We’ve all seen the photos: dramatic limestone Thai islands jutting out of bright turquoise waters. But that’s the thing – we’ve all seen the photos and we’ve all clamouring to see the paradise for ourselves. This means many of the pristine Thai islands are less-than pristine and see crowds of travellers arriving by the boatload. Luckily, there is still some unspoilt paradise left to discover. The Koh Ya islands have even been called “Thailand’s last unspoilt islands.” Join us for a tour of the breathtakingly beautiful Koh Ya Noi, Thailand.
Orientation and Getting There
Koh Yao is a pair of islands, Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai, which sit nestled in the picturesque Phang Nga Bay in Thailand. The Koh Ya islands sit between the more frequented Phuket and Krabi and you can reach Koh Yao Noi in about 30-60 minutes from both. Koh Yao Noi is the more popular of the two sister islands and has seen a rising tourism development in recent years. But don’t worry – both islands remain tranquil to this day.
Unlike the rest of dominantly Buddhist Thailand, Koh Yao Noi is home to a Muslim community, who have closely monitored tourism development on their home island. This has helped preserve the island’s natural and cultural integrity and beauty.
So what is it like to spend your holiday on a near deserted paradise island? In a word: it’s blissful. The island has it all: lush mangroves and talcum white beaches which offer Instagram-worthy views of the famous Phang Nga Bay. The island’s subdued tourism infrastructure is centred on the southern coast.
Just as you’d expect from a remote paradise island, there is essentially one main road on Koh Yao Noi and you can spend a leisurely day biking down it. To make the scene complete, there are practically no hawkers on the island, meaning you can enjoy the sights and your sweethearts company in peace – a rare luxury on the Thai isles.
Whether you’re looking to chillax in paradise or want to get your heart rate going, Koh Yao Noi is the perfect destination. The island’s laid-back desert island vibes are ideal for couples and honeymooners or really for anyone looking to get away from it all for a bit. You could easily while away a week or two simply laying on the beach – a near deserted beach, we might add. When it comes to creating a romantic setting, you really can’t beat those tropical sunset views.
If, on the other, you prefer to stay active while on holiday, Koh Yao Noi is more than ready to oblige. Since the island is located in Phang Nga Bay, there are plenty of nearby islands to explore and you can easily make a kayaking day trip of it. You can also explore the surrounding waters by going scuba diving with companies like Koh Yao Diver and Elixir Divers.
But you don’t need to venture far off, as the island itself offers plenty to see and do as well. Hop on a bicycle or rent a motorbike and head out to explore Koh Yao Noi. Though the island is relatively small, it still offers a wonderful range of tropical scenery. As you head inland, the white sand beaches switch to rubber plantations and rice fields. You’ll also get a charming glimpse at local life which sticks to its own steady rhythms, seemingly oblivious to visitors.
Accomodation in Koh Yao Noi, Thailand
Accommodation in Koh Yao Noi ranges from quaint beachside bungalows to luxurious resorts and epic private villas. As part of keeping the island free of rampant mass development, Koh Yao Noi caters mainly to travellers on a slightly bigger budget. This is reflected on the amazing quality of accommodation.
A prime example is the surreally luxurious Ani Villas, located on the eastern coast of the Koh Yao Noi. Ministry of Villas team had the sheer pleasure of staying at this luxury estate. From start to finish, we were blown away by the design, privacy and service. As the estate’s slogan goes, “it’s all yours” and boy, do they mean it. In addition to the 10 bedroom property, the nightly rate includes a full-board menu, spa treatments, water sports and activities for the kids.
At Ani Villas, you can start your day with a gourmet breakfast, followed by some stand up paddle boarding. Finish the day with a soothing massage while the kids are looked after by the staff. Oh, and don’t forget the nightly cocktail hour! To put it simply – Ani Villas is as close to paradise as you can possibly get.