It consists principally of two large islands; Yao Yai Island and its sister Yai Noi Island. Besides these, there are a number of smaller islands. It has a total area of about 137.6 kilometers. Yao Yai Island has been inhabited for over 100 years. Most of the population emigrated from Yao Noi Island Tambol, Satun and Trang province. Over 90% are Muslim. Originally, they fished and farmed rubber trees before tourism came and changed the way of life here.
The district office is on Yao Noi Island. Before 1903 its status was a Tambol under the Muang Phang-nga district and was a sub-district for over 100 years. Then it was declared a district with an area of 46.6 square kilometers. There are many beautiful bays at Yao Yai Island. The important bays are Klongson, Laem Mahad, Tiwson, Nokpednam and Maipai. There are important beach ranges such as Pa Sai beach and Ta Kao seashore, which have more houses and resorts than other beaches. Other than this, there are Klong Chak gulf which is the most beautiful on Yao Noi island but travelling to this bay is quite difficult, Lo Ha beach which located at North of the island and Ton Po gulf which has a great Po tree.
When on Yao Noi Island you should not miss the holy well in the sea. The freshwater well appears from underground. The villagers used the freshwater from this holy well for drinking. You can discover the real joy of the island, following the circular road on rented bikes. You will not find souvenir stalls or glitzy bars around the one road but instead the fascinating local traditional farming and fishing lifestyle of the locals.
You can enjoy kayaking along the deserted coast, snorkeling around the rocks or just chill out and take in the beautiful scenery. Besides natural tourist attractions, Yao Yai Island and Yao Noi Island have home stay style tourism for those who want to soak up the local lifestyle. There are many activities reflecting the way of life in this community such as catching fish, squids and cockles.
There are many ways to get to Yao Noi Island, from Phang nga (customs port), from Krabi (Lane port) and from Phuket (Bang Rong port). However, the most convenient way is traveling from Bang Rong port to Ma No because there are many big long-tailed boat a day from 8.30 am to 4 pm. It takes about 40 minutes and costs 200 baht a person. You can rent various sizes of boat, from about 3,000 – 8,000 baht depending on the size of boat.
To get to Yao Yai Island, you can also travel from Bang Rong port of Phuket. The boat will drop you by at Yao Yai Island before departing at the destination, Yao Noi island port. You can take taxi-boat traveling between Yao Noi Island and Yao Yai island, too. It takes about 15 minutes.