Ko Phi Phi in Krabi Province
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Ko Phi Phi in Krabi Province. Ko Phi Phi (หมู่เกาะพีพี) is a small archipelago of six islands in Krabi Province, Southern Thailand. It is touted to be one of the most beautiful yet easily accessible island groups in the world. While the latter is certainly true, the former is quickly becoming less so. The entire region is technically part of a marine National Park, but the hordes of visitors have taken a toll on the beaches and reefs over the years. All guests are required to be fully barefoot on all of the Phi Phi Islands due to the holy nature of them (and that includes hiking). Any guest who breaks this law is subject to fine or arrest. Guests should not enter the Phi Phi Islands wearing shoes.
The named islands are:
- Ko Phi Phi Don, the largest and only populated island. You will not believe the amount of development this place has undergone, which is almost entirely restricted to the narrow sandbar separating two of the island’s most prominent beaches. Marketed as a tropical island, the flurry of activity around the numerous supermarkets, restaurants, tattoo parlors and ATMs may just surprise you.
- Ko Phi Phi Leh, a smaller island to the south, popularised when parts of the movie “The Beach” were filmed there. Uninhabited apart from bird nest harvesters and a few Maya Bay wardens; expect plenty of tourists during daylight hours, especially in Maya Bay, also known as ‘the beach’. Setting foot here requires a 500 baht entrance fee, which may or may not be included in your tour price.
- Ko Mai Phai (‘Bamboo Island’), a small low-lying islet to the north of Phi Phi Don with a beach and some very limited snorkeling.
- Ko Yung (‘Mosquito Island’) is north of Ko Phi Phi Don. The island has a stone beach in the east and small sandy beaches at the foot of the hills. Patches of rather unhealthy coral may be found off the shore, surrounded a shocking number of sea urchins.
- Bida Nok and Bida Nai, two small adjacent limestone karsts to the south of Phi Phi Leh, with near-vertical cliff walls rising from the sea.
Most of the development of Phi Phi Don is situated in or around Ton Sai village, which is on the low, sandy isthmus that joins the two hilly spurs that comprise the rest of the island. There are also other, quieter resorts on Long Beach, Laem Thong, and at other less accessible areas of the island.
Ko Phi Phi was devastated by the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, when nearly all of the island’s infrastructure was wiped out. Redevelopment has, however, been swift, and services are back with building regulations in place to limit the height of new buildings to preserve the island’s stunning views.
Weather in the region is tropical – there are only two seasons: the hot season from late January to April, and the rainy season from May to December. Temperatures during the year average 25ºC to 32ºC (77ºF to 89.6ºF) and the yearly rainfall averages 2569 mm. Unlike in say, Europe, the rain in this region comes down heavily over short periods.
From archaeological discoveries, it is believed that the area was one of the oldest communities in Thailand dating back to the prehistoric period. It is believed that this province may have taken its name after the meaning of Krabi, which means sword. This may have stemmed from a legend that an ancient sword was unearthed prior to the city’s founding.
The name Phi Phi (pronounced ‘pee pee’) originates from Malay, the original name for the islands was “Pulao Pi ah Pi”. The name refers to the mangrove wood found there.
Ko Phi Phi is considered to be one of the most naturally beautiful islands in the world (in fact, there are six islands in Phi Phi). They lie 50 km southeast of Phuket and are part of Had Nopparattara-Ko Phi Phi National Park which is home to an abundance of corals and amazing marine life. There are limestone mountains with cliffs, caves and long white sandy beaches. The national park covers a total area of 242,437 rai.
Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh are the largest and most well-known islands.
There are two villages on Ko Phi Phi under the administration of the Ao Nang Sub-district, Muang District, Krabi Province.
Ko Phi Phi comprises 6 islands, 2 of them main – Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Le. The islands are surrounded by the Andaman Sea.
Krabi is a melting pot of Buddhists, Thai-Chinese, Muslims and even sea gypsies. The majority of the population in the rural areas is Muslim. Krabi however, does not suffer from any religious tension and the folk live in peace and harmony. Outside of the provincial town, the rural folk speak with a thick southern dialect which is difficult for even other Thais to understand.
