Ko Yao Yai is lined with a variety of beaches that will keep sunseekers happy for days on end. Though the island has few of the wide, kilometres-long beaches seen in nearby Phuket, some pretty stretches of soft white sand are to be found here.
Swimmers take note that most bays on Yao Yai drain into mud flats at low tide, so you’ll need to time your visits carefully if you’re hoping to take a dip in the sea. But regardless of when you go, there’s a good chance of having the beach all to yourself, and the views out across Phang Nga Bay are fantastic. Here are our favourites.
Laem Had beach is a curve of white sand reached by taking a one-kilometre dirt road off the main road in the Chong Lad village area. From this northeastern vantage point, it looks like you could walk straight over to Ko Yao Noi along the sparkling spit of sand that stretches out towards it. Nothing else to be seen here, aside from postcard-perfect images: a thick grove of coconut trees, twittering birds and windswept white sands. It’s probably fabulous at sunrise but we didn’t make it there early enough.
Loh Paret beach in the central west coast offers sunset views and swimming all day off its golden sands. It’s a bit rocky in places but the water is clear. Loh Paret is probably Yao Yai’s busiest beach with three resorts lining its shores, but it’s easy enough to find your own patch of sand to soak in the sun rays and relaxed vibe. Stop by the Yao Yai Resort for sunset cocktail hour.
If you’re looking for pure white sands, then Loh Jark beach is the place to go, though its dreamy island setting is marred somewhat by the pier that juts out from its centre and the presence of some speedboat daytrippers and jet-skis in the afternoon.
Like Loh Paret, it faces west so it’s a good spot to go at sunset, with the boats moored offshore serving to add a bit of pizzazz to photos. The beachfront White House Resort has a bar and sun loungers for rent if you’re looking to relax on the sands for a while, though there’s plenty of space and shade along the sands for spreading out your beach towel in a more isolated area.
Still too busy for you? Just beyond the rocky promontory at Loh Jark’s south end is another sandy beach with little on it aside from a small cluster of longtail boats, reached down a dirt path through a coconut grove behind the Heaven Resort. We tried to find out the name of this beach but were told it was also called Loh Jark, so we planted the Travelfish flag there and declared it Loh Jark Noi (“Little Loh Jark”).
Ao Muang beach is a fine little stretch of sand on Bole Bay, not far from the Glow Elixir resort. It’s reached off the Bole Bay road about 200 metres down a dirt track. There’s a small hand painted sign at the road to mark the way.
Before we set off down the path on foot, we asked a woman in the house across the road if it was far. She said no, but also offered to loan us her motorbike if we didn’t want to walk it. Friendly people! Though the beach was deserted on our visit, it’s clearly a working area for local fishermen, with several large fish traps stacked up at one end.
There are certainly more isolated beaches to be discovered around Ko Yao Yai but for a few we attempted to drive to on our own, our nerve gave out about the same time as the road did. Let us know how far you make it and what else you discover!
Lana Willocks is a freelance writer from Canada based in Phuket. Her love affair with Thailand began on a university exchange programme in Bangkok, then she returned to Phuket on the auspicious date of 9-9-1999 and never left.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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