Scuba diving at Koh Racha Bay 1 and 2 in Phuket
Located in the northeast region of Racha Yai, bays 1 and 2 are renowned amongst divers and snorkelers alike. Featuring a sandy floor that gradually descends from just several meters up to 82 feet (25 meters) deep, they provide an ideal training dive site for beginners due to their shallow waters and remarkable visibility.
Beyond a beautiful reef, Racha Yai Bays 1 and 2 have a total of four shipwrecks and two sunken scooters nearby that can be explored. Making this diverse spot one of the best dive sites in Phuket.
Even though we talk about the two bays differently, they are considered one dive site. Sometimes, you only explore one bay on a single dive, but overall it’s generally referred to as Koh Racha Bay 1 and 2.
Koh Racha Yai Bay 1
Bay 1 is home to a modest beach that could be easily overlooked. From the shoreline, one can spot various coral colonies dotting the seabed of this bay, as well as patches of staghorn corals intermittently appearing here and there. The reef starts off at 16 feet (5 m) deep before deepening to a full 66 feet (20 m) where it meets with an expanse of soft sand on the ocean floor.
For divers, the reef is teeming with a stunning array of fish species. Parrotfish, snapper, grouper, and angelfish dapple the waters alongside vibrant butterfly fish and basslets. You can find trumpet fish swimming beside their groupers friends. In addition, moray eels in all sizes – clouded morays, fimbrilated morays as well as giant ones, too. Along with Peacock Flounder, you can also find vast schools of barracuda swimming in the area, as well as turtles and octopus.
A highlight to most divers, however, is the potential sight of blue-spotted rays or Kuhl’s stingrays gliding through the reef or hiding in the sandy bottom.
Old sail boat wreck at Koh Racha Yai Bay 1
Advanced divers can explore an old sunken sailboat near Koh Racha Yai Bay 1. The wreck sits on 69 feet (21 meters) in the northern part of the bay. Confusingly, the wreck is sometimes referred to as “speed boat wreck”.
The wreck itself is in bad conditions, but offers an abundance of marine life that has gathered around it. You’ll be sure to see many shrimps, massive schools of snappers and glassfish, as well as giant moray eels and majestic barracudas, hovering about. If you’re lucky, you may even spot some ornate ghost pipefish or an occasional Jenkins ray lurking beneath.
Koh Racha Yai Bay 2
Koh Racha Yai Bay 2 is a larger beach than Bay 1. The underwater world looks very similar. Shallow reef towards the shore that descends into the ocean. The reef is covered with staghorn coral providing habitat to many fish species. The reef starts at 39 feet (12 meters) a little deeper than Bay 1, and goes on deeper, too – up to 100 feet (30 meters).
Motor scooters between Koh Racha Yai Bay 1 and Bay 2
Due to some unfortunate coral bleaching in the area, an artificial reef was created around Bay 1 and 2. Besides a total of 4 shipwrecks, some metal cubes and two scooters were submerged. At depths between 33 and 49 feet (10 – 15 meters), you can find the scooters alongside man-made structures.
Hurruby Liveaboard Shipwreck between Bay 1 and 2
Situated between Bays 1 and 2, the Harruby Liveaboard is a magnificent wreck accessible to divers of all levels. The wreck is in great condition. Its bottom lies at 66 feet (20 meters), while its top hovers around 46 feet (14 meters) deep.
Friendly Batfish have made this their home, alongside Barracuda, Scorpion fish, Snake eels, and Banner Fish. On special occasions, you may even be lucky enough to spot Ornate Ghost Pipefish or Nudibranchs near the wreckage.
Advanced divers can take advantage of some swim-throughs and specialty-trained wreck divers can even penetrate the inside of the Hurruby liveaboard.
Old fishing boat wreck at Bay 2
Venture a little further east from Harruby and you’ll find the old Thai wooden fishing boat. It is steadily deteriorating, yet still captivating to witness. Depths here average around 79 feet (24 meters). Experienced divers can find regular reef fish. Sadly it has deteriorated so much that penetration of the wreck isn’t allowed anymore; however, there’s an eerie atmosphere in its presence making it ideal for some stunning underwater picturesque shots.
Marla’s Mystery wreck dive site
Located eastward from the midpoint between Bays 1 and 2, Marla’s Mystery was intentionally submerged at a depth of 112 feet (34 meters). The top of the wreck reaches up to 49 feet (15 meters) beneath the waves.
Regrettably, the attempt to sink the wreck closer to shore failed, and it drifted away from the island as it descended. The barge wreck is not often visited by dive operators and is hard to locate. Make sure to check in with your SSI or PADI operator when you want to visit Marla’s Mystery wreck.
Related dive sites
If you enjoy shipwrecks, you should add the King Cruiser wreck to your diving itinerary. The former car ferry is one of the best wreck dives in Phuket and Thailand. New divers should also check out Home Run Reef, Siam Bay, and Bungalow Reef. At Siam Bay, you can also find a small Scuba Diving Park with a little artificial reef.