Long-tail boat ride in Phang Nga Bay. (Thailand, February 2009)
Long-tail boat ride in Phang Nga Bay. (Thailand, February 2009)

Koh Yao Noi, a quiet island in Thailand


  Thailand: Islands - February 2009

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!

Koh Yao Noi is in the heart of the fabulous bay of Phang Nga, scattered with islets and limestone peaks, which stand out in the bluish haze of the horizon. (Thailand, February 2009)
Koh Yao Noi is in the heart of the fabulous bay of Phang Nga, scattered with islets and limestone peaks, which stand out in the bluish haze of the horizon. (Thailand, February 2009)
On the horizon, the karstic rocks that dot the bay of Phang Nga. (Thailand, Koh Yao Noi, February 2009)
On the horizon, the karstic rocks that dot the bay of Phang Nga. (Thailand, Koh Yao Noi, February 2009)

There are still bungalows on this small island at 500 baht (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 in Koh Yao Noi Beach where I had first settled, with basic but nice comfort (pictured left below), to another one at Tabeak View Point, slightly less basic, but which has the advantage of being higher, on the hillside (photo right).

I moved for the view ... ???? ???? ???? For 600 baht, from my overhanging terrace, I can admire endlessly the fabulous spectacle of the bay, Krabi side. I do not get enough…

The view from the terrace of my bungalow on the hillside, at Tabeak View Point. (Koh Yao Noi, Thailand, February 2009)
The view from the terrace of my bungalow on the hillside, at Tabeak View Point. (Koh Yao Noi, Thailand, February 2009)

Video : longtail boat ride

Long-tail boat ride in Phang Nga Bay. (Thailand, February 2009)
Long-tail boat ride in Phang Nga Bay. (Thailand, February 2009)

Alex, Tabeak's nephew, walks tourists on his long-tail boator "longtail" boat, as they are known throughout the bay. These are large traditional boats, so called in English because of the long engine shaft at the stern - usually a very noisy salvage diesel engine...

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 lights up from time to time, when it sings (read below, at the end of this post).

Luckily, it deigned to keep working during the ride... So I took the opportunity to also activate the video mode and bring back a few images for the memory. On the way back, I made a small montage of it, that 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 tranquil island

The islanders are very nice. Great warm smiles everywhere. Koh Yao Noi is far from Phuket's touristic-commercial frenzy ... It's 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 Muslim. But religion here is not austere or heavy for the foreign tourist that I am. No particular dress constraint to observe as a woman, if not mere decency. Many women on the island wear the headscarf, but not all, and there are many women to wear this kind of mesh hat that is often seen in the islands of the area. Forearms and lower legs remain uncovered and clothes are colored.

Skewers at the market of the town. Koh Yao Noi. (Thailand, February 2009)
Skewers at the market of the town. Koh Yao Noi. (Thailand, February 2009)
In the main street of the village of Koh Yao Noi. (Thailand, February 2009)
In the main street of the village of Koh Yao Noi. (Thailand, February 2009)

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 observe new constructions in progress, I am confident that the island will escape mass tourism for some time to come, thanks to its beaches that are just as "heavenly" as those of Phuket or Koh Phi Phi, according to the dreams of postcards 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.

Low tide at Koh Yao Noi. (Thailand, February 2009)
Low tide at Koh Yao Noi. (Thailand, February 2009)

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 lets me go ...

Anyway, enjoy these images. It is not said that I will be able to continue making many more. I was talking about "little problem" above, but it's been my big annoyance since I got here.


One of the electronic components of this modest compact Canon A95 must be dead. Nine times out of ten, when I turn it on, the screen remains black. And the sensor only "sees" black. Even if I trigger it, 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, he deigned to walk. But then I left it on for the whole trip, not daring to turn it off for fear that it would go back to "black" mode for good, and it ate my battery in no time at all...

However, I finally have a picture of the attraction that is in all the cameras of tourists visiting the area, the famous rock of James Bond Island!

The famous rock of James Bond Island, seen from the sea. (Phang Nga Bay, Thailand, February 2009)
The famous rock of James Bond Island, seen from the sea. (Phang Nga Bay, Thailand, February 2009)
Walk in the bay of Phang Nga. (Thailand, February 2009)
Walk in the bay of Phang Nga. (Thailand, February 2009)

But I can't show you the well known, more spectacular view we take from the beach... When we saw the crowd disembark by speed-boats on the rocks, to trample this tiny tongue of sand, we preferred to stay offshore and head for other, less crowded islets...

