Racha Island is, in fact, two islands—Racha Yai and Racha Noi—both known for their excellent snorkeling and diving. Whether for day-long underwater exploring trips or stays of a few days to relax on the unspoiled beaches, the southern Thai islands are popular with water sports enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
Around 20 miles (40 kilometers) south of Phuket, Racha Island is quintessential Thailand—white sand, turquoise ocean, and softly swaying palm trees. Racha Yai has a small number of resorts and bungalows, and is becoming a popular place to stay for visitors to Phuket, while Racha Noi is uninhabited. Both islands offer excellent diving offshore, and you can snorkel right from the beach on Racha Yai. Many travelers choose to visit the islands as part of an organized snorkeling, diving, or catamaran tour from Phuket.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Racha Island is ideal for snorkelers, divers, and those looking for a quiet island escape from Phuket.
- Most tours leave Phuket in the morning to spend the day around both Racha Yai and Racha Noi.
- Snorkelers and divers can expect to see colorful corals and many types of tropical fish.
- If snorkeling or diving is not your thing, catamaran trips are also available.
- Many tours include lunch, refreshments, and water sports gear.
How to Get There
Racha Island, located south of Phuket in the Andaman Sea, is accessible only by boat. Speedboats travel from Ao Chalong and Rawai on Phuket, or you can book a snorkeling, diving, or catamaran tour to access the islands.
When to Get There
High season in Phuket runs from November to March, when the weather is warm and sunny. April and May can be very hot, and tropical rainstorms are possible from June to November. Some resorts and tour operators close up shop or run only limited services in the rainy season.
See Phuket’s Big Buddha
For a photo opportunity extraordinaire, take a trip to see Phuket’s Big Buddha, a 150-foot-high (45-meter) statue sitting atop the Nakkerd Hills, close to Kata. The statue was constructed in 2004 and is made of concrete overlaid with glittering white jade marble. From the base of the Buddha you can enjoy panoramic views over the whole island.