I decided it was time to visit the famous Racha (or Raya) island, So I went down to Chalong bay in Phuket and asked around the pier. I quickly found that the price was 10,000 baht for a speedboat with no haggling! It made no difference if I rang the telephone numbers on the speedboats, or asked the stalls offering boats for rent, the price was fixed. For that price, a per-person tour would be a lot cheaper.
Eventually I found a cheaper option, the long-tail boat men offered a price of 5,000 for a long-tail. These are smaller boats and slower, but have more tradition and most of all, they're cheaper!
The boat ride the next day was choppy, 1 hour out to Raya island, I can't believe how far out this island is, Phuket is invisible across the horizon, but the long-tail boatman knows where he's going, he's done this journey many times before.
Raya island has a reputation as a beautiful island, overrun with tourists. This is far from the case! A short walk from the main beach and you quickly find quiet beaches teaming with fish! Oh and the sand and the blue blue water. What a delight!
The boat dropped us at Patok beach, the main tourist beach on the west of the island, this has a hotel (aptly named the Raya) and some expensive shops. To the right of the hotel, the road leads off into the island, I'd recommend you head off down here and explore.
The center of the island is unspoilt and beautiful in its own right, buffalo graze the fields and the occasional shop will sell you an ice-cream and water to keep you going! Everything on the island was brought here, so expect to pay a premium for anything you buy here.
Once across the island, small bays, some a little rocky open up. The bays are teaming with fish, I took my snorkel and underwater camera and photographed so many colorful fish as they swum behind me in shoals. I'll see later how those photos came out. Konkare bay was excellent, quiet of tourists yet teaming with fish.
Palm trees, shade, crystal clear water, coral reefs and warm water to swim in, what more could I ask for. I can't believe it, all my underwater fotos have gone. I must have failed to copy them from the camera. Oh well, I guess that means I need to go back again! What a tragedy!
Once back at Patok beach I played in the sand, clear and smooth, I don't think sand gets any better than this.
The next island to visit would be Koh Hae, aka Coral Island. The main beach here is strewn with coral, and coral grows just off shore, but so do the spiny sea urchins that eat the coral. To see the real coral you need to take the boat offshore.
No matter, this was a good place to eat lunch on the beach and soak up the scenery. Phuket is not far from this island, you can see it in the distance.
Oh, I wish I had my underwater camera photos to show you!
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