Those who dream of hopping from bungalow to beach to swimmable ocean should look to the Loh Paret and Loh Jark areas, or, if you've more cash to flash, the more upscale resorts of Chong Lad and the northeast. If you're simply keen to slip into a quiet stretch of coastline and don't mind the mangroves and mud flats, Loh Poh Bay and Bole Bay should do the trick.
With plenty of options to choose from, picking the best place for you can be a challenge.
Ko Yao Yai is the largest island in Phang Nga Bay yet it has just a handful of places to stay. If you’re seeking a tranquil escape then any hotel or guesthouse on Yao Yai will do just fine since there’s no party scene here and just a scattering of visitors, even in the peak season months. If you’re on a backpacker budget, however, the pickings are slim and you’re better off going to... Read our full review of Best places to stay on Ko Yao Yai.
The northeast coastline of Ko Yao Yai from Hin Kong Bay to Chong Lad village offers fantastic views across Phang Nga Bay over to Ko Yao Noi and the islands beyond. The handful of resorts that line the beaches are firmly in the mid-range to luxury category.
Found a stroll away from Thiwson Beach Resort on the beach, the views, as hinted at by the resort’s name, are indeed impressive here. Twelve bungalows, all cylindrical with thatched roofs and bamboo siding, look deceptively simple from the exterior, but inside reveals a more plush design. Wood flooring and wood details in the walls and recessed ceiling, a custom made wooden bed frame, sofa and... Read our full review of Better View Bed Breakfast and Bungalow .
Thiwson Beach Resort is a family-oriented bungalow resort set on the beachfront on Ko Yao Yai’s scenic northeastern shores. Once a more basic budget choice for travellers, Thiwson has moved upmarket in recent years, but it still delivers excellent value and, of course, the same awesome sunrise sea views. The family deluxe bungalows offer plenty of space for those with kids in tow. Four... Read our full review of Thiwson Beach Resort.
Baan Taranya sits all by its lonesome along the beach of Hin Kong Bay. This 10-room resort with solid looking wooden bungalows running in a line straight back from the beach was full during our visit so we didn’t get a peek inside the rooms, but all have air-con, hot water, TVs and fridges, plus free WiFi. Two styles of bungalow are on offer: a superior bungalow or larger honeymoon villa... Read our full review of Baan Taranya Koh Yao Yai Resort.
Loh Poh bay is found along the western edge of the skinny central part of Yao Yai. Its coastline is mostly muddy mangrove flats, accessible only by a few tracks leading off the main road, so there's no swimming or sunbathing to be had here. The views are great, however, with sunsets and the comings and goings of fishing boats to watch.
Found about one kilometre south of the Ao Mamuang school and Rimlay Restaurant, Janya is not really a homestay as far as we could gather, but it’s one of those sub-1,000 baht places to stay that are becoming increasingly rare with Yao Yai’s march upmarket. On our visit, the handful of bamboo and wood bungalows looked to be newly built and some were still under construction. No good beaches... Read our full review of Janya Homestay .
With soft white sands and a depth ideal for swimming at any tide level, Loh Paret along Yao Yai's central west coast is a popular beach for both locals and visitors. Even so, its three kilometres of sand rarely seems crowded. At its north end is the Laem Yai headland and pier, a great spot for a stroll at sunset.
Yao Yai Resort was once the only thing going on the fine sands of Loh Paret beach, but it now has the ultra-luxury Santhiya resort hugging up alongside it, while Blue Bay Resort, a rather overpriced destination for speedboat overnighters from Phuket, is found at the south end. With Loh Paret’s coveted sunset views and waters deep enough to swim in all day, Yao Yai Resort has long been a... Read our full review of Yao Yai Resort.
Heimat Gardens is a nine-room hotel found within a five-minute walk inland from Loh Paret beach. The two-level concrete building set back from the road doesn’t have a lot of character but it’s well maintained and rooms are kept super clean. Really, impressively clean – the tile floors and bathrooms sparkle like we’ve never seen before. Each of the double-bedded rooms are equipped with... Read our full review of Heimat Gardens Hotel.
As the launching point for Phuket ferries and boats to nearby islands, Loh Jark beach has more hustle and bustle than any other Yao Yai beach, though it's far from hectic. The pier cuts through the middle of it, yet Loh Jark's sparkling white sands and sunset views make it one of Yao Yai's most picturesque lengths of sand.
This collection of 16 concrete bungalows, found just back from a strip of white sand at the south end of Loh Jark beach, has one of the most scenic settings we found on Ko Yao Yai. At high tide the water in the cove is brilliantly blue and swimmable, while at low tide some rocks are revealed, adding some visual drama to the sunsets over the bay. Loh Jark’s pier is in view but far enough away to... Read our full review of The Heaven Resort.
On Prunai Road, about 10 minutes by foot away from Loh Jark pier, this place is set up on a hill and there's an aging sala on the summit from which there are panoramic views. The plain wooden bungalows are up on stilts along the slope of the hill and while the place doesn't have much charm, the Muslim owners run the place conscientiously, and attract a steady clientele -- it was full when we... Read our full review of Halavee Resort.
Formerly the cheapie Yao Yai Beach Bungalow, prices have certainly moved up in its new incarnation as The White House … but not so much the quality. Five private-bathroom bungalows, some with fans, some with air-con, are set back from Loh Jark beach on stilts over a muddy swamp. Freshly painted when we visited, they looked appealing enough from the outside, but the interiors are patched... Read our full review of The White House Resort.
There's charmingly dilapidated, and then there's just plain dilapidated. It was hard to believe that this place was actually still in operation. The front porch of the 'restaurant' (that is, the place where they hang the laundry up to dry) looked like it had been hit by an asteroid. Some of the bungalows had their windows blown out, curtains flapping in the breeze; others looked to be inhabited... Read our full review of Garden View Resort.
Along the west coast south of Loh Jark are mangroves and a string of sandy beaches, mostly deserted aside from the small beach taken up by the Glow Elixir resort. The road is only levelled-off dirt in places, but most will be able to manage on a motorbike.
This 35-bungalow resort sits in isolated splendour along a pretty stretch of beach on the west-facing Bole Bay in Yao Yai’s south end. Glow has a rather genteel feel to it, with manicured tropical gardens and an elegant dark wood lobby sala with vaulted ceilings. Catering mainly to couples and families, Glow has six room types from a 44 square meter superior bungalow to a 218 sqm two-bedroom... Read our full review of Glow Elixir Koh Yao Yai.
After looking at some of the ho-hum choices in the under-1,000 baht range, stumbling upon the Activities Resort restored our hope for finding a decent budget-priced place to stay on Ko Yao Yai. These sturdily-built wooden bungalows are set on a shady hillside just back from the road leading to Bole Bay. A short walk west along a footpath takes you to a lonely beach, while 10 minutes by foot to... Read our full review of Koh Yao Yai Activities Resort .
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