Racha Yai and Racha Noi are two extraordinarily beautiful tropical islands in 12 kilometers to the south of Phuket. They are not very far, actually, and their nature and recreation conditions are radically better comparing to Phuket.
Racha Yai Island
There are some newly built hotels and restaurants on Racha Yai which didn’t affect much on the surroundings: there is still crystal clear water, pure white sand and lush tropical vegetation.
The island is a great place for a quiet secluded holiday. You may not plan to stay there for a long time, but do spend at least one day to enjoy the nature and scuba diving. Trust me, swimming and snorkeling here is a pure pleasure!
There are two bays with beaches on Racha Yai. The main bay is Ao Bungalow, it has a temporary pier. Obviously, pier is dismantled in the rainy season and re-erected to the next influx of tourists. There are boats at the pier unloading tourists to the island and taking them back. Nevertheless, swimming is quite comfortable in the area, especially if you go to the far corners of the bay.
The second bay, Ao Siam, you can reach on foot from Ao Bungalow through a small brush wood: it is not far. It is a lonely secluded bay where you can seclude and relax.
Racha Yai Island Hotels
There are several hotels on Racha Yai:
You can use a shuttle service from Phuket as a guest. For details see the links above.
The northern part of Racha Yai Island
The island activity is focused on the two bays and the center part of the island. The northern part is totally uninhabited: waves beat against the rocky shore with incredible force which makes diving or swimming impossible.
Unbelievable, but in the wildest part of the island here is an interesting place we have visited. It is a small cafe, a lunch stop for excursion groups. The boat takes a group of tourists to the temporary berth, and each tourist disembarks accompanied by a "lifeguard" whose mission is to prevent the guest from falling into the raging sea because the pier is literally swinging under feet. To get to the beach and back is a spine-chilling adventure, but it's worth trying! Just watch the video:
Racha Noi Island
Racha Noi is the second island of the archipelago. Unfortunately, we had no chance to visit it. But, they say, there is an incredibly beautiful bay with an amazing underwater world. You can get to the island with an organized diving tour. If you've been there, please write your comments below with impressions from visiting Racha Noi!
How to get to Racha Islands
You can get there only by sea. Book at local hotels a shuttle from Phuket. Or you can get here on a rented boat or yacht. But the easiest way to visit the islands is to join a tour group, like we did. Travel agencies in Phuket will gladly inform you on the tour details.
Activities on Racha Islands
You can enjoy a quiet relaxed holiday on this paradisiac islands and forget, at least for a few days, your job, mobile phones and so on. Stay at one of the hotels, fall asleep to the singing of birds, get up in the morning and go to Ao Siam for doing nothing but swimming and enjoying the wild unspoiled nature of the island.
Active people will also fall in love with the Racha Islands. It is a great place for snorkeling and scuba diving. Restaurants on Racha Yai are not bad, so you have nothing to worry about.
These islands are extremely beautiful and easy-to-reach from Phuket. We strongly recommend you to visit them!