If you are looking for info about its sister island, take a look at Koh Yao Yai.
How accessible is it from Singapore?
Koh Yao Noi is a good destination for a long 3-day weekend from Singapore. If you are short of days off, it’s feasible (but tight) in a regular 2-day weekend. If you have more time, you can combine a trip to Koh Yao Noi with a stay on its sister island Koh Yao Yai. You will have to leave Singapore in the morning to catch the speedboat from Phuket to Ko Yao Noi. If you decide to leave on a Friday night, you can always spend one night in Phuket and catch the first boat the next morning.
The total door to door journey from (your home/office in) Singapore to your hotel will take you about 5 hours and will cost you about SGD 640 return for 2 persons if you use public boats. This cost includes flight, taxi and boat transfers (but excludes accommodation). There is no major difficulty to get there but it is not that straightforward given the boat transfers.
What about the kids?
Koh Yao Noi is a family friendly destination and you can bring kids and babies (but will need to pack all the necessary food and supplies for babies as they are not available on the island). Bring a baby carrier.
How much is this going to cost us?
It’s a not so cheap destination. Despite the low the cost of living for tourists in Thailand and usually reasonable travel costs from Singapore, accommodation (and boat tours) will likely hurt your budget. Most hotels are higher end resorts, from SGD 100 per night (try the nice Paradise Koh Yao resort) upwards and all the way up to luxury stay (Six Senses). However, there are a few cheap backpacker guesthouses available on the island. More on this under ‘Where to stay’
However Ko Yao Noi is higher end than its sister island Ko Yao Yai so it’s a good choice for families or couples who are OK to spend a bit more on their accommodation (but get a great stay in return).
How remote and risky is it?
There is no medical infrastructure on the island but no particular danger. First aid kits are usually available from high end hotels.
Most resorts are popular with Western tourists. We did not meet a lot of Thais or Asians during our stay there.
When should we go?
Connections from Koh Yao Noi
If you have more time, you could combine trip to Koh Yao Yai with a stay on its sister island Koh Yao Yai or spend a few days in Phuket.
Getting from Singapore to Phuket
There are many daily direct flights from Singapore (SIN) to Phuket (HKT), low cost companies such as Jetstar, Tiger Airways or AirAsia will bring you there in 1h55 minutes. Example:
Getting there: Tigerair: Friday 8:00 AM (SIN) – 8:55 AM (HKT)
Coming back: Tigerair. Sunday 7:50 PM (HKT) – 10:45 PM (SIN)
Return ticket from SGD 225.
Get your tickets NOW to enjoy the best fares.
NB: it is also possible to reach Koh Yao Noi from Krabi but it is usually more expensive and less flexible – flight schedule wise.
Getting from Phuket airport to the Koh Yao Noi
Great news… a new international terminal opened in October 2016. It’s much better than the previous one and offers good restaurants and shops. Clearing immigration and customs has also become much faster!
You can get to Koh Yao Noi either by hotel transfer or on your own:
- Hotel transfer: Most of the resorts offer transfer services combining land and sea. These transfers are usually very expensive. 2500 THB / adult / way for the Paradise Koh Yao resort– or THB 4000 / villa / return for the Six Senses and the total travel time from Phuket airport will be about 1.30 hrs. That’s quite expensive and getting there on your own is not that difficult at all. Therefore we would recommend you arrange your transfer on your own (unless you want to take a helicopter to the Six Senses for THB 65,000 per helicopter per way…).
- On your own: When you exit the airport, take a taxi to Bang Rong Pier, which is 20min ride and 650 THB per car (you can be up to 4 adults per taxi). You can buy basic food and drinks at Bang Rong Pier. You will need to pay THB 10 at the pier (park fee).
Then take a speedboat to Koh Yao Noi (Manoh Pier), 35 min and 200 THB per person– see below boat time table. If you prefer you can also take a long tail boat at 50 THB per person but the journey will take 1h15 (and the boat might be very packed with people and goods). There is no restroom or shop at the pier. You can buy drinks from locals.
Most resorts can pick you up from the Manoh Pier. If you are going to the Paradise resort, you have 2 options:
- 40 minutes ride in a pick-up car on a dirt bumpy hilly road through the jungle. You can arrange this directly at the pier. THB 300 per person (or THB 800 per group/car depending on your negotiation skills and situation).
