Stepping off the speedboat onto Manoh Pier in Koh Yao Noi, you are instantly transported to an island paradise where the sun is shining, crystal clear waters glistening and you are welcomed by that warm Thai smile and hospitality.
Driving along the coast from the pier to the resort, you can really see how the island has not been touched by mass tourism. No massive resorts in sight, just small hotels and bungalows dotted along the coastline and charming local villages as you pass through on the way to the resort. It’s like the Thailand you read about in Lonely Planet books from years ago.
Nestled amongst the swaying palm trees and situated on its own private beach, Koyao Island Resort is unlike anything we could have imagined. Traditional Thai architecture with warm timbers and thatched rooves blends perfectly with its surroundings and sits beautifully within a manicured and tropical garden setting. We knew it was going to be hard to ever want to leave.
Walking across the lawn to our Beach Villa felt like we had the entire place to ourselves even though the resort was almost at full occupancy. The resort’s layout tastefully ensures guests have maximum privacy, with plenty of nature and space between villas and amenities.
Our Beach Villa was even better than we envisioned. Traditional Thai architecture is carried throughout, with its dark stained wood, full glass front windows and French doors opening onto uninterrupted views of the beachfront and Phang Nga Bay. You can relax in the outdoor area, enjoy the cool sea breeze, meditate or take a nap on the grand daybed. Open the door to the back of the villa and you discover a beautiful open-air bathroom with rain shower-head and large bath. After an action packed day of travel, we could hardly wait to sleep on the luxurious King Size bed in air-conditioned comfort. Falling asleep in the most comfortable bed listening to the sounds of the ocean lapping the sand was one of the best night’s sleep we’ve ever had.
Waking up each morning to watch the sunrise from the infinity pool overlooking the islands in Phang Nga Bay is one of those truly unforgettable and magical experiences. After a morning swim in paradise, it was time for breakfast. The resort’s Pum Pui Restaurant and Bar offers a wide selection of options ranging from Thai and western meal options, our personal favourites were the Massaman Curry and Seafood Congee. Lunch and dinner at Pum Pui also did not disappoint, the Green Curry, Angus Beef Burgers and BLT Sandwiches were to die for. On Saturday nights, the restaurant serves an amazing seafood platter that you just have to try.
Koyao offers up some amazing activities, with complimentary use of the resort’s stand up paddleboards, canoes and mountain bikes so you can explore the island at your own pace, hire a scooter and they can also arrange tailor-made private island long-tail boat tours where you can explore the hidden lagoons and beaches of some of the uninhabited islands in the famous Phang Nga Bay.
We did hire a scooter for a day to explore the other parts of the island and we can’t recommend it enough. We found tiny secluded beaches, lush jungle walks that lead you up to amazing lookouts, drove through the small villages and rice paddy fields. But nothing can beat just spending the day relaxing on your private sunbeds on the beach or sipping on some of the amazing cocktails by the infinity pool.
Staying at Koyao Island Resort is a definite bucket list and one of those special experiences you need to have in your life. The resort is a hidden paradise that feels a million miles away from anywhere and the perfect place to relax and unwind, soak up the sun and experience some of the best Thai hospitality has to offer. There’s no doubt that we will definitely be back again soon.