Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi are known as Thailand’s most unspoilt islands. They are in the middle of Phang Nga Bay, surrounded by the Andaman Sea. Phuket is to the west of the Islands; Krabi is the east. Whichever port you’re departing from, on the way to Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai Islands you will be travelling through the emerald green waters on a boat, with amazing views of the limestone formations surrounding the area. Especially with Hong Archipelago, the beaches and views along the way are simply stunning to one’s eye.
Koh Yao…Noi or Yai
These are two of the biggest islands in Koh Yao Archipelago, Koh Yao Noi a bit further to the north than Koh Yao Yai. In Thai, the islands name formation is pretty simple. It breaks down to Island (Koh), Long (Yao), and then one is Little (Noi), and the other is Big (Yai).
It takes about 8 minutes to cross over between the islands on a long tail boat. Koh Yao Noi is the smaller sister Island of Koh Yao Yai.
The Islands are a fantastic getaway for those looking for a place with a lesser pace than that of Phuket. They have a much more relaxed environment and a setting that makes you feel at peace with the island. You can rent a motorbike or a bicycle for a day and explore the islands in full.
There’s a number of activities that you can immerse yourself in when you head over to the islands. As they are bigger than the other surrounding islands in the district, they are fantastic for hiking around the beautiful shrubs and green rainforest set in paradise.
Koh Yao Yai & Koh Yao Noi Island Tours
Getting to the amazing island of Koh Yao Yai is easier than most people think. It is especially safe with the amount of reliable tour companies out there these days. They can provide all land and sea transfers for you, so, in essence, offering you peace and mind once you have booked, no need to worry about a thing…apart from the weather perhaps!
Usual prices for an adult is around 1250 baht ($35) and child 1100 baht ($30). This is a service from Phuket Ao Po Grand Marina, and then to the Island by boat. Times are usually around 8 am, 11 am, 2 pm and 4 pm to the Island and 9 am, 12 pm, 3 pm and 5 pm returning to the Phuket from the Island. If you are heading from Krabi or Phang Nga area, there are similar tour companies all over the place, and won’t be any more than the Phuket prices.
For a full-serviced boat tour, you can always choose a trusted tour company. They will provide a pick-up, boat transfer, activities on the islands, as well as a guide. It is slightly more expensive but the service is worth it.
Koh Yao Yai Village
Ko Yao Yai Village is an amazing scenic village set on the Island, with excellent local markets, traditional foods, and a very long stretch of white sand beach.
The village itself is a beautiful set piece with a number of locals. They will provide you with all kinds of things to do, things to see, things to eat, and so on. A must is checking out the local market. It is famous for its traditional handcrafted Thai ornaments and materials, as well as local delicatessens.
The beach at Koh Yao Village is known for a wealth of activities during the day and at night. Beach volleyball and beach soccer on the white sands are probably the most popular ones. This is a fantastic way to mingle with the locals and travellers alike and meet new people. Of course, you have the sea right in front of you, with unbelievable clear waters perfect for snorkelling for a day. Or if you’re brave enough, go diving! Explore the amazing coral reefs and hundreds of species of marine life at your fingertips.
Koh Yao Yai Spa
If you are looking to relax even more while on the Paradise island, try one of the local Spa. Kao Spa, located amongst the lush rice fields of the island, is the most renowned.
This authentic Spa offers the very best of stress relieving treatments. The traditional Thai Spa experience will calm your mind and soul and sooth the body. At Kao Spa, they only use the very best and finest natural ingredients for massages, facials, and other spa treatments. They include fresh coconut oils, aloe vera, herbs, fresh lemon grass and cucumbers for eye regeneration as these are known for. You can certainly decide on different packages, whether you come alone, with a partner or with your family. Highly trained spa practitioners provide treatments and consultations before them.
You will not be short of choices when it comes to island getaway relaxation. The Ayurvana Spa and Koh Yao Yai Doctor Sand Healing Spa are also very popular on the island. It is advised to book beforehand as the Spa’s can be in very high demand during the high season. They are open from 9 am to 5 pm every day. You can book online, as well as on the day if you are lucky. There are numerous packages available.
Koh Yao Yai Spa Prices
The pricing depends on a variety of factors. What you want to have done, is it for yourself, or you and your partner, etc. There are special packages including the full treatment which lasts approximately 2 hours, split into 1-hour coconut massage, a 30 min salt scrub, and 30 min leg and foot massage, these are set at 3000 baht ($85) per person or as a couple 5500 baht ($155). If you prefer not to go for the full whammy, then try the four elements package, where you can choose between 60, 90 or 120 mins massage, that includes facial, scrub, wrap and nails. The 60 mins package starts from 1200 baht and goes up to 1900 baht for 90 mins, and 2400 baht for the 2 hours.
Koh Yao Yai Dining
You will not be disappointed with the amount of selection and beauty scenery that surrounds you when you head out for something to eat. Sit right in front of the Andaman Sea on the white sands, and watch the tides come in, and the sunset while sipping a glass of your favourite beverage and choice of food is, to say the least, tranquil.
