3 Days in Koh Yao Noi: Top Things to Do
Have you chosen to visit Koh Yao Noi during your stay in Southern Thailand ?
This small island in the Andaman Sea is the ideal destination to spend a quiet vacation and relax, far from the hectic atmosphere and the crowds of its neighbor, Phuket.
In order to help you organize your trip, I have prepared the complete guide to the island with the 12 best things to do in Koh Yao Noi and around.
In addition to all these unmissable places of interest, I also give you my selection of the best accommodation in Koh Yao Noi as well as all my advice for enjoying this dream island.
So, what to do and see in Koh Yao Noi?
Visit Koh Yao Noi: the must-sees
1. The most beautiful beaches of Koh Yao Noi
Who says island of Thailand, necessarily says beautiful beaches! And Koh Yao Noi is no exception to the rule.
So, what are the beaches you should not miss during your trip to Koh Yao Noi?
- Potsai Beach: great beach for swimming and not very crowded. There is also a nice viewpoint located on the hill just above. It offers a superb view of the islands in front of the beach.
- The beach that starts from the Koh Yao Seaview Bungalow (it has no name): very beautiful fine sandy beach ideal for swimming. There are no pebbles in the water unlike some other beaches on the island.
- Klong Jark Beach (between Holiday Resort and Koyao Island Resort ): The beach offers a beautiful view of the islands. on the other hand, there are a lot of stones, so it is not great for swimming.
- Pasai Beach (also called Sor Ngam Beach), lined with a lot of bars and restaurants, is one of the most popular on the island. However it is far from being the most beautiful and even less the best for swimming because there are a lot of stones.
- Laem Kor beach: a very quiet beach (no one when I was there) but lots of pebbles and dirt.
- Long Beach, to the North-East: very pretty beach with a bit of mangrove and a small restaurant. Very good for swimming and being quiet. As some parts of the beach are separated by trees, you feel alone in the world!
- Luild Beach (or Little Long Beach): very pretty too, larger than Long Beach and very calm and wild.
- To the northwest of the island, after passing part of the mangrove, you will find several small strips of very fine sand with a view of the islands. Also very nice for a refreshing dip.
Tips for your Koh Yao Noi itinerary:
The differences between high tide and low tide on the island of Koh Yao Noi are truly impressive. The sea recedes over more than a hundred meters, it then becomes impossible to swim on some beaches because there are only pebbles left.
For this, the beach of the Koh Yao Seaview hotel is really great: even if you will have to walk quite a bit to reach the water at low tide, it is largely doable because there is only sand.
Plan a stay on Koh Yao Noi in a hotel with a swimming pool so you can cool off during low tide. I have selected the best for you a little further down in this article.
2. Go around the Island on a Scooter
The best way to visit Koh Yao Noi is to rent a scooter.
The island is small and you can easily go around it in one day. You can discover Koh Yao Noi and stop whenever you want to enjoy the beach, sunbathe and swim.
There are not really specific monuments or villages to see, the goal is to enjoy Thai nature by wandering randomly on the island. It feels really good, especially if like us, you are on a Thailand itinerary and you are coming from Phuket or Bangkok, which are much more touristy.
We know when you go on a trip to Thailand, you have to expect not to be alone on the tourist sites or the islands, and some beaches are really crowded, but in Koh Yao Noi, I guarantee you that you have peace!
You can rent a scooter in most guesthouses and hotels, count 300 Bahts for the day. Don’t forget to put on a helmet :-). Access to some beaches is via stony tracks and a fall can happen quickly, especially if you are not used to driving a scooter.
Tips for your Koh Yao Noi itinerary:
End the day in the south of the island, towards the Koh Yao Treehouses and the Tha Laem Sai Pier, there are several spots to watch the sun go down and the place is really nice with the fishermen’s installations, their boats and colorful huts .
3. Boat Trip: 4 Islands
One of the main activities to do in Koh Yao Noi are day boat trips to discover the small paradise islands in the area.
There are several proposed with each time different islands on the program. And I particularly recommend the “4 islands” excursion, which is quite simply the best excursion we did during our Thailand itinerary!
