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With an ever-growing sense of freedom, we watched the jam-packed speedboats disappear behind the horizon one by one. It was just us now on the pearly white, deserted island of Koh Rok, south of Koh Lanta. A gorgeous little island and one we had all to ourselves.

Castaway on Koh Rok

We had just removed ourselves from the snorkeling trip. “We stay here!” we said resolutely, to which the travel guide responded that that wouldn’t be possible. There were no sleeping places, tourists aren’t allowed to stay on Koh Rok on their own… blah-blah-blah. We’d heard it all before. Without saying anything we split and left the speedboats and the other tourists behind us. “See you tomorrow!”

Still grinning from ear to ear, we started looking for a possible shelter. For instance, a tent on the edge of the beach and the jungle, sandwiched in between the palm trees, would do us just fine. We wanted to feel like actual castaways on a deserted island who, completely deprived of everything, would have to live off coconuts and be completely self-sufficient. Walking along the white beach, we were over the moon. It was absolutely amazing!

Longtailboat Koh RokSunset on the beach with a rainbow

From paradise to construction site

As we walked further along however, we started hearing the sound of hammer blows and the loud screeching of metal saws. Oh no! We saw dozens of builders working on a new government building. Here on Koh Rok?! To top it all off, we were assigned a tent on the edge of the construction site, among the builders, who also snored a lot.

Ouch. Our dream was shattered. Looking for coconuts wouldn’t be necessary anymore as there was even a small restaurant intended for the builders… and us.

Keep Koh Rok Clean

Paradise beach Koh Rok

All was quickly forgotten though, once we’d discovered that only fifty steps removed from our tent was a wide, sandy beach. The water was great for swimming and later we would go snorkeling as well. We explored Koh Rok, front and back, and then kayaked our way to where the water was even clearer, the sand was even whiter and the fish were even more colorful.

Rent a Kayak and explore the beaches of Koh RokSailing boats Koh RokEmpty beaches of Koh Rok

It was a remarkable experience that made up for everything all at once. Ultimately, we ended up staying an extra night and didn’t even mind the builders snoring anymore.

It was a small price to pay for staying in paradise. Eventually, the speedboats returned. We humbly asked the guides if they could take us back to Koh Lanta. They agreed without any problem and we even got to participate in the second part of the snorkeling trip (see video!) after which we were taken back to Koh Lanta.

Left unpunished

For a moment, we thought that our little outing would be left unpunished, but once we’d arrived at Koh Lanta we were charged the price of a one-way ticket (800 baht per person), which we dutifully paid. Still, we were glad that we had done this.

So, in case you want to do the same: book a snorkeling trip to Koh Rok (prices are steep: 1,500 baht), stay in a tent (400 baht per tent with a mat and blanket) and if you get fed up, you can get back on a speedboat in the afternoon. Lots of companies provide this kind of transport, so there will always be a free spot. Do it!

The beauty of Koh Rok

Best Hotels Koh Lanta

Coco Lanta Eco Resort, Koh Lanta

Coco Lanta Eco Resort - $$

The Coco Lanta Resort is right on the beach and has a lovely garden swimming pool. The rooms are clean, modern and air conditioned. This beach resort has got – in our opinion – the island’s best price/quality ratio.

Lanta Castaway Beach Resort, Koh Lanta

Lanta Castaway Beach Resort - $$

Situated south of Long Beach, in central Koh Lanta, Castaway has an amazing beach right out front. The rooms are excellent and the place just has a really nice vibe; you’ll know what we mean once you stayed there yourself!

Would you camp on Koh Rok?


Author Sander

Former elementary school teacher, storyteller, sports enthusiast, and adventurer. Love to do the "impossible", which is usually the exact opposite of what’s expected.

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