Koh Yao Noi is a large (42 sq km. area and more than 43 km. of coastline) plantation-covered and hilly island set in Phang Nga Bay, about 14 km. south of Phang Nga province, 10 km. east of Phuket Island’s north at Sirinat National Park and 12 km. west of Krabi province’s Thalen Bay. The best beaches are on the east coast of Koh Yao Noi, but that doesn’t mean the west coast isn’t scenic. If you have a boat, go around the perimeter of the island if possible, it’s quite stunning. The coast on the south and west is rocky and generally not sandy beach but offers great views.
Koh Yao Noi has roads covering the island and has many restaurants, bungalows, private resorts and things to do. Though generally for an older crowd, the island is becoming known for a good alternative to Koh Phi Phi or Railay Beach in Krabi.
You’ll find a post office, coffee shops, 7-11 convenience stores, a pizza restaurant and even a Muay Thai training gym for visitors, with water skiing on the weekend. Of course meditation and yoga are popular, and there are many spas and beauty services to try. Bike tours and kayak trips are great ways to see various part of the island; and you can even paddle over to Koh Yao Yai if you have the energy and the sea is calm. Snorkeling is varied – there are many beaches around the entire island to try. Bird lovers will enjoy looking for Hornbills at the lookout spot near Tha Khao Pier.
Rock climbing is popular on the island, with 50 well-bolted routes to try your skill at. The Mountain Shop, located at the Tha Khao Pier on the island’s east side, is the main climbing shop.
Accommodation are quite varied. Here are some you might look into:
– Sabai Corner Bungalows – Surprisingly good reviews for these small bungalows at less than 1,000 Thai Baht per night for double occupancy. Located on southeast side of island near peninsula.
– Six Senses Yao Noi – Rated #1 for the island, this luxury property has nearly 1,800 reviews and 5 stars on a well-known travel rating service. Rooms priced around 15,000 THB per night. Located on east coast, about mid-way between top and bottom of Yao Noi.
– Laguna Villas Yao Noi – coming in second place at less than a third of the cost of Six Senses, these villas are highly rated and much more affordable. Also located on the southeast coast.
There is a great restaurant selection on Koh Yao Noi, try these:
– Rice Paddy Restaurant and Ice-Cream Parlor serves international food, but the Thai food is what people are raving about. The setting is traditional Thai restaurant with open front and a lot of greenery around. Service and food is excellent, so you won’t go wrong here. Frequent stop for travelers by yacht. Located in the far southeast, just north of Koyao Bay Pavilions Resort.
– Kaya, although lacking some of the atmosphere of the other restaurants listed here, the food at Kaya is fantastic. Gets a second-place rating. Located in the southeast part of the island.
– Pizzeria La Luna is an Italian restaurant which gets great reviews and is worth a reservation if you’re craving something from Italy. High ceilings, outdoor tables and a ping-pong table for those with the skills. This lovely little restaurant is found across from a palm tree plantation on the main road coming down the east side of the island.
Tours to Koh Yao Noi Island:
– The best way to reach the island is to take a boat from Phuket Island’s east coast. The trip is about thirty-minutes each way on a speed boat, when the waves are not high. Best time to visit the island is between November and May when the monsoon season has passed. Long-tail boats are available from Phuket, if you don’t care about the time and comfort of the trip. It will take an hour+, using this mode of transportation. Boats arrive at Tha Khao Pier on the east coast of Koh Yao Noi.
– Because Koh Lon is only a few kilometers off southeastern coast of Phuket, you can just make your way to Chalong Pier and rent a long-tail boat to take you to one of the piers on the north part of the island.