With this kind of mixture, Krabi is always celebrating something be it part of Thai Buddhist, Thai-Chinese, or Thai-Islamic tradition. Visitors can also enjoy the annual boat-launching ceremonies of the sea gypsies and various longtail boat races.
The art of batik is practiced by the locals. There are also a lot of Krabi handicrafts, such as pineapple paper.
Tourism on Ko Phi Phi, like the rest of Krabi province, has exploded only very recently. In the early 1990s only the most adventurous travelers visited the island, staying in only the most basic accommodation costing the likes of 50-100 baht a night. Nowadays, however, the place has turned into one of the major destinations for visitors to Thailand. The development however, is still nothing on a par with the likes of Phuket or Ko Samui.
However, presently, budget backpackers can still get a cheap room away from the beach, up the hill a bit.
Ko Phi Phi has plenty of night life, but if that isn’t your cup of tea, then there are lots of really quiet places to chill out and take it easy.
Tonsai Pier, situated in the center of Tonsai Bay, north of of Phi Phi Don. It’s the island’s main pier and the busiest.
To/From Phuket: Ferries leave from Phuket daily at 08:30, 11:00, 13:30 and 15:00 via Rassada Pier or Sea Angel Pier. 1.5-2 hrs. 250-800 baht. Possible to get 300-350 baht one-way tickets as part of a deal with a guest house stay. Official price at Rassada pier is 600 for one way or 1000 for return, so buy in advance or be prepared for some negotiating. Note that one-way tickets from Phi Phi to Phuket are 300-350 baht at Tonsai Pier or 200-250 from quest houses at island. You can get from the Phuket Airport to Rassada Pier by meter taxi for around 500 baht. It’s about a 30 km drive and takes 45 minutes depending on traffic and weather.
From Ao Nang: Ferry leave from Ao Nang once daily at 09:30 via Nopparat Thara Pier. 2 hrs.
From Rai Leh: -Ferry leaves from Rai Leh once daily at 09:45 via Railay Bay. 1.45 hrs. There’s no actual pier, you will transfer by longtail boats to ferry. Same ferry from Ao Nang.
From Krabi Town: Ferries leave from Krabi Town daily at 09:00, 10:30, 13:30, 15:00 and 16:00 via Klong Jilad Pier. 1.3-1.45 hrs. 300-500 baht. 400 baht in December 2014 from PP Family, office right by the pier in town, incl. songthaew to the pier outside town. The normal passenger ferry does not leave from the centre of town anymore, but from a new passenger port (Klong Jilard Pier Tel. 0 7562 0052) about 3 km outside Krabi Town. Free taxi transfer to the pier should be included in the price of your ticket. Many times they’ll take you to a travel agent near the Chao Fah Pier and sell you additional accommodations or services. Only ever buy the ticket you need. They add additional ferries during peak season.
From Ko Lanta: Ferries leave from Ko Lanta daily at 08:00 and 13:00 via Saladan Pier. 1 hrs. 200-350 baht as of January 2015.
There is a 20 baht per person fee required on the pier for “keeping Ko Phi Phi clean”. Unfortunately, there is still plenty of rubbish on the beaches. Tickets can be purchased on-line or on the dock, from tourist offices, most local guest houses and hotels. Prices vary depending on how far into town you walk before buying. Also, not all ferries are of equal quality.
- Andaman Wave Master is the only company that will take you for free to the north of Phi Phi after the stop at TonSai Pier. In April 2007, a ferry operated by Andaman Wave Master caught fire and sank, and all aboard were forced to jump into the sea. Fortunately, nearby vessels were quickly able to rescue all the passengers, and no casualties occurred.
- The Sea Angel ferries are quite nice with big flat screen TVs and refreshments. These are sold on-line as first-class ferries.
- The ferries run by Chao Koh group, particularly the smallest “Pichamon IV” are often overcrowded and appear to be very poorly maintained, which does not inspire confidence, however they are launching a new mega boat beginning of 2010.
