Koh Nang Yuan is a small island nearby the idyllic diving island of Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand. It is actually a cluster of 3 tiny islands linked together by fine tongues of sand and the small sandy beach revealed at low tide. Here is everything you need to know for planning a day trip to Koh Nang Yuan.
Koh Nang Yuan is one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand. It is not surprising that photos of this island are one of the most used images in tourism promotion campaigns of the country. The waters of Koh Nang Yuan have the best corals of Koh Tao at very shallow depths, making them one of the best options for snorkeling and diving trips in the area. Due to its close location to popular islands like Koh Tao, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui, a visit to Koh Nang Yuan is often part of trip itinerary.
How to get to Koh Nang Yuan
From Koh Tao to Koh Nang Yuan
Koh Nang Yuan is located northwest of Koh Tao Island. With a distance of just several hundred meters from the coast, Koh Nang Yuan is only a short trip by long-tail boat from Koh Tao. There is a boat service that departs daily from Lomprayah Pier. Although you can easily book a snorkeling trip from any agency or tour operator, the cheapest way to get to Koh Nang Yuan is simply renting a long-tail boat yourself from Sairee beach with one of the many boatmen who will take you to the island. You can negotiate a price at 100-150 THB one way and 200-300 THB per person round trip. Unless you are planning to stay on the island overnight, make sure to arrange a time for the return trip with the boatman in advance so you don't end up walking around trying to find a boat to take you back to Koh Tao.
Snorkeling trips organized from Koh Tao start from around 700-800 THB per person.
From Koh Samui to Koh Nang Yuan
With a longer distance, day trips from Koh Samui are much more expensive and you will only spend relatively little time on the island of Koh Nang Yuan. You can find various tour operators offering snorkeling trips to Koh Nang Yuan, with the price ranging from around 1,800-2,500 THB per person. This should include the boat transfer, the snorkeling equipment, the entrance to the island and lunch.
You can join Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan Day Trip from Koh Samui. This tour is more affordable and you will have a chance to ride the speedboat to the first snorkeling stop at Koh Tao's isolated Mango Bay and explore the emerald bays of Koh Nang Yuan. Here you'll get the chance to explore the shallow reefs of one of Thailand's best snorkeling spots as well as hike to the viewpoint offering spectacular views of the sandbar.
From Koh Phangan to Koh Nang Yuan
From Koh Phangan, there is the option of visiting Koh Nang Yuan on a private speedboat on a snorkeling tour around Koh Tao.
If you want to come to Koh Nang Yuan by yourself, you need to take the ferry to Koh Tao. The earliest departure of the ferry from Koh Phangan to Koh Tao is at 8:30 and the last return is at 17:30. It costs about 1,000 THB for round trip and the travel time is 1 hour 30 minutes. However, schedule and prices might change depending on the company. Then, you can take a boat to Koh Nang Yuan. In total, such a getaway should cost you around 1,200-2,000 THB per person.
For more details about getting to Koh Tao check here: How to get from Koh Samui / Koh Phangan to Koh Tao
From Bangkok to Koh Nang Yuan
If you are planning a trip to Koh Nang Yuan from Bangkok, the fastest way is to fly to Chumphon with a combination of bus, flight and ferry and find your way to Koh Tao.
For more details check: How to get from Bangkok to Koh Tao.
Arrival on Koh Nang Yuan & Entrance Fee
Upon arrival, you will be dropped off at the pier on Koh Nang Yuan Lek, where you can expect to see many boats and a queue of tourists.
Visiting Koh Nang Yuan is not free because the island is managed by a private company. Foreigners have to pay the entrance fee of 200 THB per adult and 100 THB for children. This fee is waived if you are staying overnight on the island, otherwise you will need to pay it at a small ticket booth.
The tourist reception hours are from 10:00 to 17:00. It means that the island closes at 17:00 and from then on only overnight guests are permitted on the island.
