Sawasdee-kha from Koh Yao Yai! I built in a little mini-vacation prior to school starting in Chiang Mai, and I am SO glad I did! Not only was this an incredibly relaxing 3 days after a busy semester, but it was honestly the most beautiful place I have ever been. I felt like I was living in a dream (or one of those stock photo backgrounds on your computer… turns out those places can be real).
There are a ton of various kohs (koh is Thai for island) in the Andaman Sea/Phang Nga Bay near Phuket. I had a lot of options and it was a bit overwhelming deciding where to spend a few days. I researched quite a bit and learned that each of the islands have personalities and I was very much looking for 3 days of complete relaxation. I knew that Chiang Mai would be a much larger city and I would get to enjoy to hustle and bustle there, so I wanted a quiet, peaceful retreat. I stumbled upon Koh Yao Yai which is described as an undeveloped island in comparison to many in this area. I didn’t want an island that was completely overrun with hotels, tourist shops, etc. I lucked out and found a beautiful resort at a great price (thanks, online coupons!) that I would 100% stay at again.
Koh Yao Yai has a small population (8,000 people), but the large majority of the people who live on the island are Muslim. This is interesting since Thailand is primarily a Buddhist country, but Islam is the second most common religion in the country. I read a lot about Buddhism before this trip, since Chiang Mai has over 300 Buddhist temples in the city alone, but was interested to see a different religious side to the country while in Koh Yao Yai.
This entire resort was all beautifully hand-carved with the “Lanna” carving tradition. This wood carving style is most common in Northern Thailand, which I loved since I will be spending my remaining weeks in Chiang Mai, which is in Northern Thailand! I’m looking forward to seeing more of these beautiful wood carvings around the area.
I was SO excited to finally dig into some Thai food. I had a variety of Thai dishes while I was there and loved them all! I am not a huge fan of spicy food, but I added a couple spices and chili sauce to my meals and actually tolerated it well! The breakfast was incredible! They had the best fruit juices and it was fun trying new fruits and breakfast danishes. While waffles are certainly not Thai, I love them and was pumped to see them as an option, too. :)
I had the best couple of days on Koh Yao Yai and I’m already dreaming about returning someday. I am excited to be heading back to Chiang Mai today to start classes and meet the other students! Until next time, Koh Yao Yai :)