Millions of tourists visit Thailand each year, and so the possibility of finding an unexplored Thai island is not as easy as it once was. Destinations like Phuket, Krabi and Koh Samui are regularly thronged with tourists and have reached a level of commercialization that has taken away most of their magic. Hence its incredibly surprising to find a piece of untouched land situated right between the touristy islands and party hubs. Situated a short boat ride away from the happening resort island of Phuket lies this stunningly low-key island of Koh Yao Noi.
The relaxed island of Koh Yao Noi is a true rarity in Thailand. While visitors are welcomed by its locals, they are equally determined to maintain their slow-paced life. So, if you are looking at enjoying the famous full moon parties of Thailand, then this isn’t the place for you. However, if you want to disconnect and feel rejuvenated through some soul -searching activities, then it is the perfect destination for you. Due to a low-key nightlife and relatively empty bars, there are not many opportunities to splurge your money on as compared to Thailand’s other tourist-friendly destinations. Therein lies the beauty of this island though, as no one tries to sell you anything and locals instead wave and welcome you with a friendly smile. With a rawness that seems to assimilate into the local culture, time here seems to move slowly giving you a chance to explore yourself. Almost non-existent traffic and locals instead happily riding on their motorbikes make it is easy to enjoy the beauty of this idyllic island.
Things to do
Reserve a day to sail around the nearby island of Phang Nga Bay and explore the massive limestone formations or just kayak through the mangroves by hopping around the nearby islets. Its sister island of Koh Yao Yai is the perfect place to enjoy a sunset dinner while sipping on a drink and watching the palm-tree fringed beach that only appears at sunset.
This picturesque island is the ideal place to learn a new skill as locals conduct regular workshops to teach skills such as authentic Thai cuisine using traditional cooking tools and spices. To get active while on the island, there are also classes conducted for Thailand’s national sport, Muay Thai or yoga by the beach. To pamper yourself with some ancient healing, book yourself a Thai massage spa, which incorporates local techniques to provide you with maximum relaxation.
Where to stay
There are several luxurious options to stay on the island at a surprisingly affordable cost. With beach-front villas designed and inspired by temples of Northern Thailand, your days can easily be filled with activities set up by the resorts. From exploring the island on a bike to working up an appetite for a private meal whipped by the chef, you can enjoy multiple facilities in their private full-service villas.
How to get there
If you fly into Phuket or Krabi, you can catch the daily ferry that leaves hourly from each of these locations. From both airports, taxis or local buses are easily available to take you to the piers. Located on the east coast of Phuket, longboat tails and ferries can be found from the Bang Rong Pier. To reach there from Krabi, head to the Ta Len Pier and catch a boat to the island. If you have booked your stay with a resort, then they arrange for return transfers along with the stay making it extremely convenient for you to travel to the island.
Important tips to remember
The islanders are keen to preserve their traditional ways and hence it is important to dress moderately and refrain from drinking in public areas to respect their local culture. Internet services and shops are found on the island; however, it is best to carry some cash before heading over to the island to avoid any inconvenience during your stay.