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 of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, 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)

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...

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 "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.

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 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.

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 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!

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, 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:


  Thailand: Islands - February 2009

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  1. Youpih!!!!!!!A new comment, I love it, I love it!!!!On the other hand, I'm sorry for your camera, it even worries Greg in relation to the Canon brand, because, my Canon camera also failed me in Australia!!! It must not have withstood the change in temperature between Canada and Australia, in short, at first, I thought it was coming from the battery, so I changed it, but, the problem remained: black screen too; or else, screen with the image but blurred and pink....
    Same thing on my side, I was very frustrated, so Greg took over for the pictures!
    I enjoy the "maybe" last photos that you put online.the rock of James Bond, we had seen from the small beach where indeed, we had to queue to take a picture at the foot of the famous rock!!! I keep a very good memory of this escapade in junk in the middle of the bay phang nga!
    How I envy you to be there....even without a camera...Besides, Greg tells me that it will be the occasion to invest in an even better camera!
    You write so well that even without a picture, you will be able to share with us 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 pictures of this beautiful bay and these peaks, and I close my eyes and I imagine myself on the terrace of your bungalow... A little smoke, a tea and what more could I ask for!!! It sounds really great. Otherwise I agree with your sister, even without a picture, your text makes you travel. Anyway I hope you will find a solution to your camera or I will send you one by mail!!! I send you lots of love. Continue to make us dream and put you in full the eyes. Biz biz.
    FW 🙄

  3. From my window I have an unobstructed view of the Oasis... a fast-food restaurant with a red shop window, the smell of fried food fading into the grey sky, and the backfire of mobs. To each his own oasis, to 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 from my window, I see on one side the Jura in the fog and on the other side the Geneva airport! And more, I went to work this afternoon... So if I don't dive and snoop in the coral, I explore the web, exploration that inevitably brings me to your site! You have to dream !!!

  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!
    Thanks for the tip, I found some grease that fits my box!
    @ more


  6. @Helene: Yes, that's what I think too, it will be the occasion to equip myself better. What bothers me is that I need my camera now... After all, it is well known: a picture is worth a thousand words. And it will be frustrating for the dives. At worst, I think I can rent a camera and its housing on the boat. I will see... Otherwise, I found your junk, in front of James Bond Island, I will send you the picture.

    @FunnyWorld: That, you said it, really great this bungalow on the hillside... For the camera, I don't have too many illusions, it is dead or almost. But by insisting, I still manage to wake it up, so I hope to keep on taking little pictures day after day... Lots of sunny kisses to brighten up the grey Breton sky!

    @Emmanuel: I'm glad these few pictures offer you a welcome escape, between two explorations of the web! I'll try to include more in the next few posts... But I'm now dependent on the whims of my camera!

    @Nono: For the pictures, until now, I still manage to make the camera work, even if it turns on when it wants. I keep my fingers crossed that it will last at least like this until the end of the stay, I can still take pictures, that's already enough. In the worst case, I think I can rent one on the diving boat. After that, I'll have to borrow or rent something if mine definitively refuses to cooperate. I can also go to Phuket and spend a day to buy a new camera, but I think it's silly to spend money now, I'd rather keep it to invest in a quality SLR with the underwater housing that goes with it...

    @Malene: Thank you for your little word... It's always a compliment that touches me a lot: to succeed in making dream those who browse Petites Bulles d'Ailleurs! That's the goal of this blog. Mission accomplished, so I'm delighted!

    @Laurence: Don't regret Thailand, you can always come back on your next trip... Good bubbles and good pictures!

  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've been dreaming of going to Halong Bay to take pictures. This is a great opportunity to get my hands on my new 5D.
    I will try to organize a day in boat among these wonders. I don't know what it will be like with a 16 months old child but we'll 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 enjoy yourself... Don't worry about your little one, I see a lot of families traveling here with young, even very young children, and it seems to be going very well. Good preparation!

    @ Helen: Come on, I send you a lot of sunny kisses to dissipate the fog. And as I am nice, I put below the picture of your junk...

  10. What a joy to find Thailand that I love so much through your words! I totally agree with Hélène, even without pictures, we can see the landscapes. I will add Koh Yao Noi to my next itinerary in Asia!

    As for your camera, my Canon had also failed me in Thailand. Since then, I only bought Olympus cameras because of their resistance to rain and humidity, but last December, I bought a Canon for the quality of the image... Unfortunately, we can't have everything, I guess.

  11. @ Marie-Julie: Well, I will have to find the right words... My Canon has definitely failed me. As for Koh Yao Noi, I warmly recommend you 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 which is in fact a reservation center, not its own site. But you can contact him by phone. I'll put it all here:
    • Phone contact: 089-5904182
    - Web page of the reservation center (be careful, it's a bit more expensive than the actual rates charged by Tabeak, as far as I remember) :

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

  15. @JolaThai: There are three ferries, from memory, for Koh Yao Noi. You should find it easily by doing a little search on the web (type the words : Koh Yao Noi + ferry, in Google). The closest one to Phuket is the one I left from: Bang Rong Pier.
    Have a nice trip on my Petites Bulles d'Ailleurs!

  16. Hi Corinne (or Titbulle elsewhere)

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

    we just came back from a little trip in Thailand, and after a cruise in the Similans, then 4 days on Koh phi phi to join some friends, we decided to spend a few days relaxing on this very nice island (note that during the season a boat makes the direct connection from Koh phi phi at 10am)

    what a pleasure, after the atmosphere of Koh phi phi, to find such a 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 it for the small news; it is nevertheless to be noted that the island is developing, as a proof the meeting with a French entrepreneur who is building residences on the island, to be followed then

    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, thank you for this fresh news package!!! I had liked the Lom Lae Resort me too, but traveling on a budget, I didn't stay there, I only went to eat. But it is an address that I recommend...

