Ko Yao Noi is a relatively unspoiled island in Phang Nga Bay despite being a 30-minute boat ride away from the glitz and glamour that is Phuket. There are some resorts on the island, but budget accommodations also are available. Ko Yao Noi or “small long island” is mountainous. The east side of the mountains has beaches where you can swim and snorkel.
Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai are a pair of large islands in the middle of Phang Nga Bay, equidistant to Phuket and the Krabi mainland. While the pace of development is accelerating on Koh Yao Noi in particular, the islands remain a quiet refuge that feels far removed from the crowds of Phuket. In 2002, Koh Yao Noi gained worldwide attention after receiving the World Legacy Award for Destination Stewardship from Conservation International and National Geographic Traveler magazine for the eco-friendly homestay programs offered by its local residents.
Other activities available on the island include agricultural demonstrations (rubber and fishing), kayaking, hiking, snorkelling and swimming. Neither of the islands have banking facilities, but Internet service, restaurants and some shops can be found on Yao Noi, including a brand new 7-Eleven with a very powerful air-con, a good chance to cool down and get some sugary drinks and ice creams. So if you plan to stay over, remember to withdraw some cash money before you go, even though there are few opportunities to spend it! Note that the islanders are keen to preserve their traditional ways, so it’s important to respect the local culture by dressing modestly and refraining from drinking alcohol outside of the restaurants/resorts catering to visitors.
The west side is a good place to see mangrove forests and rice flats. You can also take diving lessons on Ko Yao Noi or cruise the bay to other islands. The island is quiet, making it one of those destinations in Thailand to relax in a hammock.