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 you here, after the fact, this beautiful video, which is not mine. I unearthed it in 2017, six years after this trip which dates from February 2009. Published in 2014 on Vimeo by the British director Philip BloomIt captures well the atmosphere of the island, which doesn't seem to have changed much since I was there. It's really the anti-Phuket:


  Thailand: Islands - February 2009

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  1. Youpih !!!!!!! A new comment, I love, I love !!!! For cons, I'm sorry for your device, it worries even Greg compared to the Canon brand, because, my camera cannon also dropped in Australia !! He did not have to bear the temperature change between Canada and Australia, in short, at first, I thought it came from the battery, so I changed it, but, the problem remained: black screen too; or so, screen with the image but blurry and pink ....
    Same on my side, I was super frustrated, so it's Greg who took over for the photos!
    So I enjoy the "maybe" last photos you put online. The rock of James Bond, we had seen the small beach where indeed, it was necessary to queue to take a picture at the foot of famous rock !!! I have a great memory of this junk getaway in the middle of the bay phang nga!
    As I envy you to be there ... even without a camera ... Moreover, Greg tells me that it will be an opportunity to invest in an even better device!
    Good continuation of travel and discoveries! You write so well that even without a photo, you will succeed in making us share the scenery and the atmosphere where you are!
    We kiss you hard !!!

  2. Hi the fighter,

    I look through my window and I see a gray sky, buildings ... Then I look at your photos of this beautiful bay and these peaks, and I close my eyes and I imagine myself on the terrace of your bungalow ... A little cigarette , a tea and what more could you ask for !!! It looks really great. Otherwise I completely agree with your sister, even without a photo, your text travels. In any case I hope you find a solution to your device if I send you one by mail! I make you many biz. Continue to make us dream and put you in full the mirettes. Biz biz.
    FW 🙄

  3. From my window I have a breathtaking view of the Oasis ... fast restaurant in the red front, smells of fritasse that fade into the gray sky, mobs farting. Each his oasis, each his own bubble.
    Your pictures are gorgeous so do something about it. I don't know, borrow your neighbor's camera while he's napping. You explain to him that many of us are addicted to your blog. 😮

  4. And me from my window, I see on one side the Jura in the fog and on the other side the airport of Geneva! And more, I went to work this afternoon ... So failing to dive and snoop in the coral, I explore the web, exploration that inevitably brings me to your site! Must dream well !!!

  5. Hi Corinne,
    Great your article, if it continues, you're going to make me regret giving up on Thailand as a destination this year! 🙄

    🙁 Am sorry about your camera, I hope it gets better, because your pictures are too good to do without!
    Thank you for the tip, I found the fat that suits my box!
    @ more


  6. @Helene: Yes, that's what I say to myself too, it's going to be an opportunity to equip myself better. What annoys me is that it is now that I need my device ... All the same, it is well known: a picture is worth a thousand words. And it's going to be frustrating for the dives. At worst, I think I can rent a device and its box on the boat. I'll see ... Otherwise, I found your junk, in front of James Bond Island, I'll send you the picture.

    @FunnyWorld: Ca, you said, really great this hillside bungalow ... For the camera, I'm not too delusional, he's almost dead. But by insisting, I can still wake up, so I hope to continue despite everything to make small pictures day after day ... All full of sunny kisses to cheer the grisaille breton!

    @Emmanuel: Delighted that these few images offer you a welcome getaway, between two explorations of the web! I will try to slip others in the next tickets ... But I am now dependent on the whims of my camera!

    @Nono: For photos, until now, I can still operate the device, even if it lights when it sings. I cross my fingers so that it stays at least like that until the end of the stay, I can still make images, it is already ca. At worst, I think I can rent one on the dive boat. After that, I'll scramble to borrow or rent something if mine definitely refuses to cooperate. I can also go and lose a day in Phuket to buy a new box, but hey, I think it's stupid to snap out of now, I like to keep them to invest in a quality SLR with the subwoofer that goes well ...

