30 Apr Koh Yao, oasis
30 April 2018
Located a short way from Phuket, right in the middle of Phang Nga Bay, Koh Yao turns out to be a haven of peace, with freely owing tra c and people who welcome you with a smile. This is a place that takes you to another time.
Koh yao consists of two very distinct islands. To the south is Koh Yao Yai, which is practically deserted and reserved only for true adventurers, and to the north is the smallest Koh Yao Noi, the special destination. With very few cars and motorcycles, Koh Yao Noi lives at a snail’s pace. It’s calm, peaceful, and almost asleep. The island welcomes you with a smile and a wave of the hand from its inhabitants along your way. What a delight.
Some say that this is “Phuket thirty years ago,”and they’re not wrong. Luckily, the numerous speedboats ferrying hordes of Asian tourists from Phuket haven’t yet set ground here. Koh Yao Noi has retained a truly appreciable natural and authentic aspect: no urban traffic, no girly bars, no noise apart from the faraway fishermen, no jet-skis, no hawkers on the beach, and no mafia! The calm is at, incredible yet true – yes, this still exists somewhere! This is the perfect place to relax. They don’t even know what stress is here.
Koh Yao Noi is actually a really small island. You surely won’t get lost, and you’ll be able to get around easily, slowly, taking your time. You can get around with a pickup taxi, or rent a motorcycle (300 Baht per day), or even rent a bike. The land and layout are particularly good for this. The population (about 3 to 4,000 inhabitants) is mostly Muslim, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the natural kindness of the people.
The island’s main activities include the rubber trees, which help many families earn a living. The trunk tapping is usually done during the night, at about 2 or 3 in the morning. This product commands a high price at the end of the line but is only paid for a small price to the locals.
Koh Yao Noi
The tiny city center consists of some nearby homes and a few shops. Affluence here is rather visible, and there’s no hustle and bustle. In the late afternoon, the schoolchildren who live on the nearby island go home by boat.
The East Coast
By strolling down the “eastern” coast, gorgeous landscapes are presented before you, with fantastic colors of the sky melting into the calm sea, with deserted beaches and countless paths to explore. Take a rest in one of the peaceful bars with your feet in the sand so you can contemplate the quiet sea.
The West Coast
Even though it is much less popular, apart from the rare inhabitants you won’t come across very many people. Its landscapes are also beautiful, with endless rice elds and mangrove forests. The trip is worth taking. You have all the time in the world to enjoy these magnificent panoramas and to stop to eat in one of the oating restaurants.
Dawn in Koh Yao Noi
Try getting up before the sun so you can watch the changing colors of the sky as the time passes. Be sure to bring your camera so you can capture all the variations of hues from purple to pink and orange to yellow. The dreamlike scenery against the silhouettes of the neighboring islands is set beautifully against the first cliffs of the Krabi region in the background.
The Big Tree
At the very northern tip of the island, you’ll find the Big Tree. Only a rather long and winding path through the forest will lead you to this natural phenomenon that’s more than 300 years old. The tree is part of the Hopea Beccariana family, one of the threatened species on the IUCN Red List (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The place is easier to access by boat, but it’s not necessarily part of the planned tour so you’ll need to negotiate this at the beginning, and you might have to pay more since it’s so far away.
Visit nearby islands
Take advantage of the occasion to also visit the small islands of the Than Bok Khorani Archipelago, halfway between Koh Yao Noi and Krabi. Plan on an “expedition” day on a long-tail boat. This kind of outing can be purchased on site or you can book it in ahead of time at Phuket. Plan on spending about 3500 Baht for the day, divided by the number of participants.
There are no restaurants on these small islands, so plan on bringing snacks so you won’t go hungry. If you arrive directly from Phuket, you’ll need to take one of the first boats at the Bang Rong pier (8:30 am) so you’ll be at the Koh Yao Noi docks still at an early time (9:45 am). However, if you also want to visit Koh Yao Noi Island, you’ll have to spend the night there (there’s no shortage of hotels) or else go back.
Warning: Going swimming on these small islands is something everyone should enjoy, but still be aware that most of these places have lots of rocks and coral.
