Dubbed the Pearl of the South, Phuket is one of the world's most famous beach destinations.Thailand's largest and most visited island, the hot spot revolves around and thrives on tourism yet retains a spark of the real Thailand. Here are some of the best ways to spend three days in Phuket.
Koh Yao Noi (Ko Yao Noi)
Located midway between Phuket and Krabi in Thailand’s Phang Nga Bay, Koh Yao Noi (Ko Yao Noi) is replete with mangrove forests and white-sand beaches. While the primarily Muslim island is home to a few high-end resorts and restaurants, it offers a much more relaxed alternative to its rowdy neighbors.
Koh Yao Noi, Phuket, Thailand
Explore the island and its surroundings on a self-guided tour by motorbike, bicycle, or kayak. Koh Yao Noi’s one main road circles the southern half of the island, with smaller paved roads taking off in different directions, plus a few dirt tracks leading up to the north.
For a different perspective, book an island-hopping tour of Phang Nga Bay, which typically departs from the island and grants you access to archipelago highlights unreachable by land. Cruises tend to visit James Bond Island, featured in the movie The Man with the Golden Gun; the floating fishing villages of Koh Panyi; and the Cave of the Reclining Buddha.
Things to Know Before You Go
Muslim traditions are strong on Koh Yao Noi, so, unless you’re on the beach, respect local customs by dressing appropriately.
Aside from at resorts and a few bars, alcohol is not widely available on the island.
Amenities on Koh Yao Noi include convenience stores, multiple restaurants, and accommodation options that range from budget to luxury.
Koh Yao Noi is home to several yoga studios and a Muay Thai boxing training camp.
How to Get There
Longtail boats, ferries, and speedboats depart from Bang Rong Pier in Phuket daily; from Phuket Airport, the pier is a 25-minute drive. If you’re coming from Krabi, catch a speedboat from the Ao Nang Beach area.
When to Get There
The best time to visit Koh Yao Noi is from December to February, when skies are generally clear and blue, and downpours are less common. Be aware that optimum weather also brings peak crowds with it, making advance booking essential.
Exploring Koh Yao Yai
Koh Yao Noi’s larger neighbor is Koh Yao Noi, which retains a secluded charm. Highlights of the island include Son Bay Beach and Ao Muang Beach, both unspoiled and lapped by the crystal clear Andaman Sea, and the Yao Yai Mangroves, which harbor diverse species of wildlife.
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- Gibbon Rehabilitation Project
- Koh Yao Yai (Ko Yao Yai)
- Phang Nga Bay (Ao Phang Nga)
- Temple of the Protruding Buddha (Wat Phra Thong)
- Ao Phang Nga National Park
- Upside Down House Phuket (Baan Teelanka)
- A-Maze Garden
- Siam Niramit Phuket
- Splash Jungle Water Park
- James Bond Island (Ko Khao Phing Kan)
- Trickeye Museum
- Phuket Old Town
- Phuket FantaSea
- Phuket Weekend Market (Naka Market)
- Patong Boxing Stadium