    @Malene: Thank you for your little word ... This is always a compliment that touches me a lot: to succeed to dream those who browse Little Bubbles Elsewhere! This is also the purpose of this blog. Mission accomplished, therefore, I am delighted!

    @Laurence: Do not regret, Thailand, you can always come back on a future trip ... Good bubbles and good photos sub!

  7. Hi Corinne,

    Thank you for making us dream from our offices under the gray. Even the ski slopes of Megeve were under the gray yesterday. Like Malene I see the Jura and Mont Blanc from my window, but as far as I am concerned my dream will soon become reality since I will be in Phuket on April 6th, after a stay in Malaysia for a wedding, and a visit to Singapore.
    I dream of going to take pictures of Halong Bay here is an excellent opportunity to shake hands with my new 5D.
    I will try to organize a boat trip among these wonders. I do not know what it can give with a little bit of 16 months but we will see on the spot.
    Hoping that you find a replacement for your camera if it ever came to let you go ... Good wind!

  8. Ben say so, there are plenty who live in the area who read your blog ... Me, I see the Salève from my window, under the fog too ...

  9. @Guy: With a 5D, you should have fun ... Do not worry about your little end, I see many families here who travel with young or very young children, and it seems to be very good. Good preparations!

    @ Helen: Come on, I'm sending you lots of sunny kisses to dispel the fog. And as I am nice, I put you below the picture of your junk ...

  10. What a joy to find Thailand that I love so much through your words! Totally in agreement with Helen, even without photos, we see scrolling landscapes. I add Koh Yao Noi to my next Asian itinerary!

    As for your camera, my Canon had also dropped me in Thailand. I have since bought only Olympus because of their resistance to rain and moisture, but last December, I bought a Canon for the quality of the image ... We can not unfortunately have everything , we must believe.

  11. @ Marie-Julie: Well, it will be necessary, more than ever, that I find the right words ... My Canon definitively let me go. As for Koh Yao Noi, I warmly recommend this little stop in the heart of Phang Nga Bay. A real good alternative to Phuket !!!

  12. Hello,

    I'm looking for a way to book a room at Tabeak Vieo Point in Yao Noi and I can not find an email or Tel.
    Can you help me?

  13. @Sylvie: Tabeak has no contact on the internet, indeed, there is just a web page that is actually a central booking, not its own site. But we can contact him by phone. I give you all this here:
    • Phone contact: 089-5904182
    • Website of the central reservation (be careful, it's a bit more expensive than the rates actually practiced by Tabeak, for the memory that I have):

  14. Hello,
    I would like to go to this island, I'm in Phuket in March, do you know, if a boat leaves a boat and which one?
    Thank you for your information, and congratulations your photos are beautiful!

  15. @JolaThai: There are three wharves, from memory, for Koh Yao Noi. You should find this easily by doing a little search on the web (type the words: Koh Yao Noi + ferry, in Google). The closest to Phuket is where I went from Bang Rong Pier.
    Have a good ride on my Little Bubbles Elsewhere!

  16. Hi Corinne (or Titbulle elsewhere)

    some news from Koh yao noi (and 2-3 practical info)

    we have just returned from a short trip in Thailand, and after a cruise in the Similans, then 4 days on Koh phi phi to join friends, we gave ourselves a few days of relaxation on this very friendly island (note that in season a boat makes the direct connection of Koh phi phi at 10am in the morning)

    what a pleasure, after the atmosphere of Koh phi phi, to find such nonchalance

    for our part we stayed at Lam lae beach (rather luxurious bungalows for 2000 Baths/night): an idyllic location: beware however of the overpricing of excursions (so we also took a tour in the bay with Alex 🙄 )

    that's the little news; it is still worth noting that the island is developing, as proof of the meeting with a French entrepreneur building residences on the island, to follow so

    Rq: From Phuket the boat leaves and returns from Bang Rong Pier (5 to 6 rotations per day)

    Congratulations on your blog and see you soon (a CR of the dives will be visible soon on P.com)

  17. @ Eric56: Oh, thanks for this fresh news package !!! I liked the Lom Lae Resort I too, but traveling to the economy, I did not stay there, I only went there to eat. But this is an address I recommend ...

    I did not know about Koh Phi Phi - Koh Yao Noi, that's an interesting piece of information. For the rest, I hope that even if it develops a little, Koh Yao Noi will long preserve its tranquility and nonchalance.

