Koh Yao Noi: a special place

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February 9th 2020
Published: February 9th 2020
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Saturday 8th February 2020

When we stepped off the speedboat yesterday, at Manoh Pier, on the little island of Koh Yao Noi, it was like stepping back in time. It reminded us of arriving on the island of Koh Chang twenty years ago. As a truck bumped along a dusty little road with us, three other backpackers and our luggage, it was just like being on the truck that delivered us, with our son Dan and Lorna, to our accommodation at “Maggie´s Place” on Koh Chang, on Christmas Eve 1999. That was our first visit to Thailand. The love affair with this beautiful country, its people and cuisine had begun!

In 1999, our son Nick was working in Bangkok and we came to Thailand to share Christmas with him (and celebrate the Millennium). Dan and Lorna were travelling in Thailand at that time also, staying down on Koh Pha Ngan near Koh Samui. They travelled up to Bangkok to join us for Christmas. From Bangkok we took a bus to the town of Trap, then a jeep to the dock, then a ferry and arrived on Koh Chang around lunchtime and Nick followed on later that evening, after he finished work (teaching in Bangkok). Koh Chang has now become far more developed. Koh Yao Noi is like Koh Chang used to be, way back then; same trucks and tuk-tuks for taxis, mostly bamboo huts for accommodation, beach bars, beaches, coconut groves and tropical rainforest. It is stunningly beautiful!

Today we treated ourselves to a day out on a long-tailed boat. We are not keen on “excursions” and find them expensive for what you get and also restricting, so we just paid a bit more and went out on a private hire on our own, with a cheerful young boatman, Anan, and his long-tailed boat all to ourselves. On board we had a packed lunch of chicken and rice, and fresh pineapple to follow, which he cut most expertly for us. It was a very special day out.

We left our beach, Pasai Beach, right in front of our accommodation, at 9 a.m. and headed for Koh Hong, one of many islands and a real beauty spot, amongst limestone stacks surrounded by clear emerald water. On one side of the island is a hidden emerald lagoon, entered through a narrow channel. We dropped anchor in the lagoon and swam there in the fresh green water. On the other side of the island we got off on a floating pontoon jetty (hate the way they wobble about), paid 300 Baht each for National Park fee, then spent some time on the beach there. The snorkelling wasn’t great, plenty of fish, mostly Tiger fish and a few Parrot fish, but the water wasn’t very clear (soft sandy bottom).

Our second stop was to a little uninhabited island called Koh Lading. We didn’t go ashore, just dropped anchor and swam and snorkelled in one of the small bays. The water here was much clearer and full of fish. I was nervous about getting back on the long-tailed boat from deep water, having not done so for eleven years, but am proud to say I managed it OK. It is a bit of a hoist up, you need strong arms, but it is worth the effort for the snorkelling. Once back on board, we had our lunch and then headed off to a really beautiful island called Koh Phak Bia, for more beach and swimming, this time in a blue and turquoise sea, bordered by white sand. Again, the coastal scenery, with limestone stacks and caves was magnificent.

From Koh Phak Bia we went past another small island inhabited by large troupes of Macaque monkeys. As we pulled up to the rocky shore, we saw them diving in to the water and swimming about, even little babies, to retrieve chunks of water melon, thrown overboard for them by another boat that was anchored there for lunch. From here, our fourth and final stop was on Koh Nok. Koh Nok is clearly visible from Pasai Beach where we are staying. We didn’t swim there, the sun was now quite fierce and we had had enough exposure to it already, so we spread our sarongs on the sand in the shade of some Mangroves and had a little siesta before Anan steered us back to Pasai Beach. Once “home” we sat on our little deck outside our bamboo hut, watching a guy harvesting coconuts in the grove next to us, where goats roam about and the forest invades, drinking a cup of tea and counting our blessings. What a very special place this is!

Sunday 9th February 2020

Oh! What a splendid way to spend a Sunday! We had
Our Des ResOur Des ResOur Des Res

Bamboo Heaven!
no exercise whatsoever today, but who cares! This morning, we crossed the little road to the beach and just chilled out in the shade of a Banyan tree with yellow blossom, then swam about a bit in the warm clear water. There is no litter at all on this beach. It is pristine, very undeveloped, just a few small bars and restaurants and low-key accommodation. A pair of sea eagles, with their exotic orange and black wings spread, provided an aerial display as they circled above. We both had a massage on the beach, 300 Baht for an hour, on nice massage beds under a bamboo pergola, with the gentle sound of baby waves lapping on the golden sand. The massage was good (almost as good as getting a Thai massage from our daughter-in-law, Mam, who is a qualified Thai masseuse).

After a late lunch, back to reality; doing the washing! Our washing machine is called a sink! That done, I am now sitting on the deck writing this blog. John is making a cup of tea (always bring our travel kettle with us). We are now about to sort out our photos to accompany this blog then we shall just have to head to the beach bar to get online and post it. It is a hard life!

Originally, we booked in here for just three nights but cannot bear the thought of leaving tomorrow morning, so we have paid for another two nights and we are leaving on Wednesday, when we are taking a boat to Koh Jum, to the south west; another new island to discover and explore!

Additional photos below
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9th February 2020

What a difference!
Hi Viv and John, lovely to receive your blog and photos this afternoon. Britain is being battered by Storm Ciara today. The North and West have been hit hardest but, even so, we have had high winds and rain here non-stop. Trains, sporting events etc have been cancelled and I’ve not been out, so your account of your first few days in the Land of Smiles, plus those lovely photos, have brought sunshine and colour into the grey day. Your Thai meal and the pineapple looked very appetising; your bamboo hut is sweet and I loved the pics of you both floating in emerald waters. I like your sarong too - nice colours. Enjoy the extra days on your idyllic island. Xx
9th February 2020

Lazy Sunday
Dear Viv and John Lovely pictures of a beautiful place. What a way to spend your days. I love the way they have cut the pineapple. I bet it was delicious. We have had the mist terrible weather with very high winds and rain planes grounded and ferries not sailing. Love Barb and Dave xx
16th February 2020

Koh Yao Noi
I loved reading this blog! We were in Koh Yao Noi in 2011 and it was our favourite place in southern Thailand. We seemed to have stayed at the same place just across from Pasai Beach... I remember the food was very good, and their bamboo huts haven't changed! Back then the 'beach bar' was a temporary bar that got put together each night, and we had to turn the music off at each call to prayer. We blogged about it, so check out our Thailand Trip 2011 if you wish to compare photos of the beach from 9 years ago. Thank you for bringing back so many happy memories.
16th February 2020

Hi. Will check out your blog. Thanjs

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