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Koh Yao Noi, Thailand – Day 1

February 11, 2023

Woke up and caught the entire sunrise. Quite a nice change of pace from seeing sunset for the last two weeks. Beautiful sunrise.

Since it’s my first full day on Koh Yao Noi, it’s a scooter day. But first I need to find an ATM and get gas. Luckily I found both in the same place about 1km south of my place. This gas station is the fourth different style I’ve seen. They range from full service gas stations (like in the US), to a single pump on the side of the road, to clear liter bottles sold at many stands. This is the first time I saw a 50 gallon drum with a hand crank for the pump. Lucky for me, the woman working this shop did the pumping for me. 168 baht to fill my tank.

I drove around finding a cow pasture, rice paddies, rubber trees, and what appears to be the main downtown market. Driving out to Hideout Beach on the west side of the island, I passed droves of rubber trees. I had seen them a few other places in Thailand but didn’t know what they were. It appears the bark is thinly carved back to create a funnel mechanism for the rubber to drain into a bucket. It’s wild to me that rubber comes from a tree like maple syrup.

On my way back from the beach, a woman driving a scooter with two kids flagged me down. She asked about the beach, and I told her about the trees. Turns out she’s a young German mom who took her two young kids on this trip alone, and is looking for other families to befriend. I admire her for taking her kids on this trip and for actively seeking what she’s looking for.

I drove up to the main market area to pick up some shampoo and a cold beverage. 38 baht. Then I parked my scooter in the sun, lamenting how the seat will burn my butt when I get back to it. No shaded spots.

Someone needs to create the Seat Saver™ or the Seat Sarong™. All the scooter seats are black and they burn your butt! With the amount of scooters in Thailand that would be a legit product. Maybe I’ll look into it…

In the shops I saw lots of stuff for sale in the US for 100x the price here. I wouldn’t mind buying a couple things, but there’s no room in my bags. Another benefit of traveling light – I don’t buy a bunch of things I don’t need.

I stopped for lunch at a nice looking place with good reviews. It was a little more expensive than what I’m used to, especially for a non-touristy island. But I guess I’ve gotten used to street food, which is really cheap.


Theresa and I have been talking a lot about turmeric so I ordered the turmeric and chicken soup. I thought maybe they had a way of using turmeric that downplayed the flavor. I was wrong. It tasted as advertised, heavy on the turmeric and chicken. 

After eating all the chicken and trying to avoid the pieces of turmeric root, I drove up and around to find the Big Tree. The road there alternated between pavement and dirt, and occasionally two paved paths just wide enough for truck tires. Those reminded me of my bike safety course in 4H, because it tested my scooter agility. I passed.

Near the destination, the road ends and a trail begins. I didn’t prepare for this today, so I’m hiking in my flip flops. It wasn’t a problem for the first kilometer. Then the trail ends at a beach, and a much tinier trail begins. I followed it a short distance but this is not a trail for these shoes. I’m not even sure it is a trail. I’ll have to try again another day.

I stopped at a few other places on my way down the east side of the island. Island Yoga to see what courses they have available to outsiders. Seems pretty aspirational I’d go to yoga while I’m here but sometimes I surprise myself. I went back to the hotel for a bit to get more water and regroup my plans.

Some other guests approached me about one of the boat tours out to Hong and the surrounding islands. We agreed to book it for tomorrow. The more people, the cheaper it is. Probably going to be about 700 baht. I like that our host wants to go early, before other boats arrive. Should be pretty neat!

Dinner at Pa Sai Thai Food on the beach. More like second lunch. Chicken cashew stir fry, spring rolls and a coconut. Yum.

I showered and enjoyed the evening air from my balcony. I saw many hornbills fly from one side to the other, but none close enough for a good pic. I’m hopeful I’ll get a good photo before I leave.

Later I sat in bed writing up notes of the day. I brushed my teeth, and when I came back to bed I saw a giant lizard on the wall right behind my pillow! This was not one of the normal sized geckos; this was a big one! As this was going down, more lizards started running all over the exterior walls, creating more havoc. Apparently I’m staying in lizard hell.

At some point I decided my best course of action was to sleep in the other twin bed, with my head at the feet. This meant I didn’t feel the fan (no AC here) so it was a long and hot night.

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