Overlooking Andaman Sea, The Racha offers tranquility on one of Thailand’s busiest islands.
by Yongmin Shon.
The city often exhausts you with waves of heat, never-ending traffic, and unwanted interactions. Sometimes all you want to do is get away from it all. Sail away to the south of Phuket, where you will find The Racha (42/12–13 Moo 5, Rawai, Muang, Phuket; 076 355 455), a remote destination where you can enjoy solitary freedom.
The Racha is accessible only by sea, meaning that travelers will have to take water transportation to get to Racha Yai Island. Located 19 kilometers south of Phuket, the resort is a 35-minute speedboat ride from Chalong Bay. The speedboat costs THB 1,600 per person, although the fee is halved for children under age of 12 and is free of charge for infants under four. Surrounded by pristine water of the Andaman, The Racha makes an ideal stay for leisure travelers, families, and couples.
The first impression of The Racha is of a tropical, nature-oriented, and communal resort. The villas stand closely to one another in a way that feels homey, but they are far enough so that you have your own private space. The Racha features 85 villas in total, all equipped with indoor and outdoor couches, private terraces, large bathrooms, and enclosed and open-air showers. Guests are also provided with access to wireless Internet, a movie collection, LCD TV, satellite TV, DVD player, mini bar, electronic safe, as well as an iPod dock. There are eight different types of villa, including the Deluxe Villa, Grand Deluxe Villa, Grand Deluxe Pool, Junior Pool Suite, Spa Pool Suite, Grand Pool Suite, and Two-Bedroom Grand Pool Suite. The most intriguing accommodation is The Lighthouse, a structure shaped like a real lighthouse, where visitors can enjoy the view from a higher perspective.
I’m particularly impressed by the contribution The Racha has made to the environment. The resort has prohibited cutting and filling of the land to mitigate environmental damage, and thickened the property’s walls to reduce load on air conditioning. Rope lights and low-power lamps are used throughout the resort, as well as ozone rather than chlorine in all pools. The staff members clean the beach daily, recycle waste, and operate public toilets for day travelers.
One of the advantages of staying at The Racha is the abundance of wine and dining choices. Each restaurant or bar offers different cuisines and characteristics in a distinct atmosphere. Some key places are listed below:
- The Earth Café: The all-day dining area specializes in Western and Thai cuisines in a comfortable indoor or outdoor setting.
- Fire Grill: A fine-dining restaurant that serves predominantly Mediterranean cuisine, a perfect place for couples.
- Ice Bar: The bar offers wide-ranging selection of cocktails, accompanied by live bands playing your favorite tunes.
- Sunset Beach Restaurant: A casual restaurant located by the shores of the Andaman, which offers local specialties and barbecue.
- Club Del Mar: In this club located by the pool, visitors can enjoy good food and drinks, as well as underwater music from day to night.
There are four main beaches that surround The Racha: Batok Bay, Siam Bay, Ter Bay, Kon Kare Bay. Well-known diving sites are situated near each area, including Home Run, Staghorn Reef, and Lucy’s Reef. Home Run dive site, located near the Ter Bay, is especially popular for having clear visibility and for the small wrecks where divers can explore. For those who wish to learn diving, the resort houses a PADI 5-star dive center, where visitors can take lessons and take short trips to some of the famous diving sites nearby.
Thanks to the clear water and natural surroundings, visitors can enjoy various outdoor activities. Some land activities that the resort offers include ATVs, mountain biking, and nature walking. Aquatic activities such as canoeing, kayaking, and diving are all worth a try. The resort has outdoor tennis and basketball courts as well.
For those who prefer staying inside, The Racha offers Thai craft classes, cooking classes, and a pool table with full equipment.
A quality spa is a necessity for any relaxing getaway. The Racha’s acclaimed Anumba Spa operates under the goal of “rejuvenating mind, body and spirit” for customers. It strives to achieve this goal through signature therapies and treatments that use unique ingredients. Treatments such as Anumba Aromatherapy Massage, Oriental Oil Massage, and Sanctuary Sports Massage are popular choices among visitors. A sauna, steam room, fitness center and studio are also situated on the same grounds.
Relaxation aside, Racha Yai Island is a renowned destination for a romantic getaway. Travellers choose The Racha for an ideal honeymoon. Weddings can be held at The Racha as well, with options of Thai traditional weddings or Western weddings. Many couples have held private sunset weddings at The Racha by the shore.
For me, The Racha was the perfect place to spend some time alone on a casual retreat with great food and service, and breathtaking views.