KOH PHI PHI TRAVEL GUIDE, THAILAND

If you’re thinking about beautiful sandy beaches, stunning rock formations, and turquoise blue water then it’s time to visit Phi Phi islands!

Phi Phi has a total of six islands and only one is inhabited (Phi Phi Don Island). The main island is known to be a dreamy destination due to its stunning nature, perfect weather and lively nightlife. Even though it’s a small island, it has plenty of things to offer for travellers, from modern accommodation and delicious food to snorkelling with exotic fish and partying the night away.

Koh Phi Phi view from Viewpoint 2

How to get there

Koh Phi Phi is a small island located in the Andaman sea between Phuket and Krabi and the only way to reach it is by boat. The main pier in Phi Phi is called Ton Sai Pier.

Bangkok is located 694 km away from Koh Phi Phi but that will definitely change depending on which route you will take. You can travel to Phuket or Krabi and take a boat from there.

TOP TIP: Thailand is tourist oriented country and it is easy to reach Koh Phi Phi (or any destination) from anywhere in Thailand with combined tickets (bus+boat) for a reasonable price. You can ask your local travel agency or book tickets online (check both before booking for a better price).

Phuket is ~45 km away from the island (846 km from Bangkok). You can catch a ferry or speedboat at the Rassada Pier. The journey takes from 90 minutes to 2 hours or more depending on which boat you’ve chosen. Price varies between 450 baht to 1000 baht. You can choose to book the tickets online (12GoAssia or the official ferry website) or you can go to any travel agency (there are a lot of them in Phuket) and purchase your ferry ticket with transportation to the pier.

Krabi town is around 40 km from Koh Phi Phi (76o km from Bangkok) and you will need to catch a boat from the Klong Jilard Pier. There are several companies that operate throughout the day and the journey will take from 60 minutes to 2 hours depending on the boat type. The price is around 450 baht for the ferry and 900 baht for the speedboat.

Ao Nang is located 34 km away from Phi Phi Island and 775 km from Bangkok. You will need to catch a ferry at the Noppharat Thara Pier. Ao Nang Princess Ferry operates once a day at 9.30 AM and the journey takes around 2 hours, including a short pick-up stop near Railay Beach. It cost 500 baht on 12GoAsia and 475 baht on this website (it might be more with booking fees). Koh Yao Sun Smile speedboats operate 3 times a day, the journey takes 50 minutes and costs 960 baht.

Koh Lanta is located 30 km away from Koh Phi Phi (832 km from Bangkok). There are a few companies operating services several times a day. The journey from Saladan Pier takes 30-45 minutes and costs about 700 baht.

All of the places above have airports, so you can combine the boat journey with a flight.

Another way to reach Phi Phi Island is to join a day tour from Phuket, Krabi, and Koh Lanta. This is an option for those who don’t really want to stay on the island. Tour itineraries vary but you will have a chance to enjoy a few hours in Ton Sai Village and see some of the popular spots around the island.

Longtail Boats on Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

How to travel around

Koh Phi Phi is a small island with no main roads and no cars or scooters to rent, even though you will see some locals driving vehicles there. The only way to travel around is by foot, but fear not, the island is perfectly walkable. Tonsai Village (right across the Ton Sai Pier) accommodates all the houses, hotels, shops, restaurants and bars along with some alleys going here and there. It is actually a small maze where you can easily get lost on your first few days on the island. Then there is a beautiful Loh Dalum Bay where some of the luxury resorts and party scene takes place. And following the road across and further than Ton Sai bay you will reach calm and picturesque Long Beach.

There are some resorts on the island that are hidden deep in the jungle and the only way to reach them is by boat. Some of them provide shuttle boat taxis but have a look before booking your accommodation.

You can also rent a longtail boat to travel to any surrounding islands like Phi Phi Leh or Bamboo Island. Longtail boats hold up to 8 passengers so it is perfect if you want to share it with friends or other travellers.

The other option to travel around and explore the surrounding areas is by renting a kayak. You can visit Monkey Beach or Nui Bay or just admire the breathtaking scenery that Phi Phi Island offers.