    See you soon, here or on Plongeur.com!


  18. Thanks for this nice walk 🙂
    We are going to Thailand next month with our 5 year old son, and you definitely convinced us to avoid the Kho Phi Phi rush. We therefore think to spend 3-4 days on the island, using it as a base for visiting the bay and the surrounding area. Then will follow 4-5 days on one of the islands of Trang (Koh Kradan is in view) to bubble a little ...
    Thanks for your nice blog (graphically very successful by the way) and this beautiful passion 🙂
    See you soon !

  19. @Jeans: Thank you for that little word! Koh Yao Noi is certainly more authentic than Koh Phi Phi. But the beaches of Koh Phi Phi are still splendid ... As a family, it is better to target the beaches of the North, quieter.
    In Koh Yao Noi, no problem: it's quiet everywhere! With a small piece of beach, the beach and resort Lom Lae will be very good (less pebble and mangrove than elsewhere, large bungalows in a beautiful garden):
    Good preparations!

  20. Back in France for a few days, with a cool internet, I want to thank you for the help that your blog gave me, and mainly this part about Koh Yao Noi, where I found very little information online. I spent several days there and then on the twin Yoi.
    Not very good weather in early January, but I liked the almost deserted landscapes, the traditional life in the fields, and the meetings with the locals was great.
    Thank you for your help in preparing my trip.

  21. @Canaima: I am delighted to have been able to help you prepare for this trip! It is true that we find little information on Koh Yao Noi, which is worth the detour. Thank you for your little word!

  22. Hello I am a medical student, and I learned that there was a hospital on this island. Could you give me some more information ... I found several hospitals in the Bangkok Hospital "chain".

    I would like to do an internship in a hospital near a beach (small personal pleasure I must admit) but which is not very touristy ... I would like something calm ... rest and a bit of medicine in new backgrounds.
    Thanks for your advices.

    1. Hello ,

      I just saw that you were looking for info on the hospital of koh yo noi, it happens that I do from time to time ballads on this island by bike with friends, I live Phuket.I return tomorrow, I will see if I can find some information for you for your internship and by the way for me too .... one never knows ... an accident is so fast arrived.. 😀

      See you soon


  23. @Paprika: Well, I can not see how I could inform you ... I do not live on this Thai island (I live in Rennes, France), I just spent a few days of vacation in 2009, finally I'm not doctor and I did not need to go for treatment while I was there. You tell me that there is a hospital on Koh Yao Noi! So I do not really understand what kind of information I could give you ... Regards!

  24. Hello,
    I fall on your blog by chance, .. Thank you very much for all these beautiful shares ... Bruno and I are not great backpackers! I am amazed! We have traveled twice Thailand since it is the country of our heart since we are in the process of adoption and think to see our project succeed in 1 year or more. In short, this step is very long, so let's take advantage of this waiting to make an acquaintance with its roots. We did only the center and the north of thailand. We are leaving this year on 28.02.2012 and we would like to discover the south. this island is very envy, by cons I have two questions: what are your addresses cheap because all that I find is around 2500 euros and can you tell me if we can easily snorkel by diving from the beach, without an organizer?
    We look forward to your response, if you have the time, we thank you! and once again congratulations for your site! I am blue! Good luck to you, here is my email address ...

  25. @helesoleil: 2500 € !!! 😯 Impossible. You must have misread it, it must be more like 2500 baht... Or maybe you found a super expensive luxury hotel.

    This trip dates back to 2009. You have links to the modest accommodations I mentioned in my post and in the comments below (Tabaek, Lomlae). Since then, I did not go back there. I do not know if it still exists, I do not know all the addresses of the guesthouses. You will see well on the spot, anyway ... If you already know Thailand, you know that we always find housing easily enough.

    Finally, you can swim easily from some beaches (like the Lomlae) but not all, because most beaches are rather mangrove. And in Koh Yao Noi, I do not think the funds near the beach are very interesting for snorkeling. On the other hand, you can easily organize a small excursion in longtail-boat with a local, which will be delighted to walk "tourists" against some pennies and to show you the nice spots for the snorkeling in the bay.

    Good preparations!

    PS. I will remove your email address from your comment, because you will be spammed otherwise!

