Racha Yai can be seen 14 kilometres off the South end of Phuket, and reached in an hour. Once an uninhabited coconut plantation, the island now has three beachfront resorts.

The two beaches here are picture-perfect, tropical beauty. In high season the bay facing West is a busy anchorage for dive and tour boats, with day-trippers coming to enjoy the spectacular beauty of beach and bay. The Northern beach is shallow, and accessible only to small boats at high tide. But this coconut beach has its own beauty, and makes a wonderful playground for children.

Both beaches have delicious soft sand, and there is always crystal clear water here. All of the land save the mountain is a coconut plantation, and most flat points on the island are within walking distance through this. Or use a mountain bike.

The Racha, a 5-star island hideaway, has claimed the best beach location on the West bay, and built into its environment in tasteful, low-rise modern style. It offers luxury pool villas and has a full-service spa. Activities include tennis, basketball, mountain biking, ATVs, kayaking, snorkelling and diving. For some, this can make the ideal, romantic island holiday.

Racha Island Resort & Spa lies on the other beautiful northern beach. The 3-star atmosphere also provides relaxation in a beautiful, tropical garden.

Baan Raya Resort & Spa is situated on a hill overlooking the sea, but misses a beautiful beach. It has a rocky cove, and snorkelling right there. Here it offers the ultimate in peace & quiet, for unlike the two famous beaches, there are simply no outside visitors in this area.

by John Everingham