Street next to Ton Sai Beach, Thailand

Koh Phi Phi Tourist Fees

There are a few fees that all travellers have to pay when visiting the islands.

Once you arrive at Koh Phi Phi Don, you will be met by a few people collecting a 20 baht cash fee for entering the island. This fee helps the government to pay for removing the rubbish from the island.

The Phi Phi islands belong to Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park and visiting some of the areas, such as Maya Bay or Bamboo island, requires paying a 400 baht entrance fee. This money goes to the protection of these wonders. NOTE: sometimes this fee is included in your tour package, but sometimes not, so double-check that when purchasing. If you are hiring a longtail boat, you will need to pay for the entrance upon arrival. Cash only.

When to Visit

The climate in Koh Phi Phi is similar to the one in Phuket and Krabi. The peak tourist season is between November and March. If you’re looking for pleasant weather with low to no rain, then consider coming from December to March. It is a perfect time to have a beach holiday, go on tours, and have parties. Temperatures won’t drop below 23 degrees Celsius and they can go as high as 32 degrees Celsius in February-March with little to no rain. But don’t forget that the peak season means higher prices and crowded places (and here it gets really really really crowded).

The low season starts around April and lasts until October. Real-feel temperatures raises due to humidity in the air and slowly bring more and more rainy days. The prices are rapidly going down with just a few tourists wandering around. Although the low season is not a bad idea to visit the island (especially when you’re on a budget or want to avoid crowds), it’s worth keeping in mind that the weather will be in charge of the travel itinerary.

Where to stay

There are many accommodation types on the island, so everyone will find what suits best for their budgets and wishes. You can always look for the best deals on booking.com or hotelscombined.com Here are a few to consider:

Blue Flow Hostel – small and clean hostel located near Loh Dalum beach. The hostel has a main area and bunk beds with curtains for privacy.

Phi Phi Sand Sea View Resort – is located further from the main area, away from the crowds, but very close to the beach. Fair price with mid-range rooms and bungalows. They offer tours at the reception as well.

SAii Phi Phi Island Village – a perfect place for luxury holiday seekers. Located about 3km from Ton Sai Pier by walk and 10-minute taxi boat ride. The resort has its own private beach with high-end bungalows, restaurants, bars, and spas in the area.

Best Things to do in Koh Phi Phi

Hike to the Viewpoint 1, 2 and 3

The Viewpoints are the spots to see the beautiful view over Phi Phi Island. Viewpoint 1 is located 334 steep steps away from the little street behind Chaokoh Road. Viewpoint 1 is a memorial park for the Tsunami that struck in 2004. It is very pretty and tidy, you will have a chance to take pictures near a giant sign saying ‘I LOVE PHI PHI’.

Gorgeous scenery at Viewpoint 1 in Koh Phi Phi

To find Viewpoint 2 you will need to follow the footpath that is slightly going up the hill. This hike will make you sweat like crazy, but trust me, the panoramic view of two bays surrounded by turquoise water will be worth it. Here you will find an open wooden deck where you can take pictures, many rocks to sit around and enjoy the view, cafe with a rooftop terrace to grab a refreshing drink or a snack.

The less crowded Viewpoint 3 is a 15-minute walk away from Viewpoint 2. You will find a small path behind the restaurant. The hike there will be more in nature with a tiny dirt road, but there are many signs along the way so you won’t get lost. The view from this point is stunning as well. There is a little cafe/shop there as well.

There is a 30 baht entrance fee that will be collected when you reach Viewpoint 1. And another 20 baht for Viewpoint 3. You will find toilets at each point. As the days are hot and the hike is not the easiest don’t forget to take and drink plenty of water.

Visit Nui Bay in Koh Phi Phi Don

The little sandy bay that is surrounded by high karst cliffs is an ideal little getaway from the busy beaches on Koh Phi Phi Don. It offers clean crystal clear water with a shade of turquoise blue and a shallow shore perfect for snorkelling and swimming.

