Koh Yao Yai beaches are some of the most enjoyable beaches we have come across. Koh Yao Yai is a remote Island away from the tourists, located between Krabi and Phuket, neighbouring Koh Yai Noi. Another one of Thailand’s hidden gems, this is a place to come if you want to escape the crowds and get complete relaxation.
Koh Yao Yai Beaches
All of Koh Yao Yai’s beaches are in close proximity and a short scooter ride away. This is perfect if you only have a day to view them all or you prefer one other the other.
These beaches are rich in white sands and bright blue waters, so if one doesn’t suit your taste, we’re sure another will.
How to get to Koh Yao Yai
The easiest and most convenient way would be by speedboat, due to the time reduction, however, it would be more costly. The other option is by a local long-tail boat which would be significantly cheaper but also double the amount of time to get there.
Accessibility from Krabi would be from Thaline Pier and would take around 45 min by long-tail boat. We did this and it cost us 150 Baht each.
Departing from Phuket you would need to leave via Bang Rong Pier and it takes 30 min by speedboat costing approximately 300 Baht.
If you are near Ao Nang or Railay Beach it would take around 20 min by speedboat and cost approximately 650 baht.
1. Beach Peninsula / Laem Haad Beach
This beach is quite unique in the fact it is a curve of white sand and populated with beautiful palm trees, resulting in a tropical vibe. Keep in mind this beach is reached by taking a 1km dirt road off the main road in the Chong Lad village area. This is where we popped a tire! So be careful and drive slow otherwise you will end up like us.
2. Loh Jark Beach
Speaking of white sand beaches, Loh Jark Beach has just that. It has the added bonus of facing west, hence, great sunsets! This was one of the first beaches we visited and because of the tide and weather, it was massively underwhelming.
However, the day we left we passed this beach again and it looked stunning. Definitely try your luck and visit this beach, and who knows, you may come across this friendly dog as we did.
3. Yao Yai Beach
Such a nice sunset. We visited this beach by accident and it turned out to be the best out of all the Koh Yao Yai beaches. The tide wasn’t too low and the sea was clear and calm. Santhiyas Resort & Spa is also located on this strip of beach.
Other things to do and see other than Koh Yao Yai beaches
Koh Yao Yai has a bunch of other things to do on it besides the beaches. If you require a bit more action than sunbathing, you’re in for a treat. Some of the things are unique to the area as well so be sure not to miss out.
1. Rent a scooter
There’s no better way to explore the Island. You have a choice of renting your own scooter or hiring Songthaews (van taxis) but you’re limited to where you can go, thus, restricting adventure. As well as this, the costs will add up. You can hire a scooter for as little as 200 Baht per 24 hours.
2. Visit Santhiya Resort & Spa
If you fancy something luxurious look no further than Santhiya Resort & Spa. You can opt to stay here like many people do or you can simply pay to use the facilities for the day, including massages and a pool.
Unfortunately, our backpacker budget wouldn’t allow us to visit so we tried sneaking in but wasn’t successful! If you do visit, leave us a comment below and tell us how great it is.
3. Famous guru – Dr Saad
Dr Saad is a blind medical masseur who has been treating people from all around the world, for 30 years. We did not get treated ourselves, but he has great reviews online so he seems pretty legit. Have you been? Let us know if you do pay him a visit.
4. Elixir Divers
Fancy a plunge into the deep blue sea? Check out Elixir Divers. You can learn to dive with them, or if you already have the know-how and want to check out some great locations like Shark Point, Anemone Reef, King Cruiser Wreck and Koh Doc Mai, it’s your best bet.
5. Kayak through the mangroves
It is possible to kayak through the unspoiled mangrove forest at “Pak Klong”, which is the mangrove river on the southern part of Koh Yao Yai. Bookings can be made through the tourist information desk, or ask the staff at your accommodation.
6. ATV tour
Something different than viewing the Island by walking, bicycle or scooter. Get the adrenaline rushing by touring off-road in the countryside and jungle. Again, enquire at the tourist information desk or ask via your accommodation.
Where to stay on Koh Yao Yai
Santhiyas Resort & Spa – Probably the most famous of all the accommodation on the island. This beautiful resort boasts a waterfall pool and its own private beach.
Koh Yao Yai Village – This 4-star luxury hotel has its own private beach and an infinity pool. With great views only 450 yards away form the hotel, it’s hard not to realise why it’s so popular.
