Diving The King Islands of Phuket – Racha Noi And Racha Yai

Diving The King Islands of Phuket – Racha Noi And Racha Yai

The Racha Islands Of Phuket Have Diving For Everybody

Whether you’re vastly experienced or a complete newbie the diving at Phuket’s Racha Islands will have something for you. The crystal clear and usually very calm waters offer the best of both worlds. The shallow areas are safe and fun for Open Water or Discover Scuba Diving students and the deeper areas have plenty for the more seasoned diver.

A Bit About The Islands

Racha or Raja in Thai means king/royal, Noi is little and Yai big. So we have big king and little king and apt name for these majestic islands. Both are covered in lush foliage, have beautiful beaches and stunning clear blue water.

Racha Noi (roughly 6km) is much longer than Yai (roughly 4km) but Yai is wider with higher peaks so you could be excused for thinking they’ve got it the wrong way around. Racha Uaan (fat) and Racha Phaawm (skinny) may have been a better choice.

Apart from a herd of scrawny yet enterprising goats, Racha Noi is completely uninhabited. The ultra clear water and healthier corals seem to revel in the lack of human interference. Racha Yai has quite a few resorts squeezed into a small area at the Northern end of the island. As a result the water quality and coral growth has suffered. Plenty of artificial structures have been placed underwater in an effort to attract marine life with some level of success.

friendly eagle ray at banana bay racha noi

friendly eagle ray at banana bay racha noi

What Will I See At Racha Noi?

Certainly the best place for the larger animals. Hawksbill turtles, dogtooth tuna, marbled grouper, eagle rays are reasonably common sightings. Much more infrequent but certainly possible are oceanic manta rays, Jenkins whip rays, black tip reef sharks and leopard sharks but you have to be super lucky.

If they’re not around there’s plenty of smaller stuff to keep you occupied. Banded sea kraits, reef octopus, stonefish, cockatoo waspfish, comets and plenty of nudi’s to list but a few. Have a good look around the coral bommies to find all these hidden gems.

The coral patches are home to colourful damsels and small wrasse as well as juvenile fish of many species. Lionfish and scorpionfish are usually close at hand waiting for the smaller fish to stray from the safety of the coral.

The topography is quite stunning on some of the dive sites. Huge granite boulders tumble down into the depths and are reminiscent of the Similan Islands although nowhere near on the same scale. Recently a wreck has turned up that’s so shallow even snorkelers can enjoy as you can see in the picture below

shallow wreck at racha noi phuket

shallow wreck at racha noi phuket

What Will I See At Racha Yai?

With 5 shipwrecks, two motorbikes and hundreds of concrete cubes between bays 1 & 2 it can feel more like a scrapyard than a dive site. These artificial structures certainly attract marine life to what would otherwise be a fairly barren area. They also take the pressure of the remaining coral and will hopefully give them a chance to regenerate.

It’s very rare to see large animals at Racha Yai but hidden among the junk there’s some very cool stuff. Huge morays eels, frogfish, peacock mantis shrimp, ornate ghost pipefish, some really colourful nudi’s and lots of cleaner shrimp. The structures also attract a large school of small barracuda, batfish and plenty of colourful fusiliers.

giant frogfish at racha yai phuket

giant frogfish at racha yai phuket

Come Rain or Shine

Phuket’s very uncomplicated weather pattern and the orientation of the islands allow us to find shelter at the islands at any time of year. There’s decent dive sites on both sides of the islands although most would have a preference for the east side. That’s generally where we go throughout the low season, so no matter what the weather gods sling at us we can always find somewhere to get you blowing bubbles at the two kings.

Shoot us an email at any time of year to arrange a dive tour with Phuket’s local experts and we’ll show you the very best of the Racha Islands.

Contact Us Now

By Justin Hartrey

I've been enjoying the incredible marine life in our oceans for over 25 years. 13 years ago I became a PADI professional, hoping to introduce as many people as possible to the incredible beauty of the seas.

Having been fortunate enough to dive all over south east and especially Thailand, I enjoy sharing my experience and passion on this blog.

Posted in Amazing Local Dives on .

