I left Tonsai and all the beautiful people there to start the adventure towards India with the lovely Andrea (La mia Italiana). We had a few days before our flight out of Bangkok so we decided to make a pitstop atเกาะยาวน้อย (Koh Yao Noi). Koh Yao Noi is an island in-between Krabi and Phuket that also has some climbing on it, and as such, becomes a talked about destination for those that have been in Tonsai long enough.
We took the ferry over to the island and I was surprised to find how developed it was. I was imagining all of a couple buildings at a single port, but the island has a thriving local and expat community including at least one school. The Fahrang to local ratio is far lower than in Tonsai and Railay, but there is an oddly high number of Italian expats running restaurants.
It was so funny coming back, to an extent, to civilization. When Andrea and I made our first stop at a market, I was sort of dumbfounded by the concept of being able to buy food for later. What?!
We had some relaxing days hanging out with some friends from Tonsai and any strangers that happened to be moving at a similar pace. Scooting around the island without purpose is without a doubt one of the highlights of the island. There is climbing, but it is not as easily accessible and overall not as in-your-face as in Tonsai. Certainly a welcome change of pace, though.
We made it to Phuket today and are on the bus to Bangkok. Enjoy some pictures! Oh, and for those interested, I wrote up a short guide of Koh Yao Noi at the end of this. It is by far not extensive. There is a lot that we didn’t have time to explore. But hopefully this can provide at least some must-see spots and some spots to skip.
We randomly bumped into a Thai carnival one day.
Guide to Koh Yao Noi
Ironically the only things that I didn’t like on Koh Yao Noi were those that were recommended in the climbing guidebook. Everything else about this island has been pretty great. Here’s a list of recommendations.
Food and Drink
The Pier > Great food for cheap, free water, the woman running this place is super sweet. Be sure to try the yellow curry with pumpkin and brown rice!
Coffee Break > free wifi and 30฿ latte’s (espresso maker and ACTUAL good coffee!!!)
Orange Roof Place just south of 7-eleven > Sorry, I don’t remember the name. They have small pancakes with fruit for breakfast for 40฿. She gives you the peanut butter, nutella and honey so you can just load your pancake with goodness.
Coccobello Italian Restaurant > This place is a bit pricey but the vibe is great and Booboo is a great guy. Make sure to have a chat with him.
The area near 7-eleven > there’s shopping here and you can get food at almost local prices
La Luna > shitty service and takes 2 hrs to get a pizza, you can skip it
Climbing Shop > the guy working here was very grumpy. “Why would I know where you should stay?? I live here!”
Mark Miner at the Sea Gypsy > Cali expat who has set up many of the climbs here. He came of as friendly and helpful but perhaps a bit busy when we met him. You can swing by the Sea Gypsy and talk to him. Alternatively visit this website and send an email requesting the guidebook. They have a PDF guidebook of Koh Yao Noi that they sell for…I think 600฿? This is definitely the resource you’re going to want if you want a guide of the area. Here‘s the site.
We didn’t do too much climbing but I can give tips on the little I know. Andrea and I rented a kayak from Coccobello and took it up to the northern part of the island. There’s a small wall just north of Coccobello that you could even walk to at low tide. Here’s a verryyy mini guidebook of it:
6c, 6b, 6b+, 6c …then a bit around the corner 6a+, 6b
They should all be safe to climb on. Don’t forget to check that you are climbing on titanium glue-ins!!!
The other wall we went to was Grateful Wall which is just a little ways past Big Tree Wall (to the east). When you see it it will be obvious. It’s right on the water; you can only access it by boat (or kayak). One identifier is that it is across from Koh Kudu and you should be able to see two massive bare rocks jutting out of the water and facing each other; these two rocks will be across the way over at Koh Kudu.
The climbing here is spectacular! Its a vertical wall of mostly single pitch climbs. There are a ton of 6b’s but also one 6c+ in the middle and I think a couple 7b-7c things on the far left. The rock has great friction but it’s not sharp. I completely forgot what friction was back in Tonsai and it was so fun to have it again. Well worth it!
A quick heads-up. There were signs up saying “No climbing. 1000 ฿ fine”. We took the signs down and hid them. If the national park service comes by just be polite and call your climbing day early.
Okay, I have to mention this. We saw some huge jellyfish while kayaking around the island; I’m talking, beachball size. I don’t know if they are harmful but I can tell you that I definitely didn’t want to be swimming near them. You have been warned!
Arat Thai Massage > Andrea got a massage from the husband and she was in heaven. I got one from the wife and I wasn’t honestly impressed. I was a little frustrated as well because we booked a 1hr massage and they just gave us a 1.5hr and charged us for the 1.5hr. At 400฿/hr this isn’t exactly cheap. Maybe go and just ask for the husband???
Be sure to have a local show you how they harvest the rubber trees! Super cool!
The accommodation is in general certainly more expensive than Tonsai. That being said, I think there are a few hidden gems if you find them. My advice is to find somewhere to leave your luggage, get on a scooter and scoot around until you find a good deal. Andrea and I found this absolutely awesome location immediately south (just before) Coccobello. It’s a couple of cabins before the unfinished fancy white bamboo huts. The guys running this place are super friendly and they hooked us up with a bungalow for 500฿/night. Free banana refills, a fridge with water and coconuts for the morning. Does it get any better? You can contact them at
email@example.com or (087)625-5965
You definitely need a moped to get around here. You could rent a bicycle just to get a bit of exercise but for practical purposes a motorbike is necessary. We ended up renting from a connection so I don’t exactly have a recommendation of where to rent, but as a price point we paid 200฿/day. You may not get it that cheap, but don’t pay too much more.