Ko Yao Noi is the smaller of two rugged islands positioned almost equidistant from Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi, all of which lie in a region known as Phang Nga Bay. It is perhaps one of the most idyllic island getaways in which you can experience a true down to earth vacation away from the most populated places in this region. A big plus is that the island offers you the most breathtaking maritime views from just about every angle. And this is just the beginning.
The island measures only twelve kilometres or about seven miles from its longest point and is home to little more than 3,000 extremely friendly islanders with the majority of inhabitants here being Muslims. The Muslims earn most of their living from rubber plantations, rice fields, fishing and shrimp farming among others.
If an adventure holiday in a tranquil setting coupled with a refreshing rural ambience is what you seek, you have come to the right place. Though there are some decent beaches here, this would probably not be the real reason to explore the island. Not least because the beaches lack the wow factor of the other more popular coastal resort regions.
Here you would more than likely come to explore and experience the true natural beauty that only nature can offer. The kind of inland activities you could explore include rock climbing, elephant trekking and hiking while diving, kayaking and swimming are just some of the many water sports opportunities you might just like to try.
Getting to Ko Yao Noi Island
The way to reach Ko Yao Noi is by boat from one of three entry and exit points. If you arrive from Phuket or Phang Nga, you’ll disembark either at Hat Suka Pier to the south-west or Tha Manok Pier to the south depending on how the tides are behaving at the time. A third option is from Krabi where all the boats arrive and depart from Tha Kao Pier located on the east coast of the island.
Boats depart and return from Phuket several times a day from Bang Rong Pier, which is located on the northeastern side of the island. It is best to use public transport to get to the pier. You can take a normal taxi from the airport, but if you are coming from Phuket town, make use of the songthaew taxi service there. Songthaew normally departs hourly from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm daily from the Thanon Ranong Market in the town. It’s a ninety-minute journey from town.
Boats depart from Phang Nga once a day at 1:00 pm and return at 7:30 pm to the Tha Dan Pier situated 10 kilometres (6 miles) south of Phang Nga Town. Songthaews will connect you to the pier. What is especially pleasing about this particular crossing, is that it takes you through the mesmerising scenic heart of Ao Phang Nga passing ever so close to Ko Panyi Village the stilt-house island.
The Krabi option would entail you taking the boat from Ao Thalen, which is about 30 kilometres (18 miles) north-west of the town. Near the Vogue Department Store in the town, you will find songthaews leaving for Ao Thalen at either 10:00 am for boats departing at 11:00 am or at noon for boats departing at 1:00 pm with the return journey to Krabi at 7:30 pm. The trip takes an hour each way.
Tha Kai Town
If coming from Phuket or Phang Nga as mentioned above, you will arrive at either one of the piers at Tha Suka or Tha Manok. From there, it’s best to travel to the east coast where the main beaches and the bulk of accommodation are located. Most tourists settle here to unwind before exploring the rest of the island. If you’re coming from Krabi, you’ll automatically arrive at the Tha Kao Pier.
The small town of Tha Kai near Tha Suka Pier is the island’s administrative and commercial centre where you’ll find the police station, a seven-eleven shop which has an ATM facility, a couple of internet centres and a post office. On the main street, you’ll find a mini-market with a number of restaurants serving simple Thai food as well as stalls selling roses, a favourite Muslim and Indian chow.
Motorcycle & Bicycle Hire
Why not hire a motorcycle or a bicycle from one of the rental agencies near the seven eleven in Tha Kai and then take the road running north from the town. It will take you through several small hamlets where you get to see village mosques and some rubber pressing machines. From there you’ll pass the scenic rice fields together with the farmer’s resident water buffaloes. It is rural living at its best.
Further on in the same northerly direction, you will come to a junction where the road soon turns sour. It takes on the shape of a rather dreadful track leading on to the beach at Ao Loh Ha. It is best to veer right and head towards the town of Tha Kao on the east coast where the island’s best beaches are all located.
Beaches on the East Coast
One of the nicest beaches along the east coast is Hat Sai Taew also known as Temple Beach. It is located a couple of kilometres north of the Tha Kao Pier. This golden coloured beach and its waters are safe for swimming at any tide but it’s a little tricky to find as directions are non-existent. Well! they just not there.
To get there, you need to travel inland from the pier, do a couple of right turns then via a canal to the marina through a rubber plantation and finally by way of the gated Dhammakaya Compound of a Buddhist Sect. It’s the best I can do. Just south of Tha Kao Pier is the small cove on Hat Tha Kao Beach. In the near vicinity is a small village with a couple of shops, a restaurant and that’s about it.
The most popular beach on this coast must surely be that of Hat Klong Jaak also known as Long Beach. This is where you’ll find the most tourists and the very best in accommodation. There may be little in amenities here, but what it lacks, more than makes up for its chill-out atmosphere. You come here to relax, meet islanders and expats, drink cocktails and beer and listen to laid-back music.
What better place than at the Scottish-Thai run Pyramid Bar about 200 metres north of Sabai Corner at the southern end of the beach.
South around the headland from Long Beach is Hat Pasai Beach where you can find cheaper accommodation. Beyond that is the tiny beach of Hat Laem Sai. From its lovely secluded palm-fringed beach, you can enjoy stunning bay views.
If you wish to spend a little more time on Ko Yao Noi Island than just a day trip, I would like to recommend a fabulous resort where I am sure your stay will be most comfortable and rewarding. The sumptuous Niramaya Villa located on Long Beach comprises of 12 luxurious villas, all with their own unique style and character.
Niramaya Villa is a great place to stay and just chill out. The friendly management and staff will personally take care of all your special needs right down to their customised water plane or helicopter pickup service. You can book a suite directly with the resort by clicking on the hotel search box below.
You can book your Hotel accommodation here
Booking your hotel from this page (at no extra cost to you) would not only give me a little pocket money, but you’d be helping me maintain this blog so that I can continue giving you more Thailand travel info.
Private Helicopter Travel
Should you wish to take a Private Helicopter Trip over the majestic limestone formations around the beautiful island of Phuket, Phang Nga Bay or Krabi, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly. There is no need to charter the entire aircraft as you can join a group sunrise to sunset tour for up to six people. You can also have the convenience of a personalised helicopter shuttle service to take you to and from your favourite location or resort by choosing your own itinerary and time frame. These flights here are a once-in-a-lifetime experience.