Cashew on the northern half of Ao Yai was the first bungalow resort on the island, and is now the biggest with over 30 bungalows of varous styles and prices. Run by the obliging and attentive Mr Meow, it is spread over about 300m of beachfront with several rows of huts - but also has some cheaper options a good 200m from the beach in the jungle behind. Well they call it jungle - I’d class it as tropical beach scrub.
Cashew is popular - all the places near the beach were taken so I got the jungle. At 250baht in March 2011 it was good value - clean, solid construction, airy, enough room for 2 and gear but not 3, lots of shelving and clothes hanging space, comfy queen bed-net in good repair, big bathroom with western toilet, spacious veranda with hammock, feet washing tap and peaceful bush outlook (50m to the next bungalow). Very quiet at night. No fan (no 24 hour electricity). Some parts of the bush access track were not lit well at night.
Cashew’s restaurant is set back more from the beach than most places on Northern Yai and has some sitting bales out the front.
Food good, prices towards the lower end of budget bungalow restaurants with plenty of mains under 100 including rice, small Changs 45 (March 2011). Service a bit slower than the normal super quick bungalow place thing, but this joint gets good crowds. This is one of those places where you take your order into the kitchen, grab your drinks from the fridge.
The Beach out front of Cashew reasonably nice. Casuarinas drop a bit of debris but provide shade into mid afternoon. Water is deep enough low tide for good swimming not too far from shore.