Coral Island is the most popular of the group of small islands just south of Phuket. As its name suggests, it is well known for its shallow coral reefs and excellent snorkeling.
During my recent Catamaran experience, along with visiting Racha Island, the afternoon was spent getting to and relaxing on Koh Hey. It was a welcome respite to sit under the shade of the trees and take a cool drink. With some energy to explore the crystal clear water of Long Beach. Where amongst other things I spotted a great hornbill flitting from tree to tree that lined the beach.
The island’s Thai name is Koh Hay (sometimes written Koh He, Koh Hae, or other variations). This does not actually translate to Coral Island. It means crowded island and the name is not totally inaccurate. The island does receive plenty of day-trip visitors throughout the high season.
However, it is not always crowded and there are quieter spots.
Coral Island is a 2.5km long, jungle covered, granite island. There are two nice beaches on the north side of the island facing Phuket and there is also a small but pleasant little beach on the south side of the island. There is nothing inland where the vegetation is too dense and the gradients are too steep to be suited for development or agriculture.
This 800-meter beach is the most popular on the island. It is where the majority of day-trip boats arrive. There are plenty of deckchairs for rent on the beach. There is beach volleyball and through the high-season, there are often jet-skis and parasails. There are several restaurants and bars. The only overnight accommodation on the island is nestled into the palm trees at the east end of this beach. The Coral Island Resort has nice little bungalows close to the beach and its own swimming pool.
The snorkeling at this beach is not actually the best around the island. Most of the coral close to shore has been damaged by the constant activity. However, if you are happy to swim out around 100-meters then you will still see plenty of coral and colourful fish. As you will see from my pictures.
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