Phi Phi Island
Located in Krabi Province, Phi Phi is 40km from Krabi and Phuket, approximately 1.5 hours by ferry. The worldwide exposure the island gained in the Hollywood film “The Beach” made what was already a famous holiday island even more popular.
Unfortunately, parts of Phi Phi suffered a lot of damage due to the tsunami and while recovery is well under way, it will take a little more time before many of the businesses and visitors return.
The name Phi Phi actually refers to two islands, Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh. There are six islands in the Phi Phi island group; Phi Phi Don, Phi Phi Leh, Biddah Nok, Biddah Nai, Yung and Pai. These form a total area of about 35 square kilometres. In 1983, they were incorporated into Had Noppharat Thara – Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park.
Phi Phi Don:
All the development is restricted to Phi Phi Don, the centre of which is Ao Ton Sai (Ton Sai bay), which is where the ferry pier is located. Only a couple of hundred yards on the other side of the narrow isthmus is Ao Loh Da Lam (Loh Da Lam bay), a beautiful and peaceful bay. For a really quiet beach there is Hat Yao (Long beach), a south-facing beach near the southern tip of the island.
There are no cars or motorbikes on the island, and the main area around Ton Sai is quite compact making it easy to get around by foot. Trips to more distant beaches can be made by longtail boat. Most resorts have arrangements to transfer their guests from the ferry pier.
Phi Phi Leh:
Phi Phi Ley is quite spectacular. The main beach, Hat Maya, was the location used in the film “The Beach”. Even more impressive, Ao Pileh is very nearly enclosed by the limestone walls of the island’s cliffs, so that the small bay appears almost to be an inland sea. You can’t stay on Phi Phi Ley but the island is easily reached by longtail boat or speedboat from Phi Phi Don. Boats can be chartered from Ton Sai beach.
This small island lies to the north of Phi Phi Don. There is a rocky beach on the east side, and a smaller strand of sand in a fold of the hill. Some really beautiful corals can be found here.
Pai Island lies not far from Yung Island. The north and east sides of the island have sandy beaches. There is a broad coral reefs which stretches away to the south.
Pida Nai Island and Pida Nok Island:
These are small islands visited mainly by divers for their underwater scenery. Pida Nok Island is very good for both advanced and beginners with both shallow and deep dive sites.
Book a Phi Phi Island Tour
Many of the bungalows and guesthouses were destroyed by the tsunami and have not been rebuilt. There are bungalows along Hat Yao and other beaches, as well as the larger hotels in the north of the island that were unaffected.
For more information see Phi Phi hotels
The main attraction of the Phi Phi islands is their warm crystal clear water. Most daytime activities involve being on or in the water. If you don’t feel like getting wet, there are fishing trips and rock-climbing. Of course you could just laze by the beach.
The area attracts a large number of divers and plenty of dive centres can be found on Phi Phi Don. For the beginner, they all offer PADI Open Water Diver courses. This is a four-day course in which the morning of the first two days are spent practicing theory on the beach. The last two days will be spent diving around Phi Phi Island.
For more information see scuba diving
Snorkeling can be great fun and is actually better for viewing fish than scuba diving, as the bubbles from scuba divers can frighten the fish away. The options for snorkelling around Phi Phi are almost limitless. Try cave snorkelling on Phi Phi Leh or going on a shark watch. This is not as dangerous as it may sound, the sharks found in the waters around Phi Phi are small and are more scared of humans than we are of them.
Full-day and half-day snorkelling trips can be arranged at dive shops and tour operators around the Ton Sai area. Many island tours will usually include stops at popular reefs for an opportunity to view the coral.
There are a few kayaking trip operators who run kayak tours. Typically, these involve exploring places such as around Koh Nok, at the eastern end of Ao Ton Sai, Phi Phi Ley and other nearby islands such as Khai Island. Trips can be for a full-day and will have lunch and some snorkelling thrown in as well. Usually you will be paddled around by a guide, though if you feel up to it, there are self-paddle tours as well.
Travelling to Phi Phi
Phi Phi Island is reached by a daily scheduled passenger ferry service. The ferries depart from Phuket Pier at 08:00 (all year round) and 13:30 (from November to April only). Journey time is approximately 90 minutes. Return tickets can be purchased for about 1,300 Baht. Tickets can be used for any return trip and are not tied to a specific date, so you can be flexible with your plans. If you book your ticket from a local travel agent, the price will include transfer to the pier.
If you want to get there faster, a round-trip by speedboat will cost about 1,800 Baht per person.
Boats depart from Krabi Town and Ao Nang beach around 4 times daily (subject to change). The journey takes about 90 minutes depending on weather conditions. During the low season (May – October) departures may be delayed due to weather conditions.
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