Hat Yao is a long stretch of beach that sits in Trang Province, in the south of Thailand, and is one of many pretty beaches in the area. It is located south of Hat Yong Ling in the Hat Chao Mai National Park and surrounded by clear seas and mountains.

At the back of the beach at Hat Yao is a thick pine forest, which provide great shelter from the heat of the sun and is perfect for camping. The resort is primarily a fishing village with a new pier that is a popular departure point for neighboring islands, Koh Kraden and Koh Libong. There is a rocky headland at the southern tip of the beach that is riddled with secret caves and the sea just out from the beach provides good snorkeling in fertile waters.

South of Hat Yao is Tham Chao Mai, a cave filled with crystal cascades, stalagmites and stalactites that can only be explored on a boat tour. Surrounded by cliffs and crags is the tiny bay called Hat Apo, which is easily reached from Hat Yao by wading around in the shallow sea and is rightly described as the best beach in the region.

Getting there

Trang is home to the closest airport and Krabi also has an airport that is only slightly further away. There are minivans and taxis that run to Hat Yao all day from both airports as well as from Pak Meng to Hat Yao. Flights from Bangkok to Krabi take about 1 hour, 20 minutes.

Hat Yao attractions

Haad Yao Nature Resort: the nature resort has sea-kayaks for rent to explore the cave either on a tour or privately.

In brief

What to do: discover the caves and local hidden beaches, snorkeling, swimming and relaxing on the beach.

Best time to go: December to May.

How long? A day is long enough.