kayak_koh_yao_noi_10

The Island of Koh Yao Noi

Koh Yao Noi, Thailand

February 10, 2015 – February 14, 2015

After our first tropical island getaway we were excited to explore a few more islands over the next couple weeks in order to get a better idea of what Thailand’s islands have to offer. Our next destination was the island of Koh Yao Noi, this time on the western side, or Andaman Sea side (that’s the Indian Ocean side), of the Thai peninsula. So we boarded the high speed catamaran from Koh Tao to the mainland and took a bus across the peninsula to the town of Phang Nga, spending a night there we once again boarded a boat, this time one of Thailand’s classic longtail boats for an hour and a half ride through Thailand’s Ao Phang Nga National Park to Koh Yao Noi.

The town of Phang Nga, Thailand.  Notice the 7-11 store, they are more common in Southeast Asia than Starbucks in Seattle!
The town of Phang Nga, Thailand. Notice the 7-11 store, they are more common in Southeast Asia than Starbucks in Seattle!
The Tha Dan pier, a short taxi ride south of town.  You can get a ticket w/taxi ride in town, or arrange your own taxi and get a cheaper boat ticket at the pier.
The Tha Dan pier, a short taxi ride south of town. You can get a ticket w/taxi ride in town, or arrange your own taxi and get a cheaper boat ticket at the pier.

The scattered islands of towering rock are all over Thailand but the Ao Phang Nga Park is a particularly good place to see them, and our longtail took us right through the middle of them.  Along the way we passed one of the many floating towns famous around Thailand and Vietnam.

The picturesque knobby islands of Ao Phang Nga.
The picturesque knobby islands of Ao Phang Nga Park.
A floating village in Ao Phang Nga.
A floating village in Ao Phang Nga.

boat_to_koh_yao_noi_2

A mosque on the island.  Many of the small island communities in southern Thailand are Muslim.
A mosque on the island. Many of the small island communities in southern Thailand are Muslim.

Arriving at our destination, the island of Koh Yao Noi, one of thousands of islands in a large archipelago, we took a tuk tuk from one side of the island to the other and our beach resort of bungalows along the water. Our small resort was one of several small sleepy resorts along a crescent bay.

Approaching the dock on Koh Yao Noi.
Approaching the dock on Koh Yao Noi.

Our accommodation was a small wooden bungalow on stilts with woven reed walls. A bed with a mosquito net, a small desk and a simple bathroom, and a fan for the heat rounded out the amenities. We would be staying in plenty of these tropical hut bungalows in Thailand and become quite familiar with them, and this was one of the nicer ones.

Our bungalow.
Our bungalow.

The bay in front of our hotel turned into a tide flat at low tide extending easily a few hundred yards out from shore, and a shallow pool of hot water at high tide. With some of Thailand’s iconic pillar of rock islands sitting just off shore, it was a great place to relax in a hammock and go for a dip in the water every now and then to cool off.

The crescent bay in front our guest house.
The crescent bay in front our guest house.
The hammocks in the shade were quite nice, notice the knobby islands in the background.
The hammocks in the shade were quite nice, notice the knobby islands in the background.

bungalow_koh_yao_noi_5 bungalow_koh_yao_noi_4

The bay in front of our bungalow was essentially a massive tide flat at low tide, stretching several hundred yards into the ocean.
The bay in front of our bungalow was essentially a massive tide flat at low tide, stretching several hundred yards into the ocean.
At high tide the bay turns into a calm and shallow bay of hot bath water. Deep enough to swim but you always touch the bottom.
At high tide the bay turns into a calm and shallow bay of hot bath water. Deep enough to swim but you always touch the bottom.
Sunrise over the bay.
Sunrise over the bay.

Seeking a little excitement from our slow paced resort we rented kayaks for the day and went north along the island’s shore towards another small island called Koh Kudu just north of Koh Yao Noi, which was said to have a beautiful perfectly round lagoon.  Exploring beaches along the way, we paddled north for a couple hours until we spotted a separate island just ahead. There we did find the rock lined lagoon and a perfect little beach.  A picturesque place to relax for a few hours and swim in the calm turquoise waters.

 

At the pier on a nearby village you can rent kayaks, we got a two person kayak for $400 Bhat (US$12)for the day.
At the pier in a nearby village you can rent kayaks, we got a two person kayak for $400 Bhat (US$12) for the day.

kayak_koh_yao_noi_3 kayak_koh_yao_noi_15

Exploring the empty beaches along the way.
Exploring the empty beaches along the way.
The island has miles and miles of deserted beaches, many only accessible by water.
The island has miles and miles of deserted beaches, many only accessible by water.
kayak_koh_yao_noi_2
Notice the small crab at the bottom right.

kayak_koh_yao_noi_1 kayak_koh_yao_noi_4 kayak_koh_yao_noi_5 kayak_koh_yao_noi_6 kayak_koh_yao_noi_7 kayak_koh_yao_noi_8 kayak_koh_yao_noi_9

The lagoon is not a secret, its actually very popular with tourists doing day trips in kayaks or by hiring a longtail.
The lagoon is not a secret, its actually very popular with tourists doing day trips in kayaks or by hiring a longtail.

kayak_koh_yao_noi_11kayak_koh_yao_noi_10kayak_koh_yao_noi_13

The following day we were determined to do more exploring, but being tired of paddling decided this time to rent a motorbike and explore the island of Koh Yao Noi itself. The island is big enough to have a few loops of roads, mostly along the water’s edge. The roads are only lightly trafficked and there are miles of empty beaches, small restaurants and coffee shops scattered around the island. This is a place where locals still leave their motorbike keys in the ignition. We found several large fields of rubber trees each slowly dripping their liquid gold rubber into little half coconut collectors. Scientists have long been working with synthetic man made rubbers but they haven’t quite duplicated the real thing, the real stuff is still better and still very much in demand. You can spot rubber tree fields all over southern Thailand.

 

Who would have thought I would be a motorcycle kind of guy, I hardly crashed at all!
Who would have thought I would be a motorcycle kind of guy, I hardly crashed at all!

motorbike_koh_yao_noi_4 motorbike_koh_yao_noi_5 motorbike_koh_yao_noi_2 motorbike_koh_yao_noi_3

Rubber tree plantations are a common site.
Rubber tree plantations are a common site.
The natural rubber drips slowly into little collection cups.
The natural rubber drips slowly into little collection cups.

We found Koh Yao Noi to be quite relaxing when we wanted it to be and to have lots of places to explore. The laid back guesthouse with surprisingly good wifi was great for researching future destinations and we appreciated the good restaurant and honor system for guests to track their expenditures.  However, the beaches themselves on Koh Yao Noi were just a bit lacking. With our beach being a massive tide flat at times it just didn’t offer the perfect tropical beach we were looking for so we packed up and headed further south to the Trang islands in search of the perfect beach.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>