Welcome to Koh Phi Phi
This is my Koh Phi Phi Wiki page and will be updated on a regular basis. If you have something to add please comment at the bottom of the page so everyone can benefit.
Phi Phi Island (เกาะพีพี) is often credited as being the most beautiful place in Thailand. Phi Phi Bay has appeared in a couple of movies including ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ and ‘The Beach’. Many couples chose this is a place to go on honeymoon and there is no doubt that it is a romantic location. One of the attractions is the fantastic Koh Phi Phi weather, especially from October through February when temperatures range from 80-95 degrees Fahrenheit and there is virtually no rain. It is only a small island and many would say that it is now far too overcrowded; it can also be an expensive place to stay.
Koh Phi Phi actually refers to a number of islands that are combined in a chain (archipelago). Most tourists will spend their time on Koh Phi Phi Don as this is the most built up area, although Koh Phi Phi Leh is also very nice, unfortunately the only accommodations are in tents.
Koh Phi Phi Arrivals and Departures
The only way to get to Koh Phi Phi is by boat, either from Phuket or from Krabi. Both ferries and speedboats make the trip from both locations. You can get from Phuket to Phi Phi Island in just 45 minutes by speedboat.
The cheapest way to get to Koh Phi Phi is on one of the public ferries. The ferries leave from Rasada Pier in Phuket at 8:30 and 13:30 each day and cost 450 baht. The trip takes between 1 ½ and 2 hours and drops you at Tonsai Bay on Koh Phi Phi where you will need to arrange further transport by smaller ferry or longtail boat to your Phi Phi Island hotel.
Ferries from Krabi depart from the pier at Krabi Town at 10:30, 14:30 and 16:00 and also take 1 ½ to 2 hours, however the cost is only 250 baht. Keep in mind also that you are in Thailand and schedules are always subject to change. The ferries could possibly leave earlier or later depending on the number of passengers and weather conditions. It’s best to arrive a bit early and bring your patience in case you have to wait.
Your own private speedboat is the quickest and most convenient way to arrive at Koh Phi Phi Island. Hop on board and away you go without the bother of waiting for other passengers. You will cut your travel time in half and can be on the island in as little as 45 minutes, relaxing and enjoying the breathtaking scenery. Speedboats are also able to drop you right at your Koh Phi Phi accommodation, bypassing Tonsai Bay and reducing your travel time even more.
The downside to the speedboats is their cost. Expect to pay at least 1000 baht per person assuming you can barter well. Of course there are also bigger speedboats that hold up to 20 passengers and if you have a large party you can cut the cost per person substantially by chartering these larger speedboats.
Speedboats leave from Phuket to Phi Phi Island and Krabi daily starting at 7:00 until around 16:30. The captains prefer to be back in their dock by dark so if you are later than this you may need to stay over and resume your trip in the morning.
Getting Around Phi Phi
Unlike most anywhere else in Thailand, there is no motorized transport on Koh Phi Phi. This means cars, buses, songthaews and motorcycles are out and walking is in. Fortunately you can walk pretty much anywhere around Tonsai Bay in 10 minutes or less. This also means that typically you won’t need a Koh Phi Phi map as everything is close and easy to find. To get to further destinations you can rent a longtail boat. There are many for rent on Koh Phi Phi and the price is negotiated with the longtail owner. Short trips might cost a couple hundred baht or you can even hire them for a tour around the island and expect to pay 800-1000 baht per half day.
Where to Go on Koh Phi Phi
A lot of people will have seen Maya Bay in the film ‘The Beach’. Although the book is meant to be set in an imaginary island near Koh Phangan a lot of filming was done here; probably because it is so stunningly photogenic. This is a great place to visit for a few hours; although it can get busy during the high season. Ideally you should try to come here early in the morning and really get to experience what it is like to be on a tropical paradise. Maya Bay is on Ko Phi Phi Leh and the rest of the island is equally stunning; it is possible to stay here but the only accommodation option is to go camping.
Monkey beach gets its name because it does have a population of these creatures living there. The beach can be reached by foot but a lot of people choose to make the journey by boat; Monkey Beach is located on Koh Phi Phi Don. These monkeys can descend on visitors if they notice that they are carrying food. It is advisable that you don’t feed them; you also need to be careful because they have been known to become aggressive.
