“Why you go there? No tourists go there. Only one boat a day.”
Dave and I exchanged glances and I could tell he was wondering if we were making a huge mistake.
We’d been travelling in Thailand for four months at this point and I’d expected so much more from the islands. Koh Chang, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta — I’d enjoyed my time on all three of them, but they weren’t the vision of paradise I’d held in my mind for so long. I guess I was yet another a travelling cliché who was convinced The Beach didn’t have to be a work of fiction; that I too could discover my own island paradise and keep it all to myself.
Spoiler alert: Koh Phi Phi was not, in fact, an undiscovered island.
It was as I approached my second week on Phi Phi that I decided to take matters into my own hands. It was time to find an island that was the exact opposite of where I currently found myself.
I wanted an island without internet.
I wanted an island that wasn’t built for tourists, that wasn’t incredibly expensive, and was still worth visiting. I was certain there were plenty of trash-filled islands where I could sleep on the beach for next to nothing in this country, but that wasn’t exactly my idea of paradise.
Did such a place even exist anymore?
I wandered into a travel agent and looked at the list of destinations that was scrawled across a chalkboard.
Koh Yao Noi
Koh Yao Noi.
I had never even heard of it.
Few travel bloggers had ever been there, not many guidebooks spent more than a paragraph discussing it, and a quick google showed information about the island was scarce online.
Back then, in 2012, I could find exactly two websites with useful information about Koh Yao Noi and they were both many years out of date. I couldn’t find out any information on what was there, what it looked like, and whether it was a good choice for tourists. Fortunately, in 2023, there’s a hell of a lot more information around.
I took a deep breath and booked my ticket, telling the travel agent that yes, I knew that no tourists go there and that was exactly why I wanted to go.
I jumped on a ferry the next day and landed on my feet, at a guesthouse with this incredible view:
Talk about making the best decision of my life!
On paper, it makes zero sense that Koh Yao Noi is so rarely visited. It’s located right within of tourism triad of Phuket, Krabi, and Phi Phi, and that makes it incredibly easy to get to. Based on location alone, it should be swarming with tourists.
And yet it’s not.
Part of the reason is due to the locals. Muslims make up a whopping 90% of the population in Koh Yao Noi and they’re doing everything they can to prevent their home from turning into yet another party island. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find alcohol on the island or that bars don’t exist — it’s just that on this island, there’s one option instead of an entire street lined with them.
The locals on Koh Yao Noi don’t want the word getting out about their beautiful home and so far, it seems to be working. I first visited the island in 2012 and have returned three further times since then. While at this point in time (2021), it’s not quite as undiscovered and there’s a whole wealth of information about the island online, it’s still the perfect place to come if you’re looking for respite in Thailand.
There are still few tourists, not many accommodation options, and a handful of lovely restaurants. You’ll still fall asleep to the sound of crickets rather than the pumping of bass. And while there’s internet in many of the guesthouses, it’s still a destination where you’ll find it easy to disconnect.
I want to kick off this blog post by explaining why, exactly, you should be aiming to travel to Koh Yao Noi.
Koh Yao Noi is Safe
The locals of Koh Yao Noi were some of the friendliest I’ve come across in Thailand. For a country that’s full of welcoming, warm people, that’s really saying something.
Because Koh Yao Noi is yet to attract the hoards of tourists that other islands do, the locals aren’t yet over tourism. There aren’t any scams because there simply aren’t enough travellers to make money out of. People still care to find out your story and ask what brought you to their island, and they genuinely care about your answer — it isn’t a sales technique.
One thing that reiterated this was the fact that nobody cares to lock their scooters here. It’s not an uncommon sight to head out for a walk and see every scooter parked up with the keys still in the ignition. It’s hard not to feel safe on an island where the locals are so unaffected by crime.
One day, I was waiting by the side of the road for my boyfriend, Dave, and within a couple of minutes, a local pulled up beside me on a bike and asked if he could take me wherever I needed to go — at no cost. I thanked him and declined, and then five minutes later, another local did exactly the same. This wasn’t a rare occurrence — all over the island, locals offered us rides or simply stopped to ask where we were from and welcome us to their island.
Our guesthouse was run by the local police officer, who burst out laughing when we asked if his job kept him busy. On an island like Koh Yao Noi, there was little for him to worry about. He was such a welcoming host, and helped us out with anything we needed, whether it was hiring a scooter, renting a kayak, or arranging a longtail to take us out to the nearby national park. When we returned to the island several years later, he even recognised us and welcomed us as old friends.
On our final day on the island on that trip, he even cooked us an enormous fish barbecue as a leaving present, and didn’t charge us a baht for it.
Can you imagine the same thing happening on Koh Phi Phi?
It has the Perfect Secluded Beach
Dave and I decided to rent a scooter for the day and were part-way through exploring the island where we came across a small wooden sign with the word “beach” scrawled across it in black ink. It was pointing down a tiny dirt track that promptly disappeared into a dense forest.
Obviously we had to follow it.
It was just a few minutes later that most of the track had faded away and we found ourselves swerving precariously around curves, urging the scooter over hills, and attempting to dodge the branches and spider webs that blocked our path. Several times we considered turning around and heading back – surely we should have reached the beach after 15 minutes of riding?
I desperately clung to Dave, convinced I was about to be thrown from the back of the scooter.
When we did eventually arrive at the beach though? We had it all to ourselves.
This was the stuff travel dreams were made of.
Stretching along the east coast of the island for what seemed like miles, this beach was void of people and stayed that way for the three hours we spent there. There was a gorgeous view of Phang Nga National Park, the water was warm and calm, and there was plenty of shade to seek shelter from the hot Thai sun. That afternoon we spent on our own private beach still ranks up there as one of the highlights from my eight years of full-time travel.
This Isn’t a Place for Partying
If you want to party, there’s an island for you.
Koh Phi Phi, Koh Pha Ngan, Koh Chang: whether you’re into raving beneath the full moon or chilling with a bucket and a Bob Marley playlist, there’s a place in Thailand that’s the perfect fit.
If, however, you’re much more into relaxation and tranquility, I have to recommend Koh Yao Noi. The island only landed its first 7-Eleven in 2018, if you’re wondering just how dissimilar it is to elsewhere in Thailand! Still, there are other convenience stores on the island to pick up essentials, usually three or four restaurants within walking distance, and maybe a bar as well, if you’re craving a beer after a long day spent working on your tan.
