OUR GUIDE TO THE PHI PHI ISLANDS OF THAILAND
Out in the Andaman Sea of the Indian Ocean off the coast of Phuket, lie the gorgeously massive limestone cliffs and emerald blue waters of the Phi Phi Islands. The Phi Phi Islands of Thailand are some of the world’s most remarkable that breed a paradise different than anywhere else in the world. Traveling by speed boat or ferry from Phuket Town you can access the stunning islands in just hours. Off the grid and out in the middle of the sea, you will have a secluded escape with so many things to see and do. This is our ultimate guide to the Phi Phi Islands.
KO PHI PHI DON
Travel by ferry or speedboat from Rassada Pier in Phuket-Town, it is recommended to show up early to get a good seat and to avoid missing it.
We learned the hard way that missing a ferry isn’t a good place to be, they won’t let you on a different one and will charge you a premium price for a speedboat ticket last minute.
Traveling by ferry will cost roughly $25 USD one way while traveling by speedboat will be upwards of $100-150 USD one way. The entire trip will take around 2 hours to the pier on Ko Phi Phi Don.
WHERE TO STAY
On Ko Phi Phi you will have your choice of luxurious spa resorts, youthful backpacker huts, Airbnb bungalows, or a typical hotel. The options are endless and cater to whatever type of budget and style you have.
90% of the accommodation options on Ko Phi Phi are under $100 USD per night, some even under $10 per night. These budget-friendly resorts are made for the island’s main occupants, the backpackers.
Almost all accommodation comes with an oceanfront view and will have you close to all of the island’s main attractions, you really can’t go wrong.
Recommended resorts and hotels:
- Phi Phi Cliff Beach Resort
- Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort
- Villa 360
- PP Blue Sky Resort
- Chaokoh Phi Phi Hotel & Resort
- Phi Phi The Beach Resort
- Phi Phi Relax Beach Resort
- The Holiday Inn Resort Phi Phi Islands
Recommended accommodation for backpackers:
- Hangover Hostel
- Phi Phi Don Chukit Resort
- Ibiza House Pool Party
PHI PHI ISLAND TO DO’S
OPEN AIR MARKETS
On this island, you will never run out of things to do and will spend most of your time here. I can’t even explain to you what it looks like. Imagine a giant outdoor shopping center in the middle of the ocean on an island. Pretty wild.
The open-air style markets wind through the entire island featuring souvenir shops, tattoo parlors, bars, restaurants, spas and everything in between. You will find yourself all over the island if you follow these paths, and I totally recommend it.
While you’re here, visit the numerous beaches hosting incredible views and a great way to cool off from the heavy Thai sun. The famous Long Beach is a top destination in the Phi Phi Islands and is a must-do on our list.
At low tide, you can sit in the water and watch the sun go down over the limestone cliffs. Or you can even walk out to the open water past the cliffs when the water low enough.
Phi Phi is known for its incredible snorkeling and diving opportunities. You will have the chance to swim with sharks, dive the reefs or snorkel with the colorful fish.
To experience the best of snorkeling in Thailand book a day tour at Tonsai Pier that includes snorkeling. This tour will take you to the top snorkeling spots in the islands, keep reading to learn more about them.
PHI PHI VIEWPOINT
Another famous item on Phi Phi Island is the Phi Phi viewpoint. Getting to this highly recommended spot is a short 30 min, 186m climb to the top of a hill that looks over Tonsai Village and Loh Dalum. The views don’t stop there, out over the cliffs you will be able to see Phi Phi Leh and a great stretch of the Indian Ocean.
It is recommended to go in the morning where the sun hits the water perfectly, enabling a view of the brightest blue water. We also did the hike at sunset which made for a great viewing spot with a glass of wine.
When you reach the top there will be a shack serving up cold drinks, snacks, and ice cream.
