Just a 45-minute speedboat ride or a 90-minute ferry ride from Phuket or Krabi lies the beautiful Phi Phi islands. The islands are picture-perfect which would make you want to just click your time away. Turquoise blue waters, diverse marine life, colorful coral reefs, and sandy beaches topped with a blue sky. Planning an island holiday to Koh Phi Phi? Here is our Koh Phi Phi island travel guide blog includes all the exciting things to do with the calm relaxation you’d expect from a pristine tropical island paradise
Ko Phi Phi is one of the most popular tourist islands in Thailand. From beautiful Maya Bay which was made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio movie: The Beach to the monkeys on “Monkey Beach” to the diving, nightlife, and resorts, Phi Phi is one of the biggest destinations in Thailand.
Phi Phi Island Thailand Day Tour Packages
First of all, if you’re on a tight schedule or want to skip the extra steps involved in arranging your own trip to Phi Phi island, Viator has prearranged day trips to Phi Phi from Phuket or similar day trips from Krabi, complete with hotel transfers, boat tickets, island tour, lunch, and same day return.
These day tours visit all of the top sights in the Koh Phi Phi islands, including Maya Bay, Pileh Lagoon, and Monkey Bay.
We’ve used Viator for lots of days tours and activities around the world, and they’re great! Highly recommended.
Destroyed by the tsunami in 2004, the island has been rebuilt and developed to an even greater extent than before. Unfortunately, Ko Phi Phi has suffered from over-tourism in the worst way, with over 5,000 people visiting Maya Bay per day, polluting the area with countless speedboats and trash. The Thai government closed the area for almost 4 years, and it has only recently reopened to tourism, with some restrictions to save the underwater world from over-tourism.
The main area of the island is very overdeveloped and overpriced. Most people come here only to party. We visited when Thailand just reopened after the lockdown and we loved the empty beaches, no sound of Longtail boats no sound of party people until 4 at night, it was just so peaceful. The downside of that was nobody cleaned the beaches anymore and most shops were closed or broken.
At the end of 2022, we visited again and tourists were back, and also the noise was back, so in this blog, I will recommend some hotels you can stay without the noise but still within a few minutes at the center of Phi Phi
If you do visit, this travel guide to Ko Phi Phi can help you plan your trip, save money, and make the most of your time here!
The Phi Phi Islands consist of two islands: Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Leh. Koh Phi Phi Don is the only inhabited island, and it’s home to all the accommodations and amenities of the Phi Phi Islands. If you’re staying overnight on Koh Phi Phi, you’re staying on Koh Phi Phi Don. It’s a vehicle-free island and some hotel workers move luggage by dragging carts behind them. Koh Phi Phi Leh is an uninhabited island to the south, home to the famed Maya Bay, and Pileh Lagoon.
Koh Phi Phi was enormously damaged in the 2004 tsunami, where approximately 4,000 people on the island lost their lives. Roughly 70% of the island’s infrastructure was destroyed. Looking at the shape of the island, where most of the development takes place on a narrow isthmus, it’s no surprise.
Phi Phi Islands are located in the middle of the Andaman sea, 42 km away from Amphoe Mueang. It is a part of Nopharat Thara Beach – Phi Phi Islands national park which contains 2 big islands – Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Le, and 4 smaller islands nearby – Koh Yung, Koh Mai Phai, Koh Pida Nok, and Koh Pida Nai.
Koh Phi Phi also features a vibrant nightlife before the covid pandemic nowadays November 2021 when we visit only restaurants are open and the rest of the islands was broken and many people left the Island.
Tonsai Beach contains dozens of beach bars and restaurants and a lively Village consisting of a maze of shops, bars, and restaurants. Smaller beaches around the island are alternatively ideal for honeymooners, families, those on a budget, and those looking for the ultimate luxury resort retreat.
Phi Phi Le was featured in the Hollywood blockbuster movie The Beach, a story about the ultimate secluded island beach. Maya Bay was a suitable choice as it epitomizes the stunning beauty of these islands: a bay of pellucid aquamarine water surrounded by towering limestone cliffs that harbors an arcing, white sand beach. The waters surrounding the Phi Phi Islands are filled with exotic marine life, including docile leopard sharks, and Snorkelling and diving day trip rival lounging on the beach as top activities on Koh Phi Phi.