Be sure you have shoes that will let you go into the water without hurting yourself, especially at low tide. An injury from coral is always painful, and the risks of infection are high.
Koh Nok is right next to Koh Yao Noi, the first island you can see when leaving the Manoh Pier. There’s a small sandbar with a splendid view in pastel colors: white sand, turquoise sea, and dark-blue sky, in a pristine environment, free from touristic scories.
Koh Pak Bia
Once you arrive in Koh Pak Bia, you’ll discover a heavenly place. A simple strip of white sand links the two islets. It’s a rather exceptional spot, with few people and a gorgeous panorama.
Koh Lao Lading
A hop and skip will take you in just a few minutes from your first stop to Koh Lading.
Most boatloads of tourists (like us) come here for a snack break. As for us, we’ve already had ours when we started o from Koh Yao Noi. On the menu: Khaopad Kai and water.
On our rst visit, we found a seller of cold beers, but this time, there’s no one, and there’s somewhat of a decrease in the possibilities of sitting down at a table for sustenance.
The guide goes along the cliffs on the west coat to see the coves where the swallows nest, and to see the guards who stay here to keep watch over this spot, which is very popular with some.
The lagoon on the north of the island is a real paradise with breathtaking colors and is accessible only by small boats that take off already from in the sea. This is an ideal spot to swim, with shallow and very clear water. The tide here is very small.
The island’s beach, Pelay Beach can be found on the east coast. Access by foot on the floating pontoon means you’ll have to pay the National Park entry fee of 200 Baht per person. The cliffs and trees that border this beach o er very pleasant shaded areas. The water is clear and turquoise: just off the beach, hundreds of fish come to feed by hand. This is a perfect place to snorkel and to discover the incredible underwater wildlife: a few meters down, you’ll see multicolored fish, crabs, clams, sea-urchins, sea-cucumbers and other wonders that abound here.
This place is indeed splendid, and you could very well spend the day here, but there are no restaurants on site, no sunshades or transats and, like in Koh Nok none of these attractions and motorsports mass tourists fancy.
Since the site is part of a National Park, some rules to apply (no smoking, for instance).
SET OFF FOR KOH YAO
Getting to Koh Yao Noi is actually really simple. The Bang Rong pier to the northeast of Phuket is very easy to find, and any taxi or tuk-tuk can take you there. You can also get there on your own and leave your car.
Head toward Ao Po from the Heroins roundabout, then the pier is located a few kilometers on the right. Two means of transportation to Koh Yao Noi are possible: longtail boat or speedboat.
By longtail boat, the trip lasts 1 hour and since recently the stop at Koh Yao Yai has been discontinued. The transfer is done directly at Koh Yao Noi, so before you set o , be sure you take the right boat.
120 Baht/person per trip
By speedboat, the trip is much faster: between 35 and 45 minutes (depending on the sea conditions). 200 Baht/person per trip
Some may like to set off for adventure without planning anything, come what may, but others like to plan and organize, knowing where they’ll end up. For the second category, I have the info you’ll need, and which I’m pleased to share: located 800 meters from the Koh Yao Noi pier, you’ll find a small local agency that will let you rent motorcycles by the day, reserve rooms or bungalows, and organize sea outings.
Just contact Miss Opal, so your trip will be more pleasant. She’s Thai and can speak English very well.
by email or phone:
Specify which boat you’re taking to Koh Yao Noi
Ask for a long-tail boat to visit the islands: number of people (plan on between 3,500 and 4,000 Baht per day for the boat, so divide the price of the boat by the number of participants).
Ask for a “snack” (such as khaopad) for lunch, a few drinks (plan on 50 Baht per person). If you want to spend the night when you get back from visiting the islands, Miss Opal will book your lodging. Of course, don’t wait for the last minute to organize this tour, let’s say plan on 3-4 days beforehand
Miss Opal – Fortune Travel Info & Service
+66 (0)76 597 612
+66 (0)857 810 556
65/3 Moo 6, T. Koh Yao Noi, Phang Nga 82160
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