Koh Yao Noi
Koh Yao Noi is the smallest of the Koh Yao archipelago islands. This one is located in the heart of Phang Nga Bay and situated between Phuket and Krabi. It is an atypical island worth discovering.
- Thai name: เกาะยาวน้อย
- Distance from Bangkok: 600 km
- Distance from Phuket (coast): 6 km
- Province: Krabi
- Sea: Andaman Sea
- Main activities: agriculture and tourism
- High season: December - April
- Recommended length of stay: 3 to 4 days
- Main attractions: beaches, atmosphere, and Phang Nga Bay.
Koh Yao Noi presentation
It’s undoubtedly one of the best-preserved islands in the region, far from the mass tourism that plagues many other destinations. Its infrastructure is more developed than its larger sister island, Ko Yao Yai, located to the south. Both islands, Noi (small) and Yai (large), are located in the heart of the Phang Nga National Park. Koh Yao Noi is sparsely populated, with its main activities being tourism, fishing, and agriculture. It’s separated from Koh Yao Yai by a small body of water, visitors can therefore easily travel between the two islands.
Why go to Koh Yao Noi
Koh Yao Noi stands out as the only island in the area that has successfully maintained its natural charm and avoided mass tourism. In contrast to popular destinations such as Phuket and Krabi, it receives relatively few tourists, and the atmosphere is far from the hustle and bustle of other tourist hotspots. Here, peace and tranquility prevail, making it an ideal destination to unwind and appreciate the stunning surroundings.
Koh Yao Noi differs from Koh Yao Yai in that it features several beach bars, restaurants, small villages with local markets, fields, and beaches. Although the beaches may not be postcard-perfect, they are still charming. The primarily Muslim population is friendly and welcoming, reflecting the serene and peaceful atmosphere of the island. The locals are unobtrusive and appear to cherish this calm way of life.
In summary, Koh Yao Noi may not be the go-to destination for wild parties, but it is ideal for those seeking a peaceful getaway, couples looking for quality time together, and families wanting to recharge their batteries.
The difference between Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai
Despite being located in close proximity to each other, Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai have quite distinct atmospheres. While Koh Yao Noi is less touristy, it still attracts more visitors than Koh Yao Yai, which is extremely quiet. Koh Yao Noi is a more dynamic island with a few artisanal shops, local stores (including Seven/Eleven!), and markets, unlike Koh Yao Yai, which lacks these amenities. On the other hand, Koh Yao Yai possesses its own unique charm, despite being much quieter and having fewer activities. Koh Yao Noi has the added advantage of offering some places where travelers can meet others, although the options are limited. Additionally, Koh Yao Noi has more restaurants, which cater to specific dietary requirements like vegetarianism.
Transportation: How to get to Koh Yao Noi
Getting to Koh Yao Noi is not very complicated.
Simply take a boat into Bang Rong Pier from to the port of Koh Yao Noi, Manoh Pier which is located on the south side of the island. There are regular departures (every hour) during high season. During low season, there are two to three departures in the morning and afternoon. As for the crossing, there are two possibilities: the normal boat (which takes about 30 to 40 minutes) or the speed boat (which takes about 15 minutes).
To get from one’s hotel to Bang Rong Pier
For the boat to Koh Yao Noi:
From Koh Yao Yai
Very easy too, just go to the pier located just in front of Koh Yao Noi, Chong Lard Pier. There are departures all day by slow boat. Count between 10 and 15 minutes to cross the river.
From Krabi and Ao Nang
To go directly to Koh Yao Noi, you have to go to the Floating Pier (East Railay. The crossing takes less than 50 minutes by speed boat and over an hour by ferry (duration varies depending on weather conditions).
From Koh Phi Phi
There are still boats shuttling three to four times a day (depending on the season). The crossing takes an average of 1 hour 30 minutes (depending on weather conditions).
From Koh Lanta
A few boats have started running the route again since December 2022. The offer is not wide and requires tourism to return to its pre-pandemic level to regain its old frequency. However, it should be noted that the crossing takes over an hour (1 hour 30 minutes on average) and often gets quite choppy…
Getting around Koh Yao Noi
Koh Yao Noi is an island where the main mode of transportation for locals and visitors alike is two-wheeled vehicles. While there are songthaews (shared taxis), they are mostly found waiting at the pier for boats and new visitors. For 100 THB per person, they will take travelers to their hotels. Quickly, one realizes that the most convenient way to visit the island is by renting a motorbike. All hotels offer them for rent for the day (around 200 THB per day).
Another option for small groups or parents with children is a sidecar. These vehicles can be rented for 300 to 350 bahts per day. It’s a fun mode of transportation to drive. The ride is relatively simple, the vehicle is not very fast, which allows for conversation while taking a family ride! Note that some sidecars require a good grip due to their old age (they shake, but move slowly).
On Koh Yao Noi, the favorite mode of transportation for locals and visitors is mainly two-wheeled vehicles. While shared taxis called songthaews can be found at the pier to transport new visitors and locals, they are not as common as motorbikes. It quickly becomes evident that the most convenient way to explore the island is by renting a motorbike, which can be rented from all hotels for approximately 200 THB per day. For small groups or families with children, renting a sidecar is a good option, with prices ranging from 300 to 350 THB per day. It’s an enjoyable mode of transportation, and the relatively slow speed allows for conversation while taking a family ride. However, some sidecars may require a strong grip due to their old age, and they may shake a bit while moving slowly.
Koh Yao Noi is not very large, one can tour it in a few hours, but walking is not recommended. The island has a relatively flat terrain and there is little traffic on the island, making it easy to visit. This is the perfect opportunity for novices to learn to ride a scooter.
Sleeping in Koh Yao Noi - our selection
There are approximately just over fifty hotels and resorts on the island. In general, they offer a good value for money. However, be careful of the presentation photos of some hotels that show pictures of paradise beaches… It’s true, but when the tide is high… at low tide, the beach is mostly rocky, limiting swimming.
“Where to Stay in Koh Yao Noi”
Where to stay in Koh Yao Noi? Which part of the island is favored? Are hotels expensive or cheap on the island? Is there a choice? Our answers to your questions to find your hotel and room without wasting time thanks to our selection.
The main attractions and activities to do in Koh Yao Noi
Explore the island by bike or motorbike: Koh Yao Noi is a small island, making it easy to get around by bike or motorbike. Rent a two-wheeler and explore the island’s countryside, markets, and beaches at your own pace.
Take a cooking class: Thai cuisine is renowned worldwide, and Koh Yao Noi is an excellent place to learn how to cook it. Several cooking classes are available on the island, where you can learn how to make traditional Thai dishes using fresh local ingredients.
Visit the beaches: Koh Yao Noi’s beaches may not be as spectacular as some of the more famous Thai beaches, but they are still beautiful and much less crowded. Loh Paret Beach, Pasai Beach, and Klong Jark Beach are the most popular beaches on the island.
Go on a boat tour: Koh Yao Noi is located in the heart of Phang Nga Bay, making it an excellent base for exploring the surrounding islands and limestone cliffs. Many boat tours are available on the island, where you can discover the hidden lagoons and beaches of the bay.
Go fishing: Fishing is an essential part of the local economy on Koh Yao Noi, and you can join a fishing tour to experience this aspect of island life. You can catch your own fish and cook it on the beach for a true island experience.
Relax and enjoy the atmosphere: One of the main attractions of Koh Yao Noi is its peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. Take the time to slow down, enjoy the island’s beautiful scenery, and soak up the laid-back lifestyle.