On this day trip from Koy Yao Noi, you will discover 4 islands in Than Bok Khorani National Park:
1) Koh Ka Mit: Nicknamed Monkey Island, this island is populated by many monkeys. When the boat arrives, there are plenty of them approaching for you to feed them.
2) Koh Pak Bia: a very pretty little island with another large island just opposite. The beach is equipped with wooden swings and picnic tables. You will have the opportunity to swim and take lots of beautiful photos.
3) Koh Lao Lading: the arrival is via a cove between 2 rocks. You will then have time to take advantage of the beach to swim and observe the fish that crowd around you.
There is a second small cove accessible by a path on the left but it is not very pretty and there are a lot of stones so I advise you to stay on the main beach.
4) Koh Hong: to go to Koh Hong, you will have to pay an entrance fee of 300 Bahts per person (in addition to the excursion).
You will then have access to a large sandy beach in the shape of a double cove, bordered by cliffs. The place is famous for snorkeling but it is better to have shoes or flippers. There are plenty of super sharp corals and sea urchins and you’ll quickly cut your feet.
And be careful because there is a lot of current along the beach, it can surprise you and send you to the coral in less than 2!
On the island, you can also take a 10-minute mini-walk in the forest (a nature trail). You might even be able to spot Thai monitor lizards, but try not to disturb them as they might chase you!
During our break on the beach, we saw 2 people running out and screaming from the edge of the trees, chased by an angry monitor lizard. It made everyone laugh but I think they were scared!
On the return, the boat will take you through the lagoon of Ko Hong Island, accessible only at high tide. At low tide, it is possible to walk there if you have swimming shoes.
5) Koh Nok: some tours also include the small island of Koh Nok in this excursion. So we asked our hotel to add it to the program! It is considered the best island around to see the sunset, so I really recommend you to go there.
On the island, you can climb a small hill which offers a very beautiful view of the surroundings. However, the path to get up there is super steep and you will have to climb using ropes for 10-15 minutes.
As we only had flip flops, we did it barefoot, but it is better to bring (good) shoes. Remember to come back down before it gets dark, otherwise it could be tricky!
Finally Koh Nok is the perfect place to organize a romantic dinner on the beach. From what we have seen, you can choose a simple romantic picnic or the luxury version with tables, chairs and servers available. Ask your hotel, they will surely know how to organize all this for you.
Tours are also offered to discover only Koh Nok at the end of the day, without doing the other 4 islands. Count 600 Bahts to go there.
For this excursion of the 4 islands, we went through our hotel, but all the hotels and guesthouses of Koh Yao Noi offer it. You can do this outing in a private long tail boat (the typical Thai boats) for 2500 Bahts.
You can of course split the costs, just find another couple to share the boat with you. After all is to agree on swimming times so you don’t end up waiting 30 minutes for them to join the boat.
The price includes round trip by jeep to the port, day trip to the 4 islands (option of Koh Nok or not) water and fruits.
Departures are generally around 9 a.m. for a return at 2 p.m.
Tips for your Koh Yao Noi itinerary:
If you want to avoid being on the islands at the same time as everyone else, you can ask (in the case of a private excursion) to leave at the beginning of the afternoon.
That’s what we did and it was really cool to be almost the only ones on the beach. And like that, we were able to end up with the sunset in Koh Nok.
4. Boat Trip to James Bond Island
The other essential excursion from Koh Yao Noi is the one that takes you to discover the islands of Phang Nga Bay, including the famous James Bond Island.
With its many karstic rocks and small islands scattered all over the place, the bay is one of the most beautiful in the world. It would be a shame not to go there during your Thailand itinerary.
Here are the islands and stops planned for this day by boat:
1) Koh Ku Du Yai: stop to take a picture of this cove surrounded by karst peaks with a beautiful beach. The landscape is really beautiful.
2) Bat Island (Ko Roi) where you can observe dozens of these small mammals hanging in the trees.
3) Koh Panak where you will have the opportunity to visit a cave. Otherwise, the boat will take you around the island slowly to see the rock formations. It’s really impressive and very beautiful too.
