Set off the eastern coast of Phuket, Koh Yao Noi is an oasis of natural scenery, serenity and traditional lifestyle. Attracting people seeking tranquillity and appeal of real Thailand, Koh Yao Noi is one of the last remaining unspoilt islands in Thailand.
KOH YAO NOI STYLE
Koh Yao Noi or “Small Long Island” is world-away from the bustling Phuket, though can be easily reached within a 30-minute cruise by the speed boat. Featuring with the pristine coastline, splendid views of the Andaman Sea and a quiet pace of living, Koh Yao Noi is one of the best places to get away from the hustle-and-bustle of Phuket.
The island has a fair number of various accommodations including one absolutely fascinating villa property and an upscale hotel resort. Depending on your living preferences and budget you can opt either an all-sufficient villa or a nice beachfront bungalow rented from a local family.
Even though the island boasts deserted splendid beaches, the water can be a bit murky, that is why most of the travellers opt swimming in their private villa pools or indulge in water sports, which are plentiful on the island. Art lovers can visit a renowned Ani Art Academy that gathers talented artists from all over the world helping them to hone their skills and get the respectful diploma.
WHAT WE LOVE
Fabulous and exquisite Ani Villas
Unparalleled natural scenery
Friendly local Muslim community
Peace and serenity all around
Renowned Muay Thai Boxing camp
KOH YAO NOI LOCATION
Situated between Phuket and Krabi, Koh Yao Noi is an ideal base to soak in serenity and indulge in the natural scenery.
Koh Yao Noi does not have an airport, so the only option to reach the island is over water. There are numerous public boats that depart Phuket (Bang Rong Pier) and Krabi (Chaofan and Thalen Piers) at scheduled times. The boat trip to Koh Yao Noi usually takes around 30 minutes, and you arrive either to Manoh Pier or Thakhao Pier.
Koh Yao Noi is a miniature island with no airport so before travelling to the island by speed boat, you might need to get to Phuket or Krabi:
There are no accommodations available in the walking distances from piers, so you might need to use services of pick-up trucks, which will generally be waiting in the parking lot behind the pier. It can take anywhere between 10 minutes to 45 minutes to reach your villa, hotel or bungalow depending on the location of the property. If you are staying at Ani Villas – Ministry approved Villa – a private vehicle with chauffeur will greet you upon arrival and escort you to the villa.
There are several options, so we’ve ranked them according to our recommendations for first-time travellers:
Ani Villas guests can take advantage of the private car, available for their unlimited use during their stay.
Pick-up trucks cruising the only main road that circumnavigates the island is an easy way to explore the island. You can flag one down the street as it drives past, or ask at the reception desk to provide you with the vehicle.
The most efficient way to move around the island in on the rented motorbike. There are several rental shops, usually located in or around hotel resorts, which offer scooters for THB300 per day. Though, the international drivers license is not generally required, better to have it on your person at all times. And, of course, make sure you wear a helmet.
Eco-friendly mode of transportation – a bicycle – is another excellent way to navigate the island. Except from one large hill, Koh Yao Noi roads are rather flat and covered with concrete surface offering you a perfect way to explore the island at your own pace.
Locals may propose you to give a lift on the back of their motorbike. Though, this option is not advisable due to the reasons of safety and comfort as small-framed Thais can struggle with any heavier passenger on their back.
KOH YAO NOI VILLAS
Koh Yao Noi is a home to one Ministry Approved villa. An absolutely beachfront Ani Villas is a sprawling exclusive estate, which provides its guests with the utmost amenities, lavish inclusions and high-end services. This outstanding villa property can be rented in six, eight or ten-bedroom option accommodating up to twenty guests.
Ani Villas has dedicated staff including butlers, chefs, nannies, 24-hour security personnel, drivers and many other services you won’t find in a hotel. This is why we say “Spend just one night in a villa and you’ll never stay in a hotel again.”
KOH YAO NOI DINING
Most of the affordable and utterly authentic local eateries can be found in the centre of the village near the market or dotted along the east coast of the island steps away from the beach. Specialised in quality seafood and Thai dishes, these venues offer genuine cuisine along with the splendid sea views.
There are not so many midrange restaurants on the island, however, you can expect to find a few attractive cafes near or in hotels stretching along the shoreline. The major highlight of these eateries is the wider range of cuisines along with the more western-adapted local cuisine.
Fine-dining is represented with several upscale restaurants situated at the five-star hotel resorts. Serving an elaborated Western and Thai cuisines these venues is a must-try. Overall, Koh Yao Noi dining scene is as diverse and appealing as the island itself providing a fair number of dining venues to appease all palates.
KOH YAO NOI NIGHTLIFE
Koh Yao Noi features with a slow pace of living, laidback atmosphere and absence of crazy nightlife on the island.
Catering to the more mature travellers, the island though boasts natural scenery, pristine beaches, lack of development and the most scenic sunsets one can imagine. Thus, most of the visitors head to the evening stroll along the beach or opt one of the beach bars to sip the fresh juice and relish in the scenic view of the sun setting over the limestone islets towering at a distance.
Due to the fact that Koh Yao Noi has a strong Muslim community not every bar on the island offer alcohol, so if you are feeling for something stronger than a fresh juice, head to any hotel bar where the drink list embraces a wide selection of alcoholic beverages along with the custom cocktails.
KOH YAO NOI SHOPPING
The shopping scene on Koh Yao Noi is concentrated in the centre of the village and it’s represented with several street stalls and a couple of small standalone shops that line both sides of the main road.
Selling typical sarongs, beachwear, bags, accessories, various handmade items and pashmina and silk scarf these tiny local stores are excellent places to indulge in the retail therapy and support the local community by buying a unique gift to bring back home.
A few minimarts scattered through the island, selling basic necessities, toiletries and various non-alcoholic beverages, complete the shopping scene of the island.
KOH YAO NOI RELAXATION
Notwithstanding its miniature sizes, Koh Yao Noi boasts various relaxation, leisure and water activities available for travellers. One of the major attractions of the island is its Muay Thai boxing camp set on the southwestern coast. Offering both individual and group lessons with champion trainers, the camp has fast gained the reputation of the best Muay Thai boxing gym in Thailand.
If yoga better suits you than martial arts, there are a couple of yoga salas on the island, where you can indulge in the private lessons or attend a group training under the supervision of professional yoga teacher. The tranquillity and relaxing vibes of the island will benefit your unwinding through practising yoga.
Water sports enthusiasts are blessed with abundant water activities such as kayaking, stand-up paddle, snorkelling and even diving. While the eastern coast is best suitable for all beach retreats including swimming, soaking the sun and laying around on the golden sands, the western part of the island caters to adventurous types providing spectacular views of the picturesque rice flats and exotic mangrove forests, which are await to be explored.