The good news is that Koh Yao Yai is pretty straightforward to get to. You can easily reach the island from either Phuket or the Krabi area by ferry. From either location, the mode of transport will be a speedboat ferry service.
If you are in Phuket and looking to escape the hustle and bustle for a more relaxing destination, head to Bang Rong Pier in the northeast of the island for departures operated by Koh Yao Travel Speedboat.
If you are on the other side of Phang-Nga Bay, in or around Krabi Town, there are also speedboat taxis to take you across the Andaman Sea to Koh Yao Yai.
Tigerline also operates along this route. Their ferry service leaves Chao Fah Pier, in the center of Krabi Town.
Krabi Town is the administrative hub of Krabi province and is not the most popular destination in this area for tourists. Often, your hotel will be in Ao Nang, a few kilometers outside Krabi Town.
From Ao Nang, you can also jump on a Koh Yao Travel Speedboat to head over to Koh Yao Yai. This service will usually also pick up guests from Railey Sunrise Beach (Eastern Beach) as it cruises past.
If you want to see how the locals get to Koh Yao Yai, take a long tail boat—Thailand’s traditional type of boat. There are public longtails running from Ao Thalane Pier, a thirty-minute journey north of Ao Nang by road.
The public longtail service takes around one hour for the crossing and should cost around 200 baht per person. If you take the longtail option, make sure you don’t get off accidentally hop off and visit Koh Yao Noi instead – ‘yai’ means ‘big in Thai, and ‘noi’ means ‘little.’
If you are in Koh Lanta or Phi Phi, the easiest way to get to Koh Yao Yai is to first head to Krabi Town or Ao Nang, and then join the ferry services outlined above. And of course, if you’re in Koh Yao Noi, then Ko Yao Yai makes a great day trip.