Koh Yao Yai is the bigger of two sister islands located in Phang Nga Bay, about 18 km. east of Phuket Island, 15 km. west of Krabi Province and 24 km. northwest of Krabi’s Koh Phi Phi islands. Total coastline is about 117 km. and land area is 81 ksq. km, about one-eighth of Phuket Island’s land area.
Though bigger than Koh Yao Noi, the island is not as developed for tourists. The reason being the large Muslim population who have made Koh Yao Yai their home. The island is definitely worth visiting but if you’re looking for a variety of selection in restaurants, accommodation and things to do, you probably should consider Koh Yao Noi first. Still there is plenty to do on Koh Yao Yai. Snorkeling, swimming, fishing and diving are epic; and if you’re into any of these, you must try them here.
– Thai Restaurant Laanmaye – this restaurant is located on the north side of Koh Yao Yai. The owner, Mr. Koko, has a viewpoint on his property and he also offers kayaking tours around the island. Highly recommended.
– Chill Chill @ Pai – located on the northeast side of the island, they serve traditional Thai food and get excellent reviews. Many reviewers rave about their Pad Thai and Tom Kha Gai.
Note – Alcohol is only sold in a few locations on the island outside of the resorts and other restaurants. Again owing to the conservatism of the resident Muslim population.
– Koh Yao Yai Village – for the money, this is the best value on the island. The rooms are spectacular, a blend between traditional Thai open-air look and modern furnishings. Reasonable cost at around 2,500 THB per night. Located on the southeast side of the island near a river. Quite picturesque.
– Yao Yai Beach Resort – bungalows on the beach for total relaxation. Highly rated, with many mentions of peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. Great food at the hotel restaurant. Located on the west side of the island, below the bay.
Tours to Koh Yao Yai:
– Generic Tour Agency – you can book through Viator.com and they hand the reservation off to one of the speedboat tour companies. Cost from Phuket Island to Koh Yao Yai is about 1,000 Thai Baht. Travelers meet at Bang Rong Pier to the east of the Khao Phra Thaeo National Wildlife Sanctuary in northeast Phuket. The speedboat drops you off at Chong Lad Pier on the north coast of Yao Yai Island. There is transportation available there to your hotel.
– Book through hotel – you can book your hotel, then contact them to find a boat to the island. This can save you some money because they know the best option.