Twin Gems in Phuket.
Racha Yai and Racha Noi twin Islands are located approximately 25-30km away from Chalong Pier. Some of the best spots for snorkling Raya Yai and Raya Noi. The islands have crystal clear blue waters and beautiful white sand. A must visit destination for anyone traveling to Phuket.
The largest of the islands, Racha Yai Island is located approximately 15min by speedboat away from Chalong Pier. Racha Noi Island is situated another 10min away from its twin.
How to Get There
You can get to Racha Yai Island by chartered boat from Chalong Pier and Rawai. Depending on what boat you choose, travelling time varies:
The journey by Speedboats takes about 20-25 minutes.
By dive boats, fishing boats, and large boats, the travel time is about 1-2 hrs. During summer season the travel time might be even longer.
You can also charter Longtail boats on days when the sea is calm. With Longtail boats, the journey to get to Racha Yai is over 2 hours. There’s also a chance you’ll get stranded overnight on the island if the weather changes and due to rough seas.
You can travel to Racha Yai Island almost all year round. When the seas are rough, boats and tour operators will cancel their trips for safety reasons.
Racha Islands or the “Emperor Islands” consists of Racha Yai and Rach Noi. To some Phuket locals, Koh Racha is still known as Koh “Raya” which is a local Phuket dialect. The name “Raya” was later changed to central Thai dialect “Racha” and has since been adopted by the majority of Phuket locals.
When you get to the islands, expect dreamy white sand beaches and turquoise see through water. That’s how beautiful the beaches are. And to many, Racha Islands are easily in the top 10 most beautiful beaches in Thailand.
If you find Racha Yai’s beaches to be too crowded, you should definitely stop by Racha Noi Island. The smaller island has less people, just as as if not nicer beaches and is situated a bit further away.
Previously, Racha Yai Island was only exclusively for the Thai Royal Family but it was later opened and has been accessible to the public for a while now. Today the island has a few nice resorts and hotels with price classes ranging from both budget to expensive.
Things to Do
No cars are found on the Racha islands so expect a lot of walking when trying to get around. There are plenty of things to do in Raya Yai and various activities available including diving, snorkeling, swimming, fishing and more. There’s also a viewpoint on the island which is great place for snapping a picture and enjoying the beautiful sea view. Racha Noi island is located a bit more further away Phuket and is less crowded comparing to Racha Yai. Make sure to book a tour before you visit the small island since activities and tours available are considerably less than it’s bigger island, Racha Yai.
The twin islands have some beautiful spots for snorkeling and diving. On a lucky day, you’ll find lots of different tropical fish species such as Red Saddleback Anemone fish, lion fish, Singular Banner fish, just to name a few.
Fishing is another activity that has become widely popular on the Racha Islands. It’s not very surprising since the waters surrounding the islands are very rich in various fish species like Marlin, giant Trevally, tuna, swordfish, barracuda, mahi mahi, sailfish, easily attracting recreational fishing. Both islands are great places for sport fishing and big game fishing.