What to do at Koh Nang Yuan
The strong point of Koh Nang Yuan island is the relaxation by the sea and scuba diving. You can swim in the crystal-clear waters, stay on the beach and admire the views. The crystal clear, turquoise shimmering water of the Gulf of Thailand simply invites you for diving and snorkeling.
Go snorkeling or diving
Snorkeling or diving on the island of Koh Nang Yuan is quite good compared to most of the islands. Marine life on Koh Nang Yuan is abundant and quite diverse. It is therefore common to see several dive boats in the vicinity of the island. A few meters from the beach there are many colorful corals, especially in the Nang Yuan Pinnacle spot, which is easily accessible on the north coast between Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan. The area is characterized by the presence of large rocks and the maximum depth is around 19 m. There are nearby dive sites like Twin Peak and the Japanese Gardens on the east side of Koh Nang Yuan that are shallow enough for snorkelers. Other good dive sites nearby are White Rock (Hin Kaow) and Green Rock (Hin Keow).
Get to the viewpoint
If you want to have a breathtaking view of the ocean and the other 2 islands of Koh Nang Yuan, head to the famous viewpoint. This viewpoint is part of thousands of vacation pictures and many advertising brochures for the perfect Thailand vacation. To get there, just follow the directions on site. From the beach, you can opt for a short 10-15-minute walk to the viewpoint. This hike uphill is easy and can be done in sandals or flip-flops with a little climbing over rocks. As the island is often overcrowded and the majority of Koh Nang Yuan visitors want to take this fantastic photo here, you might need to wait in the line to take a photo of the view. If you spend the night on the island, it is best to go there before or after the visitor time.
Enjoy the beach
Although it is a little crowded, Koh Nang Yuan beach is quite impressive especially before 10:00 and after 17:00 when the masses of day tourists leave the island. Depending on the time and the tides, you can enjoy the white sand beach and crystal clear waters. As it is such a small island, there are signs requesting to avoid putting towels on the sand to prevent the removal of the sand from the island.
Accommodation on Koh Nang Yuan
The only resort on Koh Nang Yuan is Nangyuan Island Dive Resort. The bungalows here are very beautiful and come with fans, TVs and verandas. Upgraded bungalows feature air-conditioning, and some offer living rooms, safes and bathtubs. Most of them offer great views of the sea. Breakfast and transfers from Koh Tao are included. There's a dive center that offers snorkeling, dive trips and PADI courses. If you want to have the beach to yourself until the tours come and go, staying here may be your best option.
Before you book a multi-day stay at Nangyuan Island Dive Resort, you should be aware that the island has limited resources. This makes the service in the hotel expensive, although not much is offered to you. The selection in the hotel restaurant is also limited. In addition, there is no nightlife on Koh Nangyuan and no connection to Koh Tao after 17:00.
Where to stay in Koh Tao
If you are not planning to stay in Koh Nang Yuan, you can check our guide to the best places to stay in Koh Tao to find your best accommodation on the nearby island.
Food and Drinks
Due to the environmental protection, the plastic bottles and snacks are prohibited on the island of Koh Nang Yuan, so you need to leave water bottles in the boat and you are also dependent on the Nang Yuan Resort for food and drinks. Prices here are a little higher than on Koh Tao.
Like other islands in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Nang Yuan has a humid tropical climate. Koh Nang Yuan is a relatively busy island throughout the year. However, as the destination is ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving, it is best to go there during the peak tourist season which is between November and March. If you are a fan of swimming and sunbathing, plan your visit during the cool season, between December and March, with the temperatures being more enjoyable in this season.
Consider arriving on the island as soon as it opens at 10:00 for you to be among the first to discover the island.
During the tourist season, it is likely that Koh Nang Yuan will be literally taken by tourists at such a level that it may not be worth visiting. You might be better enjoying your time at many other great beaches on Koh Tao and admiring the views from the magnificent Koh Tao viewpoints.