View of Phi-Phi island tourist resorts

Koh Phi Phi – Complete Island Guide & Travel Tips

This post was last updated on February 18th, 2020 at 01:40 pm


If you are looking for relaxation and tranquility you have to come to the Phi Phi Islands. Koh Phi Phi is actually more than one island; they are several islands together at the east coast of Thailand, close to Phuket. These islands lie in the beautiful blue-green Andaman Sea surrounded by beautiful white beaches.

 

The Phi Phi Islands can only be reached by boat. The largest and busiest island is Phi Phi Don. Here you will find most hotels, bars, restaurants, and diving schools.

 

Koh Phi Phi, together with islands such as Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, is one of the most famous islands of Thailand. It’s been years since it was last untouched, but it is no less beautiful now. Besides Phi Phi Don, the main island here is Phi Phi Ley, the smaller brother of Phi Phi Don. Phi Phi Ley is known from the movie The Beach.

 

Sunset at Maya Bay
A beautiful view of a sunset at Maya Bay

 

In the 90s you only found the most seasoned tourists on the islands. Today, Koh Phi Phi is one of the most important tourist destinations in Thailand. This is also reflected in the number of resorts that have since emerged.

 

Fortunately, it is a bit quieter on Phi Phi Ley and you will find yourself closer to nature.

 

The 8 Most Beautiful Beaches on Koh Phi Phi

If there is a place in Thailand where you have beautiful beaches, it is on Koh Phi Phi. In the high season, it can get pretty busy, but even then you can still look for deserted beaches. The best thing is to go out and discover all the beautiful beaches. We have an overview of the most beautiful beaches for you.

 

1. Maya Bay Beach

This is probably the best-known beach in Thailand. Maya bay became world famous after the movie “The Beach”, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role. However, well-known also means its a tourist magnet, so you will not be the only one there.

 

But that’s okay because Maya Bay is truly a paradise on earth! A must-see if you are on Koh Phi Phi.

 

TIP – Want to know more about this beach? Check out our page about Maya Bay!

 

Aerial View of the Crowded Maya Bay
Aerial view of the crowded Maya Bay

 

2. Loh Dalum Bay

Loh Dalum Bay is one of the most famous bays/beaches on the island. You will also find most accommodations here. It is a popular beach and it is certainly busy during the high season. The advantage of this beach is that there are many cozy restaurants and bars around it, making it ideal for a day at the beach.

 

3. Ao Nui Bay

In our opinion, this is one of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand. Ao Nui is less busy than Maya Bay and Lo Dalum. The water is beautifully blue so you can snorkel well here. This beach is not that easy to reach but once you get there you will be rewarded with a beautiful stretch of sand and clear water.

 

Ao Nui beach
Ao Nui is much quieter

 

4. Phak Nam Bay

Phak Nam Bay is located on the east coast of Phi Phi Don. This is a secluded bay with a small beach and a small fishing village. It is possible to come here on foot, but it is a long walk over a rugged hill.

 

It is nicer and much easier to take a long-tail boat. There is only one resort so it is nice and quiet here.

 

5. Laem Tong Beach

Laem Tong Beach, located in the north of Phi Phi Don, is beautiful, quiet, and secluded because it can only be reached by boat. It takes around 45 minutes if you take a long-tail boat from Tonsai. There are only four resorts on Laem Tong Beach and there is not that much to do.

 

6. Ao Ling (Monkey Bay)

The hidden bay of Ao Ling (Monkey Bay) is located northwest of Loh Dalum Bay and is home to a group of monkeys (hence the name). At high tide, there is not much beach, but at other times there is a beautiful white sandy beach.

 

The beach can be reached on foot, by renting a canoe or by renting a long-tail boat at Loh Dalum.

 

Monkey Bay on Phi Phi Island
Monkey Bay on Phi Phi Island

 

7. Long Beach

If you want the best view of Phi Phi Leh you have to go to Long Beach. With a long-tail boat from Tonsai, it only takes five minutes to sail to this beach. It is also possible to walk to the village during the day, but you have to walk over many rocks. There is enough accommodation here, especially a lot of bungalows.

 

8. Phi-Leh Lagoon

Phi-Phi Leh is the smaller of the two Phi Phi Islands and is surrounded by immense cliffs. Phi-Leh Lagoon is a beautiful stretch of beach here. The coral is teeming with tropical fish that are clearly visible through the crystal clear water.

 

You can’t sleep on Phi Phi Leh so it’s a popular day trip for snorkel fans.

