Koh Yao consists of two main islands: Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi. The smaller island, Noi, is more developed and home to the majority of Koh Yao’s population. Its villagers still make a living from fishing and farming, and the largely untouched islands are covered with lush tropical jungle, grazing water buffalo, rice fields lined with mangroves and limestone cliffs fringed by beaches and reef. Visitors can also see traditional rubber farms with tapping buckets hanging from tree trunks.
A wide range of accommodation is available on Koh Yao Noi, from backpacker bungalows to private hilltop villas with infinity-edged pools. The island has only a few restaurants and bars along the coastline, and a small village near the pier consisting of a huddle of grocery stores, school, hospital, police station, and post office. Neither of the islands have banking facilities, so it's important that travelers visit an ATM before arriving.
Some of the white sandy beaches, such as Ao Klong Son, are home to beautiful coral reefs and shady pine trees. Other beaches, such as Hat Tha Khao, are made from colorful rocks and gravels. Not far from the shore, there is a small island called Ko Nok that can be accessed by walking during the low tide. Laem Hat is a very long white powdery beach with shady coconut groves, cashew nuts, and pine trees.
A road circles Koh Yao Noi, and motor-scooters and tuk tuks are available for hire from the pier. Some local shops and hotels also have sea kayaks for rent, while most hotels offer daytrips to the amazing Koh Hong: the stunning rocks facing the island.