Nowadays the words “unspoilt beach”, “white sand” and “clear blue sea” don’t always go together, especially when the sentence also includes the country “Thailand” where although the beaches remain stunning and paradise like, they are far from undiscovered or out of this world.
That was until I took a speedboat to Koh Racha Yai from the busy and bustling island of Phuket and thirty-five minutes later landed on a tiny island surrounded by the clearest sea I’d ever gazed upon. I thought you had to go to the Maldives or French Polynesia to find clear, turquoise ocean water like this but apparently not. As the boat docked on a make-shift jetty jutting out from the island’s main bay, Batok Beach I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the water and the fish I could see swimming metres below. The mermaid in me twitched to dive straight in but instead I behaved myself and like a good girl followed my fellow passengers onto the jetty and walked up to the sand.
My goodness, the sand. Again I didn’t think pure white sand like this still existed in Thailand. Under the midday sun it was so bright and white that it was difficult to look directly at it. My toes sank into the bleached white grains of the softest sand and now the beach bum in me longed to lounge in it and listen to the waves gently break.
It’s probably fair to stop this romantic memory and explain that Batok Beach and indeed Koh Racha is not an undiscovered destination. This is evident from the neat rows of parasols and sun beds awaiting day-trippers from Phuket, but it remains an idyllic spot and one that you really shouldn’t mind sharing.
After checking into our hotel we changed into swimming costumes in a record time and spent the afternoon alternating between snorkelling and sunbathing. Neither activity disappointed and the snorkelling in particular knocked the fins off any snorkelling or even scuba diving that I had done previously in Thailand. There were fishes of all shapes, colours and sizes to hang out with down there.
The following day we hopped on the hotel’s bikes (with their permission, I hasten to add) and headed to the other side of the island, to Siam Beach which had the same sand, the same clear blue sea but welcomingly lacked the crowds and the to-ing and fro-ing boats, however, this is sadly not a snorkelling beach thanks to much more aggressive waves and tides.
For me the snorkelling stole my heart and so even if the parasols multiply and the day trippers increase two or three fold as long as the fish stay there it will always be one of my favourite beaches for that very reason.