Thailand

Discovering Pristine Island Paradise on Koh Nang Yuan

A DAY IN KOH NANG YUAN

Researching where to go in Thailand, I found so many photos of dreamy little islands connected by just a strip of sand.

Realising through posts and commentary, the photos were of a place called Koh Nang Yuan, I started searching how to visit what appeared to be a slice of paradise.

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Reading Nang Yuan was easy to get to from Sairee Beach, only a 10-15 minute long tail ride, I decided to add it to my list of activities to do in Koh Tao.

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Waking up my first full day in Koh Tao, I saw the sun was shining and decided to arrange a private long tail to take me to Shark Bay, Mango Bay and Koh Nang Yuan.

Because I rented a boat for the entire day (I wanted flexibility tours don’t provide), I paid 2000 baht for a full day rental.

You can easily just visit Nang Yuan for far less (I’ve heard quotes of 200-300 baht return) if you just want to visit for a few hours from Sairee Beach.

If you choose this option, your boat driver will let you off at Nang Yuan and you’ll arrange a time for them to come back and pick you up. Don’t be nervous when they leave- this is standard, you pay up front and they’ll come back to get you when it’s time to leave.

Because my driver was with me for the full day, he stayed while I explored Nang Yuan so I had a bit more flexibility in departure time.

There are also plenty of tours that visit Nang Yuan, which signs all over Koh Tao advertise. These tours weren’t much cheaper than renting a private boat. If you want the flexibility or are travelling in a group and can split the cost, I’d go for that option.

There are plenty of long tails available to rent, you can reserve one by walking the main street behind Sairee Beach. Just look for the ‘taxi’ stands.

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Back to my day boating around Koh Tao.

Having explored Shark Bay and Mango Bay, it was time to head to Nang Yuan. Logistically, it made sense to go to Shark and Mango Bays first, but I also wanted to visit Nang Yuan last because I’d heard it’s busiest between 9:30 am – 4:30 pm.

Arriving around 4 pm, I was delighted to see most of the crowds already starting to depart.

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Oh, Nang Yuan.

A group of three private islands connected by a sandbar, you have to pay an entrance fee of 100 baht to visit the islands.

There is a resort on the island, but I’ve heard it’s pretty expensive. Being a quick boat over from Sairee Beach, where accommodation is much cheaper and there’s a lot more happening, I’m not sure it’s worth the added expense.

Visitors aren’t allowed to bring any food or drink on Nang Yuan- even plastic water bottles, which I LOVE. It helps keep trash controllable and the island a pristine paradise.

There is a restaurant and bar on the island, so you can order water, fresh coconuts, other drinks or food there if you’re visiting the island for a while. Everything is served in glass with eco friendly straws/utensils.

On Nang Yuan, you can swim, relax on the beach or even try your luck at snorkelling. The activity I was most excited about though was hiking to the viewpoint.

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It’s a short hike- 15-20 minutes- and mostly up steps, but it’s steep and the hot weather makes it a bit more challenging than it’d be otherwise. Near the top, you have to scramble up and over a group of rocks, so I’d definitely wear shoes.

I visited around 4 pm, and the rocks were burning hot to the touch.

The view from the top is gorgeous. You have a prime vantage point of the three islands, turquoise water, white sand, and Koh Tao in the distance.

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Hiking back down, I swam for a bit and tried to snorkel before heading back to my boat to find my driver.

I’ve heard snorkelling is best on the northeast side of the island, and some of the dive spots- Japanese Gardens and Twin Peak- are shallow enough to snorkel. I swam out a bit, but didn’t see much and ultimately decided I’d rather go back to Koh Tao at this point in the day than keep looking.

Visiting Nang Yuan was one of the highlights of my trip to the Thai islands. I’m so glad they’ve put measures in place to help preserve this slice of Thai paradise.

Have you ever visited somewhere as idyllic as Koh Nang Yuan? Would you spend a day in Koh Nang Yuan?

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