In the evening, you’ll hear nothing but the sounds of the rainforest — a light breeze rustling palm tree fronds, the nightly chorus of cicadas, and the distant rumble of thunder.
I once spent Songkran on Koh Yao Noi and couldn’t believe how quiet it was — there wasn’t a single water fight on the island!
This is a place to explore by scooter, relax on beautiful beaches, and get to know the locals before having one of the best night’s sleep of your life. It’s hard not to feel rested and stress-free on an island like Koh Yao Noi.
It’s Full of Diverse Landscapes
You’ll likely choose to stay on the east coast of the island, as that’s where the majority of the accommodation on Koh Yao Noi is found. On this side of Koh Yao Noi, you’ll find plenty of deserted beaches to spend your day on, as getting away from the other tourists here is one of the easiest things you’ll ever do.
In the centre of the island, you’ll find the mountains and rainforest. This part of the island is all about a rural way of life, and the sweeping landscapes are perfect for photographing as you’re exploring on two wheels. You’ll pass by rubber plantations and fields lined with mangroves, and be able to marvel at how the island remains untouched by modern life.
Once you get to the west, it’s all about the rice paddies and water buffalos. There are hundreds of palm trees stretching before you, long stretches of pristine sand, and even a holy spring — the point on the island where freshwater pours into the sea, making it possible to drink from the ocean.
There’s Actually Things to Do While You’re There
You’d imagine that being on such a quiet island would mean that there would be hardly anything to do, but it was actually the opposite! There is so much to fill your time that you could spend two weeks on the island and not get bored — I should know because I did exactly that, and then returned a few years later to do the same.
One of the highlights from my time in Koh Yao Noi was renting a kayak for the day and paddling out to Koh Nok, a tiny island just over a mile from Koh Yao Noi. It took us an hour to get there and while the journey consisted of a decent amount of moaning as I battled the tides to get there, it was worth the pain, as we got to spent the afternoon on our own private island.
Yes, this is Koh Nok and it might just be the prettiest spit of sand I’ve ever stepped foot on. That photo above shows almost the entirety of the island, but when you’re the only people on it, you don’t need much more.
Talk about paradise.
We spent an afternoon on Koh Nok and had it all to ourselves, save for a wandering monitor lizard that made itself known when we attempted to explore inland. I highly recommend kayaking out here — or taking a longtail if you’re not feeling up to the paddle — and doing so after lunch. It’s a popular stop with tour groups as a lunchtime base, so as long as you get there in the afternoon, you’ll have your own island paradise all to yourself.
Koh Yao Noi is located on the edge of Phang Nga Bay and we hired a longtail for the day to explore the amazing islands. Koh Hong, in particular, was incredible. The beach was immaculate, the sand felt like talcum powder under my feet and with very few people sharing the beach with us, it felt like I was in heaven.
Pro tip: if you decide to hire somebody to take you around Phang Nga Bay, ask them to take you to Koh Hong first. The boat drivers tend to visit the islands of the national park in the same order, so if you wake up early and head out to Koh Hong in the early morning, you’ll have the most incredible beach to yourself.
When we finished on beautiful Koh Hong, we explored the rest of Phang Nga Bay, stopping off in a beautiful lagoon full of warm, shallow water, having lunch on a gorgeous beach, and snorkelling with more fish than I could count. It’s definitely worth taking a day to see as much of this cluster of islands as possible.
Essential Information for Visiting Koh Yao Noi
How to Get to Koh Yao Noi: Fortunately, Koh Yao Noi is super-easy to get to. You’ll most likely fly into Phuket or Krabi first, and then you can catch the daily ferry that travels from each of these locations. Just wander into one of the many travel agents on every street and ask for a ticket.
If you’re already island-hopping in the Andaman, you’ll be able to jump on a ferry from Koh Phi Phi or Koh Lanta.
I always use and recommend 12Go Asia to book public transportation in Thailand in advance. The prices are pretty much exactly what you’ll pay from a travel agent in Thailand, but you get peace of mind through knowing you’ve definitely got a place on the ferry. On my most recent trip to Thailand, 12Go even helped me to save money by giving me prices that were less than what my guesthouse and the tour agencies were quoting!
Where to Stay on Koh Yao Noi: As I mentioned above, I stayed at Tabeak Viewpoint ($60 a night) while visiting the island and loved it so much that I’ve since stayed there a further two times on future visits to Koh Yao Noi. The owner is lovely, the views are special, and the restaurant is surprisingly great, too. This is the perfect option if you’re not on a tight budget but still want to receive great value for your money.
However! You can only book Tabeak through phone or email, which is… yeah. Pretty annoying in the era of Booking and Agoda.
If you can’t be bothered going through all of that, I recommend HillHouse ($50 a night) instead. It’s the best-rated accommodation on the entire island and priced similarly to Tabeak, so staying there feels like a no-brainer. Plus, you’ve still got the epic views of the islands of Phang Nga Bay from your bungalows!
If you’re looking to spend as little as possible but not end up in a terrible guesthouse, I recommend staying at Cha Bungalows ($15 a night). Reviews are phenomenal, breakfast is included, and it’s close to the beach, restaurants, and a supermarket. Definitely the best option on the budget end of the spectrum.
If you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum and are all about that luxury life, you can’t go wrong with the Six Senses Yao Noi ($500+ a night). This resort has been on my travel wishlist for years, so if you’ll be in Thailand for a special occasion, this is the place for you. It receives incredible reviews, is in a spectacular location, and every villa has its own pool[!]. This is a seriously beautiful hotel and I dream of one day staying there.
What to Bring With You to Koh Yao Noi: One of my travel essentials for Thailand is a dry bag from Sea to Summit. You’ll be spending a hell of a lot of time around water while you’re on the Thai islands, and the last thing you want is to wreck your valuables. I take a dry bag to the beach with me if I’m travelling alone, as I’ll be able to put my Kindle and camera inside and take it swimming, not having to worry about keeping an eye on them from the water. I also used mine when kayaking to Koh Nok and longtailing around Phang Nga Bay. I was able to keep my camera and money inside to ensure they didn’t get wet or fall overboard.
