Ko Yao Noi, Thailand – Getting away from the mass tourism of Phang Nga Bay

Ko Yao Noi, Thailand, header
Ko Yao Noi was the highlight of our trip to Thailand. It’s not as spectacular physically as Phi Phi and the beaches are not as nice (the picture above is at low tide) but the inhabitants were just incredibly friendly.  I chose Ko Yao Noi because I wanted to see the geography of  Phang Nga bay while staying away from the mass tourism of the area. When people think of Phang Nga bay they think of James Bond Island or Ko Panyi, that’s where everybody goes. We didn’t want anything to do with that scene.

koh-yao-map, Thailand

Map Credit: kohyaonoi.net

We rented a motorcycle and drove around the Ko Yao Noi, enjoying the views off the east coast, then going inland and seeing water buffalo grazing in rice paddies. The main town is quaint and has very little traffic. We stopped and did a bit of souvenir shopping, finding prices about half of what they were in Phi Phi. At one point, driving through the countryside, I had to stop and ask for directions from a guy standing next to a house. As I walked up to him I felt eyes on me – I looked to the right to see a huge hawk, his talons chained to the pole. I almost shit myself seeing his head swiveling, his yellow eyes staring right at me. In Brazil I was attacked by a Toucan, which was pretty much indicative of everything that went wrong on that trip (I mean honestly, who the F*ck gets attacked by a toucan?). But this was Thailand and everything was good, even the predatory birds. The guy didn’t speak english, but he called out his sister and pretty soon the whole family was outside, smiling and giving me directions.

water buffalos, ko yao noi, Thailand

Also worthwhile is a visit to Ko Hong, about half an hour off the east coast by boat. We hired a longtail boat through our hotel and spent much of the day visiting the beautiful beaches and hidden coves of this little island.

Below: Ko Hong

island of Ko Hong, Phang Nga Bay, Thailand



Where we stayed
Lom’Lai hotel was an incredibly relaxing spot with great views. The bungalows were rustic and I spent a lot of time chasing and killing bugs that crawled in from outside. But this was the kind of place where you just kind of tuned out and turned into a zombie after a couple of days. There were some Germans in a neighboring hut who spent all their time on the porch drinking beer. The only time we ever saw them get up was to walk to the restaurant to get more beer. That’s how peaceful the place was.

Lom'Lai hotel, ko yao noi


We didn’t want to leave Ko Yao Noi, it was perfect “island life” for us: chilled out, quiet, and away from the tourist hordes. I’d come back to this island any time.

Another blogger who enjoyed Ko Yao Noi.


Anyone else been to Ko Yao Noi?




  1. What a wonderful blog to get us excited for Thailand.

    You need to return by the sound of things :o)
    Brian & Allan recently posted…Rare Sightings in Kota Kinabalu BorneoMy Profile

    • Yes, I think we will one day. The whole area has become so touristy that it is the one place you can get peace and quiet!

  2. I never been to Thailand, but it is definitively a destination I’ve been considering. After reading your interesting and inspiring blog post, it has certainly moved up to the top part of my list:-)
    Astrid (InTheWorld)

  3. I definitely agree about staying away from the masses. That seems like the perfect day — having your own private boat take you to secluded beaches. Hopefully, you had a nice lunch packed!
    Joe recently posted…Voigtlander Nokton 25mm for Micro 4/3 — harder, faster, better, strongerMy Profile

  4. Before I left Thailand, I questioned my Thai friends about their favorite beaches and one recommended Koh Yao Noi. I was so impressed with the photos, and she had wonderful things to say about the island. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to make it before I went, but I’m glad you had an amazing experience for me!
    Jessica J. Hill recently posted…I Suck at Quitting: A Road Trip to OregonMy Profile

    • Hi Jessica. Koh Yao Noi itself doesn’t have great beaches, although nearby places like Ko Hong do. But what we loved were the views over the rocky limestone islands and the quiet, very un-touristy atmosphere on the island. People were very nice and was a refreshing break from some of the other spots in Southern Thailand.

Thanks for reading! Feedback is always appreciated!


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