Koh Yao Yai: Thailand’s Untouched Island Idyll
Only 30 minutes by speedboat from Phuket’s east coast, Koh Yao Yai, or ‘big long island’ is the largest island in the Koh Yao Archipelago that includes Koh Yao Noi, or ‘little long island’, situated just to the north – separated only by a narrow sound.
Ringed by dense mangroves and white sandy beaches, Yao Yai has somehow managed to avoid becoming a busy island beach resort like neighboring Phuket and even lags behind its smaller sister Yao Noi in terms of tourism development.
There are however, still more than a dozen or so resorts and guesthouses on the island, and yet fishing and farming in the predominantly Muslim Thai community remain the primary means of income for most island residents.
Life is simple here and there’s a rural, natural feeling, apparent in the island’s lush landscape of coconut groves and rubber plantation, dotted with well-kept little villages of stilted wooden homes, surrounded by tropical shrubbery and potted bougainvilleas.
And yet, while the island has remained a rustically untouched haven, it has a solid infrastructure and is on the electrical grid, ensuring a decent internet and mobile phone service. A scenic main road that stretches the length of the island is also in good condition and easily navigated, while many of the island’s side roads are in the process of being upgraded.
With accommodation that is predominantly in the mid-range to luxury level, the island is ideal for couples and families looking for a place away from the noisy beach resort destinations where they can enjoy a quiet beach in a serene, natural setting.
Khiri Travel can offer some exciting island activities on Yao Yai and its sister island Yao Noi. Diving, beach-hopping and exploring the island’s villages by bicycle are among some of the most popular activities on Yao Yai and its neighbour. If you want to learn more about Thailand’s southern cuisine, cooking classes can also be arranged with a local cook in their traditional home.
For more information about Koh Yao Yai and its sister island, Koh Yao Noi, as well as bookings to other Thai island destinations, please contact [email protected] or Peter — see information below.