I also recommend picking up a GRAYL purifier bottle for your trip. I’ve used the GRAYL to drink tap water all over the world, from Mozambique to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and never once got sick. The filter within the GRAYL kills 99.999% of all viruses, bacteria, and cysts in water, making it entirely safe to drink. Not only that, but it also means you don’t have to ever buy bottled water again, so can both save money and the environment. I love that you can drink the water within seconds, too, rather than having to wait for several minutes, like you need to with other types of purifiers.
It’s fairly pricey for a purifier bottle, but if you think about how much you typically spend on bottled water while travelling, it saves you money in the long term, while also giving you peace of mind, preventing dehydration, and helping you reduce your plastic consumption. I take it on every single one of my trips.
Travel insurance: If you’ve read any other posts on Never Ending Footsteps, you’ll know that I’m a great believer in travelling with travel insurance.
As someone who works in the travel industry, I’ve seen far too many Go Fund Me campaigns from destitute backpackers that are unexpectedly stranded in Thailand after a scooter accident/being attacked/breaking a leg with no way of getting home or paying for their healthcare. These costs can quickly land you with a six-figure bill to pay at the end of it.
In short, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.
Travel insurance will cover you if your flight is cancelled and you need to book a new one, if your luggage gets lost and you need to replace your belongings, if you suddenly get struck down by appendicitis and have to be hospitalised, or discover a family member has died and you need to get home immediately. If you fall seriously ill, your insurance will cover the costs to fly you home to receive medical treatment.
I use SafetyWing as my travel insurance provider, and recommend them for trips to Thailand. Firstly, they’re one of the few companies out there who will actually cover you if you contract COVID-19. On top of that, they provide worldwide coverage, don’t require you to have a return ticket, and even allow you to buy coverage after you’ve left home. If you’re on a long-term trip, you can pay monthly instead of up-front, and can cancel at any time. Finally, they’re cheaper than the competition, and have a clear, easy-to-understand pricing structure, which is always appreciated.
With SafetyWing, you’ll pay just $1.50 a day for travel insurance.
The weeks I’ve spent on Koh Yao Noi was one of my best in Thailand, and I’ve spent roughly 18 months travelling across this beautiful country, hitting up over a dozen islands during that time.
The laid-back vibe of the island was contagious and meant I was impossibly relaxed for the duration of our stay. I read books, I wandered down to the beach to sunbathe, I ate good food, and I spent hours lying in the hammock on my balcony listening to the crickets and watching the thunderstorms roll in from the horizon.
Koh Yao Noi really is my Thai island paradise and I think it could be yours, too.
Wow – so beautiful! And I’m actually surprised that there are places without Internet today!
I know, it was amazing! There were a few resort type places with wifi but it was slow and crappy, which made me happy as I really didn’t want the temptation there!
In a place as beautiful as this, I’m pretty sure I could ignore the Internet even if it was available.
Stunning beaches, cliffs, beaches…
Have you done any climbing in Thailand?
This really sounds like heaven! I might be emailing you for more details about how to get there and the website for the guesthouse since I am almost 100% sure I’ll be spending a month in Thailand soon (most probably starting July 20th or around)
Hey Mina! Feel free to email me anytime! :) I’ll be happy to give you the details!
I didn’t want to put all of the details in my post because I don’t want a million people going there and spoiling it! ;)
Hi Lauren, I’ve read your article and that island sounds beautiful. Myself and my boyfriend are going to Thailand in November and this sounds perfect. We have both travelled extensively and would love to visit Ko Yao Noi. I just wondered if you could recommend any accomodation. It seems to be either very expensive or basic. We are treating ourselves elsewhere to nice accomodation, so don’t mind more basic here.
I can recommend Tabeak Guesthouse — it’s where I always stay when I visit.
My brother is getting married on Koh Yao Noi in two weeks so my mum, hubby and I are heading there next week for 6 nights. We will be staying at the resort where they are getting married. But just wanted to know a bit about the village, market and local food or shopping there. I am wondering how much money I should take with me for spending in the village etc..??
Any advice would be great.
I am so excited, like you I am looking forward to a week or lazying by the pool sunbaking, reading, drinking cocktails and getting a few massages and eating lots of yummy thai food.
Look forward to hearing from you Lexi
I actually didn’t do any shopping while I was on Koh Yao Noi so I’m afraid I can’t offer too much advice for that. I only visited the village for about twenty minutes on a scooter trip around the island. There’s plenty of ATMs though, so don’t worry about needing to bring all your money in advance :-)
those pictures say it all
Yep, I felt so sad writing this post. I want to be back there now!
sounds like a paradise. beautiful photos!
Thank you! It really was like paradise…
So gorgeous and peaceful.
I wanna be there :)
It really was. I want to be there too! Especially when it’s so cold in Europe right now…
Want to go NOW.
This is just the way I’d like beaches to be, no sight of plastic,cans,cartons,diesel guzzling speed boats… and tourists!
Me too! It was especially nice after a couple of weeks in Phi Phi…
Lauren, this sounds AMAZING – I hope this post doesn’t get too popular, or your paradise may end up getting spoiled if people read it and decide to head there!
The photos are gorgeous and I wish I was there now, instead of in my school pretending to do work.
I know, I really agonised over whether to write this post… Or whether to write it and not put the name of the island. But Dave wrote a post with the name in it so it seemed a bit pointless!
Sounds gorgeous! I saw mentions of Koh Yao Noi when I was planning my Thailand trip last year, but decided to skip it. Totally kicking myself now, obviously.
…Just an excuse to go back though, hey?
Absolutely! I might be heading to back to SEAsia sooner than expected so another trip to Thailand is def in the cards!
Looks amazing. Now on my bucket list.
No! Take it off! Nobody else is allowed to go! ;)
Yup, Koh Yao Noi is one of the best. I know the exact beach you are talking about. One of the few islands in Thailand that still retains it’s culture and has more locals than tourists.
You summed it up perfectly! :)
It looks so gorgeous!! I want to be out of the rain and the wind and there now! x
Sigh… Me too!
I liked Koh Yao Noi too! I loved scooting around to get some yummy pad thai or banana roti and the locals were so friendly. Unfortunately the weather was definitely not as good as you seemed to have it, but I guess that’s what happens when you go in low season.
I don’t know – it looks pretty amazing to me!
So cool that you were able to find such an unknown place and get the break you needed. I’m not sure I’d be able to go for a week without the Internet. :)
We talked about maybe finding a beach where there was no internet… but then we got nervous about being unplugged for that long. =/ I wish we had taken the plunge while we were in Thailand, though! This place looks gorgeous and relaxing (my favorite combination).
