Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai – About

Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi are two sister islands in the middle of Phang Nga Bay, Thailand, about halfway between the major beach destinations of Krabi and Phuket. However, unlike those two popular destinations, Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi pull in only a fraction of the visitors that the other two receive.

The two islands are relatively undeveloped and offer a quiet and laid-back alternative to the hustle and bustle of other beach destinations in Thailand. These are rural islands, home to beaches and blue waters equally as spectacular as anywhere else in Thailand, but with a focus on eco-tourism and sustainable development. Besides restaurants, shops, accommodations and grocery stores, there aren’t many facilities on the islands, which adds to the get-away-from-it-all experience that attracts people to the Koh Yao islands.

Koh Yao Yai

Koh Yao Yai is the biggest of the two islands, but is the least developed. The reason for this slow development, which is absolutely a good thing, is found in the mentality of the mostly Muslim population of the island, people who are quite happy with a slower pace of life. Fishing and farming are still the most important economic activities, although there are, in fact, several resorts and guesthouses found on the island.

The simple lifestyle on Koh Yao Yai is the perfect antidote to the stressful and worrisome existence of many westerners. A stay at the island slows people down, lets them relax and recharge their batteries. Popular activities include exploring the lush interior and visiting rubber plantations, sunbathing on the sandy beaches, cycling, motor biking, swimming, snorkeling and diving.

Koh Yao Noi

Although Koh Yao Noi is the most developed island, it is still extremely quiet and rural compared to other Thai beach destinations. Development will continue, though, but it will be a long, long time before it has caught up with, say, Phuket—if it ever does.

Koh Yao Noi has won a couple of awards in the past for its wonderful eco-friendly homestay program that is offered by the local population. Even the high-end resorts on the island are known for their focus on environment-friendly accommodation and services. Besides the resorts, which can be pricey, there are also plenty of budget accommodations in the form and shape of bungalows and guesthouses.

Highlights on Koh Yao Noi include the rural landscapes made up of buffalo-dotted meadows, rice paddies, rubber plantations, coconut groves and white sand beaches; activities such as swimming, sea kayaking, diving, snorkeling and hiking; enjoying Thai massages; attending a Muay Thai match; and practicing yoga.

Getting There

Ferries commute between Phuket on the Koh Yao islands on a daily basis. The journey takes about one hour one-way. From Krabi, there are ferries to both islands as well.


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