Koh Yao Yai – An unspoilt paradise off Phuket
My husband and I spent almost a week on Koh Yao Yai in March 2010. We wanted to experience Thailand in a way that was more authentic than Phuket, Koh Phi Phi or Krabi. And we were not disappointed!
Within easy access from a short crossing by a 30 min speed boat from Phuket, Koh Yao Yai is still surprisingly off the beaten track. Still untouched by tourism, Koh Yao Yai is a sheer delight to visit and explore. Located in the heart of Phang Nga Bay, famous for its sheer limestone cliffs that jut vertically out of the emerald green water, the Island offers dramatic scenery and deserted beaches.
We stayed at the Koh Yao Yai Village, one of the two high-standard resorts of the island. We really appreciated this resort that feature large bungalows decorated in Thai Folk Art. The attention to details in the rooms is remarkable from the outdoor living area to the amenities and handmade wooden buffalos produced by the local Islanders. The 400 sqm infinity pool with breathtaking views overlooking the Andaman Sea is particularly beautiful (and compensates for the lack of decent beach near the resort). The “Yao Yai Island Exploring” excursion by long-tail boat is a must (but be aware that snorkelling is very limited on that area). Check out their website for hot deals and special packages.
We went scuba-diving at the island’s only PADI dive centre, Elixir Divers, located in the Elixir Resort at the other side of the island (it is easy and very cheap to rent a motorbike at the reception). The instructor was excellent, the rental equipment first rate and the spots (Anemone Reef and Shark Point) really nice! We had delicious lunch and dinner at the Elixir Resort and enjoyed the pristine 400-meter-long private bay.
Koh Yao Yai is a perfect destination for relaxing holidays, since tradition and natural beauty on this island are still untouched by tourism. There are several nice beaches around the island (mainly on the West coast) and the population were very friendly and helpful.