If you want to land on Koh Phanak, you will have to pay the national park entrance fee of 300 Baht per person.
4) Koh Hong, where it is possible to visit the caves by taking a kayak tour. “Guides” approach you directly by kayak when you pass by boat and offer to take you. Unfortunately, you cannot go there alone. This is one of the most touristy places on the excursion, there are kayaks everywhere!
5) James Bond Island became famous thanks to the James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun” which was filmed here. If you have not already paid at Koh Panak, you will have to pay 300 Bahts to disembark in the national park.
A path then allows you to go to the side of the famous rock and take a picture of it from every angle. On the beach there are also several souvenir shops.
On the other hand, expect to jostle to get your picture taken, the place is very touristy. This is the place where I saw the most tourists per square meter during my entire stay in Thailand!
6) Ko Raya Ring where it is also possible to go kayaking
7) Koh Panyee: a large floating market where you can eat and buy souvenirs
8) A swimming stop on an island (deserted when we were there!)
9) The Big Tree, which is on the island of Koh Yao Noi but is only accessible by boat. Stop to take a picture of this tree with a really huge trunk.
10) Last photo stop in the fishermen’s cave
And that’s it for the really complete program of this day on the boat!
You can book this excursion at any hotel on the island. We paid 4,500 Bahts in all with the transfer to the port. During the day you will have unlimited water and fruit.
The departure is around 9 a.m. and the return around 4 p.m. Here too, you can choose to go together to split the price.
5. Boat Trip to Koh Poda
From Koh Yao Noi, you can also go to Koh Poda for a day.
As the island is still quite remote, it takes at least 1h30 by boat to get there.
On this paradise island with fine sand and turquoise water, nothing else is on the program than swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing. In short, a total day of relaxation!
Koh Poda being located in the Mu Koh Phi Phi Marine National Park, you will have to pay an entrance fee of 400 Bahts to access it.
Tips for your Koh Yao Noi itinerary:
If you plan to visit Krabi and Ao Nang after your trip to Koh Yao Noi, it is better to go to Koh Poda from there.
The Ao Nang – Koh Poda trip takes only 30 minutes by boat, so it’s much more convenient!
6. Take a Walk at Low Tide
Visiting Koh Yao Noi also means taking the time to stroll quietly.
During low tide, you can take beautiful walks along the beaches, look for the prettiest shells and observe the hundreds of crabs that come out for a walk.
On the beach side of the Koh Yao Seaview Bungalow , a sandbank also allows you to reach the sea and swim. And after this little walk, nothing better than landing on a deckchair with a good smoothie!
Holidays are also made to relax ;-).
A cool activity to do in Koh Yao Noi is to rent a kayak to discover the island from another angle.
A good way to do some sport and see beautiful landscapes!
I advise you to take the opportunity to go to the small islet in front of the Suntisook Resort beach (still the famous unnamed beach). It is a few hundred mothers from Koy Yao.
Once there, you can take a swimming break before setting off again.
The more seasoned can even go as far as Koh Nok by kayak, if the sea is not too rough (about 2.5km from Pasai beach).
Tips for your Koh Yao Noi itinerary:
I told you that the tidal variations were very important on the island, so think about it and come back from your kayak trip before low tide.
Otherwise, it is not by rowing but by carrying the kayak that you will have to reach the beach! And carrying a kayak over more than 150 meters while sinking in the sand can quickly become a source of marital disputes!
In any case, seen from the beach, it made us laugh a lot (yes it’s a bit sadistic, but if we really were, we wouldn’t warn you!) 😀
8. Koh Yao Yai
Koh Yao Yai is the neighboring island of Koh Yao Noi.
And it is even more preserved from mass tourism! With less than a dozen hotels, you can enjoy beautiful beaches all to yourself.
To reach it, count only about ten minutes by boat. You can then rent a scooter and stop for a swim whenever you want.
It is also possible to visit one of the many rubber plantations and observe the latex harvest, the main wealth of the island along with fishing.
9. Cooking Class
Have you toured the island on a scooter, enjoyed the beaches, and are wondering what to do in Koh Yao Noi?
