Destinations Thailand

Koh Yao Yai – The perfect island hideaway

March 7, 2016
Koh Yao Yai

The number of islands in Thailand is almost infinite and visiting all of them could be somewhat like a lifetime mission. Although I’ve been there 8 times now, by far I haven’t seen all of them – which is great – because it gives me the possibility to see a different island every time. I especially love the Andaman coast due to its dramatic limestone formations and – in my opinion – the clearer water and the whiter sand (don’t get me wrong, the gulf side is great too!). So this time we opted for Koh Yao Yai, one of the islands of the Koh Yao archipelago (the other one is Koh Yao Noi) in the bay of Phang Nga. And despite being located between the main tourist hot spots of Phuket and Krabi, this island remained an originality and calmness which is rarely found today. Infrastructure and tourism development are very basic, the Muslim population is mainly living of agriculture and fishing. Some exclusive resorts have found their way there, but luckily the beaches are still wonderfully empty and the countryside consists of a mix of rubber plantations, jungle and grasslands, therefore it’s very lush and green. The Koh Yao islands have established themselves as eco-tourism destinations and have been rewarded for that quite a few times now.

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A simple road runs through the island and traffic is light – ideal conditions for touring with a scooter!


A typical island gas station.


One of the quiet beaches. Although it was high season we almost entirely had it for ourselves.

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Honestly – fresh, young coconut water is one of the best things on the planet!


I was still suffering the after-effects of my food poisoning in Phuket, so I went for light food only: A delicious mushroom glass noodle salad!


Rubber trees are everywhere!

Regarding our stay, we found a real gem! Esmeralda View Resort is a lovely family-run resort located on a hill and offering a breathtaking ocean view. The heart of the property definitely was their amazing terrace overlooking the Bay of Phang Nga. Is there any better place to enjoy your breakfast or dinner?

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The bungalows were really well equipped and taken care of. There’s an open air shower and a big veranda. I can’t recommend this place enough and I’m telling you this as a normal paying customer 😉

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From Bang Rong pier in Phuket it’s just a short boat ride away. There are plenty of boats several times a day. Further travel to Krabi and also Koh Phi Phi is possible. If you’re looking for a peaceful, close-to-nature island experience – this might be something for you!

Can’t get enough of Thai islands? Check out these articles:

Visiting Mu Koh Surin National Park


Overdose of beach on Koh Kradan

The lazy days of Koh Lanta


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  • Reply Christina March 7, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    Beautiful pictures 🙂 I bet you had a great (relaxing) time there 🙂

    • Reply sileas March 10, 2016 at 1:28 pm

      Yes thank you, I really did!

  • Reply shootingvienna March 7, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Wow the island and the clear water does look very tempting on a grey rainy Monday night haha
    I am that a huge beach bum but the water and the beach seem perfect 🙂
    When my tummy is upset I somehow can’t eat mushrooms but it looks really yummy!

    • Reply sileas March 10, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      I wasn’t feeling hungry at all but at least it felt light and healthy… The beaches were really nice though, I wish we had something similar in Austria 😉

  • Reply Paleica March 8, 2016 at 6:41 am

    wahnsinn, kaum zu glauben, dass man heutzutage so paradiesische inseln findet. das zweite bild ist der absolute hammer, aber allgemein sind die eindrücke wunderbar!
    lebensmittelvergiftung in phuket? das hört sich wiederum weniger spaßig an…

    • Reply sileas March 10, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      Fast wäre die Reise dorthin an der Kippe gestanden weil die Lebensmittelvergiftung in der Nacht vor der Weiterreise einschlug, aber irgendwie hab ich’s dann doch hingeschafft und jetzt bin ich sehr froh darüber 🙂

      • Reply Paleica March 11, 2016 at 6:33 am

        das kann ich mir vorstellen! 🙂

  • Reply The Tastemonials March 8, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Deine Bilder sind mal wieder ein Traum!! Wie gerne wäre ich jetzt auch in Thailand zumal hier der Winter einfach nicht weichen möchte 🙁 Meine Güte, was hattest du denn in Phuket gegessen, dass du dir eine Vergiftung geholt hast ?? Hoffentlich geht’s dir wieder gut??? Liebe Grüsse,Heike

    • Reply sileas March 10, 2016 at 1:37 pm

      Das stimmt, der Frühling kommt nicht so richtig in die Gänge… Tja was es genau war frage ich mich bis heute, aber es war definitiv etwas vom Night Market… Jedenfalls ist es schon wieder ein Weilchen her und (fast) wieder vergessen 🙂 Danke der Nachfrage!

