Ko Yao sometimes written Koyao, is a group of islands between Phuket and Krabi. There are two main islands, Ko Yao Noi ("small long island") and Ko Yao Yai, ("big long island") with Noi being the more developed of the two.
Ko Yao Noi remains a beautiful island, where most people believe that the island should be preserved from human despoilation. It is often described as one of the last islands in the region to not be over-developed. Ko Yao Yai is also a natural beauty, the less developed of the two islands. Ko Yao Yai is significantly larger than Ko Yao Noi.
Sea Gypsies (Moken people) inhabited the area before anybody else, except maybe other nomadic people like forest hunters and collectors (Sakai, Negritos). The 3,500 or so inhabitants of Ko Yao Noi are thought to be recent migrants from the Malay Peninsula (Satun, Trang).