Regarded by travelers from all walks of life as being among the most beautiful tropical islands of the world, Phi Phi Islands have become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand. In addition, the islands are famous as the location where the movie “The Beach” featuring Leonardo Di Caprio was shot. The islands, together with the nearby Noppharat
Thara Beach, a total area of 390 square kilometers, were recently established as a national park.
Phi Phi Islands are located just 40 kilometers away from both Krabi and Phuket. Thus, despite the fact that both Noppharat Thara Beach and Phi Phi administratively are a part of Krabi Province, most tourists think that Koh Phi Phi is part of Phuket Province.
The islands and the coastal hills are composed mainly of limestone and are an extension of the limestone mountain range in Phang-Nga Province. The main characteristics of these mountains and islands are their steep cliffs, large caves and dwarf trees growing out of the rock crevices, like those in Phang-Nga Bay.
Interesting Attractions of Mu Koh Phi Phi:
The island group is composed of two rocky, tree-covered islets Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Le.
Koh Phi Phi Don – covers an area of 28 square kilometres. Outstanding attractions are the twin bays with curving white sandy beaches of Ao Ton Sai and Ao Lo Da Lam. Koh Phi Phi Pier, accommodation, and restaurants are situated at Ao Ton Sai. Visitors can walk from this bay uphill to the scenic spot where the visibility of the twin bays is generally excellent. Beside Ao Ton Sai, there are also other attractive beaches and bays around the island. A number of accommodation is available at Hat Laem Hin, Hat Yao, and Ao Lo Bakao. At the northern end of the island is Laem Tong, renowned for its underwater natural beauty with lodging available. A huddle of fisherman’s huts (15 – 20 families) is located here. Most of them have previously migrated from Ko Li Pe of Tarutao National Park, Satun province. A day trip by boat or snorkelling spectacular coral shallows around. Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Le is recommended.
Koh Phi Phi Le– Covering an area of only 6.6 square kilometres, this islet is surrounded by limestone mountains and sheer cliffs plunging hundreds of metres to the sea. The sea is 20 metres deep and the deepest point in the south of the island is around 34 metres. Koh Phi Phi Le offers superb scenic bays such as Ao Pi Le, Ao Maya, and Ao Lo Sa Ma. In the northeast of the island is a large cave called Tham Viking. The cave was renamed Tham Phaya Nak or Naga Serpent Cave by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej because of a stone resembling the mythical creature, which His Majesty saw when he paid a visit here in 1972. The cave is considered sacred to locals who come here to collect swallow nests. Inside the eastern and southern parts of the cave are ancient rock paintings of elephants and various types of boats, including a European sailboat, an Arabian sailboat, a sampan, a Chinese junk, a waterwheel sailing boat, and a steamboat. It is believed the paintings were the works of sea merchants or pirates because the study of west-to-east ship routes indicates that this area may have been a stopover for boats seeking shelter from storms, transferring cargo or making repairs.
Ao Maya and Ao Lo Sama – Phi Phi Islands scenic coves are favorite snorkeling places while the sea around the islands, especially the southern part, which are deep and full of coral formations are popular diving spots. With its emerald crystal sea, secluded beaches, mountain cliffs, colorful coral reefs and undersea life, Phi Phi is a paradise in the Andaman Sea. The best time to visit Phi Phi Islands is from November to April, when the sea is calm.
Koh Yung– An island to the north of Koh Phi Phi Don, has a stone beach on the east and small sandy beaches amid valleys. In addition, the island is teeming with diverse colorful coral reefs. Koh Phai, another island to the north of Koh Phi Phi Don and not far from Koh Yung, has spectacular beaches in the north and east of the island. The bank of coral reefs comprised mainly of antler corals stretches from the north to the south of the island.
Koh Mai Phai – Koh Mai Phai is north of Koh Phi Phi Don and not far from Koh Yung. Marvellous beaches are in the north and east of the island. The bank of coral reefs with staghorn corals, in particular, stretches from north to south of the island.
How to Get to Koh Phi Phi
It is accessible from both Krabi and Phuket. From Krabi, take the Song Thaeo service (12 baht) from the provincial town of Krabi to Pak Khlong Chilat Pier. From there, ferries depart for Koh Phi Phi twice daily at 10.00 a.m. and 3.00 p.m. On return, the ferries leave Koh Phi Phi at 9.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. The 2-hour trip costs 350 baht per person. For further details, contact Phi Phi family Co., Ltd., Tel. 0 7561 2463. Chao Ko Co., Ltd., Tel. 0 7563 1823. Andaman Wave Master Co., Ltd., offers a ferry service from Pak Khlong Chilat Pier twice daily at 10.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. (200 baht). For further details, contact A D V Co., Ltd., on Khao San Road, Tel. 0 2281 1463 – 5 or Andaman Wave Master Co., Ltd., Tel. 0 7563 0471.
Alternatively, a one-day trip on a speedboat is available at Ao Nang. Departure time is 9.00 a.m. On return, it reaches Ao Nang at 5.00 p.m. Contact Ao Nang Travel and Tour Co., Ltd. for more information, Tel. 0 7563 7152 – 3. The trip costs 1,200 baht per person with lunch included.
Boat fares are subject to change without notice.
Admission to Phi Phi Islands and other attractions in the Hat Noppharat Thara – Mu ko Phi Phi National Park : Adult 400 baht, Child 200 baht
Visitors travelling from Phuket can contact tour operators in Phuket’s provincial city for a one-day trip to Ko Phi Phi (boat fares are subject to change without notice, please contact tour operators directly for more details.)
On arrival to Ao Ton Sai in Koh Phi Phi Don, trips to the surrounding islands can be made in a long-tail boat.