  26. Hello,
    I read with great interest your post because we leave my wife and I on December 2 for 15 days.
    Our Road Book is almost looped but I would like to ask you a question.
    After staying 5 nights at PASSE TEMPS in NUANG (krabi), I want to spend 2 nights on Ko Yao; we have more or less chosen our accommodation (koh bay flag or Sabai corner bungalow); I would like to know if he has a good contact to make a nice visit for a day in the bay of Phang Nga from the island?
    Thank you

  27. Thank you for your blog and this good plan, it allowed us to discover last year this beautiful island. We were at Tabeak, all great.
    Sawadee khap

  28. @ Petrus06: Hello, I can not answer your question, I do not know at all ... I do not live in Koh Yao Noi, and my stay there was in February 2009. I do not know the accommodation you are talking about . But I am sure you will have found the necessary information on site ...

    Brno: So glad for you!!! Really a good plan, this little island... 😉

  29. Hello, your blog looks very nice, but it's no surprise that I just read once again very severe comments about Phuket, in fact very faithful to the usual cliches. We have the right not to love, but when we do not know, it's better not to say anything. There are some places in Phuket where you can stroll, places of absolute tranquility, and very diversified landscapes, not just postcard-type beaches, among others mangrove (a large part of the coastline), exactly like your photos.
    Good continuation.

    1. @Hugo: welcome to my Little Bubbles Elsewhere ... I think you misunderstand me a little on my account.

      I don't think I'm being too harsh by simply talking about "tourist-commercial frenzy" about Phuket, in this post dedicated to Koh Yao Noi... In fact, my remark was aimed at some places in Phuket like Patong, which are still not charming and peaceful places, eh... 😉 But fortunately, as you point out, Phuket is not reduced to these beaches.

      Like you, I keep repeating to people who ask me about Thailand (telling me that they are afraid it is "too touristy"), that it is enough to deviate a little too much known to rent a scooter and to walk, to discover - including near famous tourist spots - lots of cool corners and remained authentic, with a real Thai atmosphere ...

      So yes, I totally agree with what you say: there are very cool and very quiet corners in the Phuket area (but shh, do not say it too hard, I will still receive an avalanche of emails asking me where to go ... ).

  30. Thank you for your site ... I always fall on it, we have the same taste of travel ... I'm a big fan of Nusa Lembongan, I think I'll go see yao koi noi .. travel!

  31. Hello,

    My turn to fall on this blog seeking information for our next trip to Thailand ... and also to catch the urge to ask me on Kho Yao Noi, your story really makes you want! We had planned to visit the bay since Phang Na but why not from the island especially if the contact is more authentic.
    The only worries I have in my preparation are our luggages because we start with a week of diving in the Similans and we take all our equipment ...
    Good trips to you (many of your destinations are in our list!)

    1. @ Circélsa: Yes, Koh Yao Noi is perfect to enjoy the bay of Phang Nga ... As for luggage lugging, we manage ... I do the same, I travel with all my diving gear! Good preparations!

  32. Hello,

    I am looking for the name of an island that lies between Phuket and James Bond Island with a tiny secluded beach and just two or three bungalows that serve as hostels. The island is tiny and there is nothing but these bungalows. It is about an hour from Phuket to James Bond Island. Does that tell you anything? Otherwise, would you know who can inform me. Thanks in advance! François Molins

  33. Hello
    I am delighted to have found your site ... Very nice!
    I had the chance to go twice to Thailand.
    I loved Kho Phan Gan and especially Haad Salad bay nicknamed the little Jamaica (Raeggae hyper cool atmosphere) ...
    No modern nuisances all in a quiet bay in a small bay lined with small restaurants and massage cabins ...
    Kho Tao was great except the week of the festival Techno where we did not sleep for a week while we aspired to calm and serenity! ...
    I am looking for the same type of place without the Techno ....
    Thank you for poking me on a little slice of heaven on Kho Yao Noi or other ....
    Merry Christmas !

  34. I find the comment "People are Muslims, but it's nothing heavy. Very narrow-minded, for someone who has long experience of travel and exotic Muslim countries moreover.
    Since when is religion heavy? We must stop the clichés and the propaganda conveyed by BFM tv and other political channels. I really hope this comment is just a bad wording, I following this blog for years.