- 10 minute pick up ride (THB 100 per person) on a good road followed by a 20 minute boat ride (THB 800 per boat) that will get you directly to the resort.
NB: On your way back, the taxi from Phuket pier to the airport is negotiable at 500 THB per car. Taxis are available at the pier. Remember to reach the airport early if you travel during the high season as clearing immigration can take forever!
Where to stay in Khao Yao Noi
There are only a few hotels and resorts on the island. You will need to book beforehand as you cannot just walk in.
Most resorts are on the higher end. There are very few backpacker guesthouses on the island (this one for instance – we did not stay there so no idea if it’s good). Then hotels start at about SGD 100 the night all the way up to the Six Senses (about SGD 500 per night).
Most resorts are quite isolated from the rest of the island. This is very true for the Paradise resort. But don’t worry they all offer a wide range of activities from boat tour to spa. And it feels actually good to be disconnected from the rest of the world for a while!
As always, we recommend you book early to enjoy the best rates. A lot of booking platforms combine Phuket and the surrounding islands in one area. Make sure you select Koh Yao Noi.
or, if you prefer, with
To see & to do in Koh Yao Noi
Ko Yao Noi is a quiet island compared to many other islands in Thailand. You will feel a world apart from Phuket and its busy streets and beaches. Depending on the location of your resort, you might be able to join the main road of the island to enjoy the islands. If not, no worry, you can always explore the sea. Some kind of activity in the Phang Nga bay is a must.
Boat tour to Phang-Nga bay National Park
When you think about Thailand you see the limestone rocks and islands. Resort organize tours combining boat tour among the limestone formations, a stop at James Bond Island, canoeing in the caves,… resorts offer tours from 3000 THB per person. Our recommendation would be to avoid James Bond Island and its hordes of noisy-red face tourists. Honestly the island is nothing spectacular and you’re better off just skipping it. If you can, make sure the canoes are on your boat in order to be able to go canoeing in more peaceful places. A lot of tours will take you to designated spots where they would rent canoes and a boatman. We’ve seen places where the sea was covered by canoes!
A good alternative would be to rent a long tail boat for the day and ride nearby limestone rocks (from 3000 THB per day per boat) at your own pace.
Most resorts can arrange half day tours (5h tour, from 1800 THB per person) or you can directly ask a boatman on the beach (full day, from 3000 THB per boat).
There are many diving spots around. Most of them are below 1 hour away by speedboat: Phi Phi, Krabi, Sharkpoint. Check with your resorts what are the best spots based on your level and what you want to see.
There are more than 100 climbing routes on Ko Yao Noi… so that should keep you busy for a while if you like climbing!
Explore the island on a bike or motorbike
If you are brave enough to ride a bike despite the heat you can rent bikes or join a bike tour. Otherwise, rent a motorbike (400 THB full day or 200 THB half day rental) from your hotel. The island is quite big so check with your resort for recommendations of places to go. The village is located on the southern part of the island. You will find a market and souvenirs there. You will also find some simple restaurants on the beach side. They can be a good option for a well deserved lunch.
More info to prepare your trip
Wifi will be available in most of the hotels or guesthouses.
What to pack for Koh Yao Noi
Your main bag
That’s the one you leave at the hotel. Ideally you want to avoid checking in your luggage when flying. So check the weight and dimensions for hand carry luggage with your airlines (some airlines will allow only 7kg, some will allow up to 10kg). From head to toes.
- Short sleeves tops: your main outfit. Everybody will see them on all your pictures. You really want to take that old Mickey Mouse T-shirt? Be mindful that you will be in a different environment so it might be a good idea to adjust your wardrobe.
- Long sleeves tops: to protect yourself from the sun (if you’ve stayed for 5 hours on a motorbike with short sleeves you know what I mean) or to enter religious buildings or to protect yourself from mosquitoes in the evening.
- Pullover. Yes I know, you’re going to a country where the temperature never goes down below 25 degrees and you need to pack a pullover? You will thank us when you’re back. Remember that flight during which you were freezing? Or this museum where the aircon is set to the “polar bear” temperature?
- Short/skirt (you should be able to chose the appropriate one by yourself).
- Trousers for the same reasons you need to take long sleeves tops. Jeans are usually not a good option. They are heavy and keep you too warm.
