Doing ‘nada’ on Koh Yao Yai

Disconnect. Do nada.

Relaxing on the nicest beach-Lo Paret- in Koh Yao Yai

The art of doing ‘nada’ (spanish for nothing) was not a new concept for us but we were really out of practice. In order to become experts at this we spent a week on the tiny, underdeveloped, 90% Muslim Island called Koh Yao Yai. Koh (or Ko) Yao is a group of islands between Phuket and Krabi, the largest of the two being Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai.

Although Noi was the more developed of the two, both islands are naturally beautiful and seem to be one of the last places where tourism has not popped resorts all over the place- not that there is anything wrong with resorts, it’s just not what we were looking for. We wanted to relax in seclusion, and we certainly had that on this island.

These cuties understand island time

Our guesthouse was a 5 minute walk away from the best beach Lo Paret (how convenient)

Even on a cloudy day, a deserted beach is awesome (Lo Paret)

We spent a week with no internet (gasp!)

Water Buffalo relaxing

With no nightlife available, we fully concentrated on doing nada.

For the most part, the roads were always deserted

We ate most of our meals at our guesthouse, and breakfast was the best-our host prepared a generous spread of fruit, some from her own garden.

The best fruit breakfast

Breakfast pancake

Sleeping in as late as we wanted without feeling guilty that we weren’t doing ‘something’- I think we were getting the hang of it.

We found this long pier one day, at the other end fisherman fished for a catch

The island was very easy to navigate, we motorbiked around inhaling the island breezes -step#2 of doing nada. Check.

Pretty self explanatory-you’re screwed

A bike down to another beach and our only companion was this kitty

Not all the beaches were good for swimming- our beach was the only one good enough for sunbathing, which I did much to the locals delight/horror. They pointed and oogled. The kids especially thought I was hilarious. I stopped sunbathing in my bikini after day 2.

Could not believe how well maintained the roads were

We watched the tiny, pale colored crabs on the sand- they’d get close enough to touch us, then dash away on lighting fast legs. One night walking on the beach we remembered to bring our flashlight, discovering so many hermit crabs we had to aim at the sand the whole time to keep from stepping on the poor things.

A picnic lunch with food bought from local food stands

We wandered to the local day market one afternoon, and discovered dozens of local food options. With no other tourists around, and a religious community that did not seem too keen on being photographed, I kept the camera hidden away and instead we had fun deciphering mystery foods with our limited Thai and eating perfectly seasoned finger-licking good fried chicken. The people that lived there were so nice to us, always smiling and happy to see travelers amongst them.

Filled with potato, pork, and something else I’ve since forgotten

Eating picnics at the beach, plus the meals Yamalia, our guesthouse owner made us-which were the reason we gained 5 pounds that week- and sleeping. This is practicing the art of doing nada.

Reading books, chatting with Yamalia, learning about the vegetables in her garden, sitting out on our balcony at sunset listening to the noise of the forest- it was exactly what we needed.

Wonton wrapped fried sausage & fried tofu sticks

Let me tell you- doing nada is hard work! 

So many open fields of green vegetation, a perfect place for these relaxed water buffalos

If you’re interested in practicing the art of doing nada, we recommend this island. 

We stayed at Heimat Gardens Guest House. Yamilia, the owner, still wins the award for the best food we’ve eaten the whole time we’re been in SE Asia. And no, we didn’t get a discount on anything. She was just a really nice person and if you go, stay with her. You’ll thank us later.

Things to know:

  • This is a mostly muslim island. If you are going to tan on the beach, be prepared for staring. Its just not how they roll here.
  • You will rent a moped for exploration unless you don’t mind walking +10km each way every day in the blazing sun.
  • There are a few other options for sleeping, however we read the reviews of Heimat and were sold. In our opinion it’s the only place to stay. Breakfast is included.
  • The moped can take you into town where the market is and you can buy fruits/lunch/snacks.
  • There is an internet cafe on the island, but since you’re doing ‘nada’ you probably won’t need it.
  • Dress accordingly while on the streets-cover arms/legs to the knees. Or at least try.
  • If you are looking for a party, or a nightclub, maybe you should skip this one. It’s just not like that here.

Tell us, if you could visit this island, would you? Fancy practicing the art of doing nothing here?

9 Comments

  • Erin says:

    Sounds like my kind of island! We enjoyed Koh Mak recently but this island is even quieter – ours had internet (we were surprised) and as it’s not Muslim sunbathing is OK.

    Jealous you got mangosteen for breakfast. It’s my favourite fruit but we missed the season.

    • Mica says:

      Funny you mention the mangosteen as I am so sad we can no longer get any here, but for some reason we went to Malaysia a few weeks ago and its still available over there. So I do miss it , it is so delicious! Yup, this island is not for everyone but we were surprised as how quiet it really was- we literally saw a handful of people the whole week we were there. We would go back though, and you would love it.

  • Michi says:

    I would love to visit this island! It sounds wonderful, and the food you photographed looks delicious. I’m definitely hitting up your blog for recommendations and advice when I make my way to SE Asia! :)

    • Mica says:

      Yay! I wish I could meet you here, but I know we will see each other somewhere along the way in the future. Gracias por dejar un commentario mija!

  • Jaime says:

    Ahhh the art of doing NADA… I love doing NADA. This reminds me of the week I spent in Belize on Caye Caulker and did nothing. I don’t know if I could go a weel with out net though…lol!!! Okay yes I could, but it would hard…lol. Looks like an awesome island… i will have to go there when Im on that side of the world. Oh & damn that food looks good!!!

    • Mica says:

      The food was so good! I know we thought we might not survive either without the interwebs and then it felt so good to be disconnected. I read 3 books that week! I missed reading. I loved loved Caye Caulker. We spent a week there too a few years ago and I think I shed a tear when we left it was that perfect. We also took like 4 bottles of different hot sauces home with us lol!

  • ayngelina says:

    I love doing nada, especially when the food is as gorgeous as that!

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