Located in an idyllic spot in Phang Nga bay, almost equidistant from Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi, the island of KO YAO NOI enjoys magnificent maritime views from almost every angle and makes a refreshingly tranquil getaway. Measuring about 12km at its longest point, it’s home to some four thousand islanders, the vast majority of them Muslim, who earn their living from rubber and coconut plantations, fishing and shrimp-farming. Tourism here is low-key, not least because the beaches lack the wow factor of more sparkling nearby sands, and visitors are drawn instead by the rural ambience and lack of commercial pressures. Nonetheless, there’s decent swimming off the east coast at high tide, and at low tide too in a few places, and plenty of potential for kayaking, rock-climbing and other activities.
Most tourists stay on the east side, which has the bulk of the accommodation, at Hat Tha Khao, Hat Khlong Jaak (Long Beach), Hat Pasai and Laem Sai. Exploring the interior is a particular pleasure, either via the barely trafficked round-island road as it runs through tiny villages and the island’s diminutive town, Ban Tha Khai, or via the trails that crisscross the forested interior, where you’ve a good chance of encountering monkeys as well as cobras and even pythons, not to mention plenty of birds, including majestic oriental pied hornbills.Read More
Ko Yao Noi activities
Ko Yao Noi activities
Kayaking and snorkelling
Kayaking around the coast is a very enjoyable pastime, and the dozens of tiny islands visible from eastern shorelines make enticing destinations for experienced paddlers; kayaks can be rented through Ko Yao Noi hotels for about B300 per day. Just about every hotel and travel agent sells kayaking and snorkelling trips to Ko Hong and other islands in Ao Phang Nga.
Diving trips and courses on the island are the speciality of Koh Yao Diver, where two local dives cost B3600, two dives at the reefs around Phi Phi in a longtail B5520, and the Openwater course is B16,680.
Ko Yao Noi is fast becoming a respected destination for rock-climbers, who appreciate the fresh sites and uncrowded routes compared to the hectic scene at nearby Ton Sai and Railay. There are over 150 bolted routes on the island, from beginner level to advanced (5 to 8A), established by the American and Thai climbers who run The Mountain Shop in Ban Tha Kao. Many routes are over water and accessible only by boat, or at the least via a hike off the dirt track to Paradise hotel.