23 kilometres from Phuket to the South lie the twin islands of Ko Racha Yai (big) and Ko Racha Noi (small) which offer significantly better diving than do Phuket's Western beaches. Enjoy beautiful scenery, natural surroundings, crystal clear waters and empty beaches. Go swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, or just lie in the sun and enjoy the peace. Almost all diving operators offer one day trips to both of the islands and some offer a two day liveaboard trip every week.
Racha Yai's best diving is off its East Coast which makes it especially attractive during Phuket's off-season in the summer. Although visibility varies, it can be as good as 25 meters or more. A typical dive is a gentle drift along a sloping rocky face that is sprinkled with hard coral forests of many varieties. Especially prominent are stag horn corals of blue and tan. Many times there are large schools of false barracudas hovering over the reef, while on the reef itself you'll see octopus and cuttlefish in addition to the more common tropical species.
Racha Noi is popular for the more experienced diver, as depths are generally greater and the currents frequently stronger than at its sister island to the North. The Northern tip feature a large pinnacle where spotting larger marine life is distinctly possible, while the Southern point is a nice drift dive with the added bonus of having a beautiful little beach to visit during your surface interval. There is a wooden ship wreck at about 27 meters on the Southwest Coast of the island which although it does not compare to some of the larger wreck dives in Pattaya, is an enjoyable deep dive. Not much grows on the wreck yet, but it attracts large amounts of reef fish. The diving here is more challenging than Racha Yai, but the rewards can be much greater.
Accommodation is available on Racha Yai in both of the pristine little bays on the Northern side of the island.
How to get there.
You can get to Coral Island by speed boat from Chalong Pier or Rawai Beach. The boat trip takes about 30 minutes.