Why not opt for a Thai cooking class?
For that, I recommend you go to Mina’s Cooking Classes. Mina is lovely, speaks English and teaches in her authentic Thai home.
You will even have the choice between several dishes to prepare including delicious curries or pad thai. At the end, you can taste your creations and leave with a small recipe booklet to try to impress your friends on your return.
Two classes are offered: mornings from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and afternoons from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Count around 1600 Bahts per person with round trip transfer included from any hotel on Koh Yao Noi.
Reservation is mandatory. You will find all contact information on the official website.
Another option for taking a cooking class on Koh Yao Noi: The Paradise Koh Yao.
The hotel offers courses with its chef. You will have the opportunity to make 3 typical dishes of Thai cuisine. Count 950 Bahts per person. You must register at the reception counter one day before.
10. Koh Phi Phi
It is possible that you will be offered an excursion to Koh Phi Phi from Koh Yao Noi but I will not recommend it because the island is really far. And yes, from Koh Yao Noi, there are only “long tail boats” leaving, and they are very slow!
For a day it is therefore really not worth it, you will practically only go boating.
If you want to visit Koh Phi Phi, it is best to discover it from Phuket for example. There are daily excursions, with much faster boats. You will find all the information to book your visit here.
What to do around Koh Yao Noi?
Have you been around Koh Yao Noi? Enjoying the beach and making great trips to small islands?
Then it’s time to continue your trip to Thailand! The 2 best known and most easily accessible places from Koh Yao Noi are Phuket and Krabi.
Phuket is only 30 minutes by speed boat from Koh Yao.
And we can say that the atmosphere is not quite the same. Phuket is the perfect place if you are looking for a lively island where you can easily party every night.
The only thing in common with Koh Yao, the island also has superb beaches. On the other hand, you will have to share them with many more people!
Unlike Koh Yao, where there are a lot of stones underwater + very little bottom, it is also possible to practice many water activities such as towed buoy or parasailing.
And I told you about it above, but staying in Phuket is also super convenient for taking a trip to Koh Phi Phi or the Similan Islands.
To learn all about things to do in Phuket, I recommend reading our article: The Complete Guide to Visiting Phuket.
On the other side of the Andaman Sea from Phuket, you can also go to Krabi.
The region is famous for its karstic cliffs and its very pretty little islands with fine sandy beaches and translucent water.
If you go to Krabi, do not miss Railay beach, accessible by boat from Ao Nang beach (20 km from the center of Krabi). The place, although busy, is really beautiful.
And amateurs will find at their disposal more than 700 climbing routes, just in this little piece of Thailand.
I explain in detail all the things to do in Krabi in our article: What to see in Krabi?
How many days to visit Koh Yao Noi?
To visit Koh Yao Noi, I advise you to plan a minimum of 3 days.
But you can of course stay there for 4, 5 days or even 1 week to fully enjoy it and recharge your batteries.
1 Day Koh Yao Noi Itinerary
If you have a day to visit Koh Yao Noi, the best thing is to rent a scooter to go around the island.
In one day, no worries about seeing the most beautiful beaches and stopping to swim when you feel like it.
2 Days Koh Yao Noi Itinerary
If you have 2 days in Koh Yao Noi, resume the program from day 1.
On the second day, go on an excursion to the 4 islands. I can assure you that you will not regret it!
3 Days Koh Yao Noi Itinerary
For 3 days in Koh Yao Noi, in addition to the schedule of the previous 2 days, you will have several different options:
1) Boat trip to James Bond Island and Phang Nga Bay.
2) Take a cooking class in the morning / Rent a kayak in the afternoon (or vice versa)
3) Spend a day on Koh Yao Yai
4 or 5 days / 1 week Koh Yao Noi Itinerary
You have the chance to leave 4 or 5 days and even a week in Koh Yao Noi.
So spread out the options on day 3 and you’ll have plenty to keep you busy for at least 7 days!
And when you’ve had enough, then head to Phuket or Krabi.
Accommodation in Koh Yao Noi
- Tha Khao Bay View: Located on the east of the island. Simple bungalow with fan from 25€ per night. Most: the incredible view of the sea, the location in the middle of nature, the kindness of the owners. An excellent choice for cheap accommodation in Koh Yao Noi!
