Koh Yao Noi: The Best-Kept Secret in Thailand
Heaven on Your Doorstep: Koh Yao Noi
Koh Yao Noi is the Thailand of your imagination. Now you can make the dream become a reality with a trip to this fabulous island from Phuket.
Think of a picture-perfect Thai beach and you’re probably thinking of golden sand, turquoise water, palm trees waving in the breeze and wall-to-wall sunshine. The good news is that this paradise exists just half an hour boat ride from Phuket! If you fancy a trip to seaside heaven then you’re in luck as this beautiful island is not yet well-known and you’ll likely have the amazing beaches to yourself.
With accommodation for a range of budgets and a laid-back atmosphere to rival the most horizontal Caribbean town, Koh Yo Noi has a huge amount to offer.
A jewel in Phang Nga Bay
Koh Yao Noi sparkles in the middle of the Andaman Sea to the east of Phuket. Small but perfectly formed, it’s often mentioned in the same breath as its larger neighbor Koh Yao Yai but retains its own sense of charm and style. There’s only one town on the island but don’t let the word ‘town’ fool you- it’s more barefoot relaxation than traffic jams and hustle.
Things to Do and See
A trip to Koh Yao Noi is a trip to some of the best beaches in Thailand, and one of the main activities on the island is enjoying them. If you head for the north-western coastline then you’ll see the glorious Phang Nga Bay spread in front of you- yes, the same view that tourists pay many hundreds of baht to go on daytrips to see. You can hang out on your own deserted beach and enjoy the sight all to yourself!
If you fancy a bit more activity then the island comes up trumps too. You could rent a scooter for about 300 baht a day and cruise the quiet roads, ducking down side tracks to discover hidden beaches aplenty. If you have the nerve then you could sign up for a rock climbing trip to scale the karst formations and view the bay from above. There are routes for all levels of experience but it’s not for the faint-hearted! If you’d prefer not to defy gravity then grab a kayak and paddle round the bay for about 250 baht an hour. You’ll get similar views to the climbers but will leave with your nerves intact!
Where to Stay and Eat
Most of the accommodation is clustered on the east side of the island. You can pay 500 baht for a simple bungalow with fan or 20,000 baht for a night at a luxury boutique resort, or anything in between! If you fancy a splurge then this is the place to do it as the smaller, high-end hotels here are more competitively priced than elsewhere in the country. There’s something very rock star about floating in an infinity pool with a cocktail overlooking the turquoise waters of Phang Nga Bay!
There are plenty of good cafes and restaurants on Koh Yao Noi, although alcohol is not quite as easy to come across here as elsewhere in the south due to local religious sensibilities. Don’t panic though, there are still plenty of bars! Check out Charlie’s Bar on Pasai Beach and Andalea Bar on Sunset Beach for an easy-going introduction to island life.
How to Get to Koh Yao Noi
In Phuket you can head to Bangrong pier and ask around for the next boat to depart; fares are around 200 baht per person. In Krabi you can do the same at Ta Len pier where you’ll pay between 150 and 200 baht. As always in Thailand, check the weather forecast and the boat condition before you hop in. You want to arrive safely to your island paradise!
Go while you can!
Koh Yao Noi is a laid-back joy but it may not stay that way forever. Slowly but surely the masses are starting to catch on, and visitor numbers are increasing. Get there for a visit soon while it still retains its understated charm. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did.