Koh Nang Yuan is a set of 3 tiny islands connected by a shallow sand bar. The island has no permanent residents, and has only a few bungalows that can be rented out for an expensive price by Thai standards (but hey, remember you’re staying on an uninhabited island). For those not staying in the bungalows, the island is only open from 9-5pm, adding a small incentive to stay there to enjoy some peace and quiet for those with deeper wallets.
A mere 5 minute longtail boat ride from Koh Tao, I decided to head to Koh Nang Yuan for a day trip to take a break from all of the scuba diving I had been doing recently (more on that later), and relax on the beach and do some snorkeling. I was able to arrive there around 9:30, ahead of the large tour boats and other tourists and was able to enjoy a little serenity on the beach.
Helpful tip: Everything costs money on Koh Nang Yuan, from the 100 baht entrance fee, to using the beach chairs and umbrellas that are arranged so tastefully on the beach, to renting a snorkel and mask. The prices at the one restaurant definitely do not reflect the quality of the food, but they have a monopoly going there, so they are able to get away with it. But trust me, the beach is well worth the few extra costs and couple of substandard meals you might have to endure.
I chose this relatively brief opportunity to snap a few photos of this picturesque beach and clear waters. Little did I know how crowded they would become!
There is a hiking path on one of the three islands that leads to a wonderful viewpoint of Koh Nang Yuan. Unfortunately, the pathway had been damaged by some recent storms and was under renovation. I was a bit disappointed, as I had seen a few photos taken from there and was eager to see it firsthand.
There are also some excellent dive and snorkel sites right off of the island’s coast. I donned my rented mask and snorkel to check it out. Unfortunately, I had neglected to check my go pro’s battery before arriving to the island and to my chagrin, I found it to be dead. Lesson learned, I guess. I was still able to enjoy my time snorkeling and was able to see a wide variety of fish including trigger fish, clown fish, zebra fish, banner fish, parrot fish, and the red breasted wrasse. The fish also appeared to lack a fear of humans and weren’t skittish when I swam nearby.
By this time, it was about mid-morning and the beach was packed! Tourists had arrived on large boats for the day from Koh Samui, Koh Phangnan, and Koh Tao in droves. I found a group of large flat rocks situated at the end of the beach near a few of the bungalows and was able to set up camp there. This separated me a bit from the chaotic main beach and was perfect for relaxing.
The hours flew by, and I soon found the time to be 4:45 and almost time for the island to “close”. At this point in time, the crowds grew sparse and Koh Nang Yuan resumed its peaceful vibes. I reluctantly boarded the longtail boat for the short trip back to Koh Tao.
Some tips to future visitors to Koh Nang Yuan include:
- Bring your own mask and snorkel or renting one on Koh Tao beforehand
- Try to arrive right when the island opens and/or stay until it closes to enjoy the peacefulness
- Bring water and snacks to limit food and beverages purchases on the island. Note: Plastic bottles are banned on the island to prevent littering. If you decide to bring one with you, just make sure you take the empty bottle off of the island when you leave to properly dispose of it.
- Definitely spend some time snorkeling. There is a wide variety of fish and coral to see. I’m still kicking myself on not having my go pro to capture it.
- Enjoy the island and all its beauty!