Once a backpacker’s best kept secret, Phi Phi island (a title which invariably refers to the inhabited Phi Phi Don as opposed to the uninhabited Phi Phi Leh) is one of the most beautiful of the Andaman Sea. In fact there are several islands in the archipelago but only one has any development. Most visitors come for a day trip, visiting several, while others opt to stay awhile on Phi Phi Don.
Words do little justice to the awesome coastal scenery surrounding the islands and while photographs can capture the essence, those who experience it for themselves will tell you that the real things is worth a thousand words or pictures. The classic butterfly shape of Phi Phi Don, with its two distinctive back-to-back bays is one of the world’s most spectacular seascapes.
Attractions & Activities
Hire a canoe, check out the Viking Caves or get below sea with excellent value scuba diving excursions. There is plenty on offer for tourists on Koh Phi Phi for all ages and tastes…more
Upmarket resorts with plush room, mid-priced bungalows and a rustic selection of budget beach shacks make up a full range of accommodation choices on Koh Phi Phi Don…more
Restaurants & Bars
Slightly pricey Thai food, even pricier French food, plus pizza, pasta and burgers satisfy the tourist crowds on this lovely island. However, there are still a few local gems to uncover…more
Getting to Phi Phi is by boat only, and there are several options from Phuket, Krabi and Koh Lanta. Getting around the island is easy on foot or by bicycle with cheap rental available…more
Phi Phi guide – hedonistic nightlife and stunning beaches
The 2004 Tsunami took its toll on the island and the burgeoning tourist development was completedly devastated. The recovery has been slow due to the authorities’ reluctance to allow unchecked development too close to the beach, and this has actually had a positive effect on the island.
Whereas many considered the island to be overrun and spoilt before the tragedy, it now seems to have returned the island more to its natural state. Although there are fewer beds available for tourists, those who come as day trippers experience a much more beautiful Phi Phi Don.
Phi Phi Don is a purpose-built holiday centre,and prior to the development of its tourist infrastructure there was little happening on the island. Visitors come here for the very fact that there are no busy roads, giant supermarkets, malls or large-scale entertainment centres, and without tourism there would be no industry at all.
If a quiet, lazy beach holiday in tranquil, scenic settings gets your thumbs up, then Phi Phi is definitely the place for you. It offers a mix of expensive primely-placed hotels and cheaper guesthouses, with a small village of tourist services. However, it is popular and at the height of the season it heaves under the weight of daytrippers. Fortunately there are two sweeping bays, Ton Sai and Lo Dalam, which are 100m apart and offer plenty of room for everyone. The rest of the island is mostly steep karst hills.
It’s not all about soaking up the sun or paddling in the sea, however. Visitors wanting to see something of the surrounding area can take day trips to neighbouring island and mainland destinations such as Phi Phi Ley, Krabi and Phuket. Alternatively, local companies offer some fantastic diving opportunities in the crystal clear Andaman waters with both beginners and accomplished divers catered for. Phi Phi Ley is a particular treat with its paradise-like cove protected by national park status, and was featured in the Hollywood blockbuster The Beach.
Phi Phi Don is reached primarily by regular ferries or private boat trips from Phuket, Krabi and Koh Lanta. However, air shuttles are also now available from Phuket and provide a speedy and convenient, although more expensive, alternative to the boat.