Koh Rang Yai
Koh Rang Yai is a lovely little island off the east coast of Phuket. It is best known for its pearl farm and it has also developed into something of a mini activity center.
The island has a beautiful, long sandy beach on its eastern side, facing Phuket. The water is clear and inviting. It is a lovely beach for a swim. The sea tends to have a southwards drift. It is not a dangerous current but it will gently float you south parallel to the beach. Remarkably, the cause of this drift is the water that flows into Phang Nga Bay from the many rivers far to the north.
The beach looks very idyllic with trees overhanging above. There are a few sunloungers dotted along the beach so you can lay back and chill out between the occasional dip in the sea. There are several restaurants set back under the trees yet still it is a pleasure to walk along the beach and find that nobody is trying to hawk their services to you. There is a smaller beach on the western side of the island. You can walk through the coconut groves to reach it.
At the center of the main beach is the pearl farm and shop. You can book tours to the pearl farm. Here you can see the various stages of pearl production. Of course, the tour ends with the obligatory trip to the pearl shop for the chance to buy a few pearl souvenirs. Even if you are not on a tour, you are welcome to visit the pearl shop. The prices do seem a little touristy but they do have some beautiful pearls so it is worth a look. The tours usually include a trip to Koh Kai Nok, which makes them pretty good value for a day out.
Apart from the tour groups, the island also gets a steady flow of daytime visitors. The longtails and speedboats come and go as the day passes. Yet the island still maintains a nice relaxed and friendly atmosphere and rarely does it feel busy. The island does occasionally play host to corporate events.
Koh Rang Yai has become a bit of an activity centre. Apart from the pearl farm, there is also a small football pitch, a beach volleyball court and an air-gun shooting range behind the beach. There is even a little pitch-and-putt golf course. It is not going to satisfy any serious golfer but it is good enough for a bit of a laugh.
You can hire kayaks for a paddle around the island. There is also some reasonable snorkeling around the rocky headlands.
The forested interior has some good trails for hiking. You can rent mountain bikes for a ride along the trails around the island.
Koh Rang Yai also has a little sister. The small island of Koh Rang Noi is just to the northeast of Koh Rang Yai. There is very little here but it does have a pleasant little beach. You can always ask your boatman to take you for a quick visit.
Koh Rang Yai has been up for sale for some time. They are advertising it as a potential 'private island' perfect for developing a luxury resort. We hope it never happens because the island is lovely as it is. Sadly, there is no stopping the march of 'progress', so perhaps it is inevitable that it will eventually happen. Fortunately, the landowners are asking for a huge chunk of money, so maybe it will not be in the immediate future.
You can book to join one of the pearl farm tours at most tour shops in Phuket.
If you want to make your own way then Koh Rang Yai is an easy 20 minute boat ride from Laem Hin Pier on the east coast of Phuket. The turn to Laem Hin Pier is off the southbound side of Thepkrassatri Road, north of Phuket Town and approx 2-km south of the junction with the bypass road. You will see signs to Laem Hin and Koh Maprow.
At the pier, you can rent a longtail for the return trip for around 1,000 baht. The boat will pass Koh Maprow. The beaches at this island are not as nice as Koh Rang Yai but feel free to stop off and take a walk around.
If you want somethng faster then you could take a speedboat. You can rent a speedboat for a group for somewhere between 6,000 to 10,000 baht. If you take a speedboat then consider making it a two island tour with a visit to Koh Kai Nok.
If you want to pre-book a tour Koh Rang Yai then contact our tour partners at Easy Day Thailand to see what they can do for you.Phuket Tours
Just fill in the form with your requirements.
Fully Insured - Tourism Authority of Thailand Licence 31/00838
Most visitors day-trip here rather than stay over. However, there are now a couple of accommodation options.
There is a small resort on the island with nice bungalows from around 1,500-baht a night. They do not have internet booking but you may be able to make a booking at a Phuket tour shop. Otherwise, you simply have to take your chances and go. Most of the year they are not too busy and you have a good chance of getting a room.
At the north end of the beach is Coconut Village which is a little group of basic huts available for 1000-baht a night in the high season. They are not luxurious by any stretch of the imagination but they are wonderfully tranquil.
There is also a camping site.
See our Accommodation section for more general advice about finding rooms.