Koh Nang Yuan is a small island located in the southern half of the Gulf of Thailand not too far from the idyllic diving islands of Koh Tao. Koh Nang Yuan is actually a collection of 3 small islands connected by a massive sandbar and surrounded by crystal-clear aquamarine water on all sides. The white coral sandbar forms a shoreline between the islands during a low tide and vanishes under when the ocean rises during the high tide. The beach of Koh Nang Yuan is absolutely beautiful, but the real treasure is what lies below the water level. The small island of Koh Nang Yuan has possibly the most preserved coral-based marine life found in the Gulf of Thailand.
Koh Nang Yuan is really close to Koh Tao Island – only 10 minutes away from Koh Tao via a longtail boat. Koh Nang Yuan Island is one of the top places to visit when heading to Koh Tao. The island is a very popular place for diving and shallow-water snorkelling.
So to make sure you don’t miss out on anything here’s all you need to know:
How to Get to Koh Nang Yuan
If you are staying at Sairee Beach on the west side of Koh Tao it takes around 10 minutes via taxi boats to get there. From the east side of Koh Tao, it will take about 15-20 minutes. From Sairee Beach there are taxi boats scattered up and down the shore, so you don’t need to pre-book! The cheapest water taxis will charge you 300 Baht per person for a two-way ticket. Remember to ask about the price before, because you might get a higher price once you have to come back. Let them know what time you want to go back so that the water taxi can pick you up later.
Another option is to book a snorkelling trip from any tour agency or operator. We booked the snorkelling trip around Koh Tao which included Koh Nang Yuan in the afternoon. We paid about 2.400 Baht for a private longtail boat for 6-7 hours.
Given the distance, day trips from Koh Samui are much more expensive so making Koh Tao your home base to explore Koh Nang Yuan is the better option.
Things to Know Before You Go
Entrance Fee to the Island: 100 Baht (since April 2016) as it is a private island
Expect Crowds: Koh Nang Yuan Island is incredibly popular among tourists from Koh Tao and Koh Samui. The three islands are very small in size, so huge crowds on the sandbar could be expected.
Opening Hours: The island is open from 10 am – 5 pm, 7 days a week. Just be sure to check for public holidays!
Restaurants: There’s only one restaurant in Koh Nang Yuan and the prices are much higher than in Koh Tao ( … and, unfortunately, the food is not very good…). Plastic water bottles are confiscated upon arrival which means you have to purchase water from the restaurant.
Hotels in Koh Tao: Find the best Hotel deals here!
Things to Do in Koh Nang Yuan
Snorkelling or Diving!
Koh Nang Yuan is supposed to be one of the best spots for snorkelling and diving in Thailand. You can rent the snorkel mask here, but it is always better to bring yours. In the Japanese Garden, you can find many tropical fishes and corals, including angels, barbs and groupers. Other great dive spots are the White Rock and Green Rock.
There are a few separate swimming areas on Koh Nang Yuan – the water is crystal clear, warm and shallow!
Enjoy the Beautiful Beaches!
The beach might get slightly crowded, but is still awesome! Depending on when you go and the tides, you can enjoy the white sand beach and crystal clear waters at low tide. There are beach chairs around, but as far as I know, you should pay to get one. Enjoy the sun!
Hike the View Point!
The viewpoint of Koh Nang Yuan should be at the top of your list when visiting Koh Tao! The hike to the top is steep and takes about 10-15 minutes. The short hike can be done in flip flops but beware – at some point, you literally have to squeeze and climb your way up boulders. Take water, as it can get super sweaty and hot!
As soon as you reach the top, you will be rewarded by the luring sea green-blue waters, the white sand, and the pleasant rocks setting the ideal postcard! From the birds-eye view above, I’m sure you can see that this place is truly a natural wonder!!!
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