Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text:
In the heart of Thailand's Phang Nga Bay, Koh Yao Noi is an unknown, peaceful island. Remains authentic despite the proximity of Phuket, one hour by boat.
In the middle of Phang Nga Bay
Koh Yao Noi, February 2009. That's where I chose to settle down, to gently attack this little Thai holiday... Good for me!
You can still find on this small island bungalows at 500 baht (about ten euros) and traditional wooden houses on stilts.
There are paddy fields, rubber forests, gray buffaloes and brown goats grazing along the embankments. You can ride your motorbike in the wind, along the small road that goes around the island, without fear of traffic, minimal.
But what first catches the eye here is the sea and its spectacular archipelago of islets and limestone peaks, which stand out in the bluish haze of the horizon.
Everyone knows Halong Bay, Vietnam. Phang Nga Bay is "same same but different"... better, even, I find.
The view from Tabeak View Point
Today, I moved from my small bungalow on Koh Yao Noi Beach, with basic but nice comfort (left picture below), to another one at Tabeak View PointThis is a slightly less basic building, but it has the advantage of being higher up, on the hillside (photo on the right).
I moved for the view... 😮 😎 😜 For 600 baht, from my overhanging terrace, I can admire endlessly the fabulous view of the bay, Krabi side. I can't get enough of it...
Video : longtail boat ride
Alex, Tabeak's nephew, walks tourists on his long-tail boator "long-tail" boat as they are called everywhere in the bay. They are large traditional boats, so called because of the long shaft of the engine at the back - usually a diesel engine, very noisy...
We spent the day sailing from rocks to islets, in the jade waters of Phang Nga, stopping on small cute beaches for swimming ...
The holidays are off to a good start!
Only one small problem: my camera (a small compact Canon A95, which has been following me on my travels for several years) starts showing some signs of weakness and only turns on from time to time, when it wants to (see below, at the end of this post).
Luckily, it kept working during the ride... So, I took the opportunity to activate the video mode and bring back a few pictures, for the memory. When I came back, I made a little montage, which I add below:
Very very nice, really, this walk in the middle of the karst islands of the bay Phang Nga ...
Koh Yao Noi, the quiet island
The islanders are very nice. Big warm smiles everywhere. Koh Yao Noi is far from the touristic and commercial frenzy of Phuket... It is soothing.
There is one large town, where the main shops are located, and a handful of villages scattered around the island. According to the brochure with the map of the island, Koh Yao Noi has about 4,000 inhabitants.
We are in the south of Thailand, many people are Muslims. But the religion here has nothing austere nor heavy for the foreign tourist that I am. No particular constraint of clothing to be observed as a woman, if not the simple decency. Many women on the island wear headscarves, but not all, and many wear the kind of fishnet bonnet that is often seen on the islands around here. The forearms and lower legs remain uncovered and the clothes are colorful.
Side tourism, there are a lot of family guesthouses and some luxury hotels.
Koh Yao Noi reminds me a little Siquijor in the Philippines and Nusa Lembongan off Bali in Indonesia, for its peaceful and relaxed atmosphere, simple, without artifice.
Mangrove and melancholic strike
Even if we can see new constructions in progress, I am hopeful that the island will escape mass tourism for some time, thanks to its beaches that are not quite as "paradisiacal" as those of Phuket or Koh Phi Phi, according to the postcard dreams sold by tour operators. At low tide, the sand gives way to rock and dead coral, or muddy mangrove sand.
The strike, with its boats aground, has a melancholy and wild side.
I find them beautiful, these beaches not too domesticated. No street vendors or banana boats noisy, no rows of loungers with their hideous parasols.
The beaches of Koh Yao Noi remind me a bit also those of the Malaysian island of Tioman, between the village of Tekek and ABC Beach.
The camera drops me...
In any case, enjoy these images. It's not sure I'll be able to make many more. My camera is failing me... I was talking about a "little problem" above, but it's my big annoyance since I arrived here.
One of the electronic components of this modest Canon A95 compact must be dead. Nine times out of ten, when I turn it on, the screen stays black. And the sensor only "sees" black. Even if I trigger the shutter, I get a black rectangle... I have to turn it on and off a good ten times to hope to see it light up, with no guarantee of success.
For spontaneous photos, scenes taken on the spot, it's a bit damn.
On the boat, in Phang Nga Bay, it deigned to work. But then, I left it on, during the whole trip, not daring to turn it off for fear that it would definitely go back to "black" mode and it ate up my battery in no time...
However, I finally have a picture of the attraction that is in all the cameras of the tourists visiting the area, the famous rock of James Bond Island!
But I can't show you the well known, more spectacular view, that we take from the beach... When we saw the crowd disembarking by whole speed-boats on the rocks, to trample this tiny sand spit, we preferred to stay offshore and go to other islets, less frequented...
I am a bit sad. It's been four years since I lug around everywhere, this little device. Until then, it was reliable and robust. The heat and the humidity had to be right of him.
It's about time that I team up more seriously ... ????
A great video of Koh Yao Noi
I put here, after the fact, this wonderful video, which is not mine. I unearthed it in 2017, six years after this trip which dates back to February 2009. Published in 2014 on Vimeo by the British director Philip BloomThe atmosphere of the island, which does not seem to have changed much since my visit, is well captured. It is really the anti-Phuket: