While it’s impossible to identify the most beautiful island in Thailand (there are just so many!), if we sat down and made a list I’m sure Koh Nang Yuan would rank near the top.
Koh Nang Yuan is actually three small islands connected by a sandbar. It boasts stunningly clear turqouise waters, plenty of colorful sealife to entertain snorkelers, and a vantage point that (literally) takes your breath away.
The vista itself is quite extraordinary, but getting up to the viewpoint is half the fun. Once you disembark at the pier and cross the sandbar, a precarious path built from weathered wooden planks will carry you over the rocky shoreline and around the island.
As you pick your way across, do your best to avoid the sections of trail that have fallen into the sea — clearly Thailand’s building codes are a little more lax than those in the States.
The next leg of your journey involves approximately three million steps up the side of the mountain, and once you’ve climbed them you can still look forward to scaling a series of colossal boulders to get to the peak.
But once you’re at the peak? Totally worth it.
Things to Know
Koh Nang Yuan is a private island with only one small resort, so most visitors are day trippers from nearby Koh Tao (which happens to be one of the best places in the world to learn how to scuba dive!). A water taxi from Koh Tao to Koh Nang Yuan should cost around 150 baht ($5).
Koh Nang Yuan charges a 100 baht ($3) entrance fee for any visitors not staying overnight on the island.
There is only one (over-priced) restaurant on Koh Nang Yuan, so bring snacks over from Koh Tao to save money.
The island has banned plastic bottles, so buy glass bottles from a 7-11 on Koh Tao or be very discreet with your plastic water bottles and make sure to carry them off the island when you leave.
If you don’t want your delicate bits getting scraped up in the climb to the viewpoint, wear something over your swimsuit. Sturdy shoes are also recommended, or you can just remove your flip-flops and climb like a monkey over the boulders.
If you plan to snorkel on Koh Nang Yuan, rent your mask on Koh Tao for around 60 baht ($2) and bring it with you. Fins are banned on Koh Nang Yuan, so don’t bother with those.
The island is an amazing place to view sealife while snorkeling, but be careful in some areas — there’s a lot of coral and sea urchins fairly close to the shore, in water shallow enough to step on.
So what’s your take? Does it qualify as The Most Beautiful Island in Thailand?