We wanted to go to the sea for a few days. Relax, snorkel and eat seafood. Little effort in getting there in combination with relaxation and beach, was the default. So we quickly came to Koh Yao Yai, which we both had not yet been. We were not at all disappointed.
What does Koh Yao Yai have to offer?
The island of Koh Yao Yai is located in Phang Nga Bay pretty much between Krabi and Phuket. When I first flew from Bangkok to Phuket many years ago, I was glued to the window with my nose. The view of the endless small islands jutting out of the sea was simply stunning. Like green stones in a blue puddle.
From below, it still looks spectacularly good. So from the beach you not only have the wide sea in front of you, but also always the view of a few islands. Simply beautiful.
On a day trip with a longtail boat, many of these small islands can be explored. We treated ourselves to a 6-hour boat trip and had a blast. On this tour we saw monkeys swimming in the sea, could photograph big lizards very close and climbed on a rock with a great view. We cruised between the rocks into a secluded bay and ended up with hundreds of other tourists on a beach with the headquarters of the Marine National Park.
Only the snorkeling I had imagined better. Unfortunately, it had rained in the days before and the visibility was not good. In addition, the corals in the Andaman Sea are still badly damaged since the sea warming a few years ago. See Wikipedia on coral bleeching.
At D&D Sea Sky Tour in a side street at Loh Pared Beach we were served very well. For 3500 THB we had four a pleasant ride to the pier and a very comfortable boat all to ourselves. So we could always decide for ourselves how long we wanted to stay at an island. But there are also shorter and cheaper tour offers.
It is recommended to rent a scooter for 200 – 300 baht per day to explore the island. The ride from north to south takes about 30 to 45 minutes. So you can then also make a detour to a hidden beach or stop at a viewpoint.
The few stairs at the northern viewpoint for a nice view should be enjoyed. The jungle trial behind is only for people who have never been in the Thai forest.
Koh Yao Yai Beaches
Our hotel was on Loh Pared Beach. A long, flat beach with fine sand and only 3 hotels. An absolute recommendation, because you can swim here even at low tide. On the other hand children are safe, because the first few meters go flat into the water. In addition, the sunset from the boat bar (and restaurant) is very cozy to watch.
RESTAURANT TIP: On the beach there is a restaurant with delicious seafood: Mama’s. The Tom Yam Gung is highly recommended. 300 meters up the street is Isaan Fine Food. Here I really liked the Nuea Nam Tok (“waterfall beef”, pickled, slightly sour beef). There are other restaurants just a few meters away.
Note: Since this is a Muslim island, alcohol is not available everywhere.
The Ao Muong Beach in the very south of the island can be reached by a 300 meter long path from the road. There is only one hut there, where snacks are sold. We were alone on the beach. Ingenious.
A highlight is the Lam Haed Beach. No building spoils the view, white sand and the tip stretches at low tide almost to the neighboring island of Koh Yao Noi over. The 3 palm trees with a hammock is a super awesome Instagram photo spot.
Hotels Koh Yao Yai
I can highly recommend our hotel Yao Yai Beach Resort. We had the Boat House with its own terrace and mini pool. The garden is beautiful and the resort is located directly on the beach. In addition, especially at the moment, the price-performance ratio is extremely good. Price category 4.
The simple bamboo huts of the Yao Yai Beachfront are very reasonably priced. No great luxury, but a location right at the southern end of the long Laem Had Beach. There are a couple of restaurants on the road nearby and a small minimart with the usual groceries. Price category 2.
A few meters away is the Thiwson Beach Resort with a large pool and restaurant with delicious food. The beach is not special, but the location and the garden quite appealing. Price category 3-4.
How to get there?
Vietjet Air offers direct flights from Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai to Phuket, which I think is exceptionally clever if you want to combine the north and south on a Thailand trip.
From Phuket Airport, airport cabs go to Bang Rong Pier for 650 baht. From there, speedboats leave several times a day for 400 baht with a stopover on Koh Yao Noi to the northern end of the island Koh Yao Yai, the Chong Lard Pier. Right at the disembarkation point, songthaews are already waiting for guests. We drove four for 650 baht about 30 minutes to Loh Pared Beach.
From Thiensin Pier near Phuket Town the ferry goes to Koh Yao Yai. The pier is very close to Loh Pared Beach.
Boats also go to the island from Krabi.
Is Koh Yao Noi more beautiful?
This is claimed by an acquaintance who knows the smaller of the two islands in Phangnga Bay better. So I took a little half-day trip to Koh Yao Noi. My first subjective impression: the villages are a little cleaner. Less garbage around the houses. I did not find a really nice beach on the east side of the island. Most likely the Khlong Jark Beach or Thao Khao Beach. But maybe it was just my impression and at high tide it looks much nicer.
Wonderful batik cloths are made right on Tha Khao Pier by a couple of ladies from the village using traditional wax painting techniques. Opposite there is a souvenir store with bicycle rental (150 baht per day for simple bikes – tips for cycling in Thailand). Boats from Krabi also dock at this pier.
The Sunset Bar is the most beautiful place to watch it. GoogleMaps
Resort Koh Yao Noi
At the two beaches mentioned above, the busy island ring road runs between the hotels and the beach. For me less appealing.
In contrast, I found an extraordinary resort. A real insider tip that promises an “oasis of peace and relaxation”. Surrounded by a spacious garden, tree houses designed with great attention to detail are scattered on the hillside. Located away from the road and yet close to the nearest village (with restaurants, stores, ATMs and whatever else you need), the cicadas are the only noise source during dusk.
Treehouse-Holidays is for travelers who are looking for something special. With meditation/yoga place and pavilion in the lake. Dreamlike. I will spend a few nights here next time. At the southern end of the island. Price category 3-4.
How to get there?
As already described above with the neighboring island, the journey from Phuket or Krabi is quite simple. For the regular longtail boat between the two islands (Chong Lard Pier and Manoh Pier) you pay 50 baht, if you want to charter your own boat, it costs 150 baht.
Even Phuket residents enjoy the peace and nature on one of the nearby islands during an extended weekend. They are right. I, too, will come back and discover more. But especially to enjoy the tranquility and the sea.
- up to 500 Baht
- from 500 to 1000 Baht
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- over2500 Baht