- The ferries run by PP Family are larger and seem more suited to the task.
- The ferries run by Phi Phi Cruiser take just over two hours and do not depart on time until packed to the brim, but they include complimentary cookies and instant coffee (if taking the morning crossing). For an additional fee, you can purchase a “VIP ticket” which also includes snorkeling and a buffet lunch on Phi Phi Don.
Other tour vessels visit the island from several Phuket-based resorts, usually on day trips, the price for a speedboat from Rawai Beach was quoted at 15,000 baht return(or one way) for up to 6 people (Dec 6 2007). There are many speedboats operating directly from the beach but it may be best to book the day before as most seem to be on away on trips during the day. Speedboats can also be chartered from other nearby locations, but at a very high price.
By all-inclusive tour
Small Agencies selling all-inclusive day trips from Phuket are all over Patong town, and most everywhere else on Phuket Island. Circa late January 2011 – booked a lengthier “half day” hour tour via speedboat negotiated to 1,400 baht/person (from the pamphlet printed price of 3,000 baht). The tour included 6 different stops, a free buffet lunch on Phi Phi Don, snorkel usage, and minibus transport to and from the Patong Beach hotel. This set-up seems incredibly common, and one should be able to find similar deals sold anywhere on Phuket that tourists frequent. Don’t buy a trip from the back seat of a a taxi from the Airport…
Things to keep in mind:
- The lower end priced speedboat tours (what most people book, including the above description) take approximately 25- 30 passengers per 2-engine speedboat and 30-45 passengers on 3-engine speedboats.
- The higher end tours take up to 18 passengers on 2-engine speedboats.
- Tour desks will tell you anything to get your money. It would be best to contact the actual company directly to check prices/services, though 99.9%+ of tourists go through agencies so…don’t feel too bad for negotiating the typical way. Remember safety wear a life jacket, don’t travel on speedboats if you are pregnant, or have back pains or recurring spinal injury.
Krabi International Airport (KBV) is about 10 km from the city limits, 15 km from the city centre, 40 km from Ao Nang and 23 km from Had Yao. Thai Airways operates daily direct flights to/from Bangkok, likewise Air Asia from Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Bangkok Airways flies direct to/from Krabi and Ko Samui nearly every day of the week and to/from. Nok Air operates daily flights to Krabi from Bangkok (Don Muang).
For more information, contact:
- Thai Airways International Public Company Limited: Tel. 1566, 0 2280 0060, 0 2628 2000, 0 2356 1111, 0 7570 1591 – 93 or visit .
- Krabi International Airport, Tel. 0 7563 6541-2
- Air Asia Airlines: Tel. 0 2515 9999 or visit .
- Nok Air: Tel. 0 2627 2000 or 1318 or visit . It offers daily flight+ferry services from Bangkok to Phi Phi v.v. by flying with Nok Air from Bangkok to Krabi and transferred on a ferry to Phi Phi. This can be booked directly from their website.
- Bangkok Airways 0 2655 5555, 0 2265 5678 .
The international departure tax surcharge is 700 baht but is included in most tickets now; domestic departure tax is included in the price of the flight.
National Car Rental and Budget Car Rental have a branch at the airport; motorcycle taxi rides are available outside the terminal.
Krabi Limousine (tel. +66-75692073) has a desk inside the terminal and provides “limousine taxi” (using large air-conditioned sedans) transport to Krabi for 500 baht; Phuket for 2500 baht. Krabi.com offers taxi and minibus (mini-vans) for less however travellers have to make deposit payment of 200 baht on-line via credit card.
An air-conditioned Airport Bus service started in 2007, fares are 90 baht to Krabi. The bus service meets all incoming flights and serves most outgoing flights (note: it is not possible to catch the first 1-2-go plane in the morning with the new airport bus service) A songthaew to Krabi town is 40 baht from the road outside. Going to the airport they will drop you right at the departure terminal.
