Snorkel mask rental: 50 baht
15 min longtail boat ride: 150 baht
Rock burn from climbing mini boulders in a swimsuit: 300 baht
A stunning panoramic shot of Thailand island paradise: PRICELESS
After 5 busy days of completing my PADI open water diving certification at Ban’s Diving Resort on Koh Tao (aka Turtle Island, “Koh” means island”), Thailand, I decided to explore this small 7km by 3km island for few days before crossing the border to Malaysia.
Myself and two travellers from my dive group, a Brazilian journalist and a Canadian lawyer, rented snorkelling masks and took a short water taxi ride to a small island called Koh Nang Yuan, just west off the main island of Koh Tao.
Koh Nang Yuan, famous for the sandbars connecting 3 mini islands, is one of the typical postcard shots of Koh Tao and was one of the top recommendations from locals for good snorkelling spots on Koh Tao.
The island lived up to the hype. The water was a beautiful torquoise blue with fantastic visibility, and was relatively shallow near the beach (you could stand up). I saw about six types of fish, though the only types I could identify were parrot fishes and honeycomb groupers.
The snorkelling, clear waters and beautiful beach were absolutely beautiful, but the highlight for me was taking a small hike up the mountain to the viewpoint.
The view was breathtaking. It was like love at first sight, when everything clicks and there’s a sense of stillness, joy and zen. It was as though I suddenly understood the inspiration behind passionate photographers or travellers who see to experience, capture and share beautiful moments.
A friend from Toronto once told me the first time he went to Thailand, he stayed 3 years. I thought it was odd someone would stay so long in one spot when there are many other places to see, but after today, I understand the feeling of not wanting to leave.
I found myself considering overstaying my Thai visa to see the other parts of Koh Tao island, the nearby islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Samui, or even head to the west side (Andaman Sea) to see Koh Phi Phi or Koh Lanta.
Having watched myself stay longer than planned in all the areas I’ve visited on this trip (India, north Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia), I was secretly relieved my visa was up in 3 days. Considering this just the first (and only) island I visited in Thailand, it wasn’t too hard to imagine how hard it would be to leave if I continued seeing more beautiful places like the one today.
I have a feeling I may come back in the future.
Getting to Koh Nang Yuan
Koh Nang Yuan is a small island just west of the top of the main Koh Tao island. We left from Sairee Beach (Ban’s Diving Resort), but you get there from anywhere on Koh Tao.
- Grab a water taxi from any of the beaches on the main Koh Tao island. There are signs all along the beach. The cost was 200 baht, but we haggled down to 150 baht ($5) around trip per person.
- If you want to snorkel, rent a mask from one of the many dive shops (we rented ours for 50 baht, or $1.75, from our resort), or buy a mask and snorkel for 250 baht ($9).
- Due to live coral, fins are not allowed when snorkelling. Plastic bottles and aluminum cans are also not allowed on the island.
- There’s a 100 baht ($3.50) fee to enter Koh Nang Yuan.
- The view point is worth the mini-hike/mini-climb. A bit tough with flip flops, but manageable. If you’re a lady, I’d recommend wearing shorts and not just a swimsuit bottom, as you may have to sit or slightly slide again/down some of the small boulders near the top.
- Oh, and if you must overstay your Thai visa, the penalty for is 500 baht ($17) a day :)
- See WikiTravel for info on getting to Koh Tao, list of beaches, dive centres, lodging, eating and other activities.
>> Have you been to Koh Tao or Koh Nang Yuan? What’s your favourite island in Thailand?