Some famous names here are Krachang Bar and Grill, located on the beach, which is an open air venue. Krachang serves some of the best foods be it light snacks, gourmet meals, and a wide selection of drinks.
Kayee Restaurant, which serves both Western and Thai foods, burgers, pad Thai, pasta, etc. Kayee Restaurant is located at the resort, and serves food all day long, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner – and obviously, we can’t miss dessert out! Jakrajan, another dining place – mainly offering pastries, bakery foods, and smoothies, located by the resort pool.
One of the favourites is the Swim up bar, for light refreshments and drinks. Spending your time in the pool with the tropical sun beaming down on you, relaxing on your sun lounger, and let the decent staff handle all your needs for the duration you are there.
If you are looking for something slightly more romantic and intimate, then head over to Private Dining. Here they provide (weather permitting) a secluded private spot on the beach at sunset, or perhaps right in the rain forest, with a selection of incredibly delicious food choices. This is tuned more for the special occasions, for instance, anniversary or proposals (which aren’t uncommon here).
Ko Yao Yai Activites
Fancy a day of adrenaline fun or exploring the forests and beaches on four wheels? Check out Koh Yao Yai ATV Tour tour package. Prices usually range from 3000 ($85)baht for the rider, half that for a passenger, and 2500 ($70) baht for a child rider, again half that for a passenger. Usually, the ATV tour is a distance covering approximately 12km, and you will have stop-offs at some fantastic places on the way, for instance, Laem Nok Ok Beach, which is very private, and here you can enjoy a dip in the ocean. Lunch and snacks included. All equipment provided, you can enjoy riding across rough terrain, sand, and through tropical forests, an action-packed day for adventurers alike!
Are you more the ‘water/ocean’ type of person, then spend some time diving with the Elixir diving package, where they will provide you with all equipment, training, and excursions to spots all around Koh Yao Yai and further a field to anywhere based on the Andaman sea. Prices vary for different packages, so best to research what you want to do regarding diving beforehand, and of course the level and experience you have.
Another option is to head out to the sea and put your snorkelling gear on, and see the wonders of the ocean right beneath your feet. A huge wealth of tropical fishes and marine life ponder in the Andaman sea. There is never a dull moment when out in the sea.
Koh Yao Yai Village also offers wedding ceremonies, for this, you need to of course book well in advance and do your research and find the best Island company here to provide you with the service tailored to your needs.
Things to do in Koh Yao Noi
Koh Yao Noi also has some luxurious resorts. But then again, it has the better of both worlds in terms of accommodation. For backpackers looking for a small beach hut, Koh Yao Noi has some very good priced huts by the beach. Both Islands are family friendly in terms of activities and dining.
The smaller sister island of Koh Yao Yai is also a fantastic Island to explore. Being the smaller Island of the two, it is known to have more activities for the die hard action travellers out there! Number one must-do and the most popular way to explore the island is a bike tour.
You will find similar activities on both islands, with the addition of a Muay Thai gym, rock climbing sessions and Yoga Classes in Ko Yai Noi. Accommodation wise, you have the highly popular luxurious Six Senses Resort, the Koyao Bay Pavillions and Koyao Island Resort. All these offer fantastic high-class accommodation for an Island getaway. Prices vary from the season, and rooms, and different packs. Some of the resorts will offer tours inclusive and so forth.
A wealth of activities, from kayaking, learning how to cook Thai cuisine, heading out to a relaxation hub are all on the list of things to do. A popular Spa on this particular Island is the JJ Queen Spa, which offers fantastic natural and traditional massage therapy, healing and general relaxation away from everything else.
The Ko Yao Noi Island consists of a number of hidden private beaches that you will find on your venture. These are again paradise, facing the Andaman sea, with exquisite sea views, marine life, snorkelling and diving activities galore. Similar to its bigger brother Island – Ko Yao Yai. Food and Drink wise, Ezy Bar is a local popular place on the Island.
In essence, it is best to visit both Islands Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Nai. Both do have similar activities with the smaller sister island Koh Yao Nai having the edge when it comes activities, with KYN Muay Thai, and the daily Yoga classes which are extremely popular on the island. Both islands have a fantastic array of life, paddy rice fields, coconut groves, rubber plantations, and many more fruit fields.
The villages in Koh Yao Yai are slightly more laid back, and traditional, but then they are both really hand in hand if you look at the islands from a whole perspective. Koh Yao Noi has more roads, and so has slightly less feel of being on an Island as such, as the roads are man made. Jumping from island to island is easy, with ferry crossings, and long tails boats heading over every half hour, at the cost of around 80 baht in some cases. These two sister islands are well worth a visit if you are looking for something slightly different from the other islands in the Andaman Sea. They are the biggest, but they are very laid back and have more of a paradise feel to both of the Islands. If you visit one you must visit the other.