Looks gorgeous! I’m not much of a beach person, but I suddenly loved them when I was in SE Asia a few months ago. I didn’t make it to Thailand, but Andy and I might have to check this out when we do get to Thailand someday.
Great tip Lauren – and the perfect antidote to touristy Thailand.
I haven’t experienced the Thai islands yet and was wondering if any exist that aren’t overcrowded with tourists – this looks like my idea of heaven!
It looks beautiful! But a week without internet? Yikes!
Thanks for the info Lauren. We found an incredible deal so are heading there in November. Which accommodation did you stay at?
I stayed at Tabeak Guesthouse.
Great info, thanks! My husband and I, along with our 2 year old, are headed to the area in January and considering Yao Noi…in your opinion, it is a good place to bring little kids?
Well, it’s very quiet, very few backpackers, not really much of a party island, so yes! Although, aside from the beach there may not be too much to keep them busy/entertained.
Hi Lauren, Did you not miss a swimming pool staying at the guesthouse. We are really undecided about where to stay. We don’t want to pay a fortune but travelling so far for only 3 nights before we head off to Karon Beach we want it to be absolutely right. Any advice, please ?
No I didn’t miss a swimming pool… the guesthouse is literally less than 10 metres from the sea. And having a swimming pool isn’t really too much of a priority for me ;). I work and travel so this wasn’t a holiday for me, but somewhere to work. If you think you’ll miss a pool then there are a lot nicer hotels on the island that have one — and I suspect if you do want a pool you probably travel a little fancier than I do and you probably wouldn’t want to stay somewhere with only cold water showers!
just found your friendly and nice blog. We are going to Ya Noi in 12 days for a week, we have been there before 3 years ago.
So any hint is welcome (places to eat, scooter rental…). I love the place for the same reason as you do, I admit we are staying at the six senses resort, but we admire the simple things just as much (so, we, too are not really in need for a warm shower, cold is a relative term in Thailand, anyway) we just can not stand the main stream places, with the usual bunch of smart phone carrying people , ruining and wasting items from breakfast buffets…you get the picture. So for us it is usually high end or a canoe and a tent (or both combined!)
After that we go to Ko Kood, which is also a very nice place near the Cambodia border.
Granted, you want any hints from us – ask for it!
After nearly a year in Thailand, the first I heard of Koh Yao Noi was from my Thai friend just last week. “It’s my dream vacation,” she told me. So I was all scheduled to go, but then I got a substitute teaching job in Trat, and am now spending my last two weeks in Koh Kood – which I would describe in exactly the same way! Have you been here (Koh Kood)?
I have not been to Koh Kood, but I had a friend stay there over the past few weeks and he seemed to love it. It’s definitely on my list now :-)
Wooow, what a beautifull place. My fiance and me are getting married in June :D We really want to go to Koh Yao Noi. I was wondering is June a good time to visit this place? Or is the waether terrible?
I haven’t been in June, but I was on Koh Yao Noi a couple of weeks ago and there was a thunderstorm pretty much daily. Given that April is at the very start of the rainy season and June is right in the middle of it, I’d imagine it would be likely to rain every single afternoon you’re there. Maybe check average weather conditions for Phuket, Krabi and Koh Phi Phi and average it out?
I loved the rain and thunderstorms, but if you’re looking for a relaxing, sunny, sunbathing, beach holiday you probably would be best to avoid Yao Noi.
This sounds like the perfect island but the only time we could visit is late April to early May. Any idea how good/bad the weather may be?
I was there in May this year. It did rain every single day, but this was mostly in the afternoon so as long as you did things in the morning and relaxed for the rest of the day it was fine. I do work though so I had plenty to do when it was raining. I’m not sure how fun it would have been if I’d been staring at the walls for hours, unable to go outside!
So, yeah it’s pretty manageable but if you want a sunbathing-beach-everyday vacation then May probably isn’t the best time of year.
Thanks for coming back to me. After our travels to HCMC, Hanio, Bangkok and Chiang Mai we have 8/9 days for relaxing and (hopefully) soaking up the sun so do you have any suggestions on places similar to Koh Yao Noi? We’ll be leaving from Chiang Mai around the 24th of April and have to be back at Bangkok on May 3.
Well, it is the rainy season in Thailand so the islands will be similar to Yao Noi climate-wise and it will rain everyday — it’s not a great time of year to try and soak up the sun, to be honest.
Koh Lipe was a reasonably quiet island — like, there was 1000 backpackers instead of the 5 on Yao Noi, but it was still quiet compared to anywhere else I’ve visited.
Check out the average monthly rainfall for a few islands, but I wouldn’t set yourself up for lying on the beach sunbathing all day everyday :-)
Hi! Where did you stay on the island, if you don’t mind me asking?
Great info thanks for all that…..
We are planning to stay at Ko Yao Beach Bungalow in the South West of the island….did you come across that?
Were there any bars or restaurants that stood out….we love thai food and can do spicy.
Daft question maybe but as the island is Muslim is it possible to get a cold beer or a sundowner or is alcohol not really available?
I haven’t stayed at Koh Yao Beach Bungalow. It seems like it’s pretty basic on Travelfish, if this is the same place: http://www.travelfish.org/accommodation_profile/thailand/southern_thailand/phang_nga/ko_yao_noi/all/2773
In terms of restaurants and bars… there are places that call themselves bars but never really have more than a couple of people in them, although pretty much every restaurant serves alcohol, so that’s not a problem :-). I ate at Pyramid Bar a lot, and just random shacks by the beach. A disliking of spicy food, coconut and peanuts means I cannot eat Thai food aside from chicken and rice so I’m not the best person to give Thai food recommendations — sorry!
Thanks for the info…my guess is that the bungalows have been added to since the review in 2007 and there are more there now and less grotty!
However will take your advice on Tabeak and see if we can get in there as it sounds great.
No worries! Hope you have a great time! :-)
We are booked at Tabeak for a week in Dec before we head to Jum…..thanks for the advice. Looking forward to it…..we have been holidaying in Thailand since 1998 and some places have changed beyond all recognition so finding places that hark back to the begone days is always a treat. :0)
We are going to Ko Yai Yao next March and wondering about staying at Tabeak.
How do you contact them please,and which side of the island is it on?
Thanks for you help!
Firstly, Tabeak is on Koh Yao Noi, not Koh Yao Yai.
