Racha Yai Island: Bungalow Bay
Located on the North West Side of Racha Yai Island, Bungalow Bay is found in a bay off, a scheduled beach, 1 km from the Ban Raya Resort. Hence the dive site name. Although you cannot dive from the resort.
The picturesque beach is typical of the beaches of the West Coast of Thailand. In other words a long idyllic beach with white sand and clear blue waters. The bay itself has a long crescent curve along both sides of the bay where some of the best corals lie. These are ideal for not only scuba diving, but they are also very popular with snorkelers and day-trippers. Furthermore it is not uncommon to see some of the luxury sailing boats gently bobbing on their moorings, scattered around the bay.
The diving at Bungalow Bay can be split into 2 separate dives. These are: North Wall and South Wall. This is mainly due to the sheer size of the area as you can dive both sides of the bay. The Northern side of the bay is a sloping reef consisting mainly of Staghorn corals and scenic boulders. These eventually drop off to a depth of around 25m. The Southern side has similar topography but is shallower. Both these are perfectly suited for beginner divers and divers taking various PADI courses.
Needless to say you have all the usual Andaman Sea reef fish and marine life throughout the dive site ...
Racha Yai Dive Tours at Bungalow Bay
Bungalow is a very scenic bay with a photogenic sandy beach, 1 km away from the Resort where it gets its name. In fact, you will see a mixture of divers, snorkelers and day-trippers in beach activities. This can be sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling or for the more adventurous, scuba diving. These dive sites along the wall are the closest to the beach and are quite shallow. With shallow coral reefs dotted around the sand, in addition to the colourful reef fish, this is an excellent choice for people who want to Try Diving. This is fun and easy to do and is best done with the PADI Discover Scuba Diving program.
Divers who are already certified, or who are taking the PADI Open Water Diver course, generally start their dives a little deeper than the DSDs. Normally this would be in the middle of the bay which is around 6-8m. This area has a small artificial reef with sandy areas in between. Take the same to look around as there are plenty of Stingrays to be found well as some rare Nudibranchs.
Once you have completed anything which needed to be done in shallow water, you can now move into slightly deeper water. This is because only a short swim away, the scenery changes quite dramatically as you move from sand to spectacular hard coral formations. Consequently, don’t be surprised if you come across Banded Snake Eels or mating Cuttlefish on this part of the reef.
If your head North you will eventually come to the Northern wall. This is a gently sloping wall made up of a combination of granite boulders and thriving Staghorn Coral.
Boat traffic awareness at Racha Yai
With the Bungalow Bay, in addition to the other Racha Yai beaches being so popular, expect the bay to be busy with boat traffic. This will no doubt be a lively mixture of Phuket Dive Boats, Speedboats and the local “long tail” boats. These all cater divers, snorkelers and “day-trippers, as well as the private yachts you will see here.
Consequently, please do listen carefully to both the boat and dive briefings. Additionally, you should always use a Safety-marker (SMB / Safety Sausage) when ending your dive. As well as ascending, up one of the many mooring lines in the bay. You can also stay under the mooring for added safety while making your Safety Stop.
The Deeper waters of Bungalow Bay
Certified Divers usually follow the wall as it heads towards the outside of the bay and into the deeper waters of Bungalow Bay. You know that you are at the end of the bay when you reach the granite pinnacle just off to the right-hand side.
Remember to keep your eyes open and to glance outwards and upwards into the blue now and then. You never know when something will appear. A few years ago we had a Swedish Instructor who had just completed her IDC with us. She was teaching an Open Water Course with her students on the shallow sand facing her. She was in 6m of water looking at her students with the sea behind them Imagine her face, and those of her students, when a large Manta Ray decides to pay them a visit!
Incidentally If you can hear some strange sounds and what seems to be people talking underwater don’t worry, you’re not going mad. This dive site is sometimes used by movie production crews. Thus, what you are actually hearing is the underwater communication systems.
This is also a good place to find giant Moray Eels and several different types of Puffer fish. Additionally, just a few minutes swim away from the South wall is a much older man-made reef in around 16m of water.
This that is home to schooling Barracuda, Stingrays and Bearded Scorpion Fish ...