Phi Phi Island is most popular tourist attraction in Thailand
Discover the best things to do and to see in Phi Phi Islands; known in Thailand as Koh Phi Phi, they are stunningly beautiful and surely rank as one of the best attractions in southern Thailand. Located 43km west from Krabi coast, this small archipelago consists of six islands: Koh Phi Phi Don, Koh Phi Phi Leh, Koh Bida Nok, Koh Bida Nai, Koh Phai (Bamboo Island), and Koh Young (Mosquito Island); the only inhabited island – and the largest – of the group is Koh Phi Phi Don. Our Top 10 Attractions in Phi Phi below features the most popular sites that Phi Phi has to offer to its visitors. The natural beauty of the area is second to none and provides a great choice of tours and activities to vacationers: it seems that there is always something to see or do in Phi Phi Islands.
Koh Phi Phi Leh & Maya Bay
Koh Phi Phi Leh is the second largest island in the small Phi Phi archipelago. Uninhabited apart by a few rangers established in a small camp belonging to the Hat Nopharat Thara-Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park, the island hosts only one beach situated in Maya Bay that became world-famous after the release in 2000 of a blockbuster movie with Leonardo Di Caprio: The Beach. With clear crystal waters, white sand powder, and lush tropical vegetation, Maya Bay gathers all the postcard clichés in one place; all along high season (from November to April), its international fame attracts a myriad of daily visitors. Despite the crowded feeling, Maya Bay remains a place to see. A small terrace has been built at the far back end of the beach, offering a superb viewpoint to Loh Sama, a small bay renowned for snorkelling. Another cool spot on the northeastern side of Koh Phi Phi Leh is the Viking Cave; featuring ‘ancient’ (no trustable source has given a precise date of their making yet) paintings figuring what seems to be darker – hence the cave’s name; the cave is still used nowadays to show tourists how to capture bird’s nests (swifts live in the cave), a great source of income for local fishermen.
Phi Phi View Point
Koh Phi Phi Don has an unusual shape – like an ‘H’ – with its main village built on the horizontal bar, a 100m flat strip of sand stuck between Dalum Bay to the north and Tonsai Bay to the south. The two vertical bars of the H are mountainous and covered with jungle. Phi Phi View Point is located to the east of the flat strip of sand and overlooks the village and the two bays. It is a picture-postcard setting sure to impress friends back home! Situated at an altitude of 186m, it roughly takes between 20 and 40 minutes to get there on a well-trodden and paved path. Photographers should consider climbing up there right before lunchtime to benefit from the best lighting (the viewpoint faces the sun in the afternoon). There’s a small store selling drinks and snacks at the top.
Bamboo Island (Koh Phai in Thai) is one of the six islands belonging to the Phi Phi archipelago in the southern Thai province of Krabi. Lying approximately five kilometres northeast off Koh Phi Phi Don, Bamboo Island is a tropical dream come true; measuring 600m wide by 700m long, the island is entirely surrounded by a strip of white sand, and its central part is covered with lush vegetation including Bamboo trees that gave its name to the island in its central part. The perfect spot for a day trip, Bamboo Island hosts great snorkelling opportunities with the presence of superb coral reefs lying at the short distance off its shore, mostly on its western side. A small bar serves drinks and snacks. Day and overnight trips (sleeping in tents) are available from Koh Phi Phi Don, or you could visit the island on a Phi Phi day trip by speedboat from Phuket.
Diving in Phi Phi
Diving is one of the prime activities in Phi Phi and the island counts a large number of serious and professional PADI dive centres dispensing courses – from Discover Scuba Diving to Divemaster – and day trips to the many world-class dive sites available in and around Phi Phi waters. Amongst the most notable dive sites of the area, Shark Point, Anemone Reef and the King Cruiser Wreck are located to the west between Phi Phi Islands and Phuket; Maya Bay, Koh Bida Nok & Nai are located on and near Koh Phi Phi Leh; all of them can be reached in less than 40 minutes from Koh Phi Phi Don, and offer superb underwater fauna and flora.
Captain Bob’s Sailing Booze Cruise
Partygoers and groups of friends can enjoy a fun activity and at the same time discover the most beautiful sites of Phi Phi Islands – Maya Bay, Monkey Beach, Loh Samah, Wang Long Cove, and Pi-Leh Bay – with this rather unhealthy yet exhilarating Captain Bob’s Sailing Booze Cruise. Departing at 13:00 from Tonsai Bay, the cruise visits all the places mentioned above and features snorkelling, fishing, kayaking, cliff jumping, and monkey feeding. Lunch, fruits and snacks are included as well as unlimited beer (hence the cruise’s name). The climax of Captain Bob’s Sailing Booze Cruise – at least for those still able to see it – is the sunset view from Wang Long Cove, on the west coast of Koh Phi Phi Don.
Shark Watching Tours
Amongst all the great snorkelling tours available from Koh Phi Phi Don, the Shark watching tours have gained popularity for obvious reasons; since the release in 1975 of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, sharks have stimulated human imagination – not necessarily in the right way – and aroused curiosity. The waters around Phi Phi Islands host a good number of inoffensive black-tip and leopard sharks.
Phi Phi’s shark watching tours usually start very early – about 06:00 – and last a half-day. The tours are done in small groups with full snorkelling equipment provided and a professional guide; the most renowned site visited for shark watching is the small ‘shark point’ located 800m off Long Beach (there is another Shark Point off Phi Phi Don’s west coast, but it can only be visited by scuba divers due to its depth). Exciting and very educational, a shark watching tour will leave you with unforgettable memories.
Moo Dee Bay
Moo Dee Bay (Loh Moo Dee in Thai) hosts a 500m-long white sand beach bordered by emerald waters. Situated on the east coast of Koh Phi Phi Don, it is the perfect escape from the crowd. The beach offers its visitors pleasant snorkelling opportunities, mostly at both ends of the bay. A Rasta-run shack sells food and drinks. The easiest way to get there is to hire a long-tail boat near Tonsai jetty, which will take you to Moo Dee in about 20mn for a fee of 150/200 baht (you must test your bargaining skill).
Krabi Province is the Mecca of rock climbing in southern Thailand due to the tall limestone cliffs that are real natural landmarks of the province. Krabi offers world-class sites such as Tonsai Beach and Diamond Cave in Railay, and all along its coast. Phi Phi Don Island may be lying 42km off Krabi coast, but it has the same topography: Tonsai Tower, located at the western end of Tonsai Bay, is the rock climbers’ paradise in Phi Phi; this 200m tall limestone tower hosts 48 different bolted routes featuring all levels of difficulty from beginner to experienced climber. Professional and serious companies such as Spider Monkey, Ibex Rock Climbing, and Deaf Gecko Rock Climbing, propose courses and the half or full day tours; their climbing instructors are trained to the highest safety standards.