Koh Yao Noi: The Next Thai Island Destination
Thailand is always one of those countries you see in magazines. It’s picture perfect beaches, blue water, cultural history, lush greenery, and temples. Thailand has is going on!
Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Thailand once again. Since I live in Hong Kong now, this journey is much easier as opposed to flying from the US. I knew I wanted to visit this island since hearing about it from my travels to Phi Phi islands a few years ago. The western locals living here said this Koh Yao Noi, and it’s sister island Koh Yao Yai were going to be the next Thai island hot spots! And I think they are right!
Here I will give a break down on how to get there, where to stay, and what the island has to offer. Or you can skip right to the stay part and see where I think is the best!
How To Get There
Koh Yao Noi is accessible from Phuket and from Krabi. From Phuket airport a taxi ride takes about 30 minutes, and from Krabi will take about 45 minutes. You can take public “ferries” which is either a speed boat, or a larger long tail boat from both places, costing 200 Baht for the speed boat, or 120 Baht for the long tail boat. Ferries begin every morning at 7:50am from Phuket and 9:00am from Krabi. Each service will end at 5:30. The ferry ride on the speedboat takes 25-30 minutes, and the long tail boat takes around 45-50 minutes. Once ferry service ends you can arrange a private boat to take you to the island, however, this could cost 1200 Baht and up. Once nighttime begins, one of the resorts we were consulting with did say that is it not recommended to go after the sun goes down, because this could be more dangerous. So if possible stay on the mainland until ferries begin the next morning.
Some of the nicer villas and hotels can provide a more luxurious way of getting to the island if this is something you wish, you’ll have to contact each resort individually for this.
Detailed photos below of the piers, boats, and schedules.
Where To Stay
This part of my article is going to be completely bias because I FELL IN LOVE with where I stayed. *not even paid to say this!! Though there were a few contenders I would recommend checking out which I have listed below and their respected linked to their homepage. However, I am here to give a full description about the place I stayed because it was truly amazing and thats what matters here.
There aren’t many decent choices on this island, mainly because it’s still pretty underdeveloped, most likely due to the local govern. They would like to keep the Koh Yao islands as untouched as possible, but with like anything else.. we can’t have nice things forever. 🙁
There are quite a few budget, budget places here, but I don’t believe facilities are great, and power goes out quite often so you might be left in the dark a lot. If you stay at a larger hotel, or nice villa they will probably have back up generators and you won’t even know about any power outages.
The Island Hideout was an option on the table for us, but my boyfriend isn’t exactly down with the whole “eco village” type of accommodation (it’s not for everyone). Due to this place gaining popularity on Instagram for it’s cozy tree house style rooms, and “secret pool” overlooking the bay, I really wanted to check it out. Luckily, we didn’t because during our time on the island they were turning guests away, or refunding them because of the storms that were in the area and they had lost power for quite a while. Mind you we came in June (monsoon season), probably the worst time to come here, so I’m sure you won’t run into this any other time of the year.
Six Senses Koh Yao Noi this resort option is not really my style. Not to mention Six Senses properties come with a hefty price tag. The service might be impeccable, but this kind of place somewhat bores me. That’s my opinion though, many people swoon over this kind of place! If you can’t divvy up the denero then I suggest paying this resort a visit for its restaurants alone. Which are top notch! Reservations are a MUST! This place is like Fort Knox, they won’t even let you past the gate without one.
Cape Kudu Hotel I HAD booked this place, or thought I had. There was a hiccup while reserving my room and a day later I realized I actually hadn’t booked this place. The price point for this resort seemed like one of those “too good to be true” situations (but that was probably because it was low season), they have “private plunge pool” rooms, and the resort is decked out in all white-washed modern fashion. They event feature cute little vintage car on porperty that someone can drive you around the island in. See this car for yourself here. Right outside the resort was even a little mini mart, cafe, and a few little local road side restaurants.
* Coastal Escape Koh Yao Noi this place is my Jam! Currently still dreaming about it! From the moment we were greeted at the gate this place was it!! From the road it looks like a wooden door to no where, and you would have no idea that 4 beautiful villas were right on the other side. Yes, 4 villas! Small place that packs a punch! Each one of the 4 villas is a sprawling two-bedroom villa each with their own private bathrooms, ocean view, and porch. They share a common area of a living, and dining room, as well as a small ocean side plunge pool. There is a main pool deck and bar, where the bar staff whips up some pretty crafty cocktails. The chef on staff here is absolutely brilliant. We ate almost every meal on property, there is only one local restaurant directly outside this resort, which was closed due to low season. The resort is very modern, and the staff will literally bend over backwards for you for anything. They are soooo accommodating! This resort is set on one of the best beaches the island as to offer, and every day you will have a beautiful view of the limestone cliffs in Phang Nga Bay. Booking here was a bit tricky, they don’t offer availably through travel websites, or if they do it takes some searching. They do offer bookings through their website, and bookings far in advance will get you a discount. 🙂 Below are the photos I took while on property.
Activities? They have them! But it’s probably best to enjoy the natural beauty of the island, and the pure relaxation you get from being in a quiet place. This island is not like the other islands in Thailand, you won’t find your run of the mill beach bars, fire shows, dive bars, or 20-30 somethings trolling the streets being drunk. This is a good thing! Because once this happens it’s basically just like all the other islands. In fact, booze was hard to come by until about 15 years ago because the population of this island is 90% Thai-Muslim. They have plenty of booze now, but pork products are still nonexistent because of the Muslim belief system. Now let’s get down to what this island has to offer.
- Private boat tours to explore surrounding private islands
- Diving classes by Elixir Divers
- Some resorts will have kayak and stand up paddle boards
- Massage Treatments
- Sun bathing obviously
- Cooking class by Mina’s Cooking Classes
- Visit the Rice Paddy
- Scoot around the island in a Moped
- Yoga Classes provided by Island Yoga
If you enjoy good wine, or a particular type of booze, best bring this yourself. Otherwise you will pay a premium for not so good stuff.
Bring your own cash to the island. There isn’t much for banking here. You’ll be able to use your credit card at resorts, but for mot local things cash only. Also I saw maybe one ATM. So bring plenty for your amount of stay and if you plan on taking any boat tours.
Bring your own necessities; lotions, fem products, creature comforts if you will if you plan on staying for a while. The island will not have the things you’re used it. They don’t have a mega mart for you to buy things at. Just local mini marts and a 7-eleven.
*Most of all just have a beautiful time! This place is amazing! Can not wait to return!