Koh Racha Yai is the bigger of the two Koh Racha islands which lay to the south of Phuket Island. This bigger island is less than 18 kilometers (11 miles) from the southern tip of Phuket at Promthep Cape, and the smaller island, Koh Racha Noi, is about 26 kilometers (16 miles) south. The Phi Phi Islands are located about 47 kilometers (29 miles) to the east-northeast of Racha Yai.
The island istself is just less than 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) long and 1.8 kilometers (just over 1 mile) at its widest point. There is roughly 14 kilometers (9 miles) of coastline, but only a couple of beaches with sand. The majority of the island has a rocky coast.
There are two nice beaches here: Patok Beach and Siam Bay.
Both are exceptionally beautiful, as each is surrounded by hills and sits in a deep bay, with stunning views that could be the highlight of your trip to Phuket.
Patok Beach is about 250 meters (273 yards) long and 47 meters (51 yards) wide – quite wide compared to most beaches on Phuket Island. The sand is soft, deep and generally clean. There is a small boat pier here. There are rocks under the water, so do be careful while swimming or snorkeling. Snorkeling is good around the rocks at both ends of the beach.
Siam Bay is a short walk from Patok Beach and is quite a bit less crowded. Here too, the snorkeling is good and there are many submerged rocks that can hurt bare feet.
There is a spot named the 'Yai Dive Spot' on the northeast side of the island. The reviews are good, especially from beginning divers for this spot. There are some sunken boats and other items that make it a haven for fish – so many different fish will be seen during dives. Snorkeling is also rated highly here, so if you’re into either one this could be a great day trip for you from Phuket.
Where to stay in Koh Racha Yai?
- The Racha Resort, on Patok Beach, is a 5-star resort with glowing reviews about rooms, views, staff and food at the restaurant. They have a 35-meter-long (38 yards) swimming pool with wet bar. Don’t miss yoga and the breakfast buffet. Rooms start around 6,000 Thai Baht.
- The Rayaburi Island Resort is a budget option close to Siam Bay with starting room rates around 2,500 THB. This is a 3-star hotel which doesn’t get rave reviews, but as long as expectations aren’t too high, it’s a cheap place to stay on an island in the middle of the Andaman Sea.