If you meant Koh Yao Noi, then their website would be a good start ;-). It has their email address and phone numbers. http://www.kohyaotabeak.com/
Hope you have an amazing time in Tabeak, Sam! It’s a special place :-)
how did you get there? it looks amazing. I start my travels in 6 months time and would love to go somewhere different.
By boat from Koh Phi Phi
Would you recommend booking accommodation before arriving on Koh Yao Noi or just arrive and try to get something then?
I’ve never known anything on Koh Yao Noi ever be fully booked so you should be fine doing either :-). I don’t book in advance.
I appreciate you for the contribution you are making to the people who want to travel around the world. I personally got to know so many things in your sharing. Very help full for people like me who haven’t traveled abroad yet. Sincere Thanks.
Me and my life partner will be travelling abroad for the first time that too Honeymoon, so we want to make it memorable life long. So i want your support.
We had finalized to Stay in Paradise Koh Yao for a week in June 2014. We will be travelling Via Bangkok one day staying there onward and return journey.
Kindly suggest us the places and things to explore in Koh Yao, what all things we need to make sure we carry during one week stay in Paradise Resort.
Places to shop in Bangkok and best food joints for international cuisine.
Great to hear you’ve decided to go to Koh Yao Noi! To be honest, all of things I did on Yao Noi are mentioned in this post — riding a scooter around the island, visiting the Holy Spring, kayaking to Koh Nok, taking a trip around Phang Nga Bay… And you can see my packing list here https://www.neverendingfootsteps.com/2013/08/06/the-contents-of-my-backpack-two-years-on/ to get an idea of what to take.
I do offer a trip planning service for a small fee if you’d like very detailed information and help with planning your vacation. I’m afraid that answering your question in full would take at least an hour of my time to research and plan out. Feel free to drop me an email through my contact form if this interests you, otherwise enjoy your trip! :-)
We are heading to the Six Senses hotel on Yao Noi for our honeymoon but are worried there isnt much happening out side of the island. excursions are expensive through the hotel. Are they plenty of place to choose excursions from? Alo restaurants how were they?
Yes, I took a quick look and the prices for excursions are shockingly expensive! We rented a kayak for the day from a guy on a beach and paddled out to Koh Nok (https://www.neverendingfootsteps.com/2012/06/13/a-painful-paddle-to-a-private-island-paradise/), which cost 500 baht. We hired a longtail, again from a guy on a beach, for the day to explore to islands in Phang Nga Bay (https://www.neverendingfootsteps.com/2012/07/02/paradise-a-boat-trip-phang-nga-bay/) — which was around 1000-1500 baht. Taking a speedboat to islands like Koh Phi Phi, or to Phuket or Krabi never cost more than around 700 baht. You could rent a scooter for a day for 200 baht, too. I’d suggest heading to the main town — it’s the only part of the island with any real shops or restaurants — and speaking to any travel agent there to find reasonable prices.
Restaurants were great but there weren’t many of them! I’m not sure if there’ll be any within walking distance of where you’re staying, but if you rent a scooter you’ll easily be able to get around! I liked Pyramid Bar and Sabai Corner.
It was great to find your post this morning. We are heading to KohYao Noi to spend Christmas and New Year’s, however I have a friend that said it is too quite an I should probably include some days in Phi Phi Island. I just wanted to have enough time to explores the Island. We are staying 4 days at Koh Yao Yai and then heading to stay 14 days in Yao Noi. Is that too much? How easy is to visit Krabi and other places from Koh Yao Noi. Your comments are more than welcome. I have found the Island beautiful and exactly what I wanted but maybe its just to many days.
I’ve spent 14 days in Koh Yao Noi before and loved it. There isn’t all that much to do though, so if you’re hoping to do something new every day you might run out of things to do quickly. I spend most of my time relaxing and reading and sunbathing on the beach, and it’s the perfect place to do that. I could happily spend months there, although the lack of food options would probably force me to leave eventually. It’s easy to visit Krabi from Yao Noi. I think there are ferries every day.
Phi Phi is… very difference to Koh Yao Yai and Noi. It’s noisy and dirty and full of drunk backpackers. It’s beautiful, too, with incredible scenery but… I’m not sure how enjoyable it would be after such quiet, non-touristy islands.
Yeah its a great island, unfortunately people write good things and thus more and more show up and the character of the island slowly fades away. Yes this too will happen.
I like the island because there is not a lot going on. Amazes me how many people come to Thailand and they put themselves in places like Phuket or Krabi which is not really any different than where they came from such as Miami and Vegas. Why? I have friends on the island now and go back as much as i can. Last time there I rented a kayak (tent, stove, paddling gear) and spent a solo-30day kayak trip island hopping all the way down the coast to Malaysia!! Now that was a gem!! Many islands I camped on were deserted and I had 300-meter long beaches all to myself. The further south you get beyond Ko Lanta the more the water is clearer and better snorkeling and scuba. Lots of coral and tropical fish down there. A couple islands i camped on I was there a few days and never saw anyone. Anyway…I’m rambling for sure. Yes go to Yao Noi for solitude, learning about the Thai Muslim culture which is predominately fishing and rubber plantations. Beaches are limited. Only one bar. A small town with a couple of restaurants, a 7-11, nice friendly people. Why go to Krabi and Phuket? They are terrible. Anyone interested in information (maps, photos, logistics etc etc for any 3-30 day kayaking trips around Yao Noi let me know. (No, Im not selling anything, just have done a lot of there) let me know email@example.com
Thanks for sharing, Norm! Koh Yao Noi is a very special place :-)
I definitely want to stay at Koh Yao Yai, but also would like to go to Phi Phi to see the beaches and landscape (for a shorter period of time), from my research I have not found a way (or a guaranteed) way to go from Phi Phi to Yao Yai or from Yao Yai to Phi Phi, is there any?
