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Coral and Raya Islands

Orientation

There are no banks on either island, but the resorts accept credit cards (and sometimes levy a 3% service charge). Internet access on Raya Island is phenomenally expensive although, if you have your own laptop, WiFi is free.

If you've come to dive, Raya Divers (www.rayadivers.com) has twice daily dive trips and multi-day live-aboard dive excursions to places like the Similian Islands. They also offer a range of PADI courses for everyone from beginners to dive master hopefuls. Raya Divers has an office on the main beach and one at the Ban Raya Resort.

Day Tours
Going on a day trip is how most holiday-makers experience the southern islands, and day tours visit Coral Island, Raya Island, or both. Rates include transport from your hotel to the island, lunch, mask and snorkel. Beach activities like para-sailing, banana boat rides, and even horse-back riding are available for an extra fee. Discounts are given for children, and it doesn't hurt to ask for a discount during the low season or when booking for a group.

It's also possible to visit Coral and Raya islands by long-tail boat. Boats and drivers can be hired at Rawai Beach or Chalong Pier, and a full-day tour should cost around 3,000B. These are private charters, and the boats comfortably seat eight people, making this an economical choice for groups. Puttering beach to beach in a long-tail is a more relaxed way to take in the islands, but they're much slower than a speedboat. During the monsoon season big waves can make this a rough (and occasionally dangerous) mode of travel -- remember to wear a lifejacket!

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