For some visitors to Koh Yao Noi their first impression of the island is that there is just not enough to do to stave off boredom. If you’re looking for elephant trekking, water skiing or full moon parties you’d probably be better off going to Phuket, Koh Samui or Phi Phi, however Koh Yao Noi has plenty of activities available – although perhaps not as in-your-face as at other popular resorts in Thailand.
Start off by renting a scooter or bicycle and going around the island’s ring road. This can take as little as 30 minutes by scooter, but it’s guaranteed you’ll want to keep stopping to take in the views of the beaches, rice paddies and jungles and if you’re going by bicycle watch out for the big hill! The more adventurous can explore the little side roads wandering off, but don’t worry – it’s virtually impossible to get lost on such a small island.
The opportunities for getting out and about in the waters of the beautiful Andaman Bay are almost endless. A boat trip to the stunning islands surrounding Koh Yao Noi is a great day out – explore the secluded beaches, coves, caverns, caves and lagoons hidden within the islands… perfect for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking.
Koh Yao Diving offers a full range of PADI courses and dive trips to suit everyone whether you’re an experienced diver or an absolute beginner. There are a large number of dive sites around the island, all accessible by traditional long tail boat.
Hire a kayak to explore the waters around Koh Yao Noi – follow the coastline to discover beautiful untouched beaches, or go for a leisurely paddle across to Koh Yao Yai, our sister island.
Talk one of the local fishermen into taking you out on his boat one night – catch squid, lobster, crab, and an amazing variety of local fish.
Koh Yao Noi Island is still in parts largely untouched jungle, rich in indigenous flora and fauna, and perfect for trekking. The mangrove forests are amazing for bird watching – you can see sea-eagles, kingfishers, hornbills and more. Take a moment to watch the water buffalos splashing around in the rice paddies. Visit a rubber plantation to watch the locals process the sap into sheets of rubber – you may even be allowed to have a go yourself!
Health & Beauty
Visit one of the luxurious spas for a traditional Thai massage (guaranteed to loosen up the stiffest of bodies!). Oil and sports massage are also available, as are facials, manicures, pedicures and skin treatments.
Island Yoga, based at Ulmer’s Nature Lodge, holds daily yoga and meditation classes. Situated right on the beach, the resort is a peaceful space overlooking the limestone towers of neighbouring islands.
If you’re feeling a bit more energetic, have a lesson in Thailand’s traditional sport – Muay Thai. KYN Muay Thai Gym is led by Hlukhin, a Muay Thai champion famous throughout Thailand.
Perhaps rock climbing is your thing? Forget about nearby Railay, which is inundated with climbers in high season – Koh Yao Noi’s routes are all unpolished and in pristine condition. With over a hundred routes of varied grades, the island’s mid-range routes have been described as the best in Thailand, with wonderful views from the tops of the semi-deserted crags. Many crags are only accessible by boat, and offer a full spectrum of grades, face climbs, multi-pitch climbing, stalactites and three-dimensional puzzles, and some of Southern Thailand’s best deep water soloing. For more information visit The Mountain Shop.
Food and drink
The island is full of roadside stalls and small eateries tucked away, all serving amazing Thai food at incredible prices. The island’s residents retain a traditional Muslim culture and so visitors are requested not to drink alcohol in the streets, however most of the resorts and a large number of bars and restaurants serve alcohol.
Visit Je t’aime in the market town for an amazing fusion of French-Thai food, or chill out at the Para Bar with a beer, listening to live music. La Luna serves fantastic Italian food as well as traditional Thai dishes. For an amazing view of the sunset, go to the Good View Restaurant, Lam Sai Seafood, or Sabai Corner. The Rice Paddy serves the most incredible gelato, and the Pyramid Bar and Restaurant has the largest hamburgers we’ve ever seen!
If just eating marvelous Thai food is not enough for you, book a class at Tappi Thai Cookery School, where Mina will show you how to reproduce your favourite dishes, using authentic herbs and spices that you can help pick from her own garden. Enjoy the feast when you’re finished!
It’s worth noting that one of the things that most travelers experience soon after arriving on Koh Yao Noi is how time slows down, and that filling hours with numerous activities becomes less important than just relaxing and taking in the wonderful surroundings and lifestyle.