The two separated islands of Koh Racha Yai and Koh Racha Noi are situated about 30 kilometres south of Phuket in the Andaman Sea. The smaller one is Koh Racha Noi with nobody living on it. On Koh Racha Yai there are farmers and fishermen working and living in small communities around the coastline. Especially divers will enjoy this island due to his challenging and diversified underwater world. For people who may not be interested in diving, they can choose between several gorgeous sandy beaches and lonely bays for sunbathing, swimming or snorkelling.
Just Koh Racha Yai is populated und offers a small selection of accommodations. The inhabitants of the Island make a living with coconuts and fishing. There are still many water buffalos on the island which can often be seen around mud holes. Most parts of the inner island are until now covered in dense jungle with some coconut plantations in the centre.
Koh Racha Yai has some idyllic and nice beaches and romantic bays with crystal clear water. Many diving organisers come over from Phuket to this island just to snorkel and dive. During the low season the area is one of a handful where the water is calm so that visitors can enjoy swimming.
Just a couple of kilometres further south lays Koh Racha Noi. There is no one living here on the long shaped island. The land is mainly rocky and woody with just two smaller beaches. Around the island there are some fascinating coral reefs to be seen, which we recommend due to the strong currents only to experienced divers.
The only way to get on the island is via Phuket. There are a couple of flights leaving daily to Phuket, but with the changing high prices, it is recommended only to those who don't have much time. A cheaper way to get south is with the state bus which leaves from Bangkok regularly.
There is one speed boat leaving from Chalong pier in the morning heading to Koh Racha. The ride will take about 40 minutes. Normally travellers won't make the early one after arriving in Phuket and a long-tail boat has to be organized. The long- tail boat is slower and it will take about 90 minutes to reach the island. The boats leaving Koh Racha around 15:30 every day and arrive in Phuket between 16:00 – 17:00.
Once on the island, you have to rely on your feet's. The island has only a few roads, which are in bad conditions. Sometimes there are long- tail boats around the resorts to bring you on other beaches when visitors don't feel like walking.
Koh Racha Yai can be explored due to his size in a half day trekking tour. One of the highlights beside the charming beaches are the water buffalos which can be found all around the island. There are paths leading from the main beach to others like Siam Bay, where travellers can enjoy a cold drink and a change of scene.
Snorkelling & Diving
Around Koh Racha there are several other islands which are attracting divers from all over Thailand. There are some dive spots which are ideal for beginners. For more advanced divers there are some very nice spots around Koh Racha Noi. Some good points are “Marla’s Mystery” and “Lucy’s Reef”. Here you can find alongside hard and soft corals a huge plurality of fish as barracudas, reef sharks, stone fishes, cat fishes and different species of morays.
The nice Ter Bay can be reached within 3 minutes by foot from the Baan Raya Resort. At the bay people can swim and snorkel. Deck chairs and sunshades are available for rent as well as a small snack bar. Even during the rainy season, it is possible to swim here, due to his good position where it is protected from winds and waves.
Kon Kare Bay
The little bay is located directly in front of the Baan Raya Resort. This Bay isn’t as nice as the other ones, due to his lack of a proper beach. Snorkel in front of the Resort is possible though.
The still quiet Siam Bay is a long stretched bay with a white and sandy beach, ideal to just relax in a deck chair or taking a swim. There are sunshades which can be rent and several little booths where you can buy some ordinary food and cold drinks. The plain water is suitable for kids so parents don’t have to worry.
Batok Bay is the biggest bay of the island and has a wonderful beach. Left and right of it are cliffs which mark the ends of the beach. Deck chairs and sunshades can be rent for a small amount. The bay provides optimal swim and snorkel opportunities and a small range of Thai restaurants with mostly Thai food. During the low season the winds can be strong, therefore you will see junk lying around. Directly at the beach is a luxury resort called “The Racha”. As a result of it, the beach lost a bit of it natural beauty.
As in the whole Andaman Sea the best time to visit the Islands is during the month from November to April with excellent weather conditions. But also the early rainy season from Mai to July is a great time to visit the island because prices are much lower than during the high season and the weather is still generally good with only a few sporadic showers every couple of days.
Only with the beginning of August the monsoon increases with almost daily rainfall until the end of October.