A tropical oasis far away from the busy streets of built-up cities, Koh Yao Noi is a destination that oozes relaxation. Here, you can spend your days in and out of the water, watching the limestone cliffs jutting out from the sparkling Andaman Sea. A destination that is still under-the-radar, it’s the perfect spot for a well-deserved holiday and the chance to rest, recharge and refresh. If you’re thinking of visiting Koh Yao Noi and need some more information, here’s our detailed review of Cape Kudu Hotel and additional information on how to get to Koh Yao Noi + a few essential travel tips too!
Where is Koh Yao Noi?
If you’ve ever visited Thailand, you’ve most likely been to spots like Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Phuket and Koh Samui. Where these locations are well-known and well-loved by travellers, Koh Yao Noi (Yao Noi Island) is an untouched, under-the-radar destination offering a laid-back escape from the rest of the world. Here, island time rules and you can’t help but slow down and relax. In terms of location, Yao Noi Island is located in Phang Nga Bay, right in-between Phuket and Krabi, which makes getting there a breeze!
How do I get there?
We flew with Thai Airways, direct from Brisbane to Bangkok. We spent a few days and nights exploring then flew from Bangkok to Krabi, we spent one night in Ao Nang then caught a speedboat to Koh Yao Noi. When it was time to leave, we caught a boat from Koh Yao Noi to Phuket and flew back to Brisbane via Bangkok. If you’re weighing up airlines and are unsure which one to go with, we had a great experience with Thai Airways and recommend them.
Getting from either Phuket or Krabi to Yao Noi is pretty easy. It may seem like a bit of work when you read all about how to get there but, trust me, when you arrive on the island and realise how quiet and peaceful it is, you’ll realise the extra effort was worth it! Also, I really liked the adventure of getting there.
Whether you arrive in Phuket or Krabi, you’ll need to find your way from the airport to the pier. How you do this will depend on your budget and personal preference. I like to pre-arrange a private transfer as they’re reliable, well-priced for what they are and take the stress/guesswork out of it. If you didn’t want to do that, you could arrange transport once you arrive on the ground, via taxi or similar. In Phuket, you want to get to Bang Rong Pier and in Krabi, you want to get to Nopparat Thara Pier in Ao Nang.
From here, you can catch a longtail boat or speedboat. You don’t even need to pre-arrange your trip if you don’t want to and, honestly, it may be a little tricky to pre-arrange anyway. Longtail boat is probably going to be your best bet as our speedboat was arranged for us by our accommodation provider in Ao Nang (find them here). You can expect to pay around THB100 per person one-way to get to Koh Yao Noi. You can also check the ferry schedule here.
Once you arrive, there’s no need to worry about how you’ll get from Manoh pier to your accommodation. There are Tuk Tuk drivers on standby and you can expect to pay around THB500 to get from the pier to your hotel. If for some reason, there wasn’t a Tuk Tuk there, the locals are so very helpful and friendly, I’m sure they’d help you get in touch with a driver.
What are the rooms at Cape Kudu Hotel like?
In a word… WOW! I absolutely love the interior design and layout of the rooms at Cape Kudu Hotel. The whole hotel is just gorgeous, it has been really well thought out, making the most of its position overlooking the Andaman Sea. The colours, design elements and even what the staff wear reflects the location and atmosphere beautifully. To me, the rooms feel luxurious and comfortable, so you feel like you’re staying somewhere special but not so hoity-toity you can’t actually enjoy it (if that makes sense!) In terms of price, you’re looking at around THB5,000 – THB8,000 per night depending on room type and the time of year you visit.
There are a few different room types to choose from, depending on personal preference and budget. Room types are; Deluxe, Pool Villa, Robinson Crusoe (1 room only) and Baan Yu Yen (1 two-bedroom private villa only). We got the chance to explore all of the different room types and stayed in a deluxe room. I’ll start with talking about our deluxe room then give you some insight into the others and which I’d recommend.
Our deluxe room was a great size. At 45 square metres with a balcony, we felt we had plenty of space to open up our suitcases and really spread out. There was a lot of floor space so we could move around the room easily and a few different spots to sit, including a desk with small slide-up makeup mirror, sofa and additional seating on the balcony. What’s great about that is you don’t end up spending all your time in bed, you can hang out in the room without being confined to one spot.
The bed was a great size, with more than enough room for Matt and I to spread out as we usually do in our King Size at home. Most importantly, the bed and pillows were extremely comfortable! I struggle to sleep through the night when I’m travelling as I feel most comfortable and relaxed in my own bedroom at home. At Cape Kudu, I slept through the entire night! I kind of just melted into the bed and pillows and didn’t move again until my alarm went off.
The bathroom was a good size too with a walk-in shower separate to the bathtub, a sink and mirror and, of course, a toilet. The room is also equipped with free in-room wi-fi, safety deposit box, minibar, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities, air conditioning, DVD player and wide screen television. We really enjoyed our room and would gladly stay in the same room type again!
Now, onto the other room types. At 62 square metres, the pool villas are larger and, you guessed it, come with their own plunge pool! The Robinson Crusoe suite is an impressive 90 square metres and, honestly, it kind of takes your breath away when you walk in. It’s incredibly spacious, plush and luxurious, equipped with its own whirlpool bath. Finally, Baan Yu-Yen is essentially your very own holiday home. At over 1,000 square metres it boasts two bedrooms AND two pools for your exclusive use. There’s a full kitchen, living and dining areas and, if all that wasn’t enough, you get your own butler too!