Phi Phi Viewpoint
If you have a bit of energy you will be able to climb the steps up to Phi Phi viewpoint. It takes about half an hour to reach the top but once you are up there you get to admire the view of Pi Pi Island – don’t forget your camera. Although there are steps along the path it can still be a bit dangerous so you best be extra careful. It is also a good idea to do this walk either first thing in the morning or late afternoon; it would be hard to make this journey during the heat of the day.
Phi Phi Tsunami Memorial Garden
This was built by volunteers and it is in memory of all those people who lost their lives during the 2004 tsunami. This is a peaceful place to spend a little time remember that terrible day when tragedy came to Phi Phi and many other places.
What to Do on Koh Phi Phi
You can just by a snorkel and flippers and try the local waters but you are probably much better off going on an organized snorkeling tour. This will take you by boat to all the best areas around the island and you will be sure of seeing some interesting marine life. You will have no problem finding one of these tours as they are advertised everywhere. Most Ko Phi Phi hotels will have a desk where you can book snorkeling excursions easily.
As well as plenty of water the other thing in abundance on Koh Phi Phi Island is rocks. There are a few tour operators who organize rock climbs; you will be able to rent the equipment you need and if you have never climbed previously you will also be able to get lessons. The rock climbing here is not as good as you will find in Railay but it isn’t bad.
There are some great diving areas around Koh Phi Phi and a lot of people come to the island just for this. There are a few dive shops to choose from and most can accommodate the novice as well as experienced diver. This can be a good place for beginners to do their Open Water PADI course and this will give them their diving license. Most of the Phi Phi Island hotels can direct you to their recommended dive shop.
Shopping in Tonsai Village
Tonsai Village is small with narrow streets but there are plenty of things to buy. No space is wasted here and you will find almost every conceivable product on sale. This is a pedestrian area and it is nice to stroll here in the evenings. Things tend to be more expensive on Pi Pi Island because they have to be shipped in. If you want to save money then you will probably be better of purchasing on the mainland.
A Night on the Town
Most of the entertainment venues on Koh Phi Phi are located in Tonsai Village. Here you will find a good selection of bars and restaurants to choose from. Some of the bars show movies in the early evening but later it turns into party town. Many of the local inhabitants are Muslim so it is important to be respectful as extreme drunken behavior can cause offense.
Go On a Jungle Trek
Most people will focus on the sea that surrounds Phi Phi but there is also a lot to see inland. If you want to explore this area then the best way to do this is to go on a jungle trek. During the trip you will get to see parts of the island that most people miss; you will also get to see some of the many animals that make this place their home.
Off the Beaten Track on Koh Phi Phi
Yung Island can be found north of Koh Phi Phi Don; in Thai Yung (ยุง) means mosquito. The beaches here aren’t that great because they are rocky, but there are lots of other interesting things to see. This is a good area to go snorkeling. You will be able to arrange a boat trip to Yung Island from most of the local tour operators.
Emergencies on Koh Phi Phi
You will find Koh Phi Phi quite safe with very little dangers to visitors. The only problems you might run into are those caused by yourself. While it may feel very chilled out on Koh Phi Phi there are laws and breaking them can get you into serious trouble, especially those laws concerning the use and possession of drugs.
If you should happen to be the victim of some crime you will want to report it to the Thai tourist police. You can reach them by dialing 1155. They are a specially trained group who are familiar with dealing with foreigners and can speak at least basic English.
For any medical emergency you will have to head back to the hospital on Krabi. The phone number there is 075-611-212.
Highlights of Koh Phi Phi
Since Koh Phi Phi is such a secluded and beautiful island it makes it hard to decide on the highlights, but I’ll give it a go:
- Visit Maya Bay where the movie The Beach was filmed. It’s no longer the uninhabited place it once was so expect quite a bit of crowding during the high season. Even during the low season you won’t have The Beach to yourself, but it will be significantly less crowded.
- Some of the best diving and snorkeling can be found around Koh Phi Phi so don’t miss out on the beautiful underwater scenery.
Where to Next?
- Visit some of the other nearby islands such as Koh Samui and Koh Tao. Or head off to Koh Phangan for the full moon party.
- Phuket is so close it’s certainly worth a visit. You can find secluded spots still on Phuket or if you are itching for some party time then you can definitely scratch the itch on Phuket.
- Head back to Bangkok and civilization. You’ll find some of the best shopping in Asia, amazing food from the street vendors up to gourmet meals in hotels like The Oriental and The Peninsula as well as a throbbing nightlife.