Buses from Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal (tel. +66 2 4351199) to Krabi take about 12 hours and depart as follows:
- VIP bus – 07:20 – 1,055 baht
- Note, there is also a VIP overnight bus from Bangkok leaving in the evening. Prices are 1,300-1,400 when booked via an agency.
- First class bus – 19:00 – 680 baht
- Second class bus – 07:30, 19:00, 19:30, 21:00 – 378 baht
Shuttle buses run between Krabi airport and Phuket airport several times a day. There are also regular buses that make the 2 hour run. There are buses to Krabi from every provincial town in the south.
- Proceed along Hwy 4, passing Phetchaburi–Prachuap Khiri Khan–Chumphon–Ranong–Phang Nga, to Krabi. The total distance is 946 km.
- Travel along Hwy 4 onto Hwy 41 at Chumphon via Amphoe Lang Suan and Amphoe Chaiya, Surat Thani. Proceed towards Amphoe Wiang Sa, change to Hwy 4035 for Amphoe Ao Luek, and switch back to Hwy 4 again to Krabi. This route is 814 km.
Proceed along Hwy 402 and Hwy 4. The total distance is 176 km.
Phi Phi officially has no motorised transport, though there are a few motorcycles with truck side-cars, usually used for goods and construction material transport. Transport on land is by foot or bicycle, but in the populated areas of Ton Sai, nowhere is more than about ten minutes’ walk from anywhere else. Long-tail taxi-boats ply between all beaches; on Phi Phi Don, you can also walk to any beach. From Ton Sai to Long Beach, expect to pay 100 baht/person in the afternoon, at least 150 baht at night. To have a complete boat to yourself, expect to pay at least 200 baht.
Wheelbarrows are used to transport goods, including your luggage if you like. Expect free “transport” from the pier to your room, but not necessarily in the opposite direction.
The most common ways to get around on Ko Phi Phi are by foot and by long-tail boat. As with most everything in an area like this, the price for long-tail boats is a negotiation. Hint: Take some foam earplugs for the long-tail boat rides… it’s a fun ride but the engines are loud and after 45 minutes it can get to you. The negotiation for longtail boats is usually done according to where you want to go and how many hours you want the trip to last. As an example, 1200 baht for a 6-hour outing to Ko Phi Phi Le and Tonsai Bay from the Holiday Inn Resort.
It’s also possible to hike through the island – but if you do so. make sure you take the trail that goes through 3 viewpoints (it’s easy to find) – entrance to the first 2 viewpoints is 30 baht and onwards travel to the third viewpoint will cost you another 50 baht, but it’s well worth it (views are very nice) and the trail is good – otherwise smaller trails are very overgrown and hard to climb. And have enough water with you – there’s little wind in a forest, and there’s a lot of heat.
Phi Phi Don
This island is the largest of the 6 Phi Phi islands and consists of two main sections. It is on Ton Sai where the original inhabitants settled and is now the home of the main accommodation area. Phi Phi Don is quite stunning and has earned the title of one of the most fantastic islands in the world. Nowadays though, with development, the beaches have paid the price and so they’re not quite as spectacular as they were in the days of yesteryear. The landscape however, can never be ruined.
- Viewpoint – walk up to the Viewpoint (admission 30 baht for the first 2 view points and an additional 50 baht to access the third viewpoint), 186 m above sea level (a very steep walk of between 10-25 minutes, depending on fitness), to get a breathtaking view of the entire island – particularly at dawn or sunset (bring a torch/flashlight). There is a solitary shop at the top of viewpoint #2 selling chilled drinks (no beer) and basic food items. Do not bring any alcohol with you, as the private land is owed by a muslim family that will not allow alcohol consumption on their land. You will be surprised at how narrow the sand strip is between the two main parts of the island. There are a lot of large boulders here, and you can stretch out on one and soak in the view for some time. If health or lack of time prevents you from reaching the viewpoint, you can check out a view almost as spectacular from Banana Bar, Phi Phi’s only rooftop bar. The great thing is, you can enjoy a tropical cocktail while you drink up the view!
