The rural island of Ko Si Boya sits windswept and largely forgotten off the southern coast of Krabi province. The few travellers who make it here are far outnumbered by villagers, who themselves are outnumbered by cows and monitor lizards. While this is not the place to find idyllic beaches and luxury resorts, Si Boya doesn't disappoint those seeking peace and quiet.
Reachable via a 15-minute local ferry hop from the mainland villages of Laem Hin and Laem Kruat, this mid-size island mainly consists of rolling hills that are blanketed in rubber trees. A mangrove forest and quaint Muslim fishing village are found along the east coast, while a long but not-so-picturesque beach spans the west.
To put it as nicely as possible, Si Boya's beach isn't winning any awards. Cherry-size pebbles are mixed into the grainy, greyish-tan sand, garbage is strewn along much of the coast and swimming at low tide is hampered by mud fields interspersed by sharp rocks. It's a far cry from the powder-white sand of nearby Ko Lanta or Ko Jum.
Even so, the water off Si Boya's west coast is relatively clean, and it's quite a peaceful scene as the tide nestles up to the mangroves at high tide, when the water becomes deep enough for a decent swim. Some interesting rock formations are found along the southwest coast, where you can walk along the beach for miles without seeing another soul. When the tide goes out, armies of tiny pink crabs converge on the flats.
Tranquillity is Ko Si Boya's main selling point. While it's possible to go kayaking, windsurfing or fishing in a longtail boat helmed by one of the friendly islanders, most choose to sleep, eat, swim, sleep, read, eat, repeat. It's easy to lose track of days (or weeks) once immersed in the hammock culture, and 24-hour electricity keeps things reasonably comfortable.
The vast majority of foreign visitors stay at the excellent Si Boya Bungalows, which offers a few simple but well-done bungalows along with some beautiful beach houses that are owned by foreigners and rented out when the owners are not around. The place offers WiFi along with great food, friendly vibes and a streamlined transport system from Krabi town. Catering more to Thais but also welcoming of foreigners, the other two places to stay are a 15-minute walk further up the west coast.
A couple of tiny convenience shops are found in Baan Si Boya, a village that's located an hour's walk across the island from Si Boya Bungalows. But there are no ATMs, exchange booths, pharmacies, internet cafes or even restaurants, apart from a few nondescript rice and noodle shops. Make sure you've withdrawn cash and bought things like mosquito repellent before you arrive.
A small medical clinic is located near Si Boya pier on the east coast, though anything serious will require a trip to Krabi town. A network of narrow roads, some paved and others dirt, weave around the island. All of the places to stay on Si Boya are open year round, but it's quieter than usual in the rainy season from May to October. There's little if any police presence on Ko Si Boya; ask the locals for help if you need it.