Coral Island, also known as Koh Hae or Ko He, is a beautiful getaway located just 3 kilometers southeast of Phuket, Thailand. This tropical paradise can be reached within 15 minutes by speedboat from Rawai Beach in south Phuket, making it a popular destination for day-trippers. Whether you spend half a day or a full day on the island, there is plenty to do, including playing on the beach, snorkeling, and even scuba diving. Even during low season, there are plenty of activities to enjoy.
The color of the sea around Coral Island is truly unique and worth seeing for yourself. The island has two main beaches – Long Beach and Banana Beach – both of which offer excellent snorkeling opportunities. Snorkeling off Banana Beach is an exciting experience, and if you venture out far enough from Long Beach, you’ll also discover an impressive coral reef.
While the island is peaceful and calm at night, it can get quite busy during the day. The extremities of both beaches offer a chance to escape the crowds and find some quiet. Deck chairs and sun loungers are available for rent, although they are often included with day tours. The Coral Island Resort usually includes lunch with their day tours, but those visiting on their own can easily find a restaurant on the island.
Long Beach on Coral Island is a stunning destination with beautiful white sand and crystal clear blue water. Located off the coast of Phuket, Thailand, the beach is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and participating in water activities such as banana boat rides, parasailing, and snorkeling. Beach scuba diving is also available.
Coral Island Resort is located on Long Beach, and offers the opportunity to stay in a bungalow right on the sand (subject to availability). The beach is also home to several restaurants and bars, providing plenty of options for dining and refreshments.
In the past, Long Beach has suffered from mass tourism, but recent efforts have helped to improve the quality of the sand and surroundings. The beach is now a peaceful and relaxing destination, with plenty of shade provided by trees and a gentle breeze blowing through.
Day trips to Long Beach can be booked from any tour counter in Phuket, and often include a speedboat, lunch, and snorkeling equipment for around 1,700 baht per person. Alternatively, you can drive to Chalong pier and join a boat departing from there.
Banana Beach on Coral Island was once a secluded and quiet destination, with just a few abandoned restaurants and longtail boats. Today, however, the beach has become a major tourist attraction, with several large restaurants and shops catering to a constant flow of tourists arriving by speedboats starting at 9:30 in the morning.
Upon arriving at Banana Beach, tourists are assigned a beach chair in a dedicated row and given an orientation speech outlining the day’s activities and the cost of each activity. The package typically includes boat transfer, snorkeling gear, and a buffet lunch.
If you arrive with the first speedboat of the day, you may have the beach to yourself for a brief period. However, as more boats arrive and disembark more tourists, the beach can become crowded and loud, with many visitors taking selfies and dressing up for the occasion. While many Asian tourists seem to enjoy this fully assisted and crowded way of spending the day on the beach, it may not be to everyone’s taste.
If you want to spend a day on Banana Beach and participate in the various activities available, you can easily book a tour from any street agency or hotel. The cost is usually around 2,200 baht and includes hotel transfer to Chalong Pier, a boat ride, snorkeling equipment, a lunch set, and a beach chair.
What to do in Coral Island
There are many things to do on Coral Island, depending on your interests and preferences. Some options include:
- Snorkeling and diving: Coral Island is home to a stunning array of marine life, making it a great destination for snorkeling and diving. You can explore the coral reefs and encounter a variety of fish, coral, and other sea creatures.
- Beach activities: The island’s white sandy beaches are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and building sandcastles. You can also play beach games such as volleyball or Frisbee, or just relax on a beach chair and soak up the sun.
- Boat tours: There are several boat tours available from Coral Island that take you to some of the most beautiful spots on the Great Barrier Reef. You can choose from half-day or full-day tours, and some even include a visit to a nearby island for a picnic lunch.
- Fishing: If you enjoy fishing, you’ll love the opportunity to try your hand at catching some of the abundant marine life around Coral Island. You can hire a boat and set off on your own, or join a guided fishing tour.
- Relaxation: If you’re looking to relax and unwind, Coral Island is the perfect place. You can book a massage or beauty treatment at one of the island’s spas, or simply sit back and watch the sunset with a cold drink in hand.
Other activities: Depending on the specific location of Coral Island and the amenities available, you may also have the opportunity to try other activities
How to get to Coral Island
There are several ways to reach Coral Island, also known as Koh Hae or Ko He, located off the coast of Phuket, Thailand. One option is to rent a long-tail boat from either Rawai Beach or Chalong Pier. This is a convenient and relatively inexpensive way to reach the island, and allows you to explore at your own pace.
Alternatively, you can book a snorkeling trip from Chalong that includes transport to the island by speedboat. This option is ideal if you want to reach the island quickly, and includes a snorkeling mask and fins, as well as a buffet lunch. The journey takes approximately 15 minutes by speedboat.
If you arrive at Long Beach but want to visit Banana Beach, there is a trail at the eastern end of Long Beach that leads through the jungle. The hike takes about 15 minutes on uneven surfaces and may not be suitable for the elderly or those with small children.