Ko Yao Noi island is located on Phang Nga Bay in the middle of the distance between Phuket and Krabi. The beautiful Ko Yao Noi island is one of the only non-commercialized islands left. The typical resort building wave which hit the south coast islands has not reached it yet. It is still very pleasant and relaxing with beautiful untouched nature, smiling local people and an old time simplicity.
As can be seen on the map on the left, Ko Yao Noi, (which means the long narrow island), is one of two big islands located in the center of Phang Nga bay, between Phuket and Krabi. Its counterpart, Ko Yao Yai, (which means the long big island), is the bigger of the two islands however it’s not as commercialized.
Ko Yao Noi has about 50 square Km. and a single road circles almost all the island apart from a short section in the north. There are plenty of trails where you can walk or bike and discover wonderful beaches and enjoy the great view.
The island’s population is 4000 people, some of them are sea gypsies along with Thai and Malaysians who moved there from Thailand’s different provinces. Most of them rely on fishing, rubber trees, local farming, some rice fields and building boats for their living. Their boat building and farming are based on old traditional techniques.
As I wrote, relaxing slow paste traditional living is typical of this island. There is a number of villages and a small hospital on the island. It seems not much has changed on it in the past 30-40 years, so you will not find KFC or McDonald there, however one 7/11 shop has been opened J
On the island you can see untouched nature, many species of birds and animals, rainforest, groves, rice fields and lots of beaches. On the west side you will not find any good beaches. It has mostly Mangroves and rice fields. The good beaches are all found on the island’s east and south coasts. As this lovely island is located in the middle of the magnificent Phang Nga bay, a beautiful view of the many other islands on the bay can be seen from all its beaches. It’s possible to take a Kayak to the nearby Ko Nok island – an unpopulated island with a very pretty beach.
Since the best beaches on the island are found on the east coast, this is where you’ll also find the resorts and guesthouses spread out from the island’s north to its south.
Nowadays the best two hotels on the island are Six Senses and Paradise. Both are pretty expensive however there are plenty of other nice inexpensive hotels and guesthouses too. I even met 3 ladies in one of these resorts who came to stay there for 3 months in order to take a Thai Boxing course offered there.
During the evenings there are some pleasant pubs and restaurants on the beaches where you can drink alcohol but no noisy parties or go-go clubs – no one comes to Ko Yao Noi looking for nightlife.
The bottom of the sea on the island’s beaches is a moderate slope so that during low tide swimming on certain beaches is not possible as all you can see is weird mud… but off course things change with the coming high tide, however there are other pretty beaches on the island where you can bathe all day.
The best ways to move around the island is by bicycle or bike which can be rented locally. Many tourists enjoy cycling on the island. They roam around freely and enjoy the local view and wild nature, hidden beaches, good Thai food in the many restaurants found all over the island and on the beaches and even get a good Thai massage in the pleasant breeze blowing from the bay, (as can be seen on the video).
Summary: Ko Yao Noi is great for those of you who want to escape the crowded commercialized Phuket and Ao Nang beach. This is an ideal place to enjoy a peaceful holiday in nature, to read a good book and see Thailand’s non-commercialized scene.
You can visit the nearby island of Ko Yao Yai and even recharge your bike or bicycle on the boat which will transfer you to Ko Yao Yai within 8 minutes for only 100 Baht.
Looking at the internet I found a nice blog of a lady who spent a week on Ko Yao Noi and summarized it: “The week I spent at Ko Yao Noi was my best week in Thailand!”.
The blog is worth reading – click here to read it