“A blissfully relaxed resort on a stunning Thai island, with fab views over the glorious Phang Nga archipelago”
On the east coast is stunning Koyao, a rustic-chic, back-to-nature resort that is encircled by exotic greenery and run by staff so calm and kind that you’ll feel instantly relaxed. The 18 open-sided villas are situated seconds from the beach. Inside they are large and luxurious, with beautiful rattan four-poster beds and plenty of space for families. Meanwhile, 7 luxe tented villas with private pools set up on the hillside occupy the perfect spot for couples to cocoon.
The stylish aquamarine infinity swimming pool and the powder-soft beach strung with hammocks mean that there are innumerable opportunities to soak up one of the best views in Thailand. If the moment takes you, cycle to a local batik community, pick your own coconut in the plantations or get up close to the extraordinary marine panorama with a longtail trip to discover islands inhabited by monkeys and lizards, where you can swim through caves and stumble upon deserted coves perfect for moonlit picnics.
- The intimate, friendly feel and the ever-smiling staff
- Thai scenery of your dreams, with sensational panoramas of craggy limestone karsts in the Phang Nga archipelago
- Comfort and space for everyone, from the open-sided family beach villas to couples-only hillside luxury tents with pools
- Magical evening walks through lantern-lit gardens to enjoy the seafood platter at the excellent restaurant
- The spirit of generosity: kayaks, bikes and snorkelling equipment are free to borrow
- Mosquitos can be very pervasive despite non-toxic fogging by the resort. Bring plenty of repellent and cover up in the evenings
- A bit of a journey from Phuket or Krabi airport (30-40 mins by taxi and then a boat ride), but that's half the fun
- The spa is not particularly lavish or well-equipped but treatment prices are reasonable
- Due to currents, the sea’s visibility can vary, and some days it’s quite cloudy
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Beach Resort
- 26 rooms & villas
- Restaurant and bar open daily
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Bicycles Available
There are 26 rooms at Koyao, 18 of which are Beach Villas that face the stunning vista of Phang Nga bay. Made from local hardwood and palm thatch, these spacious rooms are designed for indoor/outdoor living, with sliding doors, roomy verandas with daybeds and open-air bathrooms. Beach Villa Suites also have a tub-for-2 in their garden bathroom.
If you’re a couple, we’d recommend the hillside adults-only 9Hornbills, which are a clutch of luxurious tents with private pools, free-standing tubs, air-con and jaw-dropping views of the bay. Golf buggies ferry guests down to the restaurant. Or, for something extra-special, 20 minutes' drive away is South Beach Lodge - a 'Robinson Crusoe’-style hideaway with a private beach and an on-call butler.
For families, the two-bedroom Family Beach Villas sleep 4-6 people and have large bathtubs. For added seclusion, the Beach Front Family Villa is slightly set apart and opens out onto its own small stretch of beach.
- Coffee / tea making
- Mosquito net
- Safe box
Breakfast is served at the breezy, open-sided restaurant Pum Pui. Choose between DIY miso soup, charcuterie, French cheeses, and made-to-order waffles and eggs. You can also help yourself to exotic fruit, fresh juices and an array of tempting pastries.
The lunch-time menu has Thai and western specialties including satay chicken, Pad Thai and club sandwiches. Alternatively, rustic-chic Chaba Cafe, set about 200m from the resort, serves salads, kombucha and homemade vegan ice cream.
When the sun turns the limestone karsts orange, head to the Gecko Bar for delicious Happy Hour cocktails, which use local ingredients such as lemongrass, chilli and coconut milk. Later, walk through the lantern-lit garden to Pum Pui for dinner. There are daily specials - we loved the seafood platter with blue crab, seabass, tiger prawns and squid - or a mouth-watering selection of Thai specialties including spicy coconut soup, grilled squid salad and red curry.
Occasionally, the resort hosts barbecues with freshly-caught fish from the Andaman Sea. Private suppers under the big frangipani tree can be arranged, or for added romance you can book a longtail boat to the island of Koh Nok for a star-canopied meal on the shore (weather dependent).
- Children's meals
- Coffee / tea making
- Restaurants nearby
- Do some lazy lengths in the lovely infinity pool with its gorgeous backdrop of the Pakoh Islands and the limestone karsts of Phang Nga Bay
- Take a tuk-tuk tour around Yao Noi to a fishing village, and learn about rubber tapping in the plantations
- Hire a bike (free of charge) or moped and ride through shady palm plantations to find hidden beaches
- Marvel at the the awe-inspiring Phang Nga up close, snorkel around Chicken Island then relax on a sand bank
- Get active with one of the (complimentary) twice-weekly yoga sessions, or book a session with a Kick Boxing Muay Thai champion
- Re-align your spine with a firm oil massage in the outdoor spa sala overlooking the beach
- Take a sunset longtail trip to Koh Nok and let staff prepare you a candlelit barbecue dinner (weather dependent)
- Descend underwater and scuba dive around limestone Shark Point and King Cruiser wreck dive
- Learn about Southern Thailand cooking with island chef Mina in her traditional Thai house by the market
The layout of the resort means that there’s space for everyone. Families can spread out, without the worry of disturbing other guests. The pool has a step around 3 sides that is good for paddling, and the beach slopes gently into the sea and has a couple of swings too. There's a large grassy area, perfect for relaxed football games. Nothing is too much trouble for staff, from blankets at dinner for weary mini-travellers to beach toys appearing at your lounger.
Family friendly accommodation:
The spacious Family Beach Villas are ideal for groups of 4-6, with 2 doubles and room for extra beds. Bathrooms are large with outdoor showers and tubs. We recommend the Beachfront Family Beach Villa, as it has even more privacy and opens out onto its own private stretch of beach. Beach Villa Suites are also suitable for a family of 3. The rooms come with fans, air-con and mosquito nets.
Babysitting is available.
- Baby cots
- High chairs
- Children's cutlery
- Children's bikes
- Kids carriers for adult bikes
- Beach toys and inflatables
- Snorkels and masks
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The hotel has one of the best children’s menus we’ve seen, with lots of healthy options and non-spicy Thai specialties. Options include spring rolls, noodle soups and staples such as pasta bolognese, fish and chips and sausages and mash. Highchairs and plastic cutlery are provided.
Kids Activities on site:
- Sandy beach
- Main pool
- Kayaks to borrow
- Snorkels and masks
- Swimming Pool (with step around 3 sides)
- Child’s massage
Kids Activities nearby:
- Snorkelling and diving trips
- Kick boxing
- Cookery classes
- Boat trips to the islands
- Tour around Yao Noi
- Bicycling around Yao Noi
Families Should Know:
Arriving by speed boat is much faster than arriving by long boat. Mosquitoes can be a problem here so be sure to bring plenty of repellent and long sleeve tops/trousers from dusk onwards. Torches are handy/fun for evening crab hunting on the beach. There’s a small mini-mart 200m from the hotel for nappies, sunscreen and snacks, plus a pharmacy in the village.
- Airport: 1 hour 40 mins (Phuket or Krabi)
- Hospital: 10 minutes' drive
- Shop: 1km