South of Phuket is the Raya Islands – Koh Racha Yai and Koh Racha Noi, with the former more popular than the latter, which is uninhabited. Koh Racha Noi is actually two smaller islands, nearly joined together. (In Thai, ‘Yai’ means large and ‘Noi’ means small).
The two islands have some of the best snorkelling reefs in Thailand and white, powdery sand beaches with crystal-clear waters. On the larger island you will be able to enjoy luxury accommodation but still find plenty of peace and quiet, trekking and hours of beach life.
Both are between 30 – 45 minutes from Phuket.
Koh Racha Yai, in all about 3 kilometres from north to south, has four small resorts in amongst an almost perfect tropical paradise. There are also a few seaside restaurants and beach chairs. A hilltop viewpoint on the bay’s south offers a magnificent view of the whole island.
On Koh Racha Yai, there are 5 beaches, some larger, some smaller. The two largest beaches are Patok Beach and Siam Bay Beach. The other three smaller ones are located on the eastern side of the island and are called Lha Bay, Ter Bay and Kon Kare Bay.
Just steps into the turquoise waters at any of these beaches you’ll be swimming with tropical fish.
Patok Beach is the main beach where you will first arrive but it’s also a very beautiful beach where you can snorkel and enjoy swimming.
Patok Beach can be quite crowded with daily tours boats but if you stay on the island, you will also be able to enjoy this beach without crowds. There are also restaurants and the largest resort, the Racha which offers luxurious villas and sea views across the bay.
The other main beach and bay, about 200 metres from Patok Beach, is Siam Bay. Siam Bay is longer but there’s only one restaurant there. But, it’s also a lot less crowded at the busiest times of the day.
The 2 smaller Koh Racha Noi islands have some small hidden beaches where you’re likely to have your little patch of tropical beach all to yourself. Otherwise these uninhabited islands are mostly tropical jungle and rocky outcrops. If you’re staying on Koh Racha Yai you’ll be able to do a quick trip to these little gems during your visit.
Motorised activities, like jet skis and paragliding, are not allowed on these islands, so you’ll have peace and quiet and plenty of time to enjoy nature and relax.
If you are staying, after an amazing sunset and some fresh seafood at one of the quality restaurants at the resorts, there’s also little, or no, nightlife except anything operated by the resorts. Expect an early night.
If you would like to visit the Raya Islands, click HERE for more information.