Ligaya in West Thailand

A bike ride on Koh Yao Noi

Ko Yao Noi is a small island, some 15 miles north east of the marina at Ao Po. I took my bike over on one of the many ferries, and as you can see from the track, I pretty much explored the whole island.
Most of the ferries leave from the little village of Bang Rong. The village is about half an hour on the bike from the marina. I left early and caught the first ferry at 7:30
As we headed north from Bang Rong, towards the island, we passed the marina. Ligaya is near the right hand side of the marina.
There are speed boats as well as traditional longtail boats that make the daily trip. The first boat to leave happened to be this one, so I came by speed boat. They were slightly reluctant to take the bike, but eventually agreed for a small extra charge.
The water around all these islands is very shallow, and there can be up to a couple of meters of tide, so long piers are built out from the shore, so boats can dock at low tide. This is the pier at Manok, where I came ashore, at the south western tip of the island.

On the ferry I had been talking to a very friendly local guy, who had good English. He gave me a map and suggested some routes.

Right off the ferry I went on a very nice single-track that went around the western peninsular of the island. It felt quite remote and when I came upon a large snake, with red, black and yellow stripes, I thought that perhaps I was getting a bit too remote.

As the track wound its way back towards the main road, cultivation started. In this area it was mainly coconuts. Together with rice and rubber, coconuts are an important crop for the island.

Close to the main road was the first of what proved to be many rice paddies.

There is nothing greener in the entire known universe than a rice paddy. They almost glow.

Riding up the west coast, I was never far from the sea. At every inlet in the mangroves there would be a house or a dock and a few long-tails.
This is the village of Sukha Pier, close to the capital of Ko Yao. This end of the village looked a bit dilapidate.
On the north side of the settlement, the houses were more substantial and quite modern, but they too were built on pilings, set in among the mangroves.
This family were relaxing in front of their house. All of them, but especially the kids, were fascinated to see a hot and sweaty "farang" come pedaling past.
As I headed north, there was an inlet every few kilometers, and in every one, a few long tails and a house or two.

Up most of the west coast, there is a narrow coastal plain. This is largely given over to rice farming. At every farm there were several water buffalo, presumably used for pulling ploughs and for carrying the harvested rice.

The rope through the nose does not look too comfortable!

The road up the west coast was nice for riding. Enough trees for some shade and no hills! There are pine trees along the sides of the road and a strip of mangroves between the road and the sea.
This settlement is at Tha Ton Do pier, about half way up the west coast. The houses are built on piles next to, and in some cases on the pier. Again, the pier was four or five hundred meters long, to allow boats to come in at low water.
The road runs almost to the north end of the island. I stopped on this beach for a picnic, before heading southwards and then across the "continental divide" to get to the east coast.

The interior of the island is largely given over to rubber plantations. I stopped for a while to watch this man squeezing blocks of latex into sheets, ready for drying for sale.

I will do a page on the rubber industry, so please check the index if you are interested.

It was quite a hard ride over the mountain, and then up to the north east corner of the island. There is a resort there, at the end of a long and bumpy track. I was not impressed when they refused to sell me a drink - no sweaty bikers welcomed at that resort.

I retreated south again, and came to this pier at Tha Khao. I was able to buy drinks there and once re-hydrated, I carried on down the east coast.

There are several small resorts on the east coast. The beach is nice, at high tide. The water is so shallow, that at low tide, the sea retreats to leave mudflats in many places.

On the way back to the ferry, I stopped in the main town of Ko Yao. The small town was bustling, especially the market. I stopped for more drinks.

Three people to a scooter is about normal, often you see four. They sell special seats that you can add to the scooter, to allow more people to fit.

I went back to Bang Rong on this long tail. They were not worried at all about the bike - it just went on the roof.

It was a very interesting day. The island is much less developed than Phuket, and I enjoyed the slower way of life there.

Back to Phuket main page

Ao Po and the villages near the marina

Phucket's Vegetarian Festival - the most bizarre parade you can imagine

The Food Street - part of the Vegetarian Festival

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