Koh NangYuan Island is one of the most famous landmarks in Thailand. Pick up any Thailand travel brochure and you’re bound to find a picture in it somewhere of the iconic panorama looking down from the island’s rocky viewpoint onto the sand bars below. With great sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling opportunities plus the viewpoint walk and an on-site bar and restaurant, Koh NangYuan provides the best Koh Tao beach option for those just wanting to spend a full day chilling at the same location without getting bored.
Koh NangYuan can be reached by longtail boat from one of the many water-taxi stations dotted along Sairee Beach and is open from 10 am until 5 pm daily. Between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm, the island is also visited by multiple boats. They bring day trippers from the neighbouring islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. So the optimal time to be on Koh NangYuan is between 3 pm and 5 pm. That’s after the day boats have departed again, so you have more of the island to yourself.
Koh NangYuan Island falls under the National Park banner. It is a designated sanctuary area and there is a 250THB entry fee that goes towards its upkeep.
Please note that the island is a designated marine reserve area. No single-use plastic items such as water bottles are allowed. If you don’t already have a reusable water bottle, you can buy a metal ‘Trash Hero’ bottle from one of many shops or dive centres on the island. Once you have one of these, you are entitled to free water refills from any of the participating businesses. These are listed on the side of the bottle. Any plastic items you are visibly carrying at the entrance to Koh NangYuan will be taken and held for pick-up when you leave.
Services & Facilities
There is a bar, café, and restaurant on Koh NangYuan Island. However, prices are higher here than back on Koh Tao. So it’s not a bad idea to take some snacks and refreshments with you. Provided they are not carried in single-use plastic of course.
Swimming and Snorkeling
Two of Koh Tao’s most popular scuba diving sites, Japanese Gardens and Twins, are located right off of Koh NangYuan. So there is plenty to see in the water, including many fellow tourists completing Discover Scuba Diving sessions and Open Water Courses! There are many colourful species of tropical fish to see, and sometimes you can see juvenile blacktip reef sharks in the shallows on the Twins side of the sand bar.
Recommended for… a Full Day Trip
As well as great swimming and snorkeling, the short hike up to Koh NangYuan’s iconic viewpoint takes just 10-15 minutes and is bound to impress. After all that swimming, snorkeling, and sweating, you’ll need some well-deserved beach time. So setting aside a full day to get the most out of Koh NangYuan is advised.