- Koh Yao Seaview Bungalow: Located by the sea, 15 min by song taew from the port. Very spacious bungalow with double bed and private terrace overlooking the swimming pool or the sea, from 45€ per night. Most: the beach next door, the calm, the swimming pool, the restaurant really cheap, hearty and delicious. It is our favorite for its price/performance ratio!
- Paradise KohYao: Located in the North of the island. Tastefully decorated room with bathroom open to the outside and private terrace from €95, breakfast included. Most: the idyllic setting, the infinity pool, the private beach, the location in the bay.
- Cape Kudu Hotel, Koh Yao Noi: Located in the southeast of the island. Spacious and bright double room with very neat decoration, from €150 per night, breakfast included. Most: the design, the calm, the dream setting, the welcoming staff. A very nice hotel in Koh Yao Noi, ideal for a romantic getaway!
- Laguna Villas Yao Noi: Located in the southeast of the island, right by the beach. Pretty fully equipped villas, perfect mix between modern and traditional Thai style from 200€ per night, breakfast included. Most: the location facing the sea, the large swimming pool, close to excellent restaurants.
- Six Senses Yao Noi: This is the most luxurious hotel on the whole island. It offers splendid villas with private pools and even a butler who will be assigned to you for the entire duration of your stay. From €570, breakfast included. The pluses: the Spa, the gym, the private beach, the comfort, the excellent meals, the exceptional service. This is clearly the finest luxury hotel on Koh Yao Noi. A dream place to spend your honeymoon or a romantic getaway!
Where to eat in Koh Yao Noi
There are several small bars and restaurants all along the road that circles Koh Yao. On the edge of Pasai beach, you will also find quite a few.
But I don’t have any special recommendations because I have to admit that we ate super well every night, no matter where we were!
How to get around Koh Yao Noi
It’s very simple, there is only one way to get around Koh Yao Noi: it’s by scooter! For rent everywhere on the island for 300 Bahts a day.
And to travel from the port to your hotel, it will be by Song taew (collective bus). They wait for you on arrival and tour the various hotels. Count 100 Baht per person.
How to get to Koh Yao Noi
To get to Koh Yao Noi, there is no choice, it will be by boat. The island does not have an airport.
To go to Koh Yao Noi from Phuket, you have to take a speed boat to the port of Rang Bang Pier which is located in the northeast of the island. Not to be confused with the port which is located in Phuket Town and which allows you to go on an excursion to Koh Phi Phi for example.
The trip takes about 30 minutes for 300 Bahts per person + 10 Bahts port entrance fee.
If you arrive in Phuket by plane, you will have to take a taxi to the port (approximately 700 Bahts) and from there the boat. If you land at the end of the day and there are no more boats, it is best to spend the night in a hotel near the port to leave the next day.
I recommend the hotel “Snooze Inn Phuket” which is located just 1 km from the port and offers transfer.
The rooms are spacious, modern and very clean. The evening meal and the breakfast served in the owner’s restaurant are very good. Price from €29 per night. You can book by clicking here.
Departures to Koh Yao Noi from Krabi are at the port of Tha Len Pier. Also allow about 30 minutes to reach Koh Yao for 300 baht per person.
From Krabi Airport, take a taxi to the port (about 800 baht for 40 minutes.)
Arriving in Bangkok, you will have to join either Phuket or Krabi to go to Koh Yao Noi.
The best is to fly to Bangkok-Phuket or Bangkok-Krabi. It is clearly the fastest and ticket prices are generally less than 100€ round trip.
Otherwise, you have the bus option, certainly more economical, but still count 12 hours of travel.
Tourist Map of Koh Yao Noi
To help you visualize the city a little better, I made you a tourist map of Koh Yao Noi listing the places to visit that I talk about in this top 12 things to do in Koh Yao Noi and around. You can display the map legend by clicking on the top left button with a small arrow.
Planning to visit Koh Yao Noi? If you have any questions about things to do or accommodations, feel free to ask me in the comments below.
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