 

View of Phi-Leh Lagoon
View of the lagoon on Phi-Phi Leh

 

TIP – Bamboo Island (or Ko Pai) is a small island about 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) from Phi Phi Don. From Ton Sai beach it takes around 45 to 60 minutes (1,500 to 3,000 Baht, about US$48.70 to $97.45) to get here with a long-tail boat. You will find one of the most beautiful beaches here.

 

Koh Phi Phi is a beautiful island. Are you still unsure whether or not you want to visit Koh Phi Phi? Check out our blog with “5 reasons to visit Koh Phi Phi“.

 

9 Fun Things to Do on Koh Phi Phi

There is a lot to do on Phi Phi and the surrounding islands. Most activities naturally take place on or around the water, but there is much more to do than that. We have made an overview of the best activities on Koh Phi Phi.

 

1. Go Diving or Snorkeling

Koh Phi Phi and Koh Phi Phi Ley are ideal for diving. The most popular areas for this are the bays Toi Sai and Loh Dalam. The water here is so clear that you can already see the coral from the boat. On both islands, you can rent diving equipment everywhere.

 

In combination with the white beaches and the beautiful colored fishing boats, Koh Phi Phi gives a real tropical look.

 

In 2004 Koh Phi Phi was hit hard by the Tsunami. At the time, there were few to no security measures regarding evacuation or warnings for Tsunamis. The island has fortunately recovered and radiates that wonderful holiday feeling again!

 

In addition, the safety of Tsunamis on the island has improved enormously.

 

TIP – A 3 to 4 day PADI Open Water Course costs 13,800 Baht (US$448). You can often rent snorkeling gear for US$5 a day.

 

2. Explore Phi Phi Leh National Park

Phi Phi Leh became famous for the film The Beach, in which Leonardo DiCaprio plays a leading role. The landscape of Phi Phi Leh is impressive with steep cliffs that dive dramatically into the turquoise water. You will not find any accommodations here.

 

We would like to say that it is a quiet paradise, but unfortunately, that is not the case. It is a paradise, but certainly not quiet.

 

Maya Bay is a popular place and home to the fishing boats that float on the waves.

 

National Park board on Phi Phi Leh Island
National Park board on Phi Phi Leh Island, recognize the jungle? 😉

 

3. Rent a Long-tail Boat

One of the nicest things to do is take a trip in a long-tail boat. You sail to and from the beaches with these boats, but it is also nice to rent such a boat for a day (with a local).

 

These tours make stops on Bamboo Island, Mosquito Island, Monkey Bay, Maya Bay, and Tonsai Village for a few hours of shopping and swimming.

 

Often you can also snorkel. Try to go at sunset because there is nothing better than floating in your boat with a view of the orange sun that hits the water.

 

TIP – Book a 6-hour boat trip for around 3,000 baht (US$97.45)

 

Long-tail boats on the Phi Phi Islands
You will see plenty of colorful long-tail boats here

 

4. Rent a Kayak

One of the most popular activities on Koh Phi Phi is kayaking. A nice way to see everything the island has to offer by boat instead of walking or on a tour.

 

With your kayak, you can reach remote caves and parts of the blue water that are inaccessible by land.

 

Sail over the calm water, take a dip now and then and look for quiet beaches. If you want to relax for a day on and around the water, renting a kayak is definitely a good option. You can also water peddling and water skiing here.

 

TIP – Most accommodations rent out kayaks for around 700 baht (US$22.75) per day.

 

5. Climb the Rocks of Phi Phi

The limestone cliffs of Koh Phi Phi are breathtaking and world-famous, but instead of only admiring them, you can also climb them! With a magnificent view of the island, it’s a popular activity for the slightly more active travelers.

 

Many tour operators offer affordable climbs and use trusted, top-quality equipment.

 

It is recommended to climb in the late afternoon as the temperature is then lower. You don’t necessarily have to climb them; you can also sail to the rocks by boat and view the rocks from the water. This is also an impressive sight!

 

6. Explore the Viking caves

The special Viking caves of Koh Phi Phi are very well-known. You may not expect it, but drawings of Vikings have been found in this cave. The chance that there have been real Vikings here is, of course, not that great.

 

The story is that these drawings are the work of pirates and that they are more than a thousand years old.

 

You can find them on the northeast side of the island. If you have nothing to do for a day, this is definitely a nice option.

 

TIP – Entrance to the caves is 300 baht (US$9.75) p.p.