I think I am lazy when it comes to go to Phuket as a transfer to Phi Phi
I haven’t actually been to Koh Yao Yai so I can’t offer specific information. There’s definitely a speedboat from Yao Noi to Phi Phi though — and that’s only a short boat ride from Yao Yai :-)
thanks for this great article. We came from Ko Jum and spent some days in Krabi. We went to the overcrowded places like Ao Nang. Very beautiful but too many people like Norm said. Then we heard about a island called Koh Yao Noi but it seems as no one really knows muach about it. They told us there is nothing to see, no ATM, only very cheap bungalows or really expensive hotels. That makes me courious. We hopped on a taxi to Ao Thalene and got the first surprise travelling close by the impressive limestones. This island is really a piece of paradise. People are so friendly. We stayed at http://www.hillhouse-kohyaonoi.com and became friends with the owners. Bangdon took us to a tour with his longtail boat and showed us very nice places. Everything is so laidback here and you can trust people as they all dont lock ther doors and leave things outside. I can only recommend this place. But, please, keep it that pearl it is.
My name is Lauren, not Anna… Glad you enjoyed Yao Noi!
I´m so happy to read your article and confirm that our choice may be the best!
I´m going to stay at Koh Yao Noi next month with 6 friends and surely it will be a wonderful break after visiting Bangkok.
We would like to make some excursions to nearby islands. Which one do you recommend us to visit? Is it easy to hire a local guide? Excursions online are quite expensive!
Thank you so much for your recommendations!
Mirta, from Argentina
I’d definitely wait until you arrive before booking anything — the excursions online are aimed at Western tourists who like to have everything planned in advance, and thus charge triple the price of the travel agencies on the island.
I paid about 200 baht to rent a canoe for the day, and around 1500 baht to rent a longtail for the day. I’d recommend heading out into Phang Nga Bay for a day trip — there are plenty of longtail drivers around who you can negotiate prices with :-)
it was really a joy to read your article about Koh Yao. I was there last december and i loved it. Such a nice and quiet island between those busy tourist areas od Krabi and Phuket as well. The perfect place for relax a few days and let the noise behind. I guess within this year i will go there again for take a “time-out” :-)
Thanks, Max! Glad to hear that you enjoyed Koh Yao Noi and yes, it’s a nice change from the more touristy areas of Thailand :-)
A great article and comments on Yao Noi. My wife and I are thinking of going there for a month in May/June. There is a very reasonable house for rent (Waterhouse). Have you heard of it? It seems that renting a scooter would be around 200 baht/day. Do you know what it costs to rent a bicycle as I ride a lot and would like to explore the island and get around bu bicycle. Also, it appears that there is no ATM on the island. Is this correct and should one therefore take sufficient cash for daily expenses.
I haven’t heard of Waterhouse, I’m afraid. We rented scooters at 200 baht a day, so that’s correct. I think the guesthouse I was staying at rented bicycles for 100 baht a day.
There are multiple ATMs on the island and I’ve never known them to be out of cash.
My wife and I are headed to Thailand this weekend for our honeymoon! We’ll be staying in Koh Yao Noi for four days, and I wondered if you could share any details that would help us find the little beach you mentioned in your original post. It sounds idyllic, but I’m worried that it may be difficult to find given that it was just a small sign that led you there. Any suggestions?
All I can say is to head north along the east coast of the island. Around half way up there’s a turning where the path goes inland and the sign is right at the turning. I hope you manage to find it!
I was wondering if you help me? Earlier this year my husband and I visited Thailand for the first time. We booked via Trailfinders and stay 2 nights Bangkok, then headed down to Ao Nang, Krabi (Sheraton) and fell in love with the beaches. I am already planning next year’s trip (yah!).
We are looking at spending 8 nights in the Paradise in Noi before heading to Phi Phi for 4 nights (Outrigger hotel). I am a little worried about the beaches in Noi, lots of blogs say they are “disappointing” can you advise?
Many thanks and love the blog :)
They’re not the best beaches in Thailand, but the advantage is that you’ll likely have every single one of them to yourself, which is near-impossible on the popular Thai islands. The one that I mention scootering to in this post was really nice.
I am trying to find a great spot for Christmas with my husband and four year old boy before a month of work in Chiang Mai. We’ve never been to Asia at all, and Koh Yao Noi was coming to the top of the list even before seeing your post. Any suggestions on where to stay? The beaches look so nice, I suppose a pool isn’t even needed for the little one.
Hi Ashley, I’ve only ever stayed at Tabeak Viewpoint. I can recommend that but I think they might only have double rooms so may not work if you have a kid. I wouldn’t want to recommend somewhere I haven’t personally stayed, but most places on the east coast get a good write up. Lots of nice resorts, too! I don’t think you’d need a pool — I’ve never felt like I was missing out by not having one.
Thanks for the information. My wife and I will be in Thailand next month and Yoa Noi is appealing. I know from previous visits to Thailand that longtail boats are easy to arrange at Krabi, but is that the case in Yao Noi as well? Our hotel (Six Senses) wants to sell private boat charters and instead, we would like to rent a long tail boat for a day or two and also to arrange transfers to/from Krabi and Phuket in the evening several times. Is that possible?
Yep, it’s super-easy to arrange longtail boats from Koh Yao Noi.
Sounds wonderful…..I have booked a private ocean pool villa in Six Senses Yao Noi for 2 weeks … I can’t wait to be there with my husband…
Loved your piece on Koh Yao Noi. I’m planning a month vacation in Thailand next month. Was planning on Ko Lanta but after reading your piece I might just visit Koh Yao Noi instead.
Could you please send me details of how I can get there.? Please…
I promise to keep all details you share with me Top Secret.
Thanks and keep up the great work you are doing…
You can take a ferry from Phuket, Krabi or Koh Phi Phi. There’s usually one a day.
me and my boyfriend are staying some days at Koh Yao Noi at the beginning of November. We would like to make an excursion to Koh Hong. Do you know a good and not too expensive tour operator offering this from Koh Yao Noi? After our stay on Koh Yao our next stop should be Koh Phi Phi. We haven’t found a ferry connection between Koh Yao and Koh Phi Phi. Do you know a possibility to go to Phi Phi Island without using the connection over Phuket or Krabi?
Thanks a lot!
I’d recommend turning up in Koh Yao Noi and asking one of the local longtail owners to take you out. We paid around $40 for a day trip to a dozen or so islands.
We took the ferry to Koh Yao Yai, took a songthaew to the ferry terminal on the other side of the island, and then got a ferry to Koh Yao Noi. No need to stop off in Krabi or Phuket.
We came across your comment for the beautiful Lanta Noi. Planning to drop by next month, we will be travelling from Phuket to Lanta. It seems to be difficult to find any other website bout Lanta Noi, was wondering you could advise which website? We will arrive Phuket 1st then move to Lanta Yai (after reading your article, we decided to change to Lanta Noi). Would appreciate if you could advise more or maybe i can email you?