Getting to Koh Phi Phi by Boat
You can reach Koh Phi Phi by boat from several departure points:
Krabi (along with Ao Nang and Railay): 1:45-2 hour journey
Phuket: 1 to 2-hour journey
Koh Lanta: 1-hour journey
These are ferries with enough room for your luggage or you can take a speedboat which is faster — no longtail boats necessary (unless you depart from Railay, where everyone arrives and departs by longtail boat)
We took the speedboat from Phuket Ratsada pier which we booked online for 650 Bath The ride will take about 1 hour to reach Phi Phi from Phuket and also from Krabi, it's about an hour. From Phuket, you can also book a ferry which is cheaper but it will take 1 hour longer. You can book in advance with 12goAsia as all operators support the booking site
Visiting Phi Phi Island – Tourist Fees
There are two tourist fees you have to pay when you arrive in the Phi Phi islands.
At Phi Phi Don island, there’s a cash fee of 20 baht per person, which is paid when you first land at the harbor. They collect this from everyone, and it helps pay for daily rubbish removal from the islands. This fee is one-time only (not a daily fee).
At the national park areas, there’s a cash fee of 400 baht for foreigners and 40 Bath for Thai per person, which is collected when you disembark at either Maya Bay or Bamboo Island. On the backside of the ticket, it says it's valid for 5 days.
Some Phi Phi tours may already include these fees in the price, but usually, you pay them separately in cash when you get off the boat.
Transport: How To Get Around The Phi Phi Islands
There are no cars or motorbike rentals in the Phi Phi islands, and they’re not needed at all — if you’re staying on Phi Phi Don island, the whole town is small enough to be easily walkable on foot. Bicycles can also be rented.
You can hire a longtail boat in Phi Phi Don to take you to nearby islands like Phi Phi Leh and Bamboo Island. The longtails are smaller boats, but they have room for up to 8 passengers, so you can share a boat with friends or other travelers to make it more cost-effective. For a tour to Maya Bay, Pileh Lagoon, Monkey Beach, and Viking cave you will pay around 1500 Bath per boat.
Another option is kayaking at Phi Phi Don. This is cheaper than a boat rental, and you can use kayaks to reach some of the hidden beaches on Phi Phi Don, like Nui Bay and Monkey Beach.
On the walking street of Phi Phi, you can find many breakfasts, lunch, and dinner options, when we dare November 2021 just after the reopening of Thailand 95% of the shops were broken but the good restaurants survived the pandemic so don't worry there are a lot of options there and even the nightlife starts a little bit to reopen. During our last visit in November 2022, everything was back to normal and they finished the street works, imagine when we first visit this Island there was only a sand path now they have streets and an MC Donald
The best way to explore Maya bay which will be reopened in January 2022 is to rent a longtail boat at the beach it will cost you around 1500 baths for half a day or you book a tour which is cheaper but with other people. We booked the longtail boat in the early morning so we can take photos in the morning light. Also, the afternoon is beautiful the water will glow and you can make beautiful pictures at Phi Phi Lagoon.
Another great thing to do is to watch the sunrise or sunset from the many viewpoints on the Island, we walked to viewpoint 3 in the afternoon it's about a 1-hour walk and there is a restaurant where you can buy drinks.
When to visit
·When is the peak season for Koh Phi Phi? Starting from mid-November to early May is the high season for Koh Phi Phi. The super peak season is December to the end of January when world travelers are flocking to Phi Phi islands for the best sunshine and island gateway!
When is the best time to visit Koh Phi Phi? The best time to visit Koh Phi Phi is as the weather is perfect on this beautiful island on the Andaman sea. It is very ideal for beach activities, such as swimming, snorkeling, diving, and boating.
How many days do you need at Phi Phi Island? You need two or three days on Phi Phi Island to take in the fabulous scenery and enjoy the sparkling clear blue waters and sandy beach.
The best time to visit Koh Phi Phi is between December and April when the weather is more temperate and the rains are less frequent. Many say November is also good but during our last visits in the last years, November brought a lot of rainy days too.
Where to stay
In the low season, visitors can expect discounted room rates. In the peak season, it is recommended that you book your room in advance or you will end up sleeping on the beach.