As we were guests of the hotel our room type was chosen for us but if I were visiting again (which I will) I’d look to stay in a pool villa. I loved how the sliding doors opened up so you could step straight from the room into the pool. I love me a plunge pool and would gladly sit in it all day sipping on ice-cold mango fruit shakes and feasting on room service. I think the Robinson Crusoe suite would be perfect for a special occasion, like a honeymoon and, of course, Baan Yu Yen would be amazing for a family trip!
Let’s talk about the food situation…
There are three different on-site dining options at Cape Kudu Hotel and, honestly, you could eat every single meal at the hotel and be perfectly happy! Hornbill Restaurant has a diverse menu serving Thai classics and Western favourites. We ate dinner here and I found the food to be incredibly fresh and full of flavour, there was no shortage of tempting bites on the menu and we really had a hard time deciding what to go with! Importantly, the restaurant was very accommodating of different food allergies and preferences so if you are gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian etc, you should have no trouble at all.
One thing to note is the population of Koh Yao Noi are predominantly of Muslim faith so the hotel has opted not to offer any pork option on its menu. Personally, I think it’s fantastic! It would be extremely difficult for the hotel staff to keep the meat and items that have touched the meat separate from everything else and would make things quite complicated. I feel the decision not to offer pork products shows a lot of respect for the locals, which is incredibly important. Just a heads up so you don’t toddle down to breakfast expecting bacon.
Speaking of breakfast, I loved the breakfast set up. Rather than just your typical buffet, you’ll find street food style carts set up. When we visited, one was packed with freshly cut, vibrant fruit and I am STILL dreaming about how good the mango tasted. There was also a roti stand where a lovely local woman was making fresh roti to order. Most importantly, the coffee was FANTASTIC, something a lot of hotels get wrong but makes a huge difference, especially when it’s done right.
In addition to Hornbill restaurant, guests can enjoy the Long Island Bar and Café Kantary. The café serves delicious food and drinks and is home to a very tempting ice-cream/gelato fridge and a cake cabinet straight out of your dreams. It’s a great spot to either grab or lunch or duck in for a spot of morning or afternoon tea. Of course, you can always head out and explore the island, looking for local spots to grab a bite. Just be aware, there are only three bars on the island and you cannot buy alcohol from the local convenience store, in keeping with the faith of locals. All that means is you can make the most of Cape Kudu’s cocktail menu poolside!
What other facilities does Cape Kudu offer?
It’s always good to know what else the hotel offers aside from the accommodation and dining options. At Cape Kudu Hotel you can visit the Cape Spa to indulge in a spot of well-deserved pampering, take advantage of the infinity pool and its million-dollar views or, for the fit among us, check out the fitness centre. There are a few different seating options around the pool, which I love, as you can scope out a spot away from everyone else, if you prefer, or get cosy on the sun loungers if you like. You can also wander across the street (about a 10-second walk) to the sunbathing terrace on the beachfront.
There’s also a reading room/business centre which has very cold air-conditioning (so good during the intense midday heat) and a pool table. There is a small on-site boutique, hospitality lounge and the hotel offers a range of activities too. These include mountain-bike hire, sunset cruise, private dining on the beach, moonlight cinema, island-hopping trips, Thai cooking lessons, Thai boxing lessons, Batik painting and kayak and paddle-boarding.
What is there to see and do on Koh Yao Noi?
Yao Noi Island oozes relaxation. From the moment you step foot onto the pier and glimpse the blue skies and sparkling water, you can’t help but feel at peace. Combine the beautiful location with the amazing locals and you’re all set for a wonderful holiday. To me, Koh Yao Noi is the kind of place you go to get away from it all. This means you could easily spend your days lazing by the pool, reading books, eating great food, swimming and enjoying the beach.
When it’s time for adventure, you could organise a guided tour of the island or hire a scooter with sidecar attachment. Where spots like Phuket are heaving with nightlife, Yao Noi is far quieter and there are far fewer tourists running around. If you’re keen on the party scene, Phuket is your spot. If you’re looking for a peaceful break that nourishes the soul, get yourself to Koh Yao Noi.
We also did an island hopping tour, organised through Cape Kudu Hotel, which we loved! The boat took us along the coastline of the island before pulling into a secluded bay at Kudu Island. Here, we jumped off the boat into the water and swam around for a bit before enjoying a picnic lunch on the beach. It was perfect and something I highly recommend.
To me, Cape Kudu Hotel is the kind of place I could easily spend an entire week. From the moment we got there I wished we had longer to enjoy it because it was immediately relaxing. The staff were so lovely and thoughtful, every time we saw them they’d beam big smiles at us and made us feel totally at ease. The location of the hotel is perfect, the rooms are amazing, the food is delicious and the entire island is, quite simply, a haven.
While I love visiting more built-up spots in Thailand to explore and experience them, Koh Yao Noi is the kind of place I would visit for a week of rest and relaxation. I also feel it’s more budget-friendly than spots like Koh Samui, for example, where flights to/from the island can be quite expensive and there are a lot of tourists. Don’t get me wrong, I love Samui, but I really enjoyed the tranquillity and hidden vibe on Koh Yao Noi. If you’re looking to simply get away from it all without having to compromise on quality, a visit to Cape Kudu Hotel and Koh Yao Noi are just the trick.
Check availability and book Cape Kudu Hotel here.
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