Escape to Koh Yao Noi for a weekend of pure indulgent relaxation, peace, tranquility and incredible views. Koh Yao Noi is the smaller sister island to Koh Yao Yai. Literally translated the name means ‘Little Long Island’, and covers 140 square metres, about half the size of its sister island. I decided to take a weekend to see what lies just a half hour boat ride from Phuket.

Escape to Koh Yao Noi for a weekend or more

Departing Phuket, Koh Yao and Koh Yao Noi can be reached by either long tail boat or speed boat. Saturday morning, I hopped on my bike

Escape to Koh Yao Noi

Touring the island by scooter

and ventured to find Bang Rong Pier, the port where one hops on a boat awaiting new island adventures. A long tail boat will set you back 1 hour and 120 thb. For a speedier, slightly more comfortable option, the speed boat takes just half hour and will cost you 200 thb. If you have a car or bike, you can park at the pier for a small fee and leave it there for the night or weekend.

Not knowing quite what to expect and awaiting the surprise on the other side, I arrived at Manoh Pier in Koh Yao Noi. The quiet island pace was immediately noticeable and a pleasant change from the busyness of Phuket. Several taxis awaited at the pier taking tourists to the various hotels and bungalows. The taxi was a very little 100 thb for wherever you needed to get to on the island.

Escape to Koh Yao Noi

Inland Koh Yao Noi

The islands pace and beauty took me back. The peace and tranquility dug deep and forced you to breathe and relax. I arrived at Koh Yao Beach bungalows where smiley staff greeted me and showed me to my bungalow home for the night. Koh Yao Noi is known for a more exclusive crowd with a couple of high end resorts, which will cater for the fussiest of holiday makers. But having said that, there is also no shortage or reasonably priced, beautifully presented and comfortable bungalows available along the water.

There is one road that circles the southern half of the island. The north part has a couple of small dirt roads leading to a National Park covering the top of the island. I rented a bike and ventured around the island, which took no more than an hour. While there are areas building up around the island, it’s still very much a peaceful refuge for those seeking closeness with nature. The market acts as the village with a few market shops and one 7-11. Bring cash because as far as I could see there were 2 ATM’s and they’re not easy to find.

What to do on Koh Yao Noi

Escape to Koh Yao Noi and enjoy some of the fantastic activities on the island including hiking, cycling, kayaking and swimming. Cycling

Escape to Koh Yao Noi

Flowers and palm trees

tours seemed ever popular with small groups peddling their way around the island. But mostly, Koh Yao Noi is the ideal place to simply unwind, get reconnected with nature, enjoy the birdlife and sounds of the jungle and get lost in a good book on a beach, where its likely you could be completely alone.

What I found most impressive about the island is the good nature and genuine smiles of the locals. Most of the locals I met were born and bred on the island, some have ventured away and come back home to continue the family business. And I just couldn’t get enough of the incredible views looking out over Phang Nga Bay, with those cliffs jutting out of the turquoise, still waters. A mystical air surrounds the cliffs and at different times of the day, you can see the mist and clouds hovering amongst them. It’s magic.

Staying in Phuket? Take a look at some of our favourite hotels around the island. Tune in to the Breakfast Show weekdays from 7:30 am for all the latest in what’s happening in and around Phuket.