- Underwear: well, you know. If you plan to walk or ride motorbikes for long hours, take something comfortable as the combination heat + friction can make you regret this sophisticated silk underwear. Cotton is good.
- Shoes: one pair of flip flap and one pair of confortable shoes. Remember that you are going to spend most of the time on your feet. Forget about high heels and leave your Westons at home.
- Swimsuit: even if you don’t plan to go to the beach, you never know. A nice river, a swimming pool, a heavy rain? Always have one with you.
- Raincoat and protection for your bag. Even if you are visiting the country during the “best season”, you never know what the sky will be like.
- Torch: take a pocket torch with you if you visit countries where the power is not reliable… Can come very handy when stuck in the dark in your room.
- Toilet bag: Shampoo, soap, toothbrush & toothpath, deodorant, sun screen, tiger balm. Ideally, all these in miniature formats.
- Sleeping bag liner (if you plan to stay in very cheap or dirty places, not required if you are staying in a 5-star hotel…)
- Your IT stuff: iPad, eBook, laptop, chargers, memory card, batteries, etc.
- Dryer sheets: they will help keep a fresh smell in your bag.
Your small bag
That’s the one you keep with you, all the time. Hence, a backpack is the best option.
- Your passport, cash, credit cards and other life saving items like your insurance card with emergency contact details. Not a bad idea to put them in a zip-lock bag in case it rains. It will keep your documents dry.
- Your driver’s licence if you plan to rent a car or a motorbike (some countries are quite particular about this so take it with you in case you are not sure, even for a motorbike rental).
- Your emergency medical kit: painkillers, mosquitoes repellent, dressing/plaster, disinfectant, anti diarrhea, eyewash
- Tissues and toilet paper (you will thank me later). Remember that in a lot of countries, you will not be provided napkins when having a meal.
- Water – plastic bottles are a good option as they are lighter than a gourd/flask.
- Biscuits (always buy some before you go when you are not sure what you will find. Always have “emergency” biscuit and water in case you cannot find food around and need to recharge batteries)
- Sunglasses: you’ll need them. Take them even if it’s raining. Weather can change very fast in the region.
- Scarf (krama, or any kind of fabric that you can use to put around your neck, put on your head to protect it from the sun, cover your shoulders in temples, dry your sweat, etc). Can come very handy in some situation. It will not stay clean for long so it’s wise to pick a dark color…
- Camera and its protection.
Remember that this one comes on top of the Regular pack (above)
- Beach towel or equivalent (pareos / sarongs are lighter)
- Snorkeling equipment: mask, scuba, (fins?)
- Shoes you can wear on the beach or in the water (to protect your feet from being cut by corals)
- Dry bag if you plan to go on a boat and want to keep your stuff dry.
Well, you will probably adjust your bag after a few trips. Remove the stuff that you have not used and add the one that you missed. Post a comment to share your tips!
Happy packing (it’s the worse part of the trip but it’s worth it…) and travelling!
- Language: Thai.
- Time zone: Bangkok and across the country GMT +7 hours.
1h behind Singapore
- Currency: Thai Baht (THB)
- Phone: + 66
- Electricity: 220V 60 Hz
Immigration and airport taxes on arrival
If you are a citizen from the following countries, you possess a passport with at least 6 months validity, and you are staying up to 30 days, then you do NOT need any Tourist visa to enter Thailand.
- Visa exemption rule applies for: Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam.
- If you hold a passport from another country, you will need to apply for a visa on arrival at the airport customs. A visa for 15 days costs 1000 Bahts.
National Public Holidays in Thailand
|January 1||New Years Day|
|March 4 *||Makha Bucha Day|
|April 6 *||Chakri Day|
|April 13||Thai New Year|
|April 14||Thai New Year|
|April 15||Thai New Year|
|April 16||Thai New Year|
|April 17||Thai New Year|
|May 1||Labour Day|
|May 5 *||Coronation Day|
|June 1 *||Visakha Bucha Day|
|July 30 *||Asahna Bucha Day|
|August 12||H.M. Queen’s Birthday|
|October 23||Chulalongkorn Day|
|December 5||H.M. King’s Birthday|
|December 10||Constitution Day|
|December 31||New Year’s Eve|
* check the exact date on this website as it varies from one year to another.