Nui Bay is located on Loh Dalum Bay so it is easier to reach it from that side of the island. You can hire a longtail boat which will bring you there in 10 minutes and will cost around 1000 baht. You can rent a kayak and easily paddle there yourself, it will take you around 40 minutes (at a relaxed pace) to reach it. Kayak rent prices vary from renter to renter, but it is about 150-200 baht for an hour, 300 baht for a few hours and around 600 baht per day.

Or, you can hike all the way to Nui Bay. To do that, you will need to find yourself at Viewpoint 3 and follow a little washed-off sign that says Loh Lana Bay. Or you can walk all the way to the end of Loh Dalum Bay, find a Kitty House and follow the coastal path and then the jungle path further. I highly recommend using this detailed guide with pictures here. The hike might be a bit challenging because there’s no direct way to go there. You will be met by slippery stones, a narrow jungle path, and a steep hike up the cliff covered in roots. Maybe a few monkeys, spiders and snakes too. But this hike will give you an unforgettable experience on Phi Phi Island.

Visit best beaches in Koh Phi Phi

There are a lot of beaches that you can visit in Koh Phi Phi. Some of them are crowded, while others are peaceful and quiet. Some you can reach by foot, but some will require you to hire a longtail boat or rent a kayak. Here’s the list of the beaches worth visiting on Phi Phi Island:

Loh Dalum is the main beach on the island, a long and pretty narrow stretch of sand, usually fairly crowded, with a few restaurants and resorts around, easy to access from the Sai Village.

Ton Sai beach is located next to the pier, fine sand beach and pretty shallow water, great place to find package tours for day trips and snorkelling. Best to visit in the morning and late afternoon as it gets crowded with speedboats touring from Krabi or Phuket.

Viking beach is a lovely beach just a short 15-minute walk away from the Ton Sai Village. It is pretty quiet in there, with just a few people relaxing and walking by.

Long Beach – white powdery beach with crystal clear water and a relaxed atmosphere. It is located a little jungle trek away from the Ton Sai Pier, but really worth the sweaty 30 minutes hike. Or you can choose a longtail boat taxi that can be found at Ton Sai Pier and costs around 100 baht per person. At the far end of the beach, you will be able to see the Shark Point and maybe spot one if you’re lucky. NOTE: Please be careful while swimming around the shark point, although leopard sharks and black-tip reef sharks are considered shy and timid, they are still… sharks.

Loh Moo Dee Beach – secluded white sand beach near Long Beach. You can walk there by following the path going inland from Phi Phi Long Beach Resort & Villa, near Shark Point.

Nui Beach – a little sandy bay that is surrounded by high karst cliffs, crystal clear water with a shade of turquoise blue and a shallow shore perfect for snorkelling and swimming. Located away from the crowds, surrounded by lush greenery. I mentioned Nui Bay and how to get there a few points above.

Loh Lana Bay – a beautiful fine sand beach located on the northwest side of Koh Phi Phi Don. This beach is pretty wild and quiet, with no hotels or restaurants around. Sometimes you will have a chance to be the only one relaxing there.

Other beaches worth to consider are Phak Nam Bay, Laem Tong Beach, Monkey Beach, Loh Ba Kao Bay, Wang Long Bay, and Pirate Beach Cove. Some of them are accessible only by boat or kayak.

Enjoy the night life in Koh Phi Phi

Phi Phi island is known to be a ‘party island’. A slow and steady beach holiday pace during the day becomes a lively wild party place during the night. From beach parties and poolside dancing to Muay Thai matches and fire shows, you can have it all. Loh Dalum beach and a few surrounding streets are the main action places. If you’re interested, here are a few bars to consider:

  • Banana Rooftop Bar
  • Slinky’s
  • Tree House
  • Reggae Bar Phi Phi
  • Hippie’s Bar
  • Ibiza
  • Dojo Bar
  • Stockholm Syndrome

Besides lively bars and beach parties during the night, you can enjoy the boat parties that will start your party going much earlier – BLANCO’S PARTY BOAT, BOB’S BOOZE CRUISE, and PIRATE BOAT.

