Connect with us

Thai Life

Phuket Blazing Saddles: The power of Yao

Published

 on 

PHUKET: This week we head off Phuket to a quieter parallel universe called Koh Yao Noi where time seems to stand still and the cycling is relaxed and easygoing.

For even the most party-loving souls, Phuket is becoming frenetic, crowded and often stressful. If you are a cycling aficionado this is especially true as pedaling around Phuket is always challenging and sometimes downright terrifying.

Many cyclists head off the main island to find quieter areas which offer undisturbed rides that often have the additional benefit of taking them closer to the real, undeveloped face of rural Thailand.

Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai are a pair of large islands in the middle of Phang Nga Bay equidistant from Phuket and the Krabi mainland, which remain bucolic and charming, with very few cars or trucks to disturb your quiet cycling meditations.

In 2002, Koh Yao Noi gained worldwide attention after receiving the World Legacy Award for Destination Stewardship from Conservation International and National Geographic Traveler magazine for the eco-friendly home-stay programs offered by its local residents… it’s that sort of place!

The islands are only about 50 minutes away from Phuket by a ‘long-tail boat’ ferry which leaves from Bang Rong Pier almost every hour during the day from 8:30am, until the last boat at 5pm (both ways). To get to the pier, take route 4027 east from the Heroines’ Monument, then turn right at the sign for Bang Rong and follow the road along for a few kilometers.

You can take your bike on the boat which makes a short stop on Koh Yao Yai, then crosses to Koh Yao Noi’s Manoh Pier only eight minutes away.

As soon as you disembark you’ll be struck by the quietude, lack of traffic and unhurried pace of life. Cycle straight ahead off the pier and follow the road for three kilometers until taking a left at the T-junction.

It is almost impossible to get lost on the island as there are so few roads! The main ride is a loop taking you parallel to the west coast, then across the island to Baan Nam Jued village and then Thakhao Pier on the east coast with its dramatic vistas of the Phang Nga’s Bay’s soaring limestone karts topography. The east coast road hugs the ocean firstly running beside Thakhao Bay Beach, then Klong Jark and Pasai Beaches – a delightful stretch of flat, easy, scenic cycling.

Sabai Corner at the southern end of Klong Jark Beach is the perfect place for a good meal with hammocks under the beachside shade trees in which to laze as you digest your lunch and count the abundant blessings of Koh Yao.

This road circling the island is mostly paved concrete, but sometimes becomes just a track and there’s plenty of opportunity for taking detours off the main drag through rubber plantations, or over a buffalo-strewn hillside to factor in a bit of “off road” action.

The beaches are mainly on the east coast, while the west coast is blanketed in rice fields and lined with mangroves. Hills are few and far between and the main ride is around 20 kilometers, but you will undoubtedly want to take detours off the main circuit to explore forgotten by-ways and tracks, so a full day’s pedaling is achieved.

Koh Yao Noi does not have any particular landmark or stunning view point, however while biking around you’ll discover a place that has changed very little in 20 years, aside from a few more motorbikes and the new 7-Eleven and ATM machine of which the locals are inordinately proud!

The mainly Muslim villagers are very friendly and you’ll be greeted all along your ride by hearty encouragement, bright smiles and high fives.

There’s plenty of accommodation too from home-stays with the locals, to charming beachside cottages, to luxury resorts. Other activities available on the island include agricultural demonstrations (rubber and fishing), kayaking, hiking, snorkeling, swimming and some of the local shops have sea kayaks for rent. If you stay a night, your hotel or bungalow will certainly offer these, as well as day trips to the amazing “Koh Hong” – the
stunning rock formation facing the island.

A great way to visit Koh Yao is with James Hembrow’s “Amazing Bike Tours” (click here) who offer a full day excursion with pick up, transfers, excellent bikes and meals and great group camaraderie and fun. And Bicycling Baz is very grateful to James Hembrow for the photos illustrating this article.

Happy and safe riding!

For all island info and bookings see koyao.com.

— Baz Daniels

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Eastern Thailand10 hours ago

German man believed to have monkeypox briefly fled police

Thailand11 hours ago

New app to help migrant women in Thailand facing abuse

Cambodia12 hours ago

Nigerian man recovers from monkeypox, handed to Cambodian authorities

Sponsored3 days ago

The return of the most important coffee event in Thailand

World12 hours ago

Unusually heavy floods in Pakistan kill 549, thousands of homes damaged

Thailand13 hours ago

How to get the Thailand Elite Visa?

Transport13 hours ago

BTS is offering a free ride… with your mom

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Bangkok14 hours ago

Fire at Energy Ministry’s compound in Bangkok

Phuket15 hours ago

2 meth busts in Phuket this past week

Politics15 hours ago

NIDA Poll: PM Prayut should not extend term after August 24

Chon Buri16 hours ago

Mountain Pub fire: 15 victims dead, owner arrested, club uninsured

Chon Buri17 hours ago

Police transferred, safety measures enacted in wake of Mountain B fire

Bangkok17 hours ago

Bangkok taxi driver who snapped himself raping teen gets jailed

Video18 hours ago

Building a $100mil business in Thailand feat. Michael Kenner | Thaiger Podcast Ep. 1

Tourism18 hours ago

Major jump in Thailand Airbnb searches

Economy19 hours ago

Thailand’s hotels are short on workers

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending