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Koh Racha Yai

Bright turquoise water and soft white beaches await you on the island of Racha Yai, 20-kilometres south of Phuket. This small island is in sharp contrast to the development found on neighbouring Phuket, and is a welcome getaway to a more simpler way of life. Despite the name – ‘yai’ in Thai means ‘large’ – the island really is small. The name is comparative to its twin island, Koh Racha Noi - ‘noi’ in Thai meaning ‘small’. Due to its size, there is not a huge amount to do on the island, which is in fact the attraction.

The island is a paradise for those that get their kicks below water.  Some of the best snorkelling in the area can be found off Koh Racha Yai and Koh Racha Noi. Here you will find clear waters with coral reefs, and many different species of fish, of all different colours. For scuba diving, the opportunities in this region are some of the best in Thailand. However, if wishing to spend time exploring on land, stroll around the island and there is a pleasant village with a gentle atmosphere. You’ll find local restaurants serving up delicious seafood, and a few small shops selling groceries.

Koh Racha Yai is reached by taking a 35-minute speedboat journey from Chalong pier on the southeast of Phuket. En-route, dramatic scenes of limestone karsts towering into the sky are the norm, and you will be forgiven for thinking you are in a film-set, such is the perfection of the coastal scenery in this part of Thailand.

There are a very small number of resorts on the island, and as most of the visitors arrive as day trippers from nearby Phuket, we recommend staying over on the island, in order to experience it at its most authentic. The Racha offers beautiful villa accommodation set in lovely gardens overlooking a stunning white-sand beach, and a turquoise bay.

The best time of year to visit is between November and April when the weather should be at its driest, and the sea at its calmest - perfect for snorkelling and scuba diving.

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