkel. The kids know I’ve got 3 things on the snorkel bucket list and that’s to swim with turtles, swim with whale sharks and see Nemo (a Clown Fish). I was hoping to tick off Nemo on this trip. We swam a little way from the boat so that we didn’t have people bumping into us all the time and we found a nice spot of coral.
Alannah started squealing that she could see Nemo, she was madly pointing and I just couldn’t see him. She called Keira over and she spotted Nemo in about 1 minute, still I can’t see him. I’m treading water in the same spot staring down hopelessly not spotting him. Then the tour guide called us back and said our 30 mins was up. I took one last glance in the direction the girls were talking about then grudgingly headed back to the boat.
I was half way back to the boat when it happened, I was going to throw up. I do suffer from seasickness and had left my tablets in my other toiletry bag at home. I had felt great coming out on the speed boat looking at the others that were sick, thinking that could easily be me. It’s happened a few times where I have been ok on the boat, then the up and down in the water from the waves had set me off. I got back to the boat hoping that it would help, I had to get to the toilet. I realised nothing was going to fix it but getting to land.
The speed boat took off to the next location which was closer to land, only about 50m off shore and I still hadn’t improved. Craig told the tour guides and he took one look at me and said your going to the beach. He grabbed a life vest and threw it on me. Another tourist asked if they could give me a seasick tablet but he said it was too late. This nearly bought tears to my eyes, if only I had of said something to the guides and got a seasickness tablet earlier it wouldn’t be happening.
I got the vest done up, looking as green as Kermit the Frog, while one of the guides was asked to drag me back to shore by my life jacket. I wont go into great detail about the short trip but it wasn’t one of my finest moments and 50m felt like 3kms! My friend dragging me the whole way stopping when I needed too.
He got me to shore and grabbed my arm and walked me to the sand. I sat there for a good while and my new friend massaged my temples and rubbed my back. I was drained of energy and felt like a rag doll. I then realised I was about 200m from where the boat would come in for lunch and I had to walk down and meet the crew. My new friend stayed with me and helped me all the way back.
When the boat returned the head tour guide bought out some smelling stuff (I think it was Tiger Balm) that helps with seasickness. I wasn’t able to eat but I did come good in about 1 hour. I was keen to have a tablet and get back out there but he said it was too late and best I stayed on shore.
The kids said that the second snorkelling spot was not as good as the first which made me feel a little better (shamefully) so the kids had a play in the crystal clear blue water while I recovered. The boat then went back out for the last 30 min snorkel of the day and I waved them off begrudgingly.
The tour leaders prepare lunch for everyone on Koh Rok Island. Lunch consists of roast chicken, rice, salad and cakes for dessert. Lunch and soft drinks are provided as part of the tour and you can purchase beer and wine separately. I loved that the tour guides ensure that everyone throws their rubbish in large garbage bags that they take away with them when they leave. This is great considering a couple of hundred people visit this island daily and we want it to be beautiful for generations after us to enjoy. Sadly I didn’t get a photo of lunch as this is when I was lying down recovering from seasickness and it was the last thing I was thinking about!
While the others were out for their 3rd snorkel, I decided to walk either end of the beach to fill in the time. The beach was much less busy now and I was able to get some great shots of the beach with no one in them. I found a longtail fishing boat down the end of the beach and got some pretty good photos and one I think I will add to the new holiday photo wall. They were gone just short of an hour when the boat come back to pick up the ones that had stayed behind.
I jumped onto the boat and the kids came running, ‘mum we saw loads of Nemos’, I was so disappointed. I knew there would be some on this trip. My beautiful little darlings made dad take loads of video of them though on the GoPro and from that we got a few photos. I had said to the head guide that I really wanted to see Nemo and he just sighed and said ‘oh’. I know now that he knew I was missing out and I’m thankful he didn’t tell me as I’m certain I would have forced myself to go.
Once on the boat we headed back to Koh Lanta, it was about an hour before we disembarked. All the way back across I was fine, no sickness at all. If I’d had another day I would have gone back out but we left the next day. I suppose it’s just another reason to have to return, like I ever need an excuse to travel!
I can’t thank my friend enough for all is help, he was a true lifesaver and I’m a bit upset to say I never got his name. I’m also a bit embarrassed to say that I went into bag to give him a tip only to find that my wallet wasn’t in there. I was panicking, racking my brains thinking did I even bring it or have I lost it. I was upset that I wasn’t even going to be able to give him a nice tip for all he had done. When we got back, my wallet was sitting on my bed right were I had put it so that I remembered to take it in the waterproof bag.
We loved our Koh Rok snorkelling trip and the kids were very excited about seeing Nemo. I was disappointed but happy for the kids. They took loads of photos and video to show me though which was really sweet.
It was a very well organised tour, the speed boats appeared to be relatively new and in great working order. There was a good ratio of staff to patrons for the amount of the people on the boat. Seating was tight on board but I suppose that just depends on who is booking on what days.
I can not speak highly enough of the staff member that assisted me while I was seasick. He was kind and thoughtful and nothing seemed to bother him. He continued to check on me even after we had met up with the rest of the family. He even brought me food and drinks while I was recovering.
The crew were also great with the kids. They sat up on the nose of the boat while we picked up the others then when we headed out to Koh Rok. They helped us organise the kids, as getting all 3 ready for snorkelling and into the water is a big task. The Thai people in general tend to be really good with kids, I noticed that everywhere we went.
Have you been snorkelling in Thailand? Which island did you go to? Please leave your replies in the comments section below.
Sal & Co.