Koh Yao Yai

Koh Yao Yai, Thailand Beach Resort

Thailand island get away to Koh Yao Yai

Updated, August 2019

We had a total of two weeks in Thailand and while spending a week in Phuket near Rawai Beach we researched the many options on the Andaman Sea. We looked at Phi Phi Islands, Koh Yao Noi, Krabi and had also considered a trip to the Than Bok Khorani National Park. We picked Koh Yao Yai as it was quiet and within easy reach from Phuket. We were in search of a place to wind down after a busy six weeks on the go.


Koh Yao Yai sunrise in Thailand


How to get to Koh Yao Yai from Phutket?

The front desk at our hotel booked us a taxi to the ferry. At the docks, several entrepreneurial speed boat captains hustled for our booking. The scene was a bit hectic as the cab driver dropped us off about 100 meters from the dock due to traffic congestion. Especially one guy was extremely tenacious and insisted his boat, was the only option to get to Koh Yao Yai. We didn’t fall for it and wandered on to the docks where we purchased our ticket at a third of the price quoted by our tenacious new acquaintance. The exhilarating speed boat ride was about 30-40 minutes. It was great to feel the wind in what little hair I have left.


What a way to travel :) Speed boat from Phuket to Koh Ya Yai in Thailand


Thiwson Beach Resort

We give the Thiw Son Beach Resort our warmest recommendations. Located on the east coast of the island this private resort has twelve private cabins, a nice pool, cozy dining area and of course private access to the beach. We moved from one cabin to another after one night. Not a problem as our second cabin was a bit larger and closer to the beach. The cabins were well appointed and set in a lush garden with palm trees. It was really cool to see the water running of the trees during the occasional afternoon thunderstorm. We had everything we needed including air-conditioning, a private mini-porch, and a lovely open-air bathroom. Although there was another resort nearby the resort felt very private due to the lush surroundings. The staff at Thiwson were also courteous and friendly.

A woman stands or the porch of a private bungalow at The Thiwson Beach Resort at Koh Yao Yai in Thailand

The art of doing as little as possible

We honestly did not see much of Ko Yao Yai Island except for the Thiwson Beach Resort. Boat trips were offered. A scooter trip around the island was tempting, as was snorkeling. Instead, we completely slowed down, giving ourselves time to contemplate what we had achieved and time to think about our return to Canada. We felt slightly guilty for not exploring more but at the same time not enough to do anything about it. Our rustic little resort was pristine and we beat FOMO, (fear of missing out). We got up early in the mornings to see the sunrise, listened to music and read books.


Morning coffee at the Thiwson Beach Resort in Thailand


The daily routine at a beach resort

We were quite content in our little cabin and enjoyed coffees in the morning sun on our front porch. Di would be doing travel research and I would catch up on photo editing and the blog. After a while, we would head to the pool and often had conversations with the other guests while lounging. We had a package deal at the resort including breakfast and dinner, which took the worries away about where to eat and how to get there. The days quickly blend together as we repeat the pattern. Should we go to the beach in the morning or in the afternoon? These were the tough choices we were faced with.


Di watching a thunderstorm roll in on the beach at Koh Yao Yai in Thailand


Travel after 50

We carefully picked a quieter part of Phuket near Rawai Beach when we stayed there last week and were glad we did so. When traveling in your fifties sleep become more and more important. Koh Yao Yai did the trick for us too. We had time to talk, time to plan ahead and got plenty of rest. It was in the pool that we decided we would make Vancouver our home after returning to Canada. Di had a massage on the beach and suggested I do the same. It was easy to convince me as I have had a problem with my left shoulder for the longest time. An elderly woman did an amazing job and quietly spoke to me in Thai during the treatment. Obviously I didn't understand a word. It was rather painful but a much-needed release in my shoulder. So much so, that all of a sudden I felt tears running down my cheeks. A first I tried to hold back but there was nothing I could do. The tears kept coming and the elderly woman kept comforting me as she continued the treatment. It was a surreal moment and something I have never experienced. I tell myself, I must have needed it. It may sound odd but even when staying a nice beach resort such as this, the pressure of travel, leaving our home and always wondering what's next, builds up. So I had a good cry and jumped in the ocean to shake it off, and it literally and mentally felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I went back to the elderly lady for a second treatment a couple of days later.

We also met a young Danish couple who were traveling with their nine-month-old baby. It was fun to check in with them on a daily basis to hear about life in Denmark and how the baby was doing. We ended up having dinner together on a couple of occasions. It reminded us of back in the day when we traveled with our kids.

Try to wipe those smiles off :) The pool at the Thiwson Beach Resort at Koh Yao Yai, Thailand

Try to wipe those smiles off :) The pool at the Thiwson Beach Resort at Koh Yao Yai, Thailand


For the last couple of days, we had co-inhabitants at our cabin. The mother first brought two, then one more and finally a fourth kitten. As cat owners ourselves this was a fun surprise and we were watching their every move the last 48 hours.

cats at koh yao yai in thailand

Drunk on sunshine

We never thought we would say this but we may have been a tad drunk on sunshine. The heat probably resulted in a mild case of sunstroke. Nothing serious. We may have slowed down too much but we will use the excuse of the the Koh Yao Yai weather. With temperatures in the high thirties and intermittent thunderstorms, slowing down felt like the best option for us. We are looking forward to more temperate climates but please make sure the snow melts in Canada by April.

Follow us on Instagram

While at Koh Yao Yai I started using the 'Stories' feature on Instagram. This was way more fun than I had expected and I ended up sharing content I otherwise wouldn’t have. I plan to use it more from here on. You can follow along at @5050travelog.


Imagine waking up to this view a the Thiwson Beach Resort on the island of Koh Yao Yai in Thailand


Final thoughts on Koh Yao Yai

As the speedboat left Koh Yao Yai this morning I looked at Di and we both smiled. We have had six fabulous days on the island, a special time for us. A sense of gratitude was in the air mixed with the anticipation of what next. As I wrote on Instagram yesterday, we feel like yo-yos. We are as far away from home as we will be this time around and leaving the resort is our first step on our way home. Plenty of quiet time to reflect on the past six weeks and our trek through South East Asia. We are so happy we managed visits to China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. At the beginning of January, we were contemplating an earlier return to Canada. However, rest and time well spent with Sharon and Leighton in Hong Kong allowed us to continue.

Back in Phuket

This post comes to you from the Airport Resort & Spa Hotel near Phuket International Airport. We will crash early tonight. Catch a shuttle to the airport at 1:30 am for a very early 3:45 am departure for Hong Kong. Looking forward to seeing everyone soon. 

The photos in this post are captured using a Fujifilm X-Pro2
Lenses -
XF 35mm f/1.4 R and XF 14mm f/2.8 R


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