Popular Services

Manta Queen 1 Similan Island Liveaboard

Manta Queen 1

Manta Queen 1 operates 5 Day/5 Night trips to Similan Islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock. The large common areas make this one of the most sociable and fun liveaboards in Thailand. The 22 guests are accommodated in compact but comfortable air-conditioned cabins which come in twin, double and quad share configurations, something for everyone. The plentiful and tasty food is cooked fresh in the onboard kitchen and served buffet [...]

Find Out More
Diving Photographer In Phuket

PADI Specialty Courses

Looking for a new challenge or want to get the most out of your diving holidays? Then take a PADI Specialty course with Local Dive Thailand and enhance your skills on your Phuket adventure. Don't be limited by your current qualification. Dive deeper, longer, improve your buoyancy and photography skills and boost your confidence with this range of PADI Specialty courses. [...]

Find Out More

Daily Schedules

M/V Kepsub Schedule

Jobs @ Local Dive Thailand

Local Dive Thailand is one of Phuket's fatest growing & most vibrant scuba diving operations, we are always looking for quality staff to join us, so feel free to have a look at our jobs listing page.

Job Listings

Contact LDT

Local Guides, Local Knowledge, Local Experiences

Don't trust your diving to amateurs or freshly minted dive guides, dive with local experienced experts from Local Dive Thailand. Our Scuba Diving Phuket Tours will take you to see the rarest of the rare critters, you will be amazed by the macro life our guides can find, in the secret places only they know. To put it in perspective, if you were going to climb Mount Everest you would certainly hire a local sherpa to lead the way & keep you safe. Diving is similar because there is absolutely no substitute for local experience & local knowledge, Local Dive Thailand's guides are Phuket's Sherpa's of the Andaman Sea!

Learn More About Us

Scuba Diving Phuket, Phi Phi & Thailand

When talking about Scuba Diving in Phuket, you should believe the hype, many seasons we have had Whale Sharks grace us on our regular and easy to reach dive sites and on a good day you can add Sea Horses, Sea Moths, Snake Eels, Frog Fish & Octopus to what you can see on any given dive and so much more. If we are heading to Phi Phi Island for the day, you can possibly see Hawksbill Sea Turtles and Black Tip Reef Sharks, also don't forget the King Cruiser, 84 meters of beautiful wreck and the most amazing reef nursery for fish and nudibranch. Local Dive Thailand day trip tours to these locations are not to be missed when you are scuba diving Phuket, get in touch with us and book an 'awesome' day of diving.

Book Your Day Trip

Related News From Local Dive Thailand

See why we are Thailand's leading scuba diving Phuket tour provider, stay up to date & watch out for news & special liveaboard offers!

reef-friendly-sunscreen-reef-repair Scuba Diving Health

Why Reef Safe Sunscreen?

We all know that our oceans are under siege, big time! Some of the issues facing our oceans are difficult for us to solve, some require a complete life style change. The good news is that there is one thing we can all do from the comfort of our computer screens and that is changing the type of sunscreen we use. Actually it's a no brainer if you are a scuba diver. Why is changing your sunscreen a "no brainer" for divers? Well that is bec [...]

Read Full Story
sample the best scuba diving in phuket with local dive thailand Amazing Local Dives

The Best Scuba Diving In Phuket

You won't see all we have to offer but some of the best Phuket scuba diving can be covered in our 3 day package. As an added bonus you'll get a great discount for booking multiple days. The best scuba diving around Phuket for just THB 1,100 per dive! Start your diving on either Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday and you'll cover the best Phuket diving tours. Nine in total from the clear waters of Racha Noi to the imposing sha [...]

Read Full Story
sea moth the size of a fingernail tg5 Equipment We Like

Weefine Ringlight 3000 Review & Samples

The original Weefine Ringlight was a simple affair, more of a good idea rather than a good product but the upgrades on the latest version have made it a very useful tool indeed. Brightness has been beefed up and strobe, red light and UV light features all make it a great addition to the macro photographers armoury. Along with the ring light itself you'll find a couple of spare o rings a battery charger and a rechargeable 26650 battery. [...]

Read Full Story

Local Dive Thailand Office In Phuket


Find Us On Google Maps