Visiting the pristine Koh Nang Yuan as part of a snorkeling speedboat trip is an absolute must-do for everyone staying in Koh Phangan! This small set of three islands, interconnected by strips of white sand, is a protected area of Thailand and the local authorities do a good job to ensure no plastic is brought onto the island. The result is that Koh Nang Yuan boasts some of the most breathtaking sands and waters in all of Southeast Asia – on par with other famous Thai destinations such as Railay Beach and Maya Bay.
Situated close to Koh Tao, in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Nang Yuan offers tour guests a slice of paradise to enjoy for a few hours. In addition to swimming in the crystal-clear waters and sunbathing on the beach, visitors can walk up to the lookout point where a rocky platform provides the ideal photo-op. If the sun is shining and the clouds are sparse, you will be blessed with a beautiful vista – perfect for posting all over social media. There is also a little beach cafe/bar that serves fresh coconut juice, and other drinks and snacks.
How to Reach Koh Nang Yuan from Nearby Islands
My partner and I booked a snorkeling speedboat trip through the hotel we were staying at in Koh Phangan in January, which was a lovely time to go as the weather in Thailand is gorgeous in the early months of the year. Only one resort is located on the island, named Nangyuan Island Dive Resort, so most people opt for a tour. Our itinerary for the day included stopping in Koh Tao for a snorkeling session before reaching Koh Nang Yuan. Speedboats are great because they are fast, efficiently glide through the sea (even in rough conditions) and affordable through small group trips.
Booking through the hotel is also nice since they organize hotel pick-up and drop-off, saving you time from not having to make your way to the pier where the boat departs. When we arrived in Koh Nang Yuan, there were several other boats docked but it didn’t feel overly crowded. The two or three hours we were afforded gave us the time to take photos, swim in the shallow and turquoise waters, and hike up to the viewpoint. The walk is a 20-minute stroll up a well-marked path and the views are awesome!
We highly recommend going from Koh Phangan as the journey is much shorter than from Koh Samui. If you wish to have the beaches all to yourself and enjoy the sunset, you would need to book a couple of nights at the Nangyuan Island Dive Resort. However, the high prices at the dive resort tend to put travelers off. And in all honesty, two or three hours is enough here. Many companies offer speedboat trips to Koh Nang Yuan from Koh Phangan and you will have no trouble finding a suitable tour option.
For those in Koh Tao, of course you can always visit the nearby Koh Nang Yuan by longtail taxi boat. The longtail boat tours are fantastic for solos, couples, families or friends who want to have a private excursion for the day. Koh Tao is regarded as one of the premier diving islands in Thailand and attracts a plethora of passionate divers from around the world every year, while Koh Phangan is known for its nightlife and full moon parties. Therefore, how to reach Koh Nang Yuan depends on where you are based.
What the Snorkeling Speedboat Tours Include
The tour we booked through the Sea Breeze Resort in Koh Phangan included hotel pick-up and drop-off (as mentioned), speedboat transport, snorkeling gear and an authentic Thai lunch on Koh Tao. The only things we needed to bring were our wallets to pay for drinks and snacks, swimwear, a towel, sunscreen and a change of clothes, etc. From memory, the total price was around $60 USD per person – which is good value for money in my opinion – and there were about 30-40 others on our boat.
Having traveled extensively through the south of Thailand, and taken many boat trips to islands, we can safely say that it’s worth paying extra for a speedboat – especially if the forecast predicts rough seas. They are just more comfortable and faster. We experienced a difficult boat ride from Koh Samui to Ang Thong National Marine Park on a rickety two-storey “pirate ship” that continued to rock from side to side (causing profuse vomiting from a couple of guests), and the term “never again” came to mind!
Is Koh Nang Yuan the Most Beautiful Thai Island?
We wouldn’t go as far as saying Koh Nang Yuan is the most beautiful island in Thailand, however it’s certainly up there. Similan Islands and Koh Lipe probably take the cake but Koh Nang Yuan could easily come in third place. The mix of emerald waters, dense green shrub and soft golden sands make it a dream destination for beach-lovers. The waters were some of the most idyllic and tranquil we have ever seen, and the protected status of the island makes it super clean (despite the best efforts of the worst tourists).
So, if you are planning a trip to the Gulf of Thailand – whether it be Koh Samui, Koh Phangan or Koh Tao – visiting Koh Nang Yuan is a no-brainer. You will leave with spectacular photos and memories to last a lifetime. One final tip before we sign off: Koh Nang Yuan from November to March is the best time of year to get guaranteed clear skies. The temperature is also accommodating during these months – ranging from 26°C to 32°C. You won’t be able to stop yourself from jumping in the stunning waters!