Scuba diving at Phi Phi Islands vs Racha Islands Phuket
Most customer ask us, “Where is better? Scuba diving at Phi Phi Islands or at Racha Islands Phuket?” As always, we reply “every dive is a good dive; every dive is different from the previous dive, and some dives are better than other dives” :-). The Racha Islands are more Boulder like, and the Phi Phi Islands are all Limestone.
Both areas have very good diving, but the main difference is the bathymetry*.
One difference between the two areas is, the Racha Noi and Racha Yai Islands usually have fantastic visibility with and average of 15 to 30+ meters and the Phi Phi Islands usually has an average of 10-20+ meters visibility. The main reason for the difference is, because the Phi Phi Islands are closer inland near the shallower Phang Nga Bay, and the Racha Islands are closer to the deeper open area of the Andaman Sea.
Another difference is that the Phi Phi Islands generally have more species of marine life and corals than the Racha Islands. For example; in both areas, you can find Lion Fish, Banded Sea Snakes, Giant Moray, Octopus, Squid, Cuttlefish, most of the small characters in “Finding Nemo” and more, but you see more variety and amount of them in the Phi Phi Islands. From the other hand, if you are lucky you may spot big pelagic such as Manta Ray and Whale shark at Racha Noi.
Scuba diving at Phi Phi Islands is more suitable for certified divers because of the fragile underwater environment. The certified divers pay more attention during the dive. Racha Islands are great for beginner divers or for diving courses as well for those who would like follow the PADI DSD program – try diving. They are very easy dive site with great diving conditions.
So another answer to the question “Scuba diving at Phi Phi Islands or at Racha Islands Phuket?”…, we can answer “they are both great diving areas, just very different from each other”. For excellent visibility, relaxed deeper diving, and about 1.5 hour shorter day trip, head to the Racha Islands. For the a better chance but no guaranty, to see Black Tip Reef Sharks, Turtles and many species of marine life, though with not so great U/W visibility, head to the Phi Phi Islands.
*Bathymetry is the study of underwater depth of lake or ocean floors. In other words, bathymetry is the underwater equivalent to hypsometry or topography