- Monkey Beach – accessible on foot or by renting a canoe, or be lazy and charter a longtail boat. Be careful as the monkeys can sometimes be aggressive. Some tourists reports bite attacks and local hospital’s number one note is about vaccination against monkey rabies. (Note: you should not feed wildlife.)
- Fireshow – there are several highly skilled and entertaining fireshows held nightly in several venues on the island, including at Carlito’s, Apache Bar, Hippies, Carpe Diem, and The Tia and Millie Sunflower Bar on Lohdalum.
- Tsunami Memorial Garden – by the Tia and Millie Sunflower Bar; a beautiful place for quiet contemplation and paying one’s respects to the victims of the recent tragedy.
- Yao Beach Yao Beach, just south of Ton Sai, offers visitors some fantastic views, scenery and coral reefs for snorkelling and scuba diving. This small place is packed out however, with places to stay and so some people do complain that the vicinity has been rather over developed. You can get there either by walking from Ton Sai or taking a long-tail boat.
- Lanti Beach Next door to Yao Beach, Lanti Beach is very similar in many regards with its great scenery and coral reefs. You can get there on foot.
- Hin Khao Beach This beach is extremely quiet and can only be reached on foot.
- Ton Sai Bay (Note this is not the same as Ton Sai near Ao Nang!) Ao Ton Sai is where most of the action is; be it restaurants, bars, hotels or guest houses. Most tourists stay at Ton Sai Bay because of the convenience. Even though it isn’t the most beautiful place on Phi Phi, it is still impressive.
- Laem Tong Laem Thong, located at the very north of the island offers visitors a lovely quiet beach with exhilarating scenery. Accommodation on Laem Thong is aimed at higher spending tourists.
Phi Phi Leh
The second largest of the Phi Phi Islands is extremely beautiful, and pristine, but is uninhabited because it is a national park.
- Phaya Naak Cave Cave with prehistoric paintings and edible-nest swiftlets that can be partially visited.
- Maya Bay Maya Bay has arguably Phi Phi’s most fantastic beach and was the location for the movie The Beach (Leonardo DiCaprio) in 1998. The bay no longer has any coral (dead coral is in abudance), and very few (minnow-sized) fish. There is also a jump spot (~20 m) in one of the creeks behind the beach, and some climbing is possible on the cliff just next to it. You can take a longtail boat to Maya Beach for about 1,500 baht for the whole boat for half a day. It is recommended you arrive at Maya Bay before 08:00, when the place can still be enjoyed in solitude. From 09:00 on, hoards of speedboats with tourists on package tours arrive from Phuket. Another thing to think about when coming to Maya Bay is the time of year. During the high season (Oct-May) you will feel like you are at Disneyland, but during the off season it could be slightly better. Note: Park Rangers have begun enforcement of a National Park entry fee of 100 baht/person. The park police will only attempt to charge you for the “park entrance fee” if you turn up on a longtail boat. The mid-afternoon trip (15:00) is better: you get to catch the sunset as you leave Maya Beach (you can’t see the sunset on the beach).
- Lohsamah Bay Another bay situated on the west coast of the island, and has a U shape form with a large rock in the middle. There is a very small beach and small caves at the end of a very narrow gorge. There is also a hole in the rock accessible from the water only that leads in the gorge behind Maya Bay beach. It is a very short stroll to go from Lohsama Bay to Maya Bay this way, but be careful depending on the tide and waves, since going through the hole can be a bit challenging depending on the level of fitness and could lead to injuries on the rocks below the surface. If you go this way, you will get completely wet (even at low tide) and therefore will need a waterproof bag in order to bring any non-waterproof electronics.
- Yung Island (Mosquito Island) This island just north of Phi Phi Don has a rocky beach, a bit of coral, and lots of sea urchins. Depending on where you are dropped off by your boat, there may be a mild current pulling you out to sea. Since tours in Thailand are more or less “every man for himself” novice swimmers may wish to bring safety equipment (such as a lifejacket) or else avoid this spot entirely.
