Koh Yao Noi (“Little Long Island”) is a small island in Phang Nga Bay in the proximity of its bigger sister, Koh Yao Yai (meaning “Big Long Island”). This small piece of land surrounded by the Andaman Sea is definitely less known than islands such as Koh Lanta, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and the Koh Phi Phi archipelago, not to mention Phuket.
On this quiet and peaceful piece of land, you won’t go clubbing, there is no loud music and crowds of farangs. If this is what you’re looking for, I invite you to get to know Koh Yao Noi – a Thai island definitely off the beaten track.
Koh Yao Noi – How to Get There?
Of course, as we’re talking about the island, the only option to get there is by longboat or speedboat. When buying a ticket at the port from which you depart, find out which port on Koh Yao Noi you are sailing to.
Prices vary depending on which type of water transport you choose. Speedboats are faster but also more expensive. I paid 350 baht to reach Koh Yao Noi from Phang Nga Bay by a longboat.
How to Get Around Koh Yao Noi?
Getting around Koh Yao Noi without a scooter is very difficult. Sure, you can handle a taxi, go to the resort and sit there all the time, but it’s self-limiting.
Scooter rentals are located around Manoh Pier. I decided to choose the first better company we found along the way. This is the first rental after leaving the port heading towards the only town (or large village) on the island, a 3-minute walk from the disembarkation.
The rental has no markings. Just stop by the scooters, and someone will come to you. After signing in the notebook and paying the fee (200 baht per day), I picked up a slightly aged two-wheeler. It was not the most beautiful scooter in the history of mankind, but it fulfilled its basic functions – it started, drove, did not go out, and did not break down.
When to Visit Koh Yao Noi?
The best time to visit Koh Yao Noi is the same as for all other islands in the area, which is from November to May (to avoid the rainy season). The weather is stable, and rainfall is sporadic. In other months, accommodation may be cheaper, but it is better to check the cruise schedule in advance and be prepared so that perhaps not all attractions will be available.
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How Many Days in Koh Yao Noi?
Koh Yao Noi is a small island, but you should consider several day trips: Phang Nga Bay, Koh Yao Yai, or Hong Island are just some of the most popular ones. I would say at least 4 full days are needed to fully explore the region.
What to Do in Koh Yao Noi?
The short answer is: relax and enjoy life!
I know. You’re not here to read such clichés. Let’s get to the specifics.
Watch the Sunrise
For starters, I highly recommend suppressing your inner lazy spirit and getting up at sunrise. There are dozens of charming places on the island from which to admire the new dawn. Personally, I went a few hundred meters from our bungalow, walked a bit on the rocks exposed by the tide, and from the place where the land met the sea, we admired the pastel beginning of the day.
Enjoy the Beach
Quite an obvious choice on a paradise island. Remember the ebb and flow! Take my word for it, Koh Yao Noi is much nicer to spend time on the amphibians at high tide (between 10:00 and 15:00 or late evening).
Although Koh Yao Noi is not famous for its heavenly beaches, there are definitely a few worth noting:
- Khao Beach
- Klong Jark Beach
- Long Beach
All of them are sandy. The descent into the water is shallow, and you can walk a really long distance in the water. Another advantage is the fact that there are practically no people on them. At high tide, they are all quite narrow, and you have to watch out for stones when walking on the bottom.
Watch the Sunset
The best observation spot is the extreme western point of the island, at the beach marked on Google Maps as “The Hideout Beach”. Here, at least a good ability to ride a scooter will definitely come in handy because after entering the jungle, a dirt road begins, leading up and down.
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It’s worth going on a ride like this at least once for the view.
There are some amazing spots easy to reach with a kayak.
Ko Kudu Yai is a stunning secluded island that offers a high likelihood of spending time alone. To reach the island, you can rent a kayak from Paradise Ko Yao Resort for approximately THB 200.
Ko Nok is a great place for kayaking that costs around THB 300 for 4 hours with a 30-minute paddling time. While on the island, you can relax at the beach or hike to the viewpoint. If you prefer, you can also take a boat from Laem Sai Pier to reach Ko Nok.
Where to Sleep in Koh Yao Noi?
Although Koh Yao Noi is small and not crowded, it does have a pretty nice choice of accommodation. There are dozens of bungalows, hotels, hostels, and resorts concentrated mainly along the southern coast.
I decided to choose a bungalow in a facility called Sabai Corner. It is a mini resort literally by the sea, in which there are twelve wooden huts located among the trees. There is a small parking lot for scooters by the road, and they serve really good food on the premises.
Bungalow in Sabai Corner
The lush green of the bush, combined with the sounds made by birds and insects, including several-minute concerts of cicadas, make sitting on the terrace of the house an extraordinary experience in itself. In addition, in Sabai Corner, there are feeders for … a family of hornbills! These beautiful oriental birds visit them regularly. Personally, I was enchanted by watching them.
Where to Eat in Koh Yao Noi?
Literally opposite Sabai Corner Bungalows is the Green Coffee House. It’s a green (as the name suggests) building with tables outside, you can’t miss it.
Thai and European-style breakfasts are served on-site. A huge choice of dishes (including really good sandwiches and cakes), decent coffee, and reasonable prices for the island, I eat there every day except Wednesday. Because they are closed on Wednesdays.
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Lunch and Dinner
We had lunch in two places – in our Sabai Corner, where they serve great curry and chicken with Thai basil, and in the nearby Pa Sai Thai.
The latter place is especially worth recommending. As for Koh Yao Noi, it’s really cheap, and the food is very tasty. Besides, I haven’t had such a delicious mango smoothie anywhere in Thailand!
Michal Jonca is passionate about travel and food experiences who visited 40+ countries on four continents. He is a Travel Guide leading adventurous trips around the Caucasus and the Community Manager at Passport Photo Online – a startup offering to take biometric document photos with your phone.
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Get Travel Insurance
Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that can go wrong on any trip. Be prepared for the worst with travel insurance. We use Travelex.
I use Skyscanner to find flights. I use it so much, I wrote an entire guide to finding cheap flights with Skyscanner! Momondo is also a great site for finding cheap flights.
Book a Place to Stay
I recommend using Expedia.com or Hotels.com for most hotel bookings. I prefer to book directly with Marriott when I stay there because of their excellent military discount.
If you prefer staying in a vacation rental instead, I recommend VRBO.
Choose Activities and Tours
To find great activities in any area I use Get Your Guide and Viator. If we are visiting a city with lots of popular attractions I always check CityPass and GoCard to see if they have discount cards available.
When I want to book a full-on multi-day tour I use TourRadar. They’ve got fantastic weekly deals.
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