 

Viking Cave on the Phi Phi Islands
Viking Cave on the Phi Phi Islands

 

7. Relaxing on the Beach

Of course, you don’t always have to do something. Especially on an island like Koh Phi Phi, it is nice to just do nothing at all. We have been here several times and have often been found on the beach (or multiple beaches actually).

 

All the beautiful beaches are described above.

 

TIP – You can reach most beaches with a long-tail boat or by walking there. Whichever one you visit, it will be a nice afternoon!

 

8. Visit Mosquito Island

The name may not sound that great, but Mosquito Island is a beautiful island. And, unfortunately, also home to an abundance of mosquitoes, so don’t forget to bring your anti-mosquito spray.

 

Don’t let these annoying critters scare you, because this island has some of the most famous shipwrecks in the region. It is a very nice diving destination.

 

The famous wreck of King Cruiser is located here, one of the best-known wrecks in the sea around Thailand.

 

Panorama of Mosquito Island
Panorama of Mosquito Island (a.k.a. Koh Yung Island)

 

9. Taste Delicious Thai Street Food

After a night of drinking, a good meal is a basic necessity. And whoever likes great Thai food is in the right place, because if you can eat good food anywhere, it is in Thailand.

 

Now we are a big fan of Asian food, and certainly Thai food, so we look for the tastiest new and special snacks with every visit.

 

Although Phi Phi is far from cheap compared to the rest of the country, there are places where you can eat delicious foods for a cheap price. Check out the smaller joints in the main streets or the restaurants on the beach.

 

You might pay a bit more here, but the food is delicious. And the setting is pretty great, right? 😉

 

10 More Fun Things to Do on Koh Phi Phi

There is much more to do than the above mentioned things. It is certainly not an island just to lie on the beach, although of course you can. Read 10 more fun things to do on Koh Phi Phi!

 

Pad Thai on Wooden Board
Pad Thai tastes great after a day on the beach!

 

Where to Stay on Koh Phi Phi

On Koh Phi Phi it is difficult to stay overnight cheaply. Prices have risen due to explosively rising tourism. If you look well, there are some places where you can spend the night for US$20 to $25.

 

Especially from December to March it is busy on the island and it is difficult to find the accommodations you want. It is wise to book an overnight stay in advance. You can easily do this via Booking.com, a website we have used many times in all our travels. Here are some of our favorites on Koh Phi Phi:

 

Freedom Hostels

Image: Freedom Hostels

Freedom Hostels on Phi Phi is a 10-minute walk from Ton Sai Pier. It is popular among backpackers.

 

The Cobble Beach

Image: The Cobble Beach Resort

The Cobble Beach is 900 meters from the bay and Ton Sai Pier. It has an outdoor swimming pool and a restaurant.

 

Apache Beach House

Image: Apache Beach House Hotel

Apache Beach House is located directly on Loh Dalum Beach on Phi Phi Don Island. Apache Beach House offers both private rooms and dorms.

 

How to Get to Koh Phi-Phi

Koh Phi-Phi can be easily reached by boat from Ao Nang, Krabi, Phuket, Railay, and Koh Lanta. Most boats arrive at the Ao Ton Sai Pier. Phuket, Krabi, and Ao Nang ferries sail all year round, boats from Koh Lanta only between October and April.

 

You can also visit Koh Phi Phi from other parts of Thailand, even from Bangkok. Usually, these are combined journeys by boat and minivan.

 

  • Bangkok to Phi Phi 550 ➜ 600 Baht | 11 hours | departure times between 5 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
  • Koh Samui to Phi Phi ➜ 400 to 500 Baht | 6.5 hours | departure times between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Koh Phangan to Phi Phi ➜ 500 to 600 Baht | 7 hours | departure times between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

 

Book Transport Tickets Online

You can also plan your trip to Koh Phi Phi online at 12GoAsia. Here, you can check all current prices and possible routes online (we have used it many times). Click here to find an example for all routes and prices from Bangkok to Koh Phi Phi.

 

Best Time to Visit Koh Phi Phi

The best time to visit Koh Phi Phi is from November to March. In these months the least rain falls and the temperatures are pleasant. And perhaps more importantly; the sea is calmer. Ideal for day trips to the beaches and islands.

 

The weather becomes a little less pleasant between September and October when the monsoon brings clouds and rainfall. Yet it is not impossible to visit Phi Phi because the rain often only lasts an hour.

 

Image: Average temperature and rainfall on Koh Phi Phi
Average temperature and rainfall on Koh Phi Phi

 

Share Post:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on whatsapp

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *