FOR a romantic getaway that ticks all the right boxes – long white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, tranquil atmosphere – look no further than this stunning island just 35 minutes by speedboat from Phuket’s Chalong Bay.
Home to two amazing beaches – Ao Pa Tok in the west, Ao Siam in the north – Ko Racha Yai belies its short distance from the mainland with its wonderfully serene atmosphere borne from empty sands and surprisingly considerate development. Sure, the beaches feel busy during lunchtime, when day-trippers stop off for snorkeling and a bite to eat, but come the afternoon, this is as serene as it gets. If you’re looking to impress that special someone in your life, a visit here is just the ticket. And if you’re a scuba diver, you’ll get to see some amazing corals too. Win!
With a focus on responsible and environmentally sustainable tourism, this luxury resort features 85 single-storey villas specially designed to blend in with their surrounds. There are many room types on offer, but we particularly like the luxuriously-appointed Spa Pool Suites, which feature a large living room and bedroom with a generous en-suite bathroom, and a 5m x 2.5m indoor/outdoor Jacuzzi pool.
Raya Buri Resort
Set within 75 acres of lush tropical gardens beside Siam Beach, Raya Buri is ideal for couples seeking a tranquil escape. The resort takes its design cues from the Sino-Portuguese architecture as found in Phuket’s Old Town – aesthetically pleasing and elegant to boot – and has a lovely outdoor restaurant right on the sands (see next page).
By day, The Racha’s signature restaurant serves pizza and pasta and other light bites in a casual, bright and airy setting. In the evening, it’s then fine dining all the way. Expect Mediterranean cuisine prepped and cooked to lip-smacking effect by chefs who really know their stuff.
Rayaburi Beach Front Restaurant
Sit on the sands under a thatched roof and tuck into seafood, Thai favourites, and even some Italian classics at this delightfully unfussy, laid-back hangout at the front of Raya Buri Resort.
SEE & DO
Popular activities include snorkeling, diving, fishing, horse-back riding and cycling. The viewpoint at the end of Ao Pa Tok, where you can see the entire curve of the bay, is the perfect spot to watch the sunset.