Maya bay

Maya Bay is an iconic destination that is out of this world. White sand beach, coin-shaped bay with clear turquoise water and dramatic rock formations leaves everyone speechless. You can dip your toes in the water (no swimming allowed) and try to spot baby sharks showing up on the shore once in a while.

Maya bay is located on Phi Phi Leh Island, and to get there you will need to hire a boat or join the tour. You will embark on a floating pier in Loh Samay Bay, on the other side of the island, and after a 5-minute walk through a lovely park, you will reach Maya Bay. There is a little shop for drinks and snacks in this area and a few toilets too.

Maya Bay’s (and all Phi Phi Islands) popularity started when it was featured in the movie ‘The Beach’ (starring Leonardo DiCaprio) and with years more and more tourists from all over the world had this place on their bucket lists. Growing popularity did some damage to nature and Maya Bay was closed for 4 years, from 2018 to January 2022, and for two months (August and September) in 2022, to protect the local environment and restore the natural marine ecosystems. As of the date of writing, the beach is open for visitors again.

The critical thing to note before going is that everyone who wants to visit this world wonder has to pay a 400 baht fee to enter Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park. This fee might be included in the tour price, might not be. The entrance fee helps to reduce the number of visitors and to help the government to preserve nature.

Pi Leh Bay

For me personally, Pi Leh Bay is one of the most beautiful bays that I visited in Thailand. It is a place where emerald green clear water meets majestic rocky cliffs. The whole picture of the lagoon is surreal and to miss that would literally be a crime.

This place is located close to Maya Bay, it takes around 10 minutes to reach it, and it is usually included in tour packages. Just jump from the boat and enjoy a little swimming around in heaven. It is a perfect place to snorkel as the water is clear and many beautiful creatures are splashing around. It might get a bit crowded with boats at times, but this shouldn’t put you off of visiting Pi Leh Bay.

Bamboo Island (Koh Pai)

A little flat island covered with lush greenery, sandy beach and clear blue water. It is a perfect spot for snorkelling, the coral reef that lies next to the island gives an opportunity to spot interesting marine life. Or you can relax and visit a little bar that is serving cold drinks and snacks.

Visiting this island is included in most of the tour packages or you can hire a longtail boat for the day and visit on your own schedule. Koh Pay belongs to Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park so there will be a 400 baht entrance fee. It doesn’t get very crowded but there will be a few touring boats, and if the timing is right, you might get the whole island to yourself!

Take a day trip from Koh Phi Phi

Shortly after arriving at the Ton Sai Pier, you will be met by many people offering you to buy their tours. It is a great activity and actually the best way to explore the islands around Koh Phi Phi Don.

You will find that a lot of sellers offer you similar day trips. It can be half-day and full-day tours with longtail boats or speedboats, it might include visiting Maya Bay, Pi Leh Lagoon, Bamboo Island, Monkey Bay, snorkelling at Shark Point, and offering to watch the sunset and swim with fluorescent plankton. Prices also vary from seller to seller, it might be from 800 baht to whatever. The entrance fee to Maya Bay and Bamboo Island might be included in your trip or you have to pay separately. I usually ask at my accommodation and then ask around before settling on one tour package, maybe another person will sell the same thing but at a better price.

Of course, you can hire a longtail boat by yourself and adjust the itinerary according to your wishes. That gives you more freedom and privacy, but it will be a bit more expensive than the joined tours with other travellers.

Koh Phi Phi from kayak

Get a Traditional Bamboo Tattoo

If you love tattoos and thinking of getting a new one, then consider it done on Koh Phi Phi. There are quite a few places that are doing traditional Bamboo tattoos. It is not only an incredible experience but also, unlike machine tattoos, you can go swimming the next day! Bamboo Tattoo prices start from 1500 baht for a small tattoo or a symbol. Check out the Skull Tattoo and Tapear Tattoo Studio if you’re interested!

