Ko Yao Noi: an island lost in time

Our time in Phuket had come to an end, and it was time to go somewhere new. We wanted to get away from the crowds, and I came across this island, in the middle of Phang Nga Bay, between Phuket and Krabi. To get there from Patong, we first had to get to the East side of the island, to Bang Rong Pier. No busses go there from Patong so we decided to take a tuk tuk. They initially wanted to charge us 800 baht, but I negotiated it down to 600.

It was actually our first tuk tuk ride, and it was nice to have the breeze blowing on you through the open sides, because it was a scorcher of a day. We arrived at the pier about 45 minutes later, just in time to catch the 13:15 speedboat.

After a 30 minute ride, we arrived at Ko Yao Yai, but that wasn’t our destination so we stayed on for another 5 minutes and arrived at Ko Yao Noi, its sister island.

We hadn’t booked accommodation in advance so we asked some guys around the pier if they knew of anything available, and they took us to Namtok Bungalows for 100 baht per person.

Namtok is the epitome of relaxed island bungalows. We asked for accommodation, they led us to a bungalow, and when we asked about paying they said we could just do it when we leave.

Our bungalow in the last evening light

Our bungalow in the last evening light

The bungalow was nothing more than a bed and a toilet, but it was enough. There is a communal area with free coffee, a fridge to store things and free wifi. It costs 550 baht a night, which is the cheapest accommodation on the whole island as far as I know.

The next day we hired a scooter to explore the island. Is is very small, 50 km squared in area, so we had covered it by lunch. On the East Coast there are beaches, and on the West, rice paddies and mangroves. The beaches are not exactly like the ones you see in Thailand advertisements, but they are still nice. It is tidal, so you can swim at high tide, but at low tide there is a long flat, almost marshy area, that is difficult to cross to get to the sea because of all the big crabs and pieces of coral that might cause some damage to your feet on the way.

The view over the sea

The view over the sea

Mangroves on the West Coast

Mangroves on the West Coast

The roads are very easy to drive, and there is little traffic. The whole island only has one 7 Eleven, and I don’t even think it has an ATM. Driving along, you see people as I would imagine they would have looked 50 years ago, selling fruit or just relaxing in the shade with friends. This whole island is not very developed, and so remains relatively untouched by the (mostly destructive) hand of tourism.

Ways to spend your time include reading in a hammock, eating fresh Thai food and combing the beach for shells. Or sleeping. So although it was a welcome change from Patong, Norman and I got a bit bored. There are some nearby islands to explore but that involves renting a long tail boat for about 2500 baht… so we decided against it. So we will be leaving for Krabi tomorrow, probably only to get bombarded with another overload of tourists (this is the pot calling the kettle black or whatever because we are tourists too! Anyways…) but it’s fine – we want some swimming beaches and excitement.

First and only pansy shell found here! Thanks Norm

First and only pansy shell found here! Thanks Norm

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