The island group is really one of the most beautiful ones in the Andaman Sea. The only inhabited island is Koh Phi Phi Don and consists of a long limestone formation and has many sandy beaches that are surrounded by palms. The crystal clear water of the bays is shimmering in all blue shades, so that corals can be seen already from the boat. Many vacationers come to this island to relax, but they should not miss the chance to visit and swim or snorkel at all the beaches, bays and coral gardens. Also the neighbouring island Koh Phi Phi Leh is offering white sandy beaches with good swimming opportunities. This island has been the main film location for the famous movie "The Beach".
The famous islands of Phi Phi are lying among Koh Lanta, Krabi and Phuket and are a part of the Krabi province. The little island archipelago of Phi Phi Islands consist of a total of 6 islands, whereas Phi Phi Don is the only one with settlement and with 28 square kilometre also the biggest one. The island nearly comprises out of two islands with only a tiny sandy stripe linking them together.
The next bigger island is Koh Phi Phi Leh with only about 6.5 square kilometres. Both islands are mainly dominated by steep, high limestone formations and dense jungle in the inner parts. The picture of the coasts is changing between steeply cliffs and bays as well as smaller and bigger beach sections.
The island group is only 50 kilometres off Phuket and belongs to the Hat Noppharat Thara- Koh Phi Phi National Park and is due to the diversified underwater world subject to specific protection. A few years ago the island was only a travel destination known and visited by backpackers, who spend most of the time at the pier and in the small village of Ton Sai, the biggest settlement of the island. Nowadays there are still many backpackers to be seen, although the many package holiday makers and day trippers from Phuket and Krabi are already in the majority.
The island archipelago of Phi Phi Islands consists of 6 islands, whereby the biggest ones are Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Leh. Bamboo Island and Koh Yung are two smaller islands located north of Koh Phi Phi Don. Bida Nok und Bida Noi are two big karst stone formations in the south.
From Bangkok there are several flights leaving daily to Phuket and Krabi. In both cases there will be a land transfer to the pier necessary. From there a ferry will bring the passengers over to the island. The voyage should not take more than 1:45 hours. For those who are preferring to travel cheaper can also leave Bangkok with the many state busses heading either to Phuket or Krabi. From the bus terminal the journey will go further to one of the piers with the following voyage. Train transportation is only to Surat Thani possible and the rest of the journey will take place in a bus.
On the island itself there are only a few long tail boats available that can ship visitors to the secluded sections. The prices are matter of negotiations and can vary strongly. Most of the destinations on the island can be reached easily by foot though.
Phi Phi Leh
The unoccupied island of the neighbouring island Phi Phi Lee is worth a visit. The best bay is the Maya Bay, but unfortunately due to the movie so famous that the location is very often packed with tourists. There are other smaller and less visited bays on the island. In addition there are several bird nests caves where courageous Thais climb up the high walls on small bamboos frames to the cave tops and collect the bird nests. Those can be bought later as a special and expensive delicate. In the evening visitors can enjoy the good atmosphere from one of the many beach restaurants and watch the great sunset.
Also known as Koh Phai. The relatively plain and small island is only a few kilometres north of Koh Phi Phi Don. There is nobody living on it, but the beaches are perfect for sun bathing, swimming and snorkelling.
Koh Yung lies also north of Koh Phi Phi Don and west of Bamboo Island. The island has only a few smaller beaches, with the rocky ones on the east side. On the west side there are small fine sandy beaches existing. This place is especially for snorkelling an excellent spot due to the colourful underwater world around the island.
Bida Nok & Bida Noi
Bida Nok and Bida Noi are two big overgrown karst stones situated next to each other south of Koh Phi Phi Leh. Those two steep rising rocks can only be admired from a boat. The area around the rocks is famous for its attractive underwater world.
