The one place you MUST visit in Thailand - Koh Nang Yuan, everything you need to know!
The one place you must visit in Thailand is Koh Nang Yuan!
Thailand has amazing beaches with crystal clear waters and Koh Nang Yuan in Koh Tao was my favourite.
If Koh Nang Yuan isn't already on your bucket list, I highly recommend you put on there asap! If your anything like me where beautiful beaches just make you the happiest person on earth you won't regret this in the slightest. I had seen countless photos of this jaw dropping place but seeing it in person is just 100x times better!
If you need more convincing to get there asap. Koh Tao is quieter than the other islands but it is becoming more commercial as more and more people find out about this little island. With Koh Nang Yuan being one of the main attractions on Koh Tao, you would be silly to visit this island without seeing this gorgeous beach and lookout. This means that this place is only going to get busier and we all know what that means. The Thai are doing a great job at trying to preserve this precious place. You can't take any plastic or rubbish onto the island or you will be fined. They also charge an entry fee when you first arrive at Koh Nang Yuan of 100 baht per person (remember to take some cash).
There's a few comments floating around online about this being a tourist trap but I disagree. Yes there is an entry fee. and 100 baht may sound like a lot because of '100' but it's really not. It converts to about $6 NZD. There are beach chairs with umbrellas that you get charged to sit in but nobody forces you to sit here. Laying your towel on the sand is perfectly fine and what I'm used to coming from NZ anyway.
When deciding how to get here you pretty much have two options:
1. Hire a boat to take you across - This would be the cheapest option but not necessarily the easiest. You would probably be able to negotiate a boat for 100 - 150 baht one way. It is just a 15-20min long tail boat ride. You might also want to arrange a time for the boat to take you back across to Koh Tao, especially is you are planning on leaving towards to end of the day. The island closes at 5pm so unless you are staying at the resort for the night you want to make sure you are on your way off the island by then. This is when all the tour groups leave as well so the pier gets extremely busy!
2. Book a day trip with Koh Nang Yuan included -I would recommend booking a day trip, this was the option we went with. It just makes things easier and often they will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel. When you are holiday you want to be able to relax!
The trip that we booked was called Koh Tao Tour, there wasn't really a company name. Everything is pretty laid back in Thailand but I found a link to their Facebook page here and their contact number is 084-8507628. Feel free to get in contact with them if you wanted to do the same tour I went on. It was a pretty awesome day so I would highly recommend it. If you can't get into this tour don't worry. There are plenty of others and most them will have a similar itinerary.
Koh Tao day tour
- You'll start the day off at Seatran Pier. If your tour includes pick up (which most of them should) this is where you will get dropped off.
- The first stop is Shark Bay to do some snorkelling. Here is where you are most likely to see Black Tip Reef Sharks and Turtles! If you are terrified of sharks like me, don't worry these ones are harmless. They are pretty small, more like the size of a big fish.
- The next stop is Aow Leuk where you will do some more snorkelling. There is a chance you will see the sharks here as well but this stop is mainly to look at the coral. These days unfortunately the coral is pretty damaged from all the tourism so don't go expecting brightly coloured corals like in Finding Nemo. If you do, I'm sorry to say you will be deeply disappointed. I have been snorkelling in many countries and locations now and I am still yet to see bright, live, healthy coral.
- Hin Wong Bay is next and if you want a little bit of a break from snorkelling you can swim to the bay and relax on the sand for a bit. This is a large bay surrounded by boulders with the clearest blue water you will have seen so far on this day trip. If you want to keep snorkelling the best spots are on the south side of the bay in front of the beach.
- The last stop before hitting Koh Nang Yuan is Mango Bar. Here is another gorgeous stop where you can do more snorkelling or just relax. Totally up to you!
With this tour you'll get a Thai buffet lunch and water. Snorkelling equipment is also included so you don't have to hire some separately.
If you aren't a confident snorkeler, there were life jackets you could use to help keep you afloat. I would also recommend a life jacket if you aren't a strong swimmer. The crew will most likely warn on the day but the currents in some of these places can be quite strong. If in doubt, take the jacket. You can always swim back to the boat and get rid off it if you decide you don't need it.
And now for the last and best stop... Koh Nang Yuan!
I still look back at my photos from this place in awe of how gorgeous it is. As soon as you get off the boat it's super tempting to head straight to the beach and go for a dip in the clearest water you have possibly ever seen but don't. First head straight up to the viewpoint. We were super lucky that our boat was the first of quite a few tour boats to arrive. Somehow we managed to get straight up to the viewpoint and snap some pics with minimal waiting time! We realised how lucky we were when we were coming back down and saw the massive queue that had formed.
The walk up to the view point isn't to strenuous either. About a 15min walk up through the trees which is completely doable in jandals. I did end up taking these off right at the end. You do have to climb up on some boulders to see that stunning view. When you stand up on these boulders you'll see what I mean about photos not doing this place justice!
Once you've snapped a few shots for the gram head back down to the beach for a well deserved swim. This was the highlight of my day! And this whole day was the highlight of my entire trip! The white sands beaches and clear waters are the kind that you picture in your head when you hear the word paradise. I'm not even exaggerating. I literally walked around this place in awe. As I said earlier, I love seeing and exploring beautiful beaches so for you, something else might be your highlight. I can guarantee you will still throughly enjoy it though!!!
Yes the beach is a bit crowded, but we still had plenty of space in the water to splash around. It's nowhere near as bad as Maya Bay! Also we were hear in high season so if you hate crowds be mindful of this.
If you still aren't over snorkelling, you can snorkel again here. I didn't, I was sick of it by then! I just swam in the water and relaxed on the beach which was the perfect end to the perfect day, as cheesy as that sounds :P
After about an hour and a half it was time to head back to the boat. How much time you spend here will vary slightly between tours. I wouldn't want to spend any less time here, an hour and a half was pretty good but slightly longer would be ideal. That would be another advantages of getting a long tail boat to take you across. You could spend however long you like on the island. We were tight on time and only had a couple of days in Koh Tao so the tour option worked perfectly. Depends what you mainly want to see and how many days you have.
I will just finish off by saying, if you are planning on going to Thailand. Please please please add this Koh Tao day trip to your list and make sure you see Koh Nang Yuan! You will love it.
Are you planning a trip to Thailand or have you already been? Let me know in the comments!