World’s Most Secret Islands (7)

by The Real Estate Faction on December 7, 2011

Koh Yao Yai

Location: Andaman Sea’s Phang-Nga Bay, off western Thailand
Size: Approximately 38 square miles
Population: Approximately 8,000 (estimates vary)

One of 44 islands between Phuket and Krabi, Koh Yao Yai (“Big Long Island”) is the largest but not the most developed. Here, where mass tourism hasn’t taken hold, locals earn a modest living by fishing, rice farming, and working the rubber plantation. You can stretch out on footprint-free sand and really feel like you’re staking out an undiscovered place. Since your dollar goes further in Thailand than most destinations, the island is quite affordable.

Island time
See local life on a bike ride. Or rent a long-tail boat and go island-hopping to Khai Nok and Khai Nai for great snorkeling. Elixir Resort and Koh Yao Yai Village run various types of tours and have private thatched-roof bungalows furnished in old Thai style.

Getting here
Fly into Phuket International Airport. Nearby ferries (60 minutes) and public speedboats (30 minutes) operate from piers in Phuket. Multiday Journeys Within tours start in Phuket, stopping in Koh Yao Yai and Krabi.

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