Stefan & Corene
Do you mean Koh Yao Noi or Koh Lanta Noi? This is a post about Koh Yao Noi :-)
Hi there! sorry, it was Koh Yao Noi but anyway your recond guest house person in charge had already advise me what and how to do! :)
But actually from what i heard Koh Yao Noi is Koh Lanta Noi (small) and also from my research! :)
Having been to both islands I can tell you they’re not the same place :-)
Have a great trip!
Hi Lauren! I’m heading to Thailand in April and would like to spend about a week in the islands… and it seems I have to see Koh Yao Noi!! Do you have any advice as to how to get there or would you prefer I emailed you? It seems like the perfect paradise to end my Southeast Asia trip!
It’s pretty easy to get to Koh Yao Noi now. You can catch a ferry from Phuket, Krabi or Koh Phi Phi — I’ve done it from all three and it’s been simple — just turn up at a travel agent and buy a ticket :-)
The best island in Thailand BY FAR is Koh Kood, near Cambodia. It has a couple of cheap guesthouses, electricity, wi-fi, and is completely devoid of “party backpackers”, touts or anything else. Is a big island, a couple of fishing villages, and Koh Maak and Koh Chang are relatively close if you want to see people (the party scene in “Lonely Beach” in Koh Chang has the exact amount of “laid back but hook-up with a Russian/Swedish tourist if you want”). Do not expect to get drunk and party in Koh Kood, is a place to enjoy until it gets overdeveloped.
Heard great things about Koh Kood and would love to visit next time I’m in Thailand!
Thank you very much for this AMAZING post.
I am looking to book into the 6 seasons on my honeymoon and would like to have a couple of excursions using kayaks or longboats onto other islands without using the pricey excursions of the hotel.
Where would be the best place to book these from? :)
I’d just turn up and ask anyone at any of the shops in the southeast corner of the island. That’s where we booked ours from :-)
I am just back from a three week holiday in Thailand….OMG I loved it! We spent our last 4 days in Koh Yao! Wow, its fab. We stayed in the Paradise resort which made it quite awkward to get around without paying the hotel prices but it was definitely worth it!
I think it was research on Koh Yao that brought me to your site initially and I haven’t stopped reading your blog since! :)
Oh, I’m so happy to hear that, Aisling! :-)
Wow, the beach is so beautiful. Wish could be there. Just ask, is there diving spot at the beach?
Thanks for the great review.
Ah, I’m not too sure! I think there might be a dive shop on the island, but not sure where it goes — I’m not a diver!
Thanks for the excellent blog. Do you know how to contact / book with Teabeak as their website doesn’t work and not sure they’re replying to email.
All the best
Hi Simon! Try: firstname.lastname@example.org — I’ve used that to book successfully before. Hope it works! :-)
Hi Lauren, we’re all booked in for Tabeak! Quick question, what is the beach / sea like opposite the bungalows as well as in general for Kho Yao Noi. Some folk are saying not as nice as other places in Thailand…but they are known to be wrong!
Ah, sorry for the slow response, Simon! I’ve been unwell. The ocean isn’t that great opposite the bungalows. It’s fine at high tide but pretty rocky at low tide.
I’m headed to KYN in about a month with my husband. Could you please give your input on appropriate dress? I’ve read that it’s more conservative due to religion, can women wear a typical western sundress/shorts/tank top? I don’t want to be disrespectful or look out of place.
Thanks for all of the tips!
Yep, I wore shorts and a strap top while I was there, and so did most tourists. I didn’t really feel like there was any kind of dress code to be followed :-)
defo one for me for my next trip.
Glad to hear it! :-)
It’s 2016, four years later…can you say that the place is still similar to how you described it? :(
Of course there’s more tourism, but does anyone know if it’s less than ko lipe, ko chang, etc.? We’re aiming for March 2017.
Well, not really, because I haven’t been back recently. I did return two years ago and it was exactly the same, though. There might be a few more guesthouses there, but there certainly won’t be some kind of crazy party scene. Definitely way, way, way fewer people than Koh Chang and Koh Lipe.
It looks lovely, how i sort of would see paradise :)
Is it more for couples or also a fine option for a solo traveller?
I think it would be fine for a solo traveller. It’s not really a romantic place or full of couples.
I’ve heard that riding bikes is popular on the island, do you know if there were places that rented them to non-hotel guests?
Yeah, there were a few places that offered them around the island.
We are traveling to Ko Yao Noi at the end of Jan and I was SO delighted to see your post on it!
We planned to spend a week in Ko Yao Noi then a week in Ko Lanta… I noticed you weren’t pleased with Ko Lanta – do you have a recommendation of another island? Or should we stick with our plan?
Thank you for your advice!
I think Koh Lanta is a good option, as it’s far more chilled than the alternatives. You could take a look at Koh Yao Yai, though, if you’re not sure, as that gets great reviews. I wasn’t that impressed with Koh Lanta, but I didn’t spend long there or make too much of an effort to explore, so don’t necessarily pay my opinion much notice :-)
Hello Lauren, when I search for Ko Hong, I get 2 results; one east of Ko Yao Noi and one west of it (nearer to the Phang Nga park). Which one did you mean in your post?
Oh, weird. I can’t find a second one. It’s east of Koh Yao Noi (and so is Phang Nga Park).
Thanks for sharing your experience and helping everyone with nice tips. I will travel in Thailand with a stop over in Koh Yao Noi for 5 nights in the beginning of April. I would very much like to do a day tour to Phi Phi but I can’t find a lot of information online wheter that’s possible and for what price. I’m a bit concerned because I read somewhere that the daily ferries from Phi Phi to Koh Yao Noi do not run in April for being the beginning of the rainy season. So I was wondering wheter the tours could be running or not? And where in the island should i look for them? Visiting the james bond island is other of my ideas. In your opinion can i do it with a longtail boat and guide or is best to go with an organized tour? And is this even a possibility from Koh Yao Noi?
Thank you so much!!
I loved this post! It helped me decide out of all the islands in Thailand to go to this one! However, i was wondering how you booked your ferries to the island because i’ve been seeing a lot of people saying that there are no ferries going around in the low season months. I’m going in July, and would love to know if you pre-booked your ferries or just hoped on to one at the docks?
