A Christmas Getaway in the Secluded Koh Yao Archipelago
The Koh Yao Archipelago is the perfect getaway for those who wish to escape for Christmas, or want to celebrate the festive season in a scenic and truly tropical setting. The islands, which include Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi, lie in the stunningly beautiful Phang Nga Bay, between Phuket and Krabi, and can be easily reached from either of these popular resort destinations.
Both islands offer accommodation ranging from budget bungalows to luxury villas and unlike Phuket, Koh Samui – and to some extent Krabi – the two islands are less developed and therefore offer a much more natural and peaceful environment.
Although smaller, Koh Yao Noi is the main island and since it is also the district’s administrative center visitors will find more facilities, including a larger variety of shops and a choice of restaurants and local-style eateries. Koh Yao Yai, the larger of the two islands, is more rural and has an even more laid-back atmosphere than its smaller neighbor, but also has some beautiful secluded beaches.
Both islands have coastal roads which can be explored on a bicycle – a fun way to discover quiet, deserted stretches of beach that you might be lucky enough to have all to yourself! Budding photographers will find plenty of opportunities for photos – not just secluded beaches, but quaint little villages and beautiful rural scenes.
The archipelago is also home to several species of hornbills including the oriental pied hornbill. In fact, the mangrove forests, especially around Koh Yao Noi’s coast, make it one of the best places in Thailand for bird-watching. You can spot all sorts of bird species, including the mangrove whistler, white-bellied sea-eagles, ruddy kingfishers and many more.
If you are an outdoor adventure type, then kayaking through the Pak Klong mangroves at the south end of Koh Yao Yai offers an amazing window into the natural beauty of this island. Adventure seekers can even try their hand at rock climbing on Koh Yao Yai. Like the cliffs of Krabi’s Ao Phra Nang peninsula, Koh Yao is well-known for its karst limestone rock faces that regularly attract rock climbers to the destination.
The archipelago also has a number of different community-based tourism activities that visitors can take part in, like, for example, a fascinating excursion to a fish farm, or a tour of a coconut plantation where you can see how the coconuts are harvested by hand. You can even watch demonstrations of batik painting and try your hand at it too!
What’s more, the two islands are located in the middle of one of the most scenic places on Earth – Phang Nga Bay. Catch a boat to explore some of the other countless islands in the bay, and do some snorkeling, diving, or join a sea kayaking excursion to explore the caves and coves. You may even get a glimpse of the world-famous James Bond island, also known as Koh Khao Phing Kan – a 40-meter tower of limestone rock!
Food will also be an important feature in your festive season celebrations, so why not learn some Thai culinary skills? Khiri Travel supports a local woman, who has set up a successful cooking school that not only demonstrates her incredible culinary flair but enables her to impart her skills to visitors from abroad – something she is very proud to do!
As a stand-alone beach stay, or in combination with other popular beach destinations nearby, the Koh Yai islands are a great secluded option for a unique festive season escape!
For bookings and more information on where to go in Thailand for your Christmas and New Year’s break, get in touch with us at: [email protected].