- Pai Island (Bamboo Island) Not far from Yung Island is Pai Island. On the northern and eastern sides of the island are sandy beaches. There is a swimming/snorkeling area marked off by buoys, but there is very little to see in the water except for bleached coral and the occasional fish. While speedboats drop you directly on the beach, longtails may drop you a few hundred meters further down the shore, after which you will have to hike through a trail lined with garbage, fallen trees, and sand.
Even though the island was struck badly by the tsunami in 2004, the dive sites were almost unaffected and divers are coming back in flocks.
- Ko Bida Nok Besides an abundance of pretty coral, this island is home to plentiful marine life including: leopard sharks, turtles and moray eels. This island is popular with divers.
- Ko Bida Nai Just up from Bida Nok is Bida Nai. Like its sister island, it is a good place for diving with good chance of black tip reef sharks sighting.
- Shark Point (Hin Bida) Shark Point is a marine sanctuary with a reef that comprises of three pinnacles. The largest of which actually breaks the surface appearing as a barren rock outcropping. The reef is home to a delightful abundance of tropical, colorful soft corals and vibrant sea fans that decorate the limestone pinnacles.
- Garang Heng Garang Heng is a small submerged reef just east of Phi Phi Le. It offers healthy reef with anemones, soft corals and abundance of leopard sharks.
- Wang Long This site is well known for its underwater cave systems and is only recommended for experienced divers. The caves tunnel into the rock face in two places and open out into a larger cave where surfacing is possible.
- King Cruiser Wreck A popular site off Ko Phi Phi and Phuket is King Cruiser which claim remnants of a passenger ship which sunk in 1997 after it hit the Anemone reef.
- Anemone reef The Anemone reef is in itself a unique dive site between Koh Phi Phi and Phuket with a massive limestone pinnacle which soars 30 metres from the seabed to just 4 metres beneath the surface. The site is well-known for its abundance of sea anemones that cling to every surface while attracting enormous schools of fish. Different types of fish to be seen include: tropicals, snappers, groupers and colorful clown fish, along with larger game-fish like tuna and barracuda as well as the occasional leopard shark.
- Shark Point Phuket Another submerged reef very close to Anemone reef and often dived together with Anemone Reef and King Cruiser Wreck as part of a 3 dives package from Koh Phi Phi.
- Hin Dot These submerged pinnacles, often called Chimney Rock, are located just to the south of Phi Phi Don. The formation drops to a depth of 30 metres and has several coral shelves for exploration upon your gradual ascent. Nurse sharks can occasionally be found here.
- Loh Samah Bay The bay is popular for night-time divers. It has a sandy bottom with oysters and clams and patches of brain coral for nocturnal reef critters to hide amongst. There is a spectacular 15 m deep canyon just wide enough for single file swimming on the eastern side.
- Hin Pae This is a relatively shallow dive site: 10 to 15 m deep. Its shallow depth offers excellent snorkelling. Its soft and hard coral provide shelter for a rich variety of coral fish. Crabs, lobsters, angelfish, groupers, snappers and surgeon fish are also residents of this area.
- Hin Daeng and Hin Muang From Ko Phi Phi, it is also possible to go diving to Hin Daeng and Hin Muang, world-class diving sites, for around 5,500 baht, see Diving in Thailand.
- Dive shops There are many dive shops in Ton Sai bay, Phi Phi within walking distance of each other, they can organize all diving and accommodation also. Prices are regulated, so expect to pay the same everywhere. A discovery course for beginners is 3,400 baht including two one-hour dives. PADI Open Water course is 13,800 baht, with SSI being 900 baht less. There are a few different trips offered by Phi Phi dive operators, the typical trip is a two tank local dive within the Phi Phi Marine park which will run about 2500 baht, 2000 baht if you bring your own gear. They also do 2-3 tank trips to the King Cruiser wreck with your follow up dives at both Shark Point and Anemone Reef, this trip usually runs between 3,500-4,300 baht depending on the number of dives you do. Further away, Hin Daeng has some of the steepest drops in Thailand (60+ m) as well as being the place you are most likely to see manta rays and whale sharks, and can be a great dive trip, but it only runs if sea conditions are good. Out of the main town there are another couple of dive shops on Long Beach.