For both visits (from Phi Phi and from Krabi), I booked in advance from a random travel agent on the street. I’m fairly certain there’ll be ferries during the low season.
What a grat write-up !! We are planning our honeymoon for this December. We are landing in phuket for one night and then to Koh Yao Noi for 3 nights. Any suggestions for other destinations in the area especially for New years. Not massively into the party chaos. Landing 24th Dec and flying out the 4th of Jan. I will appreciate the comments and tips.
Koh Lanta is a good option for a quieter island.
I have been there . This Island is an amazing place. Most of the locals are Muslims and they are so friendly.
Yep! I love this island.
I came across your blog post in a google search about Ko Yao Noi/Yai. Thank you so much for the detail. I know this was originally written in 2012, but wondering how you think the internet is today (2018). I will be meeting up with my husband in Bangkok after a two week study trip for his MBA and we are planning to spend four nights in the islands. Ko Yao Noi is my top choice for spending that time, but we’ll need to be connected a little bit, at the very least to FaceTime with our two kids at home. Will the connection be strong enough for this? Being so far away from them is my biggest worry about the trip (we are from MN, USA).
CLOSE THIS DAM BLOG ABOUT YAO NOI DOWN!!! I BEEN GOING HERE FOR OVER 10 YEARS AND EACH YEAR MORE SND MORE TPURISTSCFLOCK THIS ISLAND ON THEIRC”VACATIONS” FOR 3-7 DAYS ANNOYING THE LOCALS.. DUM B AMERICANS LIKE YOU WRITE ABOUT HOW THEY FOUND THIS GREAT ISLAND AND YOU ALL SHOULD GO THERE…NO ONE SHOULD BE TELLING EVERYONE ABOUT THIS PLACE THEY SHOULD FIND IT ON THEIR OWN …PEOPLE LIKE YOU WRITING AND PUTTING ALL THIS OUT FOR THE ENTIRE WORLD TO SEE ARE CREATING WHITE FORANG RESORTS TO START BEING POPPED UP ON THIS ONCE QUIT BEAUTIFUL ISLAND! IF YOU FIND A PLACE LIKE THIS YOU KEEP IT QUIET AND DONT TELL THE WORLD ABOUT IT THATS THE ENTIRE REASON ITS SPECIAL …YOU “TRAVEL” BLOGGERS RUIN MANY PLACES THAT WERE ONCE SECRET SPOTS …IM BETTING YOU HAVE A “GO FUND ME” OR SOME PATRION ACCOUNT WHERE YOU BEG FOR MONEY FROM PEOPLE TO SUPPORT YPUR TRAVELING AND JUST GO VACTION TO SPORTS WITHOUT GAINING ANY LOCAL KNOWLEDGE …THIS IS DISGUSTING THAT YOU ARE PUTTINGVALL THIS INFO OIT FOR THE FORANGS TO GO FLOOD THESE PLACES ..THIS NEEDS TO BE SHUT DOWN IMMEDIATELY …this is reason 6 senses resort and paradise resort are on the island now …..these places do not belong on nice quiet tropical islands like this ..leave your american mind behind you next time you travel
Okay, first of all, calm down. For someone who refers to themself as a respectful traveller, I’m seeing little evidence of it here. Let’s address some of your points:
I’m not American, so I have no American mind to leave behind when I travel. It’s funny how you call me a dumb American when you’re clearly too dense to even figure out that I’m not from the U.S.
I also don’t have a Patreon or Go Fund Me. I’m very fortunate to have a successful business that I use to fund my travels in their entirety. If I can’t afford to travel, I don’t. I’m not a dick.
One of the big downsides of the modern world of travel is that nowhere remains a secret anymore. If I hadn’t have written this post, it wouldn’t have made a difference to the tourism levels in Koh Yao Noi. Lonely Planet has been covering it for years, travel agents on nearby islands and the mainland have been selling ferry tickets to it for decades, there’s a hundred-odd other travel bloggers who have written about the island in depth on their sites. It’s even been written about in the Guardian! And, of course, it’s also worth considering that tourism can provide greater opportunities for the locals to earn money and create a better life for themselves — it sounds like you would rather they remain cash-strapped and struggling, all so that you can have the island to yourself. That would make you a pretty shitty traveller.
It’s rare for anywhere this accessible and wonderful to remain a secret these days. The sooner you make peace with that fact, accept it, and learn to enjoy places in their current state, the less angry you’ll be. Because, um, your comment makes you sound seriously unstable.
I have been there last summer. This Island is amazing. Most of the locals are Muslims and they are so friendly. Can’t wait to go back there !
Thanks for sharing with us
Hi, love this post, thanks so much! We are actually heading to Koh Yao Yai next week. Are there similarities and are they easy to get between? Thanks in advance for your help, Christie
I haven’t actually been to Yao Yai, so I can’t comment on the similarities. From what I understand, Koh Yao Yai is less touristy and more resorty.
Thank you for this post. I’d already booked a two week trip to this island and was looking for a little more detail on what the island is actually like. I’m very happy to hear that its going to be quiet and beautiful! I don’t really like crowds and (even though I am one), often find too many tourists very frustrating. I’m going in April/May and am looking forward to the sunny beaches and even tropical downpours! Thank you for writing this post.
You’re going to have such an amazing time, Anna! I’ve been there in May and it was one of my favourite times to visit — the evening thunderstorms are amazing!
Hi Lauren, great post! Could you please tell me, do you have any idea on how the island is on Ramadan month, since the inhabitants are mostly Muslim? I mean, will I find some places to eat during the day, or will I be stuck to eat only in my hotel until sunset?
Hi Lauren, amazing post, I have booked to go in July next year just me and my 2 teenage children I want them to explore the islands and just relax.
Could you confirm at the hotels I can book excursions and also book a tut tut or a car as my children will be too young to drive bikes.
You’d be best off confirming with the hotel you want to book, rather than with me. But yeah, you can usually book all of that stuff everywhere in Thailand. If you can’t at the hotel, there’ll be a store five minutes down the street when you can :-)
Can’t beat Cocos (Keeling) Islands for the most gorgeous, secluded beaches and islands in the world. I think you’d love it!
Hello. We´re going to Ko Yai Noi and we would like to know how to go from here to Phuket airport? Can´t seem to find ferries. Thank you
You can take a taxi to the ferry terminal and then a ferry from there. You can use the 12Go Asia booking widget in my post to take a look at times and book in advance, if you want.