Bussarin Mansion – This one is for the budget backpackers and families. We really enjoyed our stay here, the room was modern, very clean, hot showers, air conditioning and even free breakfast!
It even had a little balcony at the back. The surrounding areas weren’t very picturesque but it was quiet and all we ever needed, perfect for a backpacker. We would definitely stay here again if we ever went back to Koh Yao Yai.
- Check the tide for the beaches before you visit, as it can get really low and spoil the experience
- Bring extra cash – Limited ATMs on the Island and if they ever go out of order, you’re screwed!
- Book accommodation extra early – Fancy places get filled up quick. You can still land on the Island and book accommodation on the day, but it will be more limited
Do not miss out on the neighbouring island of Koh Yao Noi. This is just as beautiful as Koh Yao Yai but has its own uniqueness.
It began with a pleasant 10-minute boat ride from Koh Yao Noi, costing 50 baht each. We really enjoyed Koh Yao Noi and we had the same if not better expectations for Koh Yao Yai.
Next, stepping foot on Koh Yao Yai, we headed from the pier to orientate ourselves with Google Maps. We quickly realised our accommodation was a fair walk away; for this reason, we would need transportation. The search began.
After asking a few locals we realised that there was probably only one place to hire a scooter. We weren’t going to get a taxi as they were too expensive and taking the piss because we were tourists. However, with the pen to paper and nearly signing the damn thing, which included all these clauses; how we would have to pay for damages, stolen scooter etc., we couldn’t help but have a bad taste in our mouths. Due to this, we decided to walk on and take a chance. Go with your gut and all.
With each of us carrying a 70L and 25L backpack, we soldiered on for 15 minutes, reaching a local restaurant. We asked a lady, whom we presumed owned the restaurant if she knew anyone who could rent us a scooter. This triggered chatter and murmurs between around 5 other locals who were sitting having lunch before we could try gauge what was going on, an elderly woman pulled up on a scooter with a young child, presenting us both with helmets. Top service.
We were all set, until…
Without signing any documents and paying around 350 baht for 2 days, we were set. The locals had a laugh and a few giggles, looking bemused, as a result of us loading our 4 backpacks onto the scooter. I guess they were only used to locals loading a scooter with a ridiculously amount of people or items, but we had practice due to our Koh Yao Noi experience. In any case, we made it to our accommodation safe and sound.
Later, once we were all unpacked and ready to explore, we visited the first beach; Laem Had Beach… But it wasn’t a smooth ride there. It required a ride on a rocky dirt road and we went over a pothole a little too fast, consequently…cue flat tyre. Frantically checking Google Maps, we came to the realisation that we had to walk 15 minutes pushing the scooter with the blistering heat, sizzling on our backs and no shade for shelter. Thankfully, an unmasked local lady wearing no cape came to the rescue.
She helped us ring the elderly women we rented the scooter off (always make note of the renter’s number in case of situations like this!). She turned up with the same kid but this time he was driving our replacement scooter, he couldn’t have been more than 8 years old, but looked like he’d been driving scooters for 15 years. In spite of this, we asked no questions and were happy with the outcome.
Visiting Koh Yao Yai beaches
The tide was quite low on Laem Had Beach but it was still enjoyable in parts. On the positive side, the sand was white and palm trees scattered across it, resulting in a nice tropical feel. In contrast, however, Loh Jark Beach was the least enjoyable. Now, this is not discrediting the beach, we could see how beautiful it would normally look but the tide was really low and there were rocks when you tried going into the sea, effectively dampening our time there.
On the other hand, we came across Yao Yai beach. This beach made our time in Koh Yao Yai that more memorable. It was what we were craving since we arrived and was hands down the best of the Koh Yao Yai beaches for us. Just to float on the water with the sun on our face worrying about nothing. For this reason, this would be the beach we would recommend to anyone the most. A bonus is it’s close to Santhiyas Spa & Resort. Ultimately, making it much more attractive.
Santhiyas Resort & Spa
Lastly, we’d love to tell you about the massages and the pool in Santhiyas but we can only speculate because when we attempted to sneak in due to our budget, we were unsuccessful. It was all for a bit of fun and we had a laugh with the staff there. We are sure it’s great so let us know if you go, or you have been, by leaving a comment below. Above all, we would definitely recommend a trip to Koh Yao Yai.