The island of Koh Yao Yai and its sister Koh Yao Noi are a pair of large islands located in the midst of Phang Nga Bay, between the mainland of Krabi and Phuket.
The islands of Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai have not been developed very much, so they still remain a very quiet and peaceful place. In fact, they are one of the last islands in this part of the world to not be overly developed. The wild and untamed Ko Yao Yai is the larger of the two islands and the least developed.
There are no banks on either of the islands and only Yao Noi has a couple of restaurants, a few shops and a 7-Eleven. Aside from these few developments, the island hasn’t changed very much in the last 20 years so you will feel like you have stepped back in time. As you ride your scooter or walk around the island, you will find traditional wooden houses, buffalos in rice paddies and lush mangrove forests.
How to Get There
You can get to the Koh Yao Islands by taking a long-tail boat from Krabi, which will cost around 150 baht. There is also a speedboat option, which costs between 150-200 baht. To get between each of the islands, there are regular long-tail boats during the daylight hours which cost around 20 baht per person.
Which One is Best?
So which island offers the best travel experience – Ko Yao Yai or Ko Yao Noi? The answer is that it depends on what you are looking for. If you want to have an experience that is relaxing and tranquil, yet still offers access to the basic amenities then Ko Yao Noi is the better option for you. It has a post office, 24-hour electricity, internet access, mobile phone signal and a hospital, so you won’t feel so disconnected from the rest of the world.
However, if you really want to get off the beaten track and stay somewhere even more remote – you might want to head to the less developed Ko Yao Yai. It is much larger, so you will have more unspoiled wilderness to explore.
Tips for Visiting The Koh Yaos
Here are some important things that you should know before visiting either of these islands:
- There are no ATMs on Koh Yao Yai, so make sure that you withdraw enough cash before your visit.
- The islanders are very traditional in their ways, so you should dress modestly out of respect and avoid drinking alcohol outside of the restaurants and resorts that cater to visitors.
- The best way to get around the island is to hire a scooter, which are usually available for rent at about 200/300 baht per day.
- There is a lot more to do on the islands other than just lounging and relaxing – if you feel like it you can enjoy kayaking, island hopping, village tours and much more.
Have you been to the Koh Yaos? What did you think of these two islands? Which one was your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.