Red Rock Pinnacle: three dive sites in one

Red Rock Pinnacle is a grand granite formation that reaches almost two meters beneath the sea, at depths of 60 to 66 feet (18 to 20 meters). It’s perfect for divers of all levels and experiences – often used as an amazing drop-off spot. Planned as a drift dive, you can explore Red Rock and then swim with the current along the shore to Japanese Gardens. That way, you get two Koh Tao dive sites with one tank. However, don’t miss out on exploring the Nang Yuan cave.

red rock koh nang yuan

Red Rock dive site brief

  • Access: From boat
  • Maximum depth: 72 feet/ 22 meters 
  • Cavern entrance/ swim-through: 36 – 39 feet/ 11–12 meters
  • Average depth: 33 feet/ 10 meters
  • Visibility: 16 – 33 feet/ 5 – 10 meters
  • Dive time: 60 minutes 
  • Certification level: Open Water
  • Type: reef/pinnacle

About Red Rock/Nang Yuan Pinnacle dive site

The Red Rock dive site is also often referred to as ‘Nang Yuan Pinnacle’. Located off Koh Nang Yuan’s east coast, the Red Rock Pinnacle dive site on Koh Tao offers a journey through the eastern waters and finishes in Japanese gardens for an extended underwater experience.

Fun fact: most pictures you see of Koh Tao are actually photos of Koh Nang Yuan.

Red Rock itself is a small pinnacle with a maximum depth of 66 feet (20 meters), reaching just shy beneath the surface. On the Eastern and northern sides of the Pinnacle lies a large crack that provides a haven for captivating aquatic creatures.

When diving Red Rock Pinnacle, you have two options: Continue straight to Japanese Gardens or stop at the Nang Yuan Cave.

The dive plan for Red Rock/Nang Yuan Pinnacle in Koh Tao

Your dive journey begins by descending along Red Rock to depths of 60 to 66 feet (18 to 20 meters). The maximum depth of the dive site is 72 feet (22 meters) with an average of 33 ft/10 m. The pinnacle itself as a dive site is quite small in size, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore its ridges and crevices at a leisurely pace. Don’t forget your flashlight – who knows what you might find.

After you complete a loop around Red Rock, set your compass westward and journey to the shore. There, tucked away among coral walls, lies the entrance of Nang Yuan cave.

red rock swim-through

The entrance to the cave begins at approximately 36 – 39 feet (11–12 meters). Visiting Nang Yuan cave is a mesmerizing experience, as its long hallway provides perfect backdrops for serene swim-throughs. As you pass through the massive boulders that form an underwater chamber, beams of light penetrate from above and illuminate your path. Looking up reveals the various silhouettes of small fish inhabiting this cavernous wonderland.

Keep your eyes peeled for Blue Spotted Ribbon Tail stingrays and the Jenkins Whipray, who often inhabit the depths of this cave.

From here, you have two options, swimming back to Red Rock or continuing to Japanese Gardens.

As you scuba dive along the eastern Nang Yuan shoreline, your eyes will be treated to a tremendous spectrum of color and various landforms featuring gigantic boulders bedecked with both hard & soft corals. You’re likely to spot plenteous marine life including Bannerfish, Angelfish, Beaked Coral fish, Red Breasted Wrasse, and Parrot fish among many other species.

Reaching a drop-off, you will enter the Japanese Gardens dive site.

In order to make it to all three sights, it will require good air consumption.

Alternatively, you can also make your way to Japanese Gardens and skip the swim-through at Nang Yuan Cave. In that case, it’s a drift dive and the diving boat will pick you up at Japanese Gardens. For safety reasons, make sure to bring your inflatable dive marker.

What’s to see at Red Rock in Koh Tao?

Red Rock itself is a marine life haven, with shoals of fish circling the rock formations, and a good deal of others hiding in the cracks of the pinnacle.

Embark on an unforgettable diving excursion with a torchlight to amplify the experience, and you’ll be met with captivating Wart Slugs, vibrant Durban Dancing Shrimp, curious Pufferfish, dazzling Yellow Boxfish, and mysterious Moray Eel.

moray eel at red rock koh tao

Along this coastline, it is not unusual to encounter both Titan Triggerfish and Yellow Margin Triggerfish. Furthermore, you may come across Scorpionfish as well as busy Green and Hawksbill Sea Turtles hunting for food. Other typical visitors of the area include Yellow Tailed Barracuda, Snapper, and Banded Sea Snakes.

What certification is required to dive at Red Rock Pinnacle?

The dive at Red Rock Pinnacle in Koh Tao, Thailand is suitable for all levels of divers. The minimum requirement is the Open Water certification.

Related dive sites

Other dive sites suited for beginners as well as more experienced divers are Hin Ngam, White Rock, or Twins. If you like the pinnacles in Koh Tao and are deep dive experienced, check out the Hin Pee Wee or Chumphon Pinnacle – here you have the highest chance to find a whale shark. And don’t forget a night dive at the Junkyard and a wreck dive at the HTMS Sattakut.

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