Koh Kaew Yai - Boat trip from Rawai Beach
Just off the south of Phuket there are a number of small islands such as Koh Bon, Koh Lon and Coral Island all of which have beaches and some facilities and accommodation. We intend to visit them all in the future, especially now that we have found a friendly longtail boat captain at Rawai Beach. You can get to all these islands from Rawai and will have to negotiate a price for the boat trip. We have meant to do this for ages, and have vowed not to be so lazy from now on!
We took a trip to Rawai a few weeks ago. Weather was a bit grey and some light drizzle fell during the trip, but the sea was pretty calm. We wanted to visit Koh Kaew Yai which is only about 1km south of Phromthep Cape or about 4km by boat from Rawai Beach. The island has a Buddha statue facing towards Phuket watching over the island. Aside from the statue we did not know what to expect on the island. On the way back to Rawai we figured to stop at Koh Bon, which you can see from Rawai beach.
At Rawai we parked the car and called a mobile number written on a "Boat for Hire" sign. There are plenty of them either longtail or speedboat. Mr Chin arrived soon after the call and we agreed to pay 1000 Baht for the return trip. We can recommend Mr Chin - his mobile number is 081 6072427. Friendly guy. His son came along to help him with the boat.
It's not a long ride, took about 20 minutes. There were some longtail boats out fishing between Rawai and Phromthep. As we approached Koh Kaew Yai the Buddha statue became clearer and we could see that we'd be landing at a small beach. You can see the location map at the bottom of the page.
Despite the calm sea there was a bit of swell at the beach. Getting out of a longtail is not always the easiest of things for everyone when the boat is moving around. The little beach looked lovely, but there was a large and rather smelly pile of garbage waiting to greet us. This can only be garbage from the Monks who live on the island. Needs a clean up for sure.
We climbed some rocks at the north end of the beach where we found a shrine.
A path headed through the woods towards the big Buddha statue. We passed one of the Monks houses. Looks like the Monks here have quite a simple life... which is how it should be, right? Actually we had not known in advance that Monks lived here or we would have brought a donation of some kind.
The Buddha statue that you can see from Phromthep Cape is about 5 meters high standing on a platform over the rocks facing Phuket. I do like Buddha statues. This one looks very serene. My little boy always says his prayers. My daughter is similarly fascinated by the Buddha images.
The bodies of 2 Naga (mythical snakes) wind around the platform and raise their heads in front of the Buddha looking out over the sea.
From the big Buddha, the path heads through the woods (lots of mozzies - take some repellent!) to the north tip of the island where you find a Chedi and another shrine above some steep steps heading down to the rocks. Even though I say the sea was calm, the southwest swell was bashing on the rocks and you would not want to fall in. Some of the rocks looked a bit slippery. Not good for a nervous parent!
If you can reach the last slippery rock (my wife did) there you find the "footprint of the Buddha". Legend says that the Buddha visited Phuket and the island of Koh Kaew Yai was where he first set foot before heading to the mainland at Rawai - the name Rawai derives from Rao Wai, meaning (something like) "we pay homage". It seems this little island is a place for Monks to come for short stays as it's a significant place in terms of Buddhism. We stopped to talk to 2 Monks from Chiang Mai who were just staying a few days. They did not like the mosquitoes either. There was incense burning around their hut and they had a decent looking tent too!
There was more here than we expected! I had just imagined the one big statue. The light rain did not stop us enjoying a bit of exploration. Certainly worth the visit. Other nearby islands are on our list starting with Koh Bon, which is less than 2km from Rawai - you pass it when heading to or from Koh Kaew Yai. We had planned to stop there on the way back, but it was not beach weather... so, another time. As we left Koh Kaew Yai, a monk asked to hitch a ride back to Rawai on our longtail...
Nearby Places to Visit
• Rawai Beach
• Phromthep Cape
• Ya Nui Beach
• Phuket Seashell Museum
Koh Kaew Yai - Location Map
View Koh Kaew Yai Island in a larger map