Koh Yao is two large islands, Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai, off the east coast of Phuket. They are probably the ultimate Thailand island escapist fantasy: palm-fringed sandy beaches and a warm azure sea. They are gloriously peaceful and away from the madding crowds. If you get the location and the season right, there are also excellent local places to eat and drink within walking distance. It’s the best of both worlds here.
Koh Yao Yai is very similar to its neighbour Koh Yao Noi, but larger hence its name which means ‘Big Long Island’. Both islands are a predominantly untouched wilderness, and they are known for being the natural habitat for at least four species of hornbills, which are a common sight.
The best way to see the island is to hire a bike and cycle around the network of bumpy roads. Otherwise, tuk-tuks are available to escort you around. There are plenty of activities to try, from hiking to kayaking, as the island is mountainous in the centre.
A delightfully understated resort, and a firm Experience Travel Group favourite, is Koyao Island Resort. It’s a short boat ride from Phuket or Krabi, but a world away and is quiet, peaceful and relaxed. There are some low key places to eat and a small town to give you options on eating out.
If you’re looking for a relaxing island getaway while in Thailand, our experts can include a stay here in your next tailor-made holiday.