    I didn't know about the Koh Phi Phi - Koh Yao Noi connection, that's an interesting information. For the rest, I hope that even if it develops a little, Koh Yao Noi will keep its tranquility and nonchalance for a long time.

    See you soon, here or on Plongeur.com!


  18. Thanks for this nice walk 🙂
    We are going to Thailand next month with our 5 years old son, and you definitely convinced us to avoid the crowds of Kho Phi Phi. We think to spend 3-4 days on the island, using it as a drop-off point to visit the bay and the surroundings. Then will follow 4-5 days on one of the islands of Trang (Koh Kradan is in sight) 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 worries: it's quiet everywhere! With a little kid, the beach and the resort Lom Lae will be very good (less rocks and mangrove than elsewhere, big bungalows in a nice garden):
    Good preparations!

  20. Back in France since a few days, with a cool internet, I want to thank you for the help that your blog brought me, and mainly this part on 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 encounters with the locals were great.
    Thank you for your help in preparing my trip.

  21. @Canaima: I'm glad I could help you to prepare this trip! It's true that you can't find much information about Koh Yao Noi, but it's worth a visit. Thanks 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 of the "chain" Bangkok Hospital.

    I would like to do an internship in a hospital near a beach (a personal pleasure I must admit) but not very touristy... I would like something quiet... rest and a bit of medicine in new horizons.
    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 ....on never knows ... an accident is so fast happened.. 😀

      See you soon


  23. @Paprika: Well, I don't see how I could inform you... I don't live on this Thai island (I live in Rennes, in France), I only spent a few days of vacations there in 2009, well I'm not a doctor and I didn't need to go and get treated during my stay there. You are the one who told me that there is a hospital on Koh Yao Noi! So I don't really understand what kind of information I could give you... Sincerely !

  24. Hello,
    I stumbled upon your blog by chance;...Thank you very much for all these beautiful shares...Bruno and I are not big backpackers! I am amazed! We have visited Thailand twice because it is the country of our heart since we are in the process of adoption and we think we will be able to achieve our project within a year or more. In short, this process is very long, so let's take advantage of this wait to get to know his roots. We have only done the center and the north of Thailand. We are going back this year on 28.02.2012 and we would like to discover the south. This island makes us very envy, however I have two questions: what are your cheap addresses because everything I find is around 2500 euros and can you tell me if we can easily do snorkeling from the beach, without an organizer?
    We are waiting impatiently for your answer, if you have the time, we thank you for it! and once again bravo for your site! I am bluffed! Good continuation 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 from 2009. You have the links to the modest accommodations I mentioned in my post and in the comments below (Tabaek, Lomlae). I haven't been back there since. I don't know if it still exists, I don't know all the addresses of the guesthouses. You'll see on the spot, anyway... If you already know Thailand, you know that you can always find a place to stay quite easily.

    Finally, you can swim easily from some beaches (like Lomlae) but not all of them, because most of the beaches are rather mangrove. And on Koh Yao Noi, I don't think that the sea bed near the beach is very interesting for snorkeling. On the other hand, you can easily organize a small longtail-boat trip with a local, who will be happy to take "tourists" for a few cents and to show you the nice snorkeling spots 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 complete but I would like to ask you a question.
    After having stayed 5 nights at PASSE TEMPS in NUANG (krabi), I wish to go to spend 2 nights on Ko Yao; we have more or less chosen our accommodation (koh bay pavilion or Sabai corner bungalow); I would like to know if he has a good contact to make a nice day tour 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 the tabeak, everything great.
    Sawadee khap

  28. @ Petrus06: Hello, I can't answer your question, I don't know anything about it... I don't live in Koh Yao Noi, and my stay there was in February 2009. I don't know the accommodation you are talking about. But I am sure you will find the necessary information on the spot...

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

  29. Hello, your blog looks very nice, but it is without surprise that I have just read once again very severe comments about Phuket, in fact very faithful to the usual cliches. One has the right to dislike, but when one does not know, it is better not to say anything. There are in Phuket, when you walk around a little bit, places of an absolute tranquility, and very diversified landscapes, not only postcard beaches, among others mangrove (a big part of the coastline), exactly like on your pictures.
    Good continuation.

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

      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 those beaches.

      Just like you, I keep telling people who ask me about Thailand (saying that they are afraid it is "too touristy"), that you just have to get away from the famous places, rent a scooter and go for a ride, to discover - even near places known to be very touristy - lots of nice and authentic places, 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,

    It's my turn to come across this blog while looking for information for our next trip to Thailand... and also to catch the desire to land on Kho Yao Noi, your story really makes me want to! We had considered visiting the bay from Phang Na but why not from the island especially if the contact is more authentic.
    The only concern I have in my preparation is our luggage to carry because we start with a week of diving in the Similans and we take all our equipment with us...
    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'm looking for the name of an islet between Phuket and James Bond Island with a very small isolated beach and just two or three bungalows that serve as a hostel. The island is tiny and there is nothing else but these bungalows. It is about an hour from Phuket towards James Bond Island. Does this sound familiar to you? If not, do you know who can help me? Thanks in advance! François Molins

  33. Hello
    I'm glad I found your site... Very nice!
    I had the chance to go twice to Thailand.
    I loved Kho Phan Gan and especially the bay of Haad Salad nicknamed the little Jamaica (very cool Raeggae 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 for the week of the Techno festival when we didn't sleep for a week while we were longing for 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 Muslim, but that's not a big deal." very narrow-minded, for someone who has a long experience of travel and exotic Muslim countries at that.
    Since when is religion a burden? We have to stop the clichés and the propaganda conveyed by BFM tv and other politico channels. I really hope that this comment is just a bad wording, me who follows this blog for YEARS.