During our last visit in November, all hotels were fully booked
In case you’re after recommendations for beachfront accommodation near the center but away from the noise of party people, here is our best pick:
ChaoKoh Phi Phi Hotel and Resort is easily one of the best stays in Phi Phi Don. A nice resort design with a great pool welcomes you that has most of what you’ll need for a relaxing, comfortable stay. Very close to the beach with only 3 minute's walk. Definitely one of the nicest hotels on Phi Phi Island. At Chaokoh Phi Phi Hotel & Resort you’ll be within a short 5-minute stroll of Tonsai Pier and Loh Dalum Beach. Highlights at this beachfront hotel include a restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool, and a beach bar. Book Now
Another worth recommendation is the Viking Nature Resort. The resort offers classically furnished rooms adorned with simple interiors made with natural materials. It’s authentic with a private beach and close to nature stay on the island. Amazing peaceful stay with friendly staff but a little bit farther away from the center Book Now
Mama Beach Residence is a unique 24-room hotel located at the western end of Tonsai Bay on Phi Phi Don Island with No Bikes, No Cars, and No noise. Monkeys at 200 Meters. The market and the Pier at 700 Meters Book Now
SAii Phi Phi Island Village is still the unbeatable luxury hotel in the most gorgeous setting on Phi Phi Island. The location of the resort is astonishing and situated along Lo Ba Goa Bay with a great sea view. It offers spacious accommodation and features a private beach and infinity pool equipped with a pool bar. The rooms come with a thatched roof and solid wood furnishings. Staying here to enjoy the exclusive gorgeous beach of the most beautiful island, with amazing professional service. A peaceful hideaway on Phi Phi island. Book Now
Best Things To Do In Phi Phi Island Thailand
The white sand beach at Maya Bay is one of the most famous and photogenic places in Thailand, and it was the main thing responsible for bringing tourism to the Koh Phi Phi islands. In fact, it’s now one of the most famous beaches in the world!
The entire beach is surrounded by tall limestone cliffs. The water is clear turquoise with baby sharks swimming around, and the sand is white as snow. Everything about it looks perfect. Yep, this is paradise!
Of course, the beauty of Maya Bay has attracted the tourist hordes, just like any of the amazing places in the world, but if you time your visit right you can still enjoy the beach without too many people.
This surreal turquoise lagoon surrounded by giant rock walls is one of the best things to see on Phi Phi island in Thailand.
The lagoon is only accessible by boat. Most Koh Phi Phi tours include a stop here, and the smaller boats can float into the lagoon and circle it, giving you up-close views of the impressive limestone karsts.
It’s more amazing than it looks in photos, and we may have enjoyed this spot even more than Maya Bay!
Phi Phi Viewpoint
The Phi Phi viewpoint is a short hike on the island of Phi Phi Don, with epic views of the town and most of the island, and Phi Phi Leh visible in the distance.
There are actually three different viewpoints at various levels on the hill, but viewpoints #2 and #3 are the ones you really want to see because they’re higher and have the best views of the island without being blocked by any trees.
Enjoy the nightlife
The nightlife here is wild. The go-to drink is a literal bucket of alcohol comprised of an energy drink, a can of soda, and liquor — a potent mixture! Fire shows and Thai boxing matches are a regular occurrence at the beach bars, and bars not located on the beach often have pools or stunning rooftop decks. Many have no official closing hour, staying open until the last partiers call it quits. Nearly every night of the week there are massive beach parties. Just keep in mind that partying is not cheap here!
Hang out on Monkey Beach
Monkey Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand. Powder white sands and excellent diving makes this a popular spot, but the coolest thing about it is the monkeys that come down to the beach. Beware that the monkeys are crafty and will steal anything that you leave unattended — even if you’re standing right there. And whatever you do, do not feed or try to pet the monkeys!
Bamboo Island (Koh Phai)
This is a small flat island located northeast of Phi Phi Don, with fewer people and a nice sandy beach covering most of the island.
Lots of Phi Phi island tours include this place in the itinerary, but it never feels too crowded, and if you walk around the side of the island for a while you may have it all to yourself.
This is a small hidden bay on Phi Phi Don island with a nice beach and towering limestone rocks.
It’s possible to reach Nui Bay by sea or by land. From Loh Dalum Beach, you can rent a kayak or a boat to go there, which is how people usually get there. Kayaking to the bay will take about 45 minutes at a leisurely pace.
Go deep-sea fishing
One of the more expensive activities that you can do off the coast of Ko Phi Phi is deep-sea fishing. Generally, you need to charter an entire boat, so get together with a few others to share the cost. A full-day charter costs around 10,000-16,000 THB, which includes lunch, guides, equipment, and live bait. You’ll get the chance to fish for tuna, barracuda, dorado, king mackerel, and sailfish, all of which can be cooked for you right on the boat or taken back to your accommodation. You can also go night fishing, which is a great way to experience the nocturnal life of the waters surrounding the islands.
