There are plenty of things to do in Koh Yao Noi ranging from stunning beaches, unique sand banks, delicious seafood restaurants and islands to explore. Koh Yao Noi is a little slice of heaven with a slow and relaxed atmosphere. The island is a true Thai paradise and is what you would imagine traveling Thailand was like 15 years ago. It’s a fairly small island with traditional beachside villas and a few luxury resorts. Koh Yao Noi is the perfect place to escape the tourists, explore the beautiful beaches and relax.
How to get to Koh Yao Noi
Koh Yao Noi can easily be reached from either Krabi or Phuket. From Phuket, head to Bang Rong Pier where boats depart hourly, starting at 7:40 AM. Longtail tickets and speedboat tickets from Bang Rong Pier to Koh Yao Noi will cost you between 200 – 300 Baht ($10 – $15 AUD).
From Krabi, head to Tha Lane Pier where boats also depart hourly, starting at 9AM. To get to the pier, you can catch the local bus from Krabi Town directly to Tha Lane Pier. Tickets are around 150 – 200 Baht ($7 – $10 AUD) per person.
If you’re heading to Koh Yao Noi from another island, expect to pay quite a lot more. We made our way there from Phi Phi island and ended up paying almost 1000 Baht ($50 AUD). The speedboat service only runs two or three times a day so keep that in mind when planning.
Things to do in Koh Yao Noi
Relaxing at the laid back beaches is one of the most popular things to do in Koh Yao Noi. There’s no better place to sit back and unwind than at Pasai Beach. It’s one of the quieter beaches on the island which makes it the perfect spot to find some shade or sun and relax. It’s a long stretch of sand with refreshing calm water to go for a dip. There are also local restaurants along the beach which sell cheap and delicious Thai food.
Day trip to Koh Yao Yai and visit Laem Had Beach
One of our favourite things to do in Koh Yao Noi wasn’t actually on the island. Laem Had Beach is located on a sister island called Koh Yao Yai which is incredibly close and also easy to get to. You can see Koh Yao Yai from the pier and it almost looks like you can swim over.
From Manoh Pier on Koh Yao Noi you’ll find a longtail taxi service that will take you over to the neighbouring island for 75 Baht. The boat will take you to Chong Lad Pier and from there you can either rent a motorcycle for the day or walk 20 minutes to Laem Had Beach.
Laem Had Beach is one of the most picturesque and beautiful beaches we’ve seen on our travels through all of Thailand. If you’re a fan of incredible sand bars and palm trees, you’ll love this beach! The sandbanks form incredible patterns and sand bars in the ocean for you to walk out and explore. It’s one of the most popular beaches in the area but you still won’t find many other people around. Amongst the palm tree forest, you’ll also find a small beachside restaurant where they serve food and ice cold drinks. Checking out Laem Had Beach is definitely one thing you shouldn’t miss when visiting Koh Yao Noi.
Rice Paddy Viewpoint
The rice paddy viewpoint in Koh Yao Noi is one of the best things to do to give you a feel for the island. You’ll have a panoramic view of the surrounding scenery and stunning landscape. There’s also an amazing restaurant at the viewpoint with a very friendly owner. The Rice Paddy Viewpoint Restaurant is usually booked out so be sure to make a reservation if you’re looking to head there. We definitely recommend heading there for sunset and trying to get yourself a table as you’ll have an incredible view to go with your delicious food.
Klong Jark Beach
Klong Jark Beach is the main beach on the island and also one of the nicest. The long strip of white sand and plenty of places to relax is what makes this beach so popular. You’ll also find a ton of swings and hammocks along the beach the get some instagram pictures! Along Klong Jark Beach you’ll find the more expensive restaurants and seaside villas. Like most of the beaches on the island, it’s best to visit when the tide is high. As the tide goes out, there are a few rocks that become exposed but it’s nothing to worry about.
Ko Nok Island Sand Bar
Right across from Namtok Bungalows is a small island called Ko Nok, which is connected to the mainland via a small sand bank. At the right time of day you’ll be able to walk across the small strip of sand out in the ocean to check out the tiny island. You’ll even be able to see the hundreds of tiny islets further out in the sea. There’s even a little spot to swim on Ko Nok to cool off from the sun. This sand bar is an awesome and unique way to the spend a couple hours of the day before checking out some of the other things to do in Koh Yao Noi.
Dine at a Beachside Seafood Restaurant
There are plenty of open air seafood restaurants along the beach that are perfect for a relaxing dinner or lunch. We decided to check out Koh Yao Bistro and were not disappointed. They serve traditional Thai food, smoothies, as well as cocktails and it’s all incredibly delicious. Whichever beachside seafood restaurant you decide to pick, they’re all sure to have a friendly and relaxing atmosphere.