Some tips for your trip

  • MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS. If you’ve seen the pictures of Phi Phi and were dreaming about white sandy beaches, crystal clear turquoise water, parties all night and neverending exploration then I would stop you right there! Even though Phi Phi island is my favourite I had a great face slap from reality when I arrived the first time. Yes, you will find beautiful beaches, but further from the main town. Yes, the water is warm and crystal clear, but mostly further from the island and further from longtail boats. The party scene is neverending, but so is the rubbish. And the number of people… If you go on a tour prepare to be surrounded by many longtail boats and many like-minded people. And you will come across a very bad smell in some parts of the town. As I said, I love this island and I would definitely recommend visiting it, but remember that it’s a popular spot with many goods and bads to it.
  • WEIGH YOUR OPTIONS. Koh Phi Phi is a small island but it has a lot to offer. And by that, I mean that there are many different providers that sell exactly the same tour or package but at different prices. And sometimes it can get really expensive. So before you decide what to do or where to go it is a good idea to ask around and then choose the one that suits you.
  • REMEMBER YOUR WAY HOME. Although the island is small and cosy it has many alleys where one turn can bring you to another side of the town. And after a few drinks (or many ‘buckets’) you might be surprised that your hotel is not where it’s supposed to be. So I would recommend familiarising yourself with the area that you’re living in just to have an easy walk home after a fun night out.
  • MONKEYS. There is a Monkey Beach just a short long-tail boat ride from the pier and you might stumble across a few monkeys around the island. Many tours will bring you to Monkey Beach to take some pictures or even feed them. Some would give snacks to engage with them a bit more. While many people are not afraid of monkeys, I would advise not to leave any belongings unattended (I’ve seen them grab-and-run with people’s bags) and to be aware that monkeys are animals and some of our body language can make them act aggressively towards us.
  • RELIGION. 80 per cent of locals on Phi Phi Don island are Muslims. There is one mosque on the island, but I haven’t heard any calls for prayers over my stay there.
  • HYGIENE. The main thing that applies to Phi Phi Islands, and all of Thailand, is not to drink tap water. Bottled water is cheap and easily accessible in every corner shop or cafe. I think the food hygiene is good, I ate plenty of street food there and had no problems.
  • ATM’S. There are plenty of ATMs around the island. I’ve seen many of them on the street next to the Pier.
  • LANGUAGE. A lot of local people speak a bit of English. Maybe you won’t have a full conversation, but they will try to answer and help you as much as they can.
  • CELL SERVICE. I had a perfect connection everywhere I’ve been on Phi Phi Don island. Just while cruising on the sea around other islands the cell service was a bit harder to get.
  • ELECTRICITY. The situation with electricity is improving on this island, and we didn’t have any problems when staying there. Although I think it might be some power outages during the rainy season.
  • WIFI. Many hotels, cafes and restaurants have WiFi and they are sharing the password with their customers. But I would say that it is not the strongest WiFi there is. We were staying a bit further from the main building so the connection was fluctuating a bit.

3-Day Itinerary for Koh Phi Phi Island, Thailand

If you’re wondering of staying in Phi Phi Islands for a bit longer than a day tour from Krabi or Phuket, then there’s a simple 3-day itinerary for Koh Phi Phi:

DAY 1. Arrive on the island from Krabi or Phuket. Find your way to the hotel to check-in. Settle in, maybe go for a coffee or breakfast and make your way to Viewpoints 1, 2 and 3. Go to Loh Dalum beach to enjoy some beach time. Have dinner and head for some cocktails to Bottom’s Up.

DAY 2. Day trip to explore the surrounding hot spots with a longtail boat – Maya Bay, Phi Leh Bay, Viking cave, maybe Bamboo Island and Monkey Bay (you can hire a longtail boat or join the tour). End your evening at Phi Phi Chill Lay Bar & Restaurant.

DAY 3. Wake up early in the morning, rent a kayak and visit Nui Bay and Monkey Beach. Grab breakfast at Khrua Khao Hom Thai Cuisine and go beach hopping – start at Ton Sai and make your way to Viking beach and Long beach. End your evening with delicious food at October Cafe.

This is just a sample of the Phi Phi Island itinerary. You can change it, move things around, add other activities, and do everything that your heart wants to do!

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Dovile xx


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