Watch the sunset by kayak
You can rent sea kayaks or arrange a kayak tour from just about any beach on Ko Phi Phi. The island is great for kayaking, and nothing beats getting to see the sunset from the water. Sunset tours head out on ocean kayaks to Wang Long Bay. However, there are plenty of other tours available, so explore your options. Renting your own kayak generally costs 150-200 THB per hour, while half-day tours are around 900-1,100 THB.
Best Beaches In Phi Phi Thailand
There are a lot of beaches in the Phi Phi islands, but obviously, the hands-down winner for scenery is the one at Maya Bay.
Some other beaches with great sand and swimming are the ones at Bamboo Island, Monkey Beach, and Nui Bay.
Can You Fly A Drone At The Phi Phi Islands?
Yes and no. Thailand is pretty relaxed about drones, and you can fly them on most of the islands, but you aren’t allowed to fly in the national parks.
That includes Phi Phi Leh and Bamboo Island, which are patrolled by park rangers who will fine you if you’re caught flying a drone.
In other places around Thailand you will need insurance and a certificate for flying a drone, we did all those steps but if you are for a short holiday and you not planning to get caught flying in national parks, in my opinion, its not necessary to get all those papers as no one will ever check you if you not breaking the rules and fly low above a full beach with people or near airports
3-Day Itinerary For Phi Phi Island Thailand
Here’s what a sample itinerary for the Phi Phi islands could look like, assuming you spend 3 days staying on Phi Phi Don and touring all of the islands:
Day 1: Phi Phi Don. Arrive in the Phi Phi islands from Phuket or Krabi. Check in to your hotel and unpack your things. Hike to the Phi Phi viewpoint and enjoy the scenery for a while, and then head over to Loh Dalum Beach, where you can take a boat or kayak to Nui Bay and Monkey Beach.
Day 2: Phi Phi Leh. Take a longtail boat over to Phi Phi Leh island. Tour the famous beach at Maya Bay, and then go see Pileh Lagoon and Viking Cave. If you have time, stop and visit Monkey Bay on your way back to town.
Day 3: Misc. Take a boat to Bamboo Island and spend a couple of hours swimming and soaking up the sun. Head back to Phi Phi Don and explore the town and miscellaneous beaches before going back to Phuket or Krabi.
Ko Phi Phi Travel Costs
Hostel prices – Ko Phi Phi is one of the most expensive islands in Thailand. Because it’s so small, there aren’t a ton of accommodation options to choose from and prices don’t fluctuate too much with the seasons.
A bed in a large dorm with 10 or more beds costs 300-350 THB per night, though you can find some for around 200 THB per night (but they’re in not-so-great hostels). Most dorm beds fall into the 400-600 THB range for a bed in an 8-10-bed dorm.
Budget hotel prices – In the high season, two-star hotels start around 750 THB for a private double room with a fan. A nicer room costs from 1,000 THB for a double private room with air-conditioning, while an entire basic bungalow that sleeps two starts at 900-1,200 THB.
During the off-season, you can find private rooms for 600 THB and entire bungalows for as low as 600-800 THB.
If you’re looking for a quiet place to sleep, do NOT book accommodation near the Loh Dalum beach! Most hostel/hotel owners will warn you before you check in; the party rages on the beach until 1 am (everything shuts down precisely at this time).
The average cost of food – Thai cuisine is spicy and contains layers of flavor, with an abundance of curries, salads, soups, and stir-fries. Thailand’s neighbors, including Malaysia, Laos, and Myanmar, have all left their mark on the country’s cuisine. Being an island, there’s a lot of fish and seafood in the dishes on Ko Phi Phi.
Compared to the rest of Thailand, food is expensive in Ko Phi Phi. You’ll find the cheapest food in Tonsai village.
The open-air local restaurants near the beach have dishes starting at 150-180 THB.
The Phi Phi food market in the center of town has rock-bottom prices for local seafood, fruits, and vegetables. A snack at one of the vendors here costs 10-20 THB. Go around to a few different ones and soon, you’ll have made a meal of it.
Another budget-friendly way to eat on Ko Phi Phi is by eating at the street stalls, where the food is not only cheap but delicious. A dish such as pad thai from these stands costs 60-100 THB.
Western food is quite a bit more expensive. You’re likely to pay around 185-250 THB for a mediocre pizza or burger, while pasta dishes are 220-380 THB.
When it comes to drinking, going to bars can become pricey. The cheapest beers cost about 60-80 THB each and cocktails cost triple that amount at 180 THB. You can save money here by buying beers from convenience stores where they are half that price.
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