Koh Yao Noi, or Phuket 30 years ago

posted in: Thailand | 0

By Mummy B.


It’s been a few weeks since we returned from our little journey in Thailand and still no word on the blog about it … I must say that it takes time to sort through the hundreds of photos taken and organize memories to summarize in just a few articles a week that could lead to a novel.

To begin, I’d like to get back to our first destination: Koh Yao Noi. Atypical choice, spared from mass tourism because almost unknown to the majority of travelers, we had some looks taken aback when we mentioned our vacation.


Vue depuis l'une des plages de Koh Yao Noi (Thailande) sur les formations karstiques



So why did we choose this small island instead of lazing on the Kho Phi Phi or Phuket beaches?

Simply because we read here and there that “Koh Yao Noi looks like Phuket three decades ago” … And if this is true, we can say that Phuket has really changed because these two islands have really nothing in commun!


 Small preview to whet your appetite before the full story is told in the next posts:


A small easy-to-reach paradise


Koh Yao Noi is located only one hour by long tail boat from Phuket (half hour by speed boat). The boats leave from the dock at Bang Rong Pier, well-known by all airport taxis. The ticket price is very affordable and there are quite frequent departures (about every hour).


Embarcadère de Bang Rong Pier à Phuket desservant Koh Yao


The boat ride is a little adventure by itself. Few tourists on board and a beautiful view on the limestone peaks. Such a good start!


Mimi et Daddy dans le speed-boat en direction de Koh Yao Noi
Brushing made in speed-boat!


Gorgeous and quiet beaches


In comparison with the beaches of Phuket that we were about to see a few days later, those of Koh Yao Noi really offer much more beautiful landscapes. Of course, water is not always as crystal clear. But some Koh Yao Noi beaches easily bear comparison with their neighbors Kata Beach, Patong Beach and Surin Beach.


Plage déserte de Klong Chark Beach à Koh Yao Noi (Thailande)
Klong Chark Beach
Plage sans touriste de Tha Khao Beach à Koh Yao Noi (Thailande)
Tha Khao Beach
Plage déserte et mer turquoise à Koh Yao Noi près de Phuket
Had Yao Beach (also called “Long Beach”)


How great it is to enjoy beautiful scenery with the impression of being alone in the world and without the disappointment of seeing the nature being disfigured by hordes of umbrellas and sunbeds. No one but small crabs, shells and sand … a true paradise!


Immersion in local and authentic life


In Koh Yao Noi, tourism is not the only source of income. Some people cultivate rubber (for making latex), others fish or work in the rice fields. We had, during our days on the island, a nice overview of their activities. In Koh Yao Noi, you can easily meet people. Indeed the locals are happy to meet tourists wanting to know about their island. They were not interested in our wallet, but rather wanted to talk and spend a little time with a backpacker family wandering in this little preserved place.


Bateaux de pecheurs sur l'eau à Koh Yao Noi (Thailande)
Fishing boats at Lam Sai Village
Une femme thailandaise fait un paréo en peinture batik
Batik Painting
Récolte de latex dans une forêt d'hévéa en Thailande
Rubber tree whose sap is transformed into latex


An atmosphere very different from Phuket where we only met people working for mass tourism and taking us for a wad of cash...


Various and preserved landscapes


Beaches, rice fields, forests, mangroves … if Koh Yao Noi is not very large, it offers a beautiful concentrate of what you can see in the southern islands of Thailand.


Arbre englouti dans la mer à Koh Yao Noi (Thailande)

Randonnée dans la jungle à Koh Yao Noi en Thailande

Maison isolée dans la campagne thailandaise à Koh Yao Noi


The island dazzled our eyes each day as we discovered, often by chance, very charming places where time seems suspended and nature intact.


Always the best seat in restaurant


Many restaurants offer stunning views over the bay. And no matter the time of the day, we could always choose the table that suited us the most because they were very far from being crowded contrary to Phuket restaurants. Sometimes we were the only guests! A real privilege!


Table face à la mer au Sabai Corner, Koh Yao Noi (Thailande)
Breakfast overlooking the sea at Sabai Corner

Riding scooter without risking our lives


The island is not very large, but if you want to explorate easily, the scooter is a really convenient solution. And we enjoyed it a lot. We tried all the roads, with Mimi B. propped between us in the baby carry scarf. As there aren’t many possible ways, we were not afraid to get lost but we loved wandering around. Traffic is very quiet, so we could always be at ease driving our “family” two-wheeler.


Mummy et Mimi sur un scooter en vadrouille à Koh Yao Noi de nuit


Slow down and take time


Some would say that you will find Koh Yao Noi boring and there’s nothing to do there… To enjoy the island, you have to slow down and take your time to discover step by step and by yourself all the wonders it has to offer. There is no high places of culture, no check-list to make sure you’ve been to the right place. Simply make the local lifestyle yours and let the chance taking you around this quiet, spontaneous and natural island. And if you want, why not spend an hour or two getting a massage at the water’s edge or lying in a hammock for a nap?


Bébé dans un hamac et sa maman face à la plage

Mimi dans son hamac sur la plage en Thailande


What can be a drawback for some (but not for us):


The phenomenon of tide (when we were there, the water was low in the afternoon): At the end, it did not disturb us at all. We did not intend to spend all our time on the beach. Therefore we organized our day swimming rather in the morning and discovering other parts of the island after lunch. Thus, the changing landscape allowed us to have a walk on the beach and then see the water back while dining. The snorkeling addicts should nonetheless visit the nearby islands, as Koh Yao Noi is really not the best spot for this activity.

A quiet nightlife: Koh Yoa Noi is definitely not the best place for nightclubbers. For the ones who want full moon parties and clubs on the beach, Koh Yao Noi is not the dream… Some villages are even officially Muslim and it is explicitly stated that the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in those. But for our first days of family holiday with rest as the watchword, that was really not an issue.



if you want to know more about this island that we loved, you can read oarticles about our travel in this preserved place where you don’t meet so much tourists :

A memorable trip and our first discoveries

Let’s meet the quiet Koh Yao Noi

Discovering the market and ride a scooter all around the island

Feeling alone in the world on the idyllic Had Yao Beach

Last day around rice fields, village on stilts and partially submerged forest



Life in Singapore : Grocery shopping
Our first Pumpkin Patch (Clayton, California)

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