  • Reply Dice March 8, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    a great hideaway! I’ve never heard of this island before now but this blog post made me want to go there already! I’ll put this on the list, places around Thailand I should go before graduating.

    • Reply sileas March 10, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      Oh you got a list, great! Yes this island is very much worth checking out 😉

  • Reply Ice Pandora March 8, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    I have never been to Thailand before but it’s on my to-go list!
    Thanks for introducing this hideaway island c; everyone loves
    minimum traffic and breakfast/dinner with ocean view! Xx
    Ice Pandora

    • Reply sileas March 10, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      This terrace had one of the nicest views I can remember. I agree, if you’re looking for some relaxation – this is the place to go! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • Reply SueT唐 梦 琇 March 9, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Absolutely gorgeous Julia, I love the little pink house and that dish of fresh food looks absolutely amazing…your photos are beautiful too as always.

    • Reply sileas March 10, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      Haha I loved that house too! Gosh I really wish I was there right now 😉

  • Reply mintnoti March 9, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Wow, 8 times? You are so lucky! I didn’t know there were so many islands in Thailand, this one looks like paradise! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Reply sileas March 10, 2016 at 1:46 pm

      I got kinda hooked on Thailand 😉 One of the reasons is that there are so many islands that I just keep coming back, because I want to see all of them 😛

  • Reply Mitzie Mee March 10, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Beautiful Koh Yao Yai! So funny that we’ve been driving down the same roads, enjoying the same views and maybe even photographed the same water buffalo:)

    • Reply sileas March 11, 2016 at 8:54 am

      I guess that’s pretty much it 😉

  • Reply kajascorner March 15, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Thank you for this post and for your lovely pictures! This reminds me of our marvellous holidays in Koh Yao Noi! 🙂
    Cheers from Hong Kong,

    • Reply sileas March 15, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      I’m happy you enjoyed it! All the best wishes to Hong Kong 🙂

  • Reply austevidmantas March 16, 2016 at 2:58 am

    Hey, great post, and very relevant for me at the moment :)) How did you go about accommodation, did you book in advance, or just looked on the day? And how much did you pay for a night? 🙂

    • Reply sileas March 16, 2016 at 8:20 am

      Glad it came in handy 🙂 I found the accommodation through and it was about 2.300 Baht a night which was a good price I think. The number of resorts on the island is very limited and distances are far, so I’d recommend to book in advance! Hope that was helpful! Have a nice trip 🙂

  • Reply Days of Bangkok Part II – sweet/escapes March 24, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    […] Koh Yao Yai – The perfect island hideaway […]

  • Reply Jenny Stephens April 20, 2016 at 4:21 am

    Looks like such a tropical paradise! And I agree with you about coconut water being the best thing in the world 🙂

    • Reply sileas April 20, 2016 at 10:56 am

      Gosh, I wish we had decent fresh coconut water here…

      • Reply Jenny Stephens April 20, 2016 at 8:40 pm

        It’s such a refreshing drink 🙂 We can get some good coconut water here up north but it’s always more readily available on the islands isn’t it?!

  • Reply 12 magische Mottos - same, same but different - sweet/escapes August 2, 2016 at 8:50 am

    […] shaded spot at Koh Yao Yai, […]

  • Reply Jason Walters August 19, 2016 at 5:24 am

    Thank you for the great information. I think you helped us decide to visit this island, instead of just spending a whole on Phuket.

    • Reply sileas August 21, 2016 at 4:47 pm

      Thanks for your comment! I’m very glad that was helpful for you! Yes, Koh Yao Yai is very much worth visiting 🙂

  • Reply Auste and Vidmantas March 30, 2017 at 3:41 am

    I’m looking at this post yet AGAIN, hopefully will go there soon 🙂

    • Reply sileas March 30, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      I’m glad you came back 🙂 Fingers crossed!!

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