Racha Islands are two beautiful twins, close to Phuket in proximity but miles away in the atmosphere. Racha Islands (Koh Racha Yai and Koh Racha Noi) offer an island escape for those wanting peace, whitest powder-soft sand, tallest palm trees, pristine bays surrounded by flourishing reefs, stunning coral, and hidden wrecks. The word Racha comes from the word “Rajah” – “the real king” Islands of Racha, while Noi and Yai mean Small and Large.
Racha Noi Island has a rocky coast and wild nature. It is perfect for all types of sea lovers, from snorkeling, diving, to fishing. On the other hand, Racha Yai Island has five sandy bays, the West bay (Ao Patok), Siam Bay, Thu Bay, Ao Lan, and Ao Khon Khae. Most travelers visit Racha Islands to experience pristine dive sites nearby Phuket, as well as beach comb on its remarkably white and soft sands. Both islands are painted with dense tropical vegetation and palm trees. Racha Islands is a must-visit for at least a day trip if you are on vacation in Phuket.
Why visit Racha islands
- Easily accessible from Phuket on a day trip by private boat
- Racha Yai bays are ridiculously pretty and Instagram-perfect
- Its beaches promise powder-soft white sand that you won’t find anywhere else nearby Phuket
- Racha Islands are fringed with healthy coral reefs that are so good for snorkeling
- First-class diving with five wrecks to explore and thousands of reef-building cubes, and the best staghorn reefs in the area
- Fantastic underwater topography with regular visits by giant manta rays
- Racha Islands are for those who look for a quiet and isolated holiday near Phuket in the lap of incredibly beautiful nature.
Best time to visit Racha islands
If you want to visit Racha Islands for a day trip, the best time is from November to May. During this period, the sea is the calmest while the water visibility at its highest, promising the best snorkeling and diving that Racha Islands are famous for.
Racha Yai island
Koh Racha Yai is extraordinarily beautiful, one of the real tropical paradises nearby Phuket. The island promises two spectacular beaches and bays – Siam and Patok. Siam Bay is the largest bay on Racha Yai island located in the north. With a picture-perfect long white sandy beach, Siam Bay has the shape of a giant horseshoe. The water in the bay is ridiculously clear, and it is one of the favorite snorkel spots directly from the beach.
Patok beach is another exceptional welcome card to Racha Islands. Located in the western part of Koh Racha Yai, this beach has powder-soft, white sand that you won’t find anywhere else nearby Phuket. The beach is enclosed by a bay fringed on both sides with coral. Many tourists visiting Koh Racha Yai believe that Patok Bay looks similar to Maya Bay on the Koh Phi Phi Islands. The clear waters are aquamarine blending to turquoise.
Even when visiting Racha Yai island for a day trip, you can still experience Siam and Patok easily. Their beaches are connected by a lovely road about three hundred meters long. Three other smaller bays are located in the east of Racha Yai: Thu Bay, Khon Khae Bay, Lan Bay. With tiny beaches, these bays are more popular among divers. Koh Racha Yai features five wrecks and thousands of reef-building cubes; the diving and snorkeling tours here are first-class.
Racha Noi island
The other twin of Racha Islands, Koh Racha Noi, is about 10 km south of Racha Yai, entirely undeveloped, which doesn’t make it less attractive. Racha Noi Island is a premium destination for diving nearby Phuket. The island boasts fantastic underwater topography with resident blacktip sharks and turtles, regular visits by giant manta rays, and the best staghorn reefs in the area. Koh Racha Noi promises both deep and shallow diving suitable for both advanced and beginner divers looking to dive with turtles. From some fantastic artificial reef structures to relatively shallow wreck diving at around 24 meters, you can have a fabulous day around Racha Noi island, no matter your diving experience.
Not only diving but swimming and snorkeling along the east shore of Racha Noi are magnificent, with the added attraction of a sandy beach connected to a small rocky islet that is worth a drone shot. Koh Racha Island tour also caters to those who enjoy fishing. The east shore of Koh Racha Noi is one of the top places to visit for that. You will notice many fishing boats lining the beach, with longtail boats transporting fishing enthusiasts between Koh Racha Noi and its surrounding reefs. All in all, whatever your island-hopping priority, Koh Racha island tour from Phuket will tick all boxes.
Racha island tour from Phuket
Racha Islands are 12 km south of Phuket, with Koh Racha Yai being closer, followed by Koh Racha Noi. The largest Racha Yai island can be easily reached by speed boat from the southern shores of Phuket in 30 minutes. Even though the island is no longer a secret spot, it is not overrun with tourists like the Similan Islands.
The best way to experience Racha Island day trip from Phuket is by chartering a private boat or catamaran with Islander. Staying onboard overnight is recommended to make the most of beaches, snorkeling, and diving around this beautiful archipelago. Nothing beats a romantic getaway on a private yacht, away from the hustle and bustle of Phuket.