In December, after we had already been traveling for two and a half months, we decided to treat ourselves to a little holiday in Koh Yao Noi from our sabbatical.
During the first half of our trip, we were always “on the go”, as we wanted to see and tick off as much as possible on our Southeast Asia map. We had contrary to our normal travel style far too much planned.
And we felt it!
We were both a bit kaputt from the many hotel changes so we decided to relax on the small island of Koh Yao Noi for a week.
After doing some research, we found a small bungalow resort on the north end of Koh Yao Noi Island, secluded and surrounded by a jungle, and located in a nature reserve.
That sounded perfect to us as we just wanted to switch off!
Koh Yao is an archipelago in the Phang Nga province. The main islands are Koh Yao Yai, which translates as long big island, and Koh Yao Noi, the long small island.
Most of the residents of the archipelago are of the Muslim faith. Therefore you can’t buy alcohol and the islands are still relatively undeveloped. In the hotels, however, alcohol is offered. “Undeveloped” always means for us, either there are a lot of backpackers or there’s just nothing at all. Which in this case was completely fine and even desired by us.
Since there is only one ATM, you should have cash prior to arriving. In the hotels, however, you can also pay with credit cards. And since we just wanted to relax and do nothing, the question of if and how much money we should bring with us was already answered since we were planning on staying in a hotel this time.
In terms of the best travel time weather-wise, Koh Yao Noi, like the other islands in the Andaman Sea, is best between late November and March.
We took the ferry from Krabi to the island, which takes about an hour. Arriving at the pier we started looking for a way to get to our hotel.
The hotel is so out of the way that you either have to book a private shuttle by car or by boat, both of which were unfortunately not in our budget.
So we started to walk and pretty soon a car stopped next to us and the driver asked if he could take us somewhere. We happily accepted.
The bumpy ride to nowhere was an adventure in itself. The drive went over dirt roads, deep in the jungle over hills and rocks. We almost got stuck a couple of times, but he seemed to know the route relatively well and saved the car every time it threatened to get stuck in mud puddles.
Nature was overwhelmingly beautiful. Red dirt roads, the lush green of trees and leaves, and pretty butterflies fluttering everywhere.
We are certain there were other animals out there, but we did not see them.
The ride itself took about an hour and a half, and we arrived safe, though shaken, at our destination.
There was a little surprise … the driver wanted money … almost as much as a private transfer from the hotel would have cost. At least it was directly benefiting him and his family, we thought and realized that it was probably no coincidence that he had stopped.
The hidden four-star resort itself was a dream.
Our needed break from our sabbatical
The many small bungalows and two-story houses are set directly in the nature.
The resort is great for couples as well as for families. The area is really nice for nature lovers and tourists who need no entertainment and just want to relax.
The 400 m long beach at Loha Beach Bay is associated with the resort and therefore is private. It is complete with umbrellas and sun lounges and a beach bar.
You can choose between breakfast, half board, or full board, and we chose to only have breakfast. Afterward, I have to say that half-board might have been easier, but we wanted to pay attention to our budget so that breakfast and dinner from the menu came out a bit cheaper for us.
We didn’t try the candlelight dinner, which can be booked for an additional fee.
But the main restaurant is open-air and it has a nice soft light with candles everywhere, so the candlelight dinner was not necessary as it was very romantic anyway.
We always managed to get a table outside, so we had sand, palm trees, and candlelight included.
All perfect for a I-only-want-to-lay-at-the-beach-and-do-nothing-vacation.
Which is exactly what we did … we stayed at the resort for a week, and we had, well, let’s just say a very well regulated daily routine.
This is What our day looked like:
Sleeping in, having breakfast, reading a book at the beach, swimming, dozing, swimming, drinking fruit shakes, reading, getting ready for dinner, eating dinner, and sleeping.
We usually love to explore an area and discover new things, but this week we did not do anything. This is why we can’t actually say more about the island.
The only thing that we had on our wish list was to see a hornbill. On the day of our arrival, after we checked in, we went to the balcony and immediately saw two hornbills. So we had nothing left to do on our list and our “expedition” at the resort was finished even before it started.
One day we went on a boat trip to Koh Pak Pia, which is offered for free for guests, and spent a few lazy hours there. Snorkeling, snoozing, and enjoying the views.
Short fact: a small fee is required if you want to go to the island, which is located in a nature reserve. At the time it was about 300 baht per person, which is about 8 euros, or about 9 US Dollars.
The scenery there was impressive. Islands that rise out of the water are covered with vegetation as only nature can create. A turquoise-blue shimmering sea and the salt air on our skin alone made the boat trip unforgettable.
It was nice, this change from our daily routine, and still very leisurely. We really enjoyed the day and soaked in every moment. Even if there were a lot of tourists on this little island …
Excitement at the Beach
On another day, our regular routine was interrupted. On the beach was a crowd .. right where we were laying. What was that?
Curious, we left our beach chairs to see what was going on.
And there it was … A giant lizard, a water monitor, a DRAGON …
So far, we always thought that warans were only found in Flores, Indonesia. But this is not the case.
The relatively large lizards frolic in Thailand on several islands. One of them is Koh Yao Noi.
Bravely, we approached the animal to make a short video. It was the first time we saw such a big dinosaur in real, and so close.
We soon realized that the monitor came to the beach almost daily and so it was integrated into our normal daily routine.
For us, this week at the resort was a welcome change and fueled our energy for the upcoming weeks.