Are you traveling to Phi Phi Island? Discover all the wonders of Phi Phi Island and the best tourist attractions to visit in Phi Phi Island.
he beauty and topography the Phi Phi islands is truly overwhelming. Anyone staying overnight here should definitely tour of the islands’ many interesting and sometimes amazing sights. By boat is the only way to see the beautiful little inlets and beaches, the spectacular rock walls, the huge cave and varied places here.
Longtail boat is the standard day tour vessel here, and boat drivers know all the top places. Be sure to negotiate time, locations and price with a clear understanding on both sides. And it’s smart to set a price per hour for additional time beyond the expected tour. It is very, very easy to get absorbed by Phi Phi’s amazing places and return beyond the expected hour. Take swimming and snorkeling gear, and a packed meal – there are many places for a memorable picnic lunch stop.
Speedboats are also available, and while these can do everything faster, they detract from the atmosphere and fun. Some resorts also provide boats and set tours for their guests.
Below we suggest some of the more interesting places worth visiting by boat. If a printed copy of the images were shown to a boat driver in Phi Phi Island, they would surely recognize most of these locations.
Many visitors make a day trip to Phi Phi from Phuket – something that is definitely worth doing, even if not as good as coming here for a night or two. There are several large ferries offering day trips to Phi Phi Island, however, by far the best way is to rent your own small, fast boat for the day and make the trip with friends or family, reserving the freedom to go where and when you like. For this see our page on rent longtail boats and speedboats in Phuket.
Phi Phi Island Sunset
Walls of rock shooting up from blue waters are one of the iconic images of Phi Phi Island. Such walls are found all about the islands, with Phi Phi Leh having almost no shore that is not vertical. However, the most dramatic of these walls are those in the mid-West of Phi Phi Don, the larger, northern island. This section – seen in our first image here – towers over 300 meters (1,000+ feet) – but some of Phi Phi Leh is even higher. The red and white ochre colors down the rock face make this section especially interesting. The colors come from the dissolving of minerals within the soft limestone.
When this colored wall, which faces directly West, is hit by a red sunset, the walls turn a blazing fiery color. The red seen in our image here is the real thing on such a day, moments before sunset.
Phi Phi Islands Neighbour Island Beaches
There are several small islands surrounding Phi Phi Island, though many of them are small and rocky, rising from the seas like Phi Phi Leh – vertically. One cannot land, nor do anything here except boat or swim around them, and perhaps include them in photos.
Two especially attractive islands lie a few kilometers off the northern tip of Phi Phi Don, Koh Mai Pai (Bamboo Is) and Koh Yung (Mosquito Island). Koh Mai Pai is a popular destination in the high season, with quite a few longtail boats coming and going from its beautiful east coast beach. Vendors are often found on the beach with cold drinks and snacks, though there are no buildings here. This is part of the National Park. There is excellent snorkeling over a large coral reef just to the south of this island, with many visitors snorkeling then relaxing on the beach here.
Koh Yung has quite a dramatic shape, but it has only one rough, coral beach on the east side that is rough and hard to relax on. But the snorkeling along the fringing reefs is good, with the water around these two islands virtually always excellent in clarity. Some people fish for a small, tasty variety of squid near there islands.
Phi Phi Island Hidden Beaches in Lagoons
The Phi Phi islands are built of limestone layers over 300 meters thick, all the deposits of an ancient tropical ocean. The rock is thus relatively soft in places, worn away easily by the forces of sun, wind, and water. Pockets within the rocky mountains that have higher concentrations of limestone dissolve faster, eventually collapsing and creating sinkholes. Water has further eroded those close to the ocean, turning some into interesting little coves, often with beaches deep inside.
Phi Phi Don has a particularly deep cove with the beach on the mid-west coast, close to the colored walls – seen in one of our images here. It is Phi Phi Leh, however, that has so many such inlets that the island’s shape is contoured by them. On the West is famous Maya Bay, where one will always find boats and tourists. On the East is another large and beautiful one with a shallow, sandy entrance and a deeper pool at the back that is great for taking a swim.
Those staying overnight in Phi Phi can avoid the midday tourist masses in places like Maya Bay by visiting in the morning before 10 AM, or perhaps best, in the afternoon be starting about 3:00 PM. By this time the day-trip boats have left, the sun is cooler and the environment grows balmy as sunset approaches. And one can take in the sunset under the red walls of Phi Phi Don.
A Variety Of Beaches in Phi Phi Island
Beaches are a rare find on Phi Phi Leh. Only where the rock walls are broken by bays can sand accumulate and build a beach – just two or three of them here. Yet one of those, the small beach in Maya Bay is such a classic beauty that the Hollywood movie ‘The Beach’ used it as their main ‘paradise beach’ location.
The larger Phi Phi Don has a lot of flatter land with beaches on all coastlines save that facing West. And its beaches vary greatly. We have shown the withering beauty Ton Sai Beach. Facing Ton Sai along the easterly coast of the bay we find several small beaches of great beauty. The ‘back beach’ at Ton Sai, Loh Dalum, holds an entirely different beauty, also shared by many people each day through the high season.
The East coast has two large beaches, one in a deep bay, with the other, Laem Thong Beach on the east coast in the north, being entirely straight. Any couple seeking a beach to themselves for the day can often do that with a boat. Head to the east coast, where there is a series of tiny but pretty stretches of sand tight up against the hillside. Three of these have bungalows, while a couple of others are usually empty.
The other beaches of note are those on Bamboo Island to the north of Laem Thong.
Phi Phi Viewpoint
Koh Phi Phi Don has an unusual shape – like an ‘H’ – with its main village built on the horizontal bar, a 100m flat strip of sand stuck between Dalum Bay to the north and Tonsai Bay to the south. The two vertical bars of the H are mountainous and covered with jungle. Phi Phi Viewpoint is located to the east of the flat strip of land and overlooks the village and the two bays. It is a picture-postcard setting sure to impress friends back home! Situated at an altitude of 186m, it roughly takes between 20 and 40 minutes to get there on a well-trodden and paved path. Photographers should consider climbing up there right before lunchtime to benefit from the best lighting (the Phi Phi Viewpoint faces the sun in the afternoon). There’s a small store selling drinks and snacks at the top.
Maya Beach Thailand
Maya Beach Thailand is a stunningly beautiful bay that’s sheltered by 100-metre high cliffs on three sides. Inside the bay there are several beaches, most are small and some only exist at low tide. The main one is around 200 meters long with silky soft white sand, underwater colorful coral and exotic fish in exceptionally clear water; the whole bay is one big reef.
Maya Beach Thailand has become the main tourist attraction of Phi Phi Island since The Beach was filmed here in 1999. It was always very popular before the film but now people around the world who haven’t even heard of Phi Phi Island have certainly heard of Maya Beach Thailand. The best time to visit Maya Bay is between November and April during the high season when seas are calm and access to the bay is easy. Rough seas from May to October may hinder access but rarely deny entry.
The bad news; as it’s so beautiful and so well known many boats are required to ferry all the visitors in and out. On any given day at any time, there will be 30 + speedboats and longtail boats on the beach, with large ferry boats carrying hundreds of snorkelers and sightseers moored in deeper water.
Beautiful it is secluded it isn’t – thousands of people visit each day. Try to visit early in the morning or after 17:00 and you’ll avoid the crowds. Please note that if you enter the bay on your own there is a National Park entry fee of 400 baht. This cost is included in the price of a tour.