Racha Noi is the more distant of the 2 Racha islands, around 25km south of Phuket. Long and narrow, this island offers many hard coral bays around it’s coastline, generally the east having more reefs set on sloping white sands, with reefs on the west being more rocky and sloping off more quickly.
The shallower parts of the bays are perfect for courses and inexperienced divers, with deeper water, rocky reefs and huge boulder outer-reefs just a short swim away. The bays and shallow hard coral reefs are home to a good variety of marine life including octopus and turtles. The deeper outer reefs are formed by collections of large boulders and include some nice swim-throughs and soft corals. The outer reefs can have stronger currents but that’s also where manta ray visit from time to time!
Although the variety of hard corals really makes the Racha Noi dive sites shine, don’t ignore what you may find out in the sands just off the reef. You can find critters such as robust ghost pipefish, cockatoo leaf-fish, ribbon eels andsome very pretty nudibranchs.
Racha Noi’s best known dive site is probably ‘South Tip’, a pinnacle a few hundred meters off it’s southern most point. Covered in soft corals and prone to strong currents and changes in visibility, this pinnacle is a favorite among experienced divers for the chance of encountering manta ray. With the majority of the pinnacle starting at 12m, it continues down to depths well beyond the recreational limit, hence Racha Noi and the pinnacle are hot favorites for Tec Divers.
Just a few hundred meters away are some very nice reefs, more suitable for divers not wanting to dive the pinnacle. A good chance here of seeing zebra (leopard) sharks.
Racha Noi has so many dive sites that are perfect for a whole range of courses, but for sure if you are looking for depth and clearer water, this is the island to visit to do your Tec, Sidemount and Rebreather courses. Diving days at Racha Noi, usually also include a dive at Racha Yai. Though in some ways similar to Noi, Racha Yai has it’s own special marine life to add into the days total experience!