Beautiful Islands in Thailand
For beach lovers and avid fans of any activity that is beach-related, two noteworthy islands located at the southern part of the shores of Phuket in Thailand, are the places to be this summer. These two islands, Ko Raya and Coral Island, the former more popularly known as Ko Racha, showcase the best shorelines and coral reefs, immaculate enough to entice even those scuba divers from the mainland. What is more amazing is that these two islands are developed enough and offer great accommodation and the best dining options.
Common to both islands is not only getting to experience an array of beach-related activities like swimming and reef sightseeing but also the exclusivity which is slowly becoming extinct in mainland Phuket.
The Island where Business is Usual
Exclusively owned and operated by Coral Island Resort (which also happens to be the only accommodation on the island), Coral Island can be reached by a 15-minute speed boat trip from Chalong pier. Coral Island attracts most of the tourists and has been subjected to more commercialization than Ko Raya. It has a respectable snorkelling industry which caters to all ages and an accessible snorkelling area, teeming with vibrant reef fish, for both resort guests and non-guests. The powder-like sands along its beach and the excellent weather makes this island a haven for both extended-staying visitors and day trippers not to mention the choices in activities like diving, banana boat rides and parasailing, all available for a reasonable cost. If you’re not the active type, you may opt to comb the souvenir shops for that one-of-a kind memento or dine and wine at the local restaurants operating along the beach or better yet, take a respite from the busyness of the surroundings by getting a relaxing oil massage. As all sorts of businesses thrive at Coral Island, you can practically just bring yourself and purchase your needs there.
The R&R Island
Larger and more undeveloped than Coral Island, Ko Raya’s shores surprisingly attract hordes of visitors yearly often resulting in overcrowding of its available accommodations (three resorts and an unnamed bungalow operation) especially during peak season. The natives of the island mainly live on farming and fishing and profess the Islamic faith so pork is not served at any of the restaurants.
Ko Raya is mainly the destination of divers and yachters who book the cheap rooms and stay at the more expensive resorts in the island, respectively. Expect to frequently see carts with divers and their gears being hauled off to the shores by ATVs or tractors. If you’re not into diving, however, there are still plenty to do on the island. You can snorkel for the day, rent a 100cc motorcycle to traverse the rugged terrain and see the sites (although it’s better to walk because of the bumpiness of the roads caused by the rain), hike, mountain bike, horseback ride or go on fishing trips (although expensive is all worth it). If you’re on a tight budget though, you can rent a mask and a snorkel and discover Lah Bay on your own. It’s the best way to see the treasures of the island’s reef such as rainbow trout, gigantic star fish and cute puffer fish.