Photo: So pristine.

Ko Nang Yuan

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Aquamarine water embraces either side of a long stripe of white sand connecting three rocky hills on Ko Nang Yuan, one of the more visually impressive islands in Thailand. All over Ko Tao and as far away as Ko Samui, travel agents use the tiny island as a poster child for that perfect paradise, attracting enough day trippers to threaten the very beauty that they come for.

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There’s no doubt: Ko Nang Yuan is gorgeous. Visibility is excellent at the large coral reefs found off either shore. While not super fine, the coral sandbar is stunning and it can be a lot of fun to swim off one shore before stepping across to the other, and back again as many times as you like. A sturdy wooden walkway skirts massive boulders to afford views of Ko Tao, which stretches only a few hundred metres away at its closest point. In the old days it was possible to swim between the two, but boat traffic now makes that dangerous.

Welcome to Thailand. Don't steal our sand. Photo taken in or around Ko Nang Yuan, Ko Tao, Thailand by David Luekens.

Welcome to Thailand. Don't steal our sand. Photo: David Luekens

So what’s not to like? First, the huge crowds that arrive each day with dozens of boat tours make it difficult to enjoy the island without being distracted by all of the bodies and boat engines. Quite a few diving boats also anchor offshore, favouring the calm and relatively shallow water for teaching first-time divers. The chaotic scene reminded us of a very popular amusement park ride, except that it’s a delicate natural ecosystem and not a work of steel and concrete.

Arrive at dawn and you’ll get to see Nang Yuan with minimal other people. By 10:00 it starts to get crowded, and by noon the beach and snorkelling areas are overrun. A great viewpoint tops the largest hill to the north, or so we’ve heard – the narrow trail was so stuffed with people that we weren’t able to make it to the top despite three different attempts. Nang Yuan simply isn’t big enough for the numbers of people that it is happy to charge ... Travelfish members only (Around 500 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
Longtail boat taxis charge 150 baht, one way, per person, with a minimum of two people, if coming from Sairee Beach and 200 baht from Mae Haad. Certain Lomprayah ferries also make a stop at Ko Nang Yuan, which can be hit on any number of day tours as well. Admission is 100 baht.

Ko Nang Yuan
Off the northwest coast of Ko tao
Admission: 100 baht

Location map for Ko Nang Yuan

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Ko Tao.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Ko Tao.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Ko Tao.
 Read up on how to get to Ko Tao, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Ko Tao? Please read this.
 Buy a SIM card for Thailand—pick it up at the airport when you arrive.
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