Hidden, but not forgotten: Koh Yao Noi

Located just an hour off Phuket’s northeast coast is the friendly island of Koh Yao Noi, one of Thailand’s hidden little luxuries. Bordering Ao Phang-Nga and surrounded by stunning limestone karsts, Koh Yao Noi is a deceptively large island speckled with ancient rubber trees and an assortment of cosy white beaches. However, what makes this island paradise so special is the warm energy that can be felt oozing from the pores of its inhabitants, welcoming foreigners as a new addition to their rather large family.

One of the greatest attributes of Koh Yao Noi is its independence from the mainland, and in turn it’s preservation of traditional culture. A short drive around the island will expose the untainted natural and cultural beauty on offer. From a plethora of unique flora and fauna and a scattering of small islands lining the sparkling blue horizon, to steep mountains of rubber trees and quaint wooden houses surrounding lush green fields and rice paddies, there truly is a unique energy to this culturally dense community.

Despite the natural beauty of Koh Yao Noi the true attraction lies in the welcoming smiles of its people. From arriving at the friendly port to waving that last goodbye, you will feel as if you have arrived at a new home. And indeed, one of the first things Westerners notice are the keys trustingly left hanging from the ignition of the local motorbikes.

Friendly locals offer fresh fruit to tourists

While staying at Koh Yao Noi you can take full advantage of the pristine waters by enrolling in scuba diving lessons, or merely hire a kayak and a pair of snorkels to explore the island’s undisturbed aquatic playground.

While staying on Koh Yao Noi it is important to remember that the local inhabitants have lived on this island for generations, and over 90% of families are of Muslim descent. This means that certain cultural values must be catered for (such as males wearing shirts with a sleeve and women keeping their clothes on while sun bathing). Although these rules may seem foreign to many travellers, and they are, following these simple guidelines will ensure the respect of the island’s local inhabitants and a far more culturally enriching experience.

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How to get to Koh Yao Noi?

Whether you are staying in Phuket or Krabi it is extremely easy to arrange a ferry to Koh Yao Noi.

From Krabi Town

From Krabi to Koh Yao Noi you will get a ferry from Ao Thalane pier. To get to the pier you can catch a taxi, or for a cheaper and far more cultural option you may want to board the songtheow local bus from Krabi bus station. From Au Thalane pier the ferry will take around 2-3 hours and will cost THB 120-150 ($5-6 AUS). There are three ferries per day, leaving at 10am, 11am and 1pm.

From Phuket

From Phuket to Koh Yao Noi you will catch a ferry from Bang Rong pier, and the journey should take around 80 minutes. Alternatively, you may catch a speed boat which is far quicker though more expensive. The ferry and speed boat times change quite frequently, and it is recommended to check a day prior to departure for the most accurate schedule.

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