8 Best Things to Do in Koh Yao Noi, Thailand

Written By: author image Kyle Cash
author image Kyle Cash
Kyle is the writer behind The Travel Runner. He’s a full-time traveler and adventurer who’s visited over 20 countries, including places like Thailand, Mexico, Vietnam, and Albania.

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Discover the best things to do in Koh Yao Noi, Thailand, on your next trip! From relaxing to adventure activities, this guide has everything you need to know!

Welcome to Koh Yao Noi, where the most stressful choice you’ll make is lying on a beach or in a hammock.

This island floats on as if time weren’t even a thing. The people are laid-back, the beaches pristine, and your body clock will eventually sync to the tides β€” if you’re lucky enough to stay here that long.

Most people get a short visit, so maximizing your time in this little paradise is important. So, I created this guide to the best things to do in Koh Yao Noi. That way, you can find what you do (and don’t) want to do without wasting time.

Without further ado, let’s dive into it.

Best things to do on Koh Yao Noi Island

1. Explore as many beaches as you can

The beaches in southern Thailand are the stuff of legend.

But Phuket’s beaches are often crowded and, unfortunately, see way more trash than they should. So it’s better to find some non-touristy things to do near Phuket.

Enter Koh Yao Noi’s beaches.

White sands, Aquafina-clear water, and tall palm trees create that classic tropical scene. And that’s why you must take as much of it as possible on your trip.

Two men sit on a beach in Koh Yao Noi

For me, that started in the south of the island. I’d arrive at a beach, stay for a bit, then hop on my scooter and ride to the next incredible beach. Some beaches are better than others, depending on your preferences β€” swimming or lounging β€” but you’ll find plenty here to suit your tastes. And, realistically, it’s hard to complain about any of them when they look this good (and sometimes empty).

Just grab a coconut, a spot, and chill out.

2. Rent a scooter and explore the small island

Scooters are the best way to get around Koh Yao Noi (and, quite frankly, the best transport for your trip to Thailand).

The roads are nice but narrow. Traffic is light. And truthfully, the island isn’t that big, which makes zipping around it on a scooter a damn near rollercoaster-like experience.

If you don’t feel comfortable on a scooter, don’t worry. Arguably, there isn’t a better place to learn (besides the nearby Koh Yao Yai), but we’ll get to that in a bit. For now, take your time and explore the island slowly, exactly how it was meant to be. You’ll be surprised what you find!

3. Check out the rubber plantations around the island

Rubber plantations in Koh Yao Noi, now there’s something that doesn’t scream ‘tropical vacation,’ but hear me out.

This isn’t a typical tourist trap, complete with overpriced souvenirs and hoards of people looking for that Instagram-worthy shot, far from it.

The rubber plantations here offer a genuine peek into the locals’ way of life. They skillfully slice the bark, allowing the sticky, white sap to drip into bowls. I would pass tons of these on my trail runs and hikes in Phuket, and it was oddly satisfying to stop and watch.

While it may not be the most exciting part of your trip, it’s still worth the break from the beach. And learning a bit about the local culture never hurts.

4. Get fresh seafood on a great beach

You’re on a Thai island. How don’t you have fresh seafood on the beach?

I’m not even the biggest seafood fan, and I had to treat myself still. And it was definitely worth it.

Two men talk over a table of Thai food

I enjoyed some at Pasai Beach. A small restaurant on the beach serves up some of the most delicious fried fish I’ve ever had. It was so good my friends and I went back for seconds (and maybe thirds) in the following days.

So, while you’re here, be sure to indulge in as much as you can!

5. Go kayaking on the calm waters of the Andaman Sea

The waters around Koh Yao Noi are so calm they make a lake look like a rowdy teenager.

This makes it perfect for beginners or really anyone looking for a relaxing day on the water. As you paddle around, you’ll find little hidden spots to sit and watch the sea life swim around.

Or head to the mangroves, and you may catch monkeys hopping from tree to tree.

Either way, you’re spending so much time on the island, why not spend a little time around it?

6. Take a day trip to Koh Yao Yai or Phi Phi Island

Choosing between a day trip to Koh Yao Yai Island or Phi Phi Island is really a choice between tranquility and excitement.

Both are just a short ride away, and I’ve visited both and love them each for their own reasons.

Laem Haad Beach on Koh Yao Yai

KYY has a slower, more traditional feel with its quiet villages and serene beaches. On the flip side, Phi Phi is a hoppin’ paradise, famous for its beautiful beaches and exciting nightlife. So it’s really a matter of what you’re looking for.

If I’m looking for a night out with my friends and some fun day trips, I choose Koh Phi Phi for the excitement. But if I want a more relaxing vacation, then I’ll have more things to do on Koh Yao Yai.

So make a day trip out of one (or both!) if you have the time.

7. Visit the nearby Koh Nok and Koh Hong

Think of these beautiful islands as Koh Yao Noi’s less-talked-about siblings, still brimming with natural charm but without the constant need for attention.

Koh Nok is like the quiet kid in class who’s secretly a rock star. It’s small and unassuming, with a stunning beach. And Koh Hong is more of the show-off of the family. It’s part of a national park and is famous for its emerald-green lagoon.

Getting to these islands is a breeze – just a short boat ride from Koh Yao Noi. 

It’s an accessible adventure that makes you feel like a seasoned explorer, minus the risk of getting lost in the jungle.

8. Check out James Bond Island and go island hopping around Phang Nga Bay

Phang Nga Bay sits a bit north of Koh Yao Noi, just a short boat ride away.

And besides tons of beautiful limestone karsts resembling something you’d expect from a foreign planet, it also has the legendary James Bond Island.

A view of sunrise of Samet Nangshe in Phang Nga Bay

The area is a great option for a day trip if you don’t choose one of the others on this list. You can pay a pretty low price (especially if you’re splitting it) and island hop throughout the bay for an entire day. Bring a cooler, some music, and good friends; you’ve got a great time!

If you enjoy a bit more adventure, rent some kayaks and paddle around the bay to enjoy it in a completely different way like we did. If you have even more time, I strongly recommend staying at Samet Nangshe Boutique to catch one of the best sunrises I’ve seen in Thailand!

Ready to visit Koh Yao Noi?

From some of the best beaches in the area to the thrill of racing on a speedboat across the bay, Koh Yao Noi’s got plenty for you to do (and without the crowds of nearby Phuket!)

I loved my time on the island, and I can’t wait to return and visit again to do even more. So let me know what you have planned for your itinerary!

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Kyle Cash Owner
Kyle is the writer behind The Travel Runner. He’s a full-time traveler and adventurer who’s visited over 20 countries, including places like Thailand, Mexico, Vietnam, and Albania.