OUR BACKPACKERS TO DO LIST
- Book a spot on Bob’s Booze Cruise
- Head to Ibiza House Pool Party for a live DJ set and solid drink deals
- Sign up for a beer pong tournament at Stockholm Syndrome
- Hang out at Nice Beach where all the oceanfront bars and nightclubs can be found
WHERE TO EAT
Typically our meals were decided on the fly as we walked around the island, there are restaurants around every corner and most offer similar menus at a similar price. But if you are a foodie and want some of the best recommendations, these were some of our favorites:
The Mango Garden, Ko Phi Phi Don Tripadvisor.com
The Mango Garden
Oasis Bar & Restaurant
Efe Mediterranean Cuisine Restaurant
Phi Phi Bakery
NIGHTLIFE & BARS
Opportunity for nightlife is expansive, every corner you turn will have you stumbling across another bar or restaurant. There will be many to choose from and you will probably catch on quickly as to where the popular spots are but to make it easier here is our list of our favorite nightlife on Ko Phi Phi:
Banana Rooftop Bar
Apache Beach Bar
Dubliner Irish Pub
Sun Flower Beach Bar & Restaurant
Phi Phi Reggae Bar
Carlito’s Beach Bar & Nightclub
Ibiza Beach Club
Stones Bar & Resto
Chill Out Bar
WHAT TO SEE
The sites in the Phi Phi islands are endless and can typically be knocked out in a one-day trip. Most of the long-tail and speed boat tours take you to all the main spots within the islands.
Before booking your tour / boat, make sure you understand everything you are paying for and where your tour takes you. Most of these tour operators only speak Thai, leaving a blurred line of communication. We were told after arriving at our first spot that we had to pay an extra 1000 Baht (about $30 USD) to get off of the boat.
Communicating exactly what you want and what you are paying for is key to having the best experience. On your tour the ride is equally as cool as the spots you are going to. Passing by towering limestone cliffs on the prettiest blue water you’ve ever seen.
Maya Bay is one of the most iconic destinations in the Phi Phi Islands. It is located on Ko Phi Phi Leh island, an uninhabited island, and is recognizable from the famous movie, The Beach.
This gorgeous inlet in the Phi Phi Islands hosts a few dreamy jungled beaches with bright blue water and silky white sand. Unfortunately the incredible beauty draws in thousands of tourists a day making it one of the most highly visited destinations in the islands.
While you’re there you will be able to swim, relax in the sand and hang out in one of the most gorgeous places on earth. You can travel through a jungle to the otherside of the bay where you will find a small shack serving drinks and snacks.
Once you see a wooden structure that stretches over water to the other side you will be able to climb down a net to the water where you will have a chance to snorkel and swim in clear waters.
Located on the southwestern side of Tonsai Bay on Ko Phi Phi is the small, secluded beach famous for its incredible snorkeling and wild monkey inhabitants.
Stretching for 150m you will see the powdery white sand covered with these comical creatures. And don’t be surprised when they want to hangout with you. They are friendly and hilarious to interact with but it is encouraged to exercise caution because of their unpredictable nature.
Here you can hangout with monkeys, swim in the warm waters and snorkel in one of Phi Phi’s top notch snorkeling destinations
PILEH LAGOON OR AO PILEH
Around the corner from Maya Bay, your boat will approach a gorgeous bay that is one of the most attractive sites in the Phi Phi Islands.
It is unlike anywhere else in the islands, with emerald colored waters framed by the towering limestone cliffs. Here you will be fascinated by what you are looking at, and honestly just looking at it could be enough. But you will have the chance to snorkel, swim and float in the stunning bay.
Bamboo Island is a tropical hotspot in the Phi Phi’s. It is considered a more remote and secluded stop on the tour as most tours don’t make the trip up to it. It is a gorgeous island that has 360 beachfront and some of the clearest water in all of Thailand.
On the northeastern side, you will find a shack serving up drinks and snacks.
The island is surrounded by Hin Klang Reef which offers a snorkeling experience unlike anywhere else. Most would describe it as if you were swimming in an aquarium. Be sure to ask your tour guide about doing this one.
Here is a list of some of the other beaches around the Phi Phi Islands that aren’t as popular and considered to be hidden gems:
Phak Nam Bay
Moo Dee Bay