- Boat Tours – With the Koh Phi Phi Islands containing six other islands away from the main island of Koh Phi Phi Don there are many beaches to visit such as the Monkey Beach, Maya Bay and Bamboo Island Beach. Also multiple Lagoons and tucked away snorkeling spots. Some boat tours operate with a ferry so you can stay dry while sightseeing the islands.
- Snorkelling – there are two rocks within swimming distance of Long Beach known as “Shark Point” where harmless blacktip reef sharks can be seen. Coral, small giant clams, anemones, and loads of sea urchins can also be spotted. Snorkel trips off Bamboo and Mosquito Island are also sold by many tour groups, but don’t expect to see much compared to Long Beach.
- Yoga Classes – There are excellent yoga classes on offer daily. Keira of Keiritas Yoga  offers classes on Carlito Bars roof-top and in Banyan Villa Gym for people of all levels and experience.
- Rock Climbing – there are opportunities for rock climbing on Ko Phi Phi, and a few climbing shops (e.g.,  or  ) to rent equipment, find a guide, or take lessons. While not as famous as Rai Leh beach (near Ao Nang), nor with as many routes, the climbing is on similar limestone cliffs, and similarly beautiful. The climbing here also tends to be less crowded than at Rai Leh (near Ao Nang). There are about four walls that are used with some frequency. A half day of climbing (3-4 climbs) is 1,000 baht/person, 1-day (2,000 baht) to 3-day (5,500 baht). Courses are also available for various skill levels. All Climbing Tour / Gear Rental Shops appear to have closed down as of June 2016. If this information is wrong, or new gear rental shops open please remove this note.
- Kayaking Phi Phi with its dramatic scenery is an ideal location for kayaking. You can either go it alone or with an organized package. Kayaks can be hired either per hour or per day. The typical rate varies between 200 and 300 THB per hour for a two-man kayak. Rent one just before sunset and paddle out some distance into the bay. Even though you cannot see the actual sunset (the direction of the bay and high cliffs on all sides), the colour changes in the sky, coupled with the gentle rocking of the shimmering water is a delight to experience.
- Cliff Jumping Cliff jumping is fairly new to Ton Sai Bay. There are cliffs from 6 to 16 m that are ideal for cliff jumping due to the depth of water below. Organized tours can be found at Ton Sai. Please note that this is potentially dangerous and can cause injury to people including ear ruptures, and muscle/back injuries. Having said that, as long as you take it easy (not attempt weird flips on your first jump) and follow a simple feet-first technique, it is fairly safe and provides a surge of adrenaline that can only be topped by another, higher leap into the emerald water!
- Spa at Zevola Resort & Spa
- Spa at Phi Phi Island Village, Beach Resort & Spa
- Spa at PP Princess Diving & Spa Resort
- Bird Watching The best time of the year for bird watching has to be from Jan to Apr. Many rare birds are to be seen there: gurneys, finfoots, bigwinged brown kingfishers, egrets, bitterns, herons and more.
- Sailing & Cruising Krabi has plenty of anchorages, usually deserted and all so beautiful. There are many charter sailing boats available and some even offer “join-in” day trips for two or more people. Phi Phi offers a variety of ways for sailing and cruising. Longtails can be hired for sunset tours and island excursions, they can be found on any beach. The Original P.P. Sunset Tour is a big boat with plenty of space for snorkelling and viewing the sunsets. Get information about them at The White.
For a great adventure…visit DragonHeart. Daily sunset and snorkel tours. Tour Phi Phi Leh and cruise into the sunset. Climbing, slacklining, weddings and more! Find them at The Deaf Gecko on Nice Beach. See  or email .
- Fishing Wannabe fishers can catch the likes of marlin, sailfish barracuda, and tuna.
Supplies are brought in by boat, so most things are more expensive than on the mainland. However, there