A trekking tour to the Phi Phi viewpoint should no one miss. From the Loh Dalum Bay leads a small but good developed path up to the 180 meters high viewpoint. The way up is easy to cope and the hiking will take about 20 to 30 minutes. The lookout offers a picturesque view onto the inner part of the island and the coasts of Koh Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh. For vacationers who want to march further there are some other paths on the other side of the lookout point leading to the Pak Nam Beach and Rantee Beach. During this tramp the inner parts of the island can be discovered and the costs for a ride with a long tail boat will be also saved.
Around the island archipelago are many good diving spots with various colourful soft and hard corals as well as various sea dwellers to be admired. Particular the coral riffs in the north around Bamboo Island and Koh Yung, the King Cruiser Wreck, Shark Point, Anemone Riff and Hin Deang are special places of interest. The price for normal diving trip is around 2,000 Baht per person with own equipment.
Ton Sai Bay
The Ton Sai Bay is where the port lies with ferries, long tail boats and speed boats coming from the surrounding islands and Krabi. Due to the active traffic the water directly at the pier is not so clean. After the day trippers have left the island it is getting noticeable quiet. Here at this bay there are many restaurants, bakeries, cocktail bars, banks, a clinic, diving shops, travel agencies, a 7 Eleven supermarket and an internet café. At the end of the bay far offside of the pier lies the Ton Sai Village Resort. On the other edge of the bay, even further away from the pier and village there a few resorts built in front of a mountainside.
Loh Dalum Bay
The Loh Dalum Bay lies opposite the Ton Sai Bay. Although there are a couple of smaller boats landing at this bay, it is a perfect place to relax and swim. The hotel gives guests a superb view over the bay and karst stone formations. The Ton Sai Village is virtually next by, with the advantage to be able to go out at nights when desired.
Loh Bagao Bay
It is not possible to walk over to the Loh Bagao Bay unless crossing the very dense jungle. With a long tail boat it is possible to reach the bay not only faster (20 minutes) but also more conveniently. The beach along the bay is about 800 meters long, very quiet and palm-fringed.
Laem Thong Bay
Laem Thong Bay lies a little further away than Loh Bagao. The long stretched strand has some smaller complexes and restaurant as well as diving shops. In total the spot is ideal for a beach holiday, with different restaurants to choose from and with some entertainment in the cocktail bars along the bay. The Phi Phi Erawan, the Zeavola Resort and the Phi Phi Natural Resort are located at this part of the island. At a separated section of the bay is the Holiday Inn Resort Phi Phi. Other beaches of the island are likewise in good conditions, most of them without Hotels or settlements. By a trip with a long tail boat vacationers can stop at the different little bays and beaches, where ever they feel right. Mostly the sand is very fine and the water is suitable for swimming. Nearly everywhere are corals and charming stone formations.
With a cool drink and the fine ripple of gently surf, combined with the rustling of the wind in the tall coconut palms, the beach really makes for a paradisiacal environment. Alternatively guests may choose to play and swim in crystal clear water and snorkel above the incredible reef that can be found just meters from the beach.
Long Beach is very quiet and suitable for leisurely walks, which lead to other small resorts, scattered along the bay.
The Maya Bay is on the neighbouring island Phi Phi Lee and a perfect place to snorkel. In the amazing bay are many hard and soft corals with tropical shoals. The bay is limited by hilly terrain. This was the main film location for the movie “The Beach”, therefore snorkelers wont snorkel alone anymore, but still a worth seeing spot.
As everywhere in the Andaman Sea is the best time to visit the region during the dry season from November to April. At the beginning of Mai the low season starts, with only the ferry service from Phuket and Krabi operating on a regular basis. Actually there are only a few tourists on site and with the hotel prices shrinking dramatically. The weather is very often till the end of June very good, with some sporadic showers during the afternoons and evenings. From July till October the daily rainfall increases combined with strong winds. On some parts there can be some junk found along the beaches brought in by the monsoon.
A real recommendation is the period between Mai to June with good weather conditions but considerable low prices for accommodations. The beaches are during this time less visited, giving a more private and restorative atmosphere.