A remote Island away from the tourists, located between Krabi and Phuket. One of Thailand’s hidden gems. Koh Yao Noi is the place to come if you want to escape the crowds and completely relax.
Check out our video for the full visual experience and thoughts on Koh Yao Noi, involving the BEST mango we ever tasted, a million crabs and a scooter crash.
Things to Do in Koh Yao Noi Thailand
1. Rent a scooter/bicycle
Renting a scooter, in our opinion, is the best way to get around and tick places off the list of things to do in Koh Yao Noi. You can soak in everything the Island has to offer. It cost us 200 baht for 24 hours to rent and gas was on average 35 baht / litre. The Island is safe, other drivers drive well and the roads are kept in good condition.
Renting a bicycle will be significantly cheaper, however, more time consuming and a lot harder! The Island is relatively flat, so if you do decide to rent a bicycle it is a good second choice for you fitness junkies.
In addition, there are no tuk tuks on the Island, but you can grab a Songthaew from point A to point B or even hire one for the day. This is the most expensive option (one side of the island to the other can set you back 800 baht) but it’s an option nevertheless, for those who are not comfortable riding a scooter or bicycle around the Island.
2. Visit the village market
In the heart of Koh Yao Noi is the village market where locals sell a variety of fruits, local dishes and clothes. Here, was also the place we had the BEST mango we have ever tasted.
3. Takow Waterfall
This beautiful, relaxing and peaceful waterfall is easy to get to. No strenuous walk or ball aching hill to climb. Despite the fact Takow Waterfall was trickling for us (early April) it was still nice to visit. It would be great to know your experience of the waterfall if you check it out, was it trickling like it was for us? Or was it more spectacular? Post a comment below.
4. Klong Jark Beach
This is arguably the best beach on Koh Yao Noi, and we would agree. It has a narrow strip of empty white sand which is a couple of kilometres long. Other bonuses are tree swings to take that instagram picture or hammocks to relax and think about the people working hard back home. In addition, restaurants and bars are dotted around close by, it’s the ideal place to chill and soak some rays all day. There were a few rocks in the sea as you enter, but it wasn’t enough to dampen our mood.
5. Pasai Beach
Another great beach to visit and probably quieter than Klong Jark Beach. However, visit when the tide is high in the morning as it is not that great of a beach at the end of the day as a consequence of the tide being low.
6. View point
Want a great view of Koh Yao Noi? Say no more. Head to ‘Rice Paddy Restaurant’ The view was jaw dropping as you can see the greenery from the trees blowing in the wind, as well as the beaches and sea below. When we visited, the restaurant was closed, but we believe it should be open on other days, if you happen to go and it’s open let us know how the food was in the comments.
7. Kian Bay
Kerrie was not happy here as she was getting absolutely attacked by mosquitos, hence the sarong. You will most likely have Kian Bay all to yourself if you visit, as it doesn’t seem to be that popular. It is a bit difficult to get to and maybe this is the reason why, however, it is beautiful. The best option is to rent a canoe or get a boat ride there. We had a very interesting scooter ride to Kian Bay. One of the scariest scooter rides we had, we do not recommend going there via scooter, unless you are real adventure seekers! Watch our YouTube video to see the ‘interesting’ journey.
Other things to do in Koh Yao Noi
8. Visit a spa
Pamper until your hearts content as the island has it’s fair share of spas which you can visit for the day or spend the night, one of the best ones on the island is Six Senses.
9. Book a bicycle tour
If you can’t decide what to do or you’re limited in time, why not take a bicycle tour? You can arrange this at the tourist office as soon as you get off the boat at the pier. It’s a fun alternative to view the Island with an experienced local.
10. Visit Koh Yao Yai
You can hop on a inexpensive public boat to the neighbouring Koh Yao Yai for the day or even stay over night there. Read our blog on Koh Yao Yai on what to do when you get there.
11. Yoga retreat
Even if you are a beginner or well experienced, there are plenty of options to choose from. Doing an Island yoga retreat provides a holistic experience with programs that aim to guide you through the process of becoming a yogi in order for you to reconnect with your authentic soul nature, or in other words, put your body in shapes it’s not used to.
12. Muay Thai boxing
Real Muay Thai training, suited for everyone at any level. With professional trainers and small classes, focus is on technique and individual attention. When given notice, you can take part in their Fight Nights. Classes are run by the owner and head trainer, Muay Thai legend Hlukhin Wassantasit (Wichit Lampmee) and his team.
13. Boat tour to neighbouring Islands
The island has many tours available; evening guided tours explore the local market in the village, sunset views at Sapan Yao Pier and finally boat trips to the famous Phang Nga Bay, home to the historical limestone cliffs.
Where to stay
Luxury: Six Senses Yao Noi, by far the best place to stay, luxurious air-conditioned villas with a private pool and a personal butler.
Couple budget: Koyao Island Resort, surrounded by quiet beaches they offer an infinity pool, a pampering spa and a guest activity centre.
Backpacker: Tha Khao Pier Bungalow, not only good for solo backpackers but for couples too. We stayed here and were provided with amazing sea views and good Wi-Fi.
Best time to visit
Dry season: November – April
Wet season: May – October
Peak season: November – March
Visiting during the dry season is key as monsoons can literally close the Island during the wet season. We visited in April and we were blessed with good weather. They weren’t many tourist at that time either.
- Check the tide before you go if it’s a low tide it won’t be as good
- DO NOT take the local bus from krabi when going to the port, just get a taxi (read why in our experience below)
- You don’t have to spend the night on the Island, daily trips to the Island are possible, from places like Ao Nang, Krabi and Phuket
- Accomodation is more expensive on this little island
We were located in Ao Nang; from here a speedboat was 650 baht each and took 20 minutes. We decided it was too expensive so we got a Songthaew to Krabi town, which was 50 baht each. Once we were in Krabi town, with each of us carrying 70L backpacks on our backs and a 25L rucksack on our front in the seething heat, we had the task of bartering with taxi drivers a price to Thalane Pier, where the boat leaves for Koh Yao Noi. Taxi drivers were quoting us 400 baht to get to the pier. As we asked 1 or 2, each of them would then tell each other the price they quoted us, meaning no one would budge away from 400 baht. Great.
After 30 minutes of being pissed off from all the taxi drivers sticking together to rip us off, we found out that we could get a local bus to the pier. The bus would cost us 100 baht each, and judging from Google Maps, it’s only a 35 minute journey. Great…. Or so we thought.
We thought we were on the back of a delivery truck
What was not mentioned to us was that the local bus is also used as a bloody local parcel delivery service. This meant we were stopping every 5 minutes to pick up parcels from shopkeepers, which added an hour onto the journey. Oh, and a casual cigarette break for the driver too. Once we finally arrived at the pier, the cost to Koh Yao Noi was 150 baht via long tail boat. After an interesting conversation with an American who now lives in China and speaks fluent Chinese, 45 minutes later, we arrived in Koh Yao Noi.
In hindsight it would have been better to just get a speedboat from Ao Nang and the journey would have only been 20 minutes and a lot let stressful, but it made for an interesting story didn’t it?