Koh Yao Noi has many boat tours available which will take you around to some of the neighbouring islands. You’ll find various accommodations and tour desks offering different boat tours on the island. Hong Island is one of our favourites and it’s also one of the most popular Island Hopping tours in the area.
The beach at Hong Island is incredibly beautiful with its powdery white sand and clear blue waters. It’s definitely one of the most pristine islands in the area. You’ll also be surrounded by towering limestone formations which truly makes it feel like you’re in paradise. The beach is protected in a little bay so the waves are calm and perfect for snorkelling.
You’ll also find Hong Lagoon which is just around the corner from the beach. The entrance into Hong Lagoon is one of the coolest so be sure to have your camera ready. There is a small opening in the limestone cliffs which is only large enough for one boat to squeeze through at a time. As you make your way through, it opens up to a massive hidden lagoon where you can stop and admire the incredible scenery. You’ll also be able to hop off the boat and go for a little dip. We decided to get the drone up to check it out from above and the views were spectacular.
Rent a motorbike and explore the island
Renting a motorbike is one of the best ways to explore any island and that’s no different for Koh Yai Noi. You’ll have the freedom to explore at your own place as well as discover little gems. You can rent a motorbike from the pier or from your accommodation. Prices are around 200 – 250 Baht ($10 – $12 AUD) for one day. Renting a bike was one of our favourite things to do on Koh Yao Noi. We drove into the local village to check out the markets and finished off the day at a little random beach watching the sunset. We definitely recommend getting a bike if you can drive one. They are much cheaper than getting a Songthaew everywhere. The island is also relatively flat and not that busy so you’ll have an easy time driving.
Check out the national park in the north
If you’re up for a long drive, you can check out Kian Bay and some of the other beaches up north. The north of the island is in a national park so you won’t find much else around except one or two luxury getaway resorts. It’ll take you roughly 45 minutes on a motorcycle from the south of the island. The north of the island doesn’t seem to be that popular as it can be a little tricky to get to. The roads around the national park can be a little bumpy and hard to drive along. If you love an adventure, heading up north is perfect for you!
Best Places to eat on Koh Yao Noi
- La Luna is a great place to take a break from all the Thai food on the island. It’s an Italian based restaurant that serves some of the best wood-oven fire pizza and pasta as well as some delicious desserts.
- Koh Yao Bistro is where we ate our seafood dinner by the ocean. It has a peaceful open atmosphere and super laid back vibe. They serve delicious traditional Thai food for a very affordable price.
- Sea Gypsy is a great place for people on a budget as they serve Thai classics like Pad Thai and fried rice for very cheap. The owners are also very lovely and their food is incredible!
- Rice Paddy Restaurant boasts some of the best views on the island. It’s one of the most popular restaurants on Koh Yao Noi and is often booked out. The restaurant has a very romantic atmosphere and is a great place for dinner as you watch the sunset over the rice paddies below.
Where to Stay on Koh Yao Noi
Six Senses Yao Noi – Luxury: Six Senses Koh Yao Noi is the ultimate luxury retreat surrounded by stunning scenery and breathtaking views. The modern and spacious villas come with their own private pool and the staff are incredibly friendly. If that’s not enough, they even have a large infinity pool overlooking Phang Nga Bay. There are also various dining outlets and plenty of facilities and spa-treatments to indulge in. Six Senses sure is the perfect holiday destination if you’re looking to get away from the crowds and unwind.
Cape Kudu Hotel – Midrange: Cape Kudu Hotel is right along the beach in a very convenient and quiet spot in Koh Yao Noi. The hotel also has a Boho theme that runs through spacious rooms, dining areas and the outdoor pool. It’s the perfect holiday setting to relax and unwind. The outdoor pool is where you’ll be spending most of your time as you soak up the sun and enjoy the beautiful endless views of the ocean.
Anattaya Holiday Home – Budget: Anattaya Holiday Home is a great place to stay if you’re looking to save some money but still be able to experience the beauty of Koh Yao Noi. The rooms are clean and come with a small living space as well as a TV, air-conditioning and private bathrooms. It’s located in the town centre so you’ll be close to shops but a little far from the beaches. However, you can easily rent a motorbike from one of the friendly owners at the accommodation to visit the beaches. The owners and staff are extremely helpful and are always there to help you with any questions or requests.
↠ Check availability: Koh Yao Noi Accommodation