Ko Yao Travel Guide

Plan your trip to Ko Yao with our detailed travel guide featuring top attractions, hiking/biking routes, things to do, food and drink scene, where to stay, local culture and customs, safety and health, transportation options, and nearby destinations.

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Ko Yao, Thailand

Are you dreaming of visiting a tropical paradise in Southeast Asia? Ko Yao, also known as Yao Island, is the perfect destination for travelers seeking solitude in an unspoiled location. Its two main islands, Ko Yao Noi and Ko Yao Yai, are located in the Andaman Sea, off the coast of Phang Nga province in Thailand. Here’s everything you need to know about exploring this peaceful and picturesque destination:

Introduction to Ko Yao

Ko Yao’s total area measures 141 square kilometers and over 10,000 residents call it home. Ko Yao Noi is often considered the less crowded of the two islands, which boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand. Travelers looking for crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, and a laid-back atmosphere should add Ko Yao to their list of must-visit destinations.

List of Places to Visit in Ko Yao

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

If you have an interest in Thailand’s rich culture and history, there are several cultural sites worth visiting on Ko Yao. One of the most popular is the Chao Leh Museum, which provides insight into the sea gypsy culture of the island. The Boria Muslim Village is also a unique destination in Ko Yao featuring a 100-year-old mosque.

Natural Attractions of Ko Yao: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Nature lovers will be awe-struck by the natural beauty of Ko Yao. One of the island’s biggest attractions is its pristine beaches, including the Loh Paret Beach, Klong Jark Beach, and Pasai Beach, which offer crystal-clear waters and spectacular views. Island hopping tours are also a memorable way to experience the beauty of the surrounding area.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Ko Yao

Ko Yao has excellent hiking and biking trails that offer scenic views of the island. The biking route from Ban Tha Khao to Ao Bo Lae and the hiking trail to Klong Hia Pier and Koh Hong viewpoint are some of the highlights to experience while exploring the island.

Best Things to Do in Ko Yao: Activities and Tours

Outdoor enthusiasts can indulge in plenty of activities on Ko Yao, including snorkeling, diving, kayaking, cycling, and rock climbing. Hire a long-tail boat for a private tour around the islands, stop for lunch at a floating seafood restaurant, or relax with a Thai massage at one of the island’s spas.

Week-Long Itinerary for Ko Yao

If you are short on time, it’s possible to explore the best of Ko Yao in a week. Here’s a sample itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival, check-in, and rest Day 2: Island hopping tour Day 3: Cultural tour: Chao Leh Museum and Boria Muslim Village Day 4: Hike to Klong Hia Pier and Koh Hong viewpoint Day 5: Snorkeling/diving tour Day 6: Relax on the beach Day 7: Departure

Food and Drink Scene of Ko Yao

Must-Try Dishes

Food lovers will not be disappointed by the dining scene on Ko Yao. Some of most popular dishes include Massaman curry, Tom Yum Goong, and Pad Thai, which can be found in most restaurants. Seafood is also a must-try, especially tiger prawns and squid, which can be grilled or fried.

Local Beverages

Ko Yao has plenty of refreshing beverages to quench your thirst and complement your meal. A few of the recommended drinks include Thai iced tea, coconut water, and fruit shakes.

Where to Stay in Ko Yao: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Ko Yao has a variety of accommodations to suit all budgets ranging from luxury resorts to budget-friendly guesthouses. Some of the best options include Koh Yao Yai Village, TreeHouse Villas, and Elixir Resort.

What to Buy in Ko Yao: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

If you are looking for souvenirs, you will find plenty of unique handicrafts, such as wooden utensils, batik prints, and hand-woven baskets made by the local community. Ko Yao also produces high-quality cashew nuts that make an excellent gift to bring home.

Local Culture and Customs of Ko Yao

Ko Yao residents are predominantly Muslim, and visitors should be respectful of local customs. Dress modestly and avoid consuming alcohol in public places. Consider covering your shoulders and knees if visiting a religious site.

Best Time to Visit Ko Yao

The best time to visit Ko Yao is from November to February when the weather is perfect for outdoor activities and the island is not too crowded. The monsoon season lasts from May to October when the weather can be unpredictable, but the island offers sales and discounts during the offseason.

Do’s and Don’ts of Ko Yao


  • Respect the local culture and customs
  • Wear comfortable shoes for hiking and walking
  • Try local food and beverages
  • Bring a reusable water bottle to reduce plastic waste


  • Engage in activities that exploit animals, such as elephant riding and tiger petting
  • Litter on the beaches or in the ocean
  • Disrespect religious sites or customs

Safety and Health

Safety in Ko Yao

Ko Yao is a safe destination for travelers. However, practice basic safety precautions like locking your valuables in a safe and not carrying large amounts of cash.

Health in Ko Yao

Visitors should take precautions against mosquitoes, especially during the rainy season, and apply insect repellent. Travelers should also drink bottled or filtered water, avoid undercooked food, and carry a basic first-aid kit.

Getting to Ko Yao: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Ko Yao

The nearest airports are Phuket International Airport and Krabi International Airport, which both have daily flights from Bangkok and other major cities.

Bus Stations Near Ko Yao

There are no direct buses to Ko Yao, but bus services operate from Phuket and Krabi to the nearby town of Ao Nang, where you can take a ferry to Ko Yao.

Other Options

You can also reach Ko Yao by private transfer from Phuket, Krabi, or Ao Nang. Ferry services operate from Phuket, Krabi, and Phi Phi Islands.

How to Get Around in Ko Yao

The easiest way to get around Ko Yao is by renting a scooter or motorbike. Taxis and tuk-tuks are also readily available for short journeys or for those who prefer not to drive.

Where to Go Next from Ko Yao: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Ko Yao is conveniently located near several other destinations in Southern Thailand, including Phuket, Krabi, and Phi Phi Islands. Day trips to these destinations can be easily arranged from Ko Yao.


Ko Yao is a hidden gem in Thailand and one of the most underrated travel destinations in Southeast Asia. If you’re looking for a relaxed island experience far from the crowds, Ko Yao is the perfect destination. With its natural beauty, unique culture, and range of activities, Ko Yao offers something for everyone.