We left the beautiful paradise of Koh Yao Noi today, but the entire time on the island was truly surreal.
Everything we read about the island before arriving led us to believe that it was "the last unspoiled island in Thailand." This was so true. We got off the airplane in Krabi and boarded a taxi for our ride to the pier where we'd board our boat that would take us out to the island. Throughout the entire taxi ride, things became less dominated by English and more rural. We arrived at the pier, our luggage was taken from us, we were shuffled with about 20 other people down into the lower deck of a boat and praying that we weren't being kidnapped because NO ONE was communicating to us in English what was going on.
As we got closer to Yao Noi and the mist cleared, we couldn't believe how breathtakingly beautiful this island paradise was. We were let off on a long pier, as we arrived during low tide, and took a tuk-tuk to our bungalow at Hill House, owned by the most friendly Thai couple, Raw & Bangdon. We had the most beautiful view of the Indian Ocean from our balcony and the bungalow was pristine. We slept with the doors open every night. Our only animal friends were some little geckos that hung out on the ceiling :)
We spent our three days there renting a motor bike and exploring the island, watching sunrises and sunsets, eating at the fun local restaurants, playing around in the sand and catching crabs during low tide, reading in our hammock and more. It was only about a 25 minute motor bike ride to get around the whole island, so we loved venturing over to the west side where more of the actual island residents lived and worked. The island is about 95% Muslim, so I was a little out of place in my beach clothes, but all the people were so incredibly friendly. One of our favorite activities was waving at all the little ones as we passed by, as they always got SO excited and waved back :)
Our last full day on the island, we rented a private long-tail boat to take us around to the karsts. THESE THINGS ARE FREAKING BREATH-TAKING. This was what I was most hoping to see and I'm SO glad we splurged a little and did this! Nathan got in so much snorkeling, which he says was his favorite part (I, the hater of all things fish, even did a little myself!) and I was content just soaking in the views of these beautiful rock formations. At the last place, our boat driver wanted us to climb up this sheer, jagged rock face for a photograph. We were both BAREFOOT and it was incredibly painful and terrifying, but once we got to the top, I didn't regret it. It was a fantastic view.
This place was so perfect in every way (other than not having a Catholic church) and leaving was so difficult. We're so thankful we decided to make the trek out to this place very off the beaten path, as it was worth it in every way.