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What to do on Coral Island?


Coral Island, or Koh Hey, is one of the few beautiful islands you can reach within 15 minutes by speedboat from Rawai Beach in south Phuket. You can spend half a day or a full day playing on the beach, snorkelling or even scuba diving, even during low season. It might seem strange to go from a tropical island to another tropical island, but the colour of the sea over there is pretty unique; look at the photos!

Coral Island near Phuket


The Beaches of Coral Island


Coral Island has two beaches: Long Beach, where Coral Island Resort is, and the smaller Banana Beach, where most of the crowd has moved to.

Long Beach

Long Beach is a long and superb beach with beautiful white sand and water so blue you’ll need sunglasses to look at it. There are a few restaurants and bars along the beach and many water activities: banana boats, parasailing, snorkelling and even beach scuba diving! Best of all, you can spend a night or two in a bungalow right on the sand at Coral Island Resort (subject to availability, obviously)

Of course, with such a fantastic setting and so close to Phuket, Coral Island became the victim of mass tourism, and a few years ago we would have discouraged anyone from going to Long Beach and walking to the next beach instead. But things have changed. We unexpectedly spent most of our day here and enjoyed the quality of the sand and the tropical blue background. The many trees provided plenty of shade to relax under, and a breeze gently flowed through.

As we didn’t want to go back to the crowded buffet lunch included in our package, we stayed and ordered chicken cashew nuts at Coral Island Resort. The food came slow, but it was relaxing and peaceful.

You can book a day trip from any tour counter in Phuket to go to Long Beach. It often comes as a package including a speedboat, lunch and snorkelling equipment for about 1,700 baht per person. You can also self-drive to Chalong pier and join one of the boats departing from there.

More photos of Long Beach


Banana Beach

Banana Beach used to be an unknown beach. There were an abandoned restaurant and a couple of longtail boats. It was a great escape from the madness of Long Beach, but very few would make an effort to walk there. Today, everything has changed! Massive Restaurants and shops accommodate a non-stop flow of tourists disembarking by speed boats starting at 9.30 in the morning.

First, the staff will assign each tourist a beach chair in a dedicated row. Someone will then give an orientation speech on what to do and when to do it when the buffet lunch is, and of course, how much each activity costs. (The package only includes the boat transfer, snorkelling gear and the buffet lunch).

Banana Beach on Coral Island

If you arrive with the first speedboat, you may have the beach for yourself for 30 mn. More boats will soon come and disembark more tourists who take their selfies exceptionally seriously. Every girl seems to think she is a model, and many dress up for the occasion. Watching it would almost be funny if it wasn’t so loud and crowded.

Many Asian tourists seem satisfied with such a fully assisted way of spending the day on such a beautiful island. But this was a little much for us, so we walked away, searching for a bit of peace, and we found it!

If you want to spend a day on Banana Beach to enjoy the many activities, you can easily book it from any street agency or your hotel. The cost is 2,200 baht, including hotel transfer to Chalong Pier, boat ride, snorkel equipment, lunch set and a beach chair.


More photos of Banana Beach


How to find a bit of peace on Coral Island?

1. Walk away from Banana Beach

If you don’t like crowds on the beach and the overwhelming infrastructure built all over the place to accommodate hundreds of tourists, walk to the left end of the beach when facing the sea. There is a small dirt path leading to the other beach, just a ten to fifteen minutes walk, but you’ll be quieter there. Just remember to come back in time for your trip back!

2. Move to the end of the main beach

Right in front of the Coral Island Resort is a good place, but the hotel might reserve the use of their beach chairs for their customers. Still, it is quiet, and you can have a nice swim with plenty of fish to play with.

3. Stay at the Coral Island Resort is the best option

Coral Island Resort

Spend a night there; the island is all yours once the last boat has left. It’s not very sophisticated, but bungalows come with a hot shower and air-con, and the resort has a large pool, a restaurant, a bar and even a dive centre. Dining and breakfast on the beach is the romantic highlight, and it’s a great way to get away from the day trip crowd. If you want a bungalow facing the sea, you should book in advance. As mentioned earlier, the cottages on the beachfront are the most demanded, but out of the 64 villas, there are only 11 beachfront rooms, so book early!

Coral Island Map

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FAQs about Coral Island

✳️ What is the best hotel in Coral Island?

Coral Island resort is the only hotel available on Coral Island

✳️ How do I get to Coral Island?

You can rent a longtail boat from Rawai Beach or Chalong pier, or book a speedboat return trip at 900 baht per person from local tour agents.

✳️ How far is Coral Island from Phuket?

Coral island is 6.50 km (4 miles) from Rawai Beach, where longtail boats are based.

✳️ When is the best time to visit Coral Island?

The best time to visit Coral Island is between November and April, which is the high season in Phuket, but the island is open all year round.

✳️ What is there to do around on the island?

Coral island is good for snorkelling, scuba diving, swimming and some water sports. Next to the main beach, Banana Beach is another place to relax.


Willy Thuan
https://www.phuket101.net/
Born in France a long long time ago, I started to travel the world early and never stopped until I settled in Thailand in 1994. Then for the past 27 years, my passion for photography and my natural curiosity has taken me to every corner of Thailand, jumping frequently between Bangkok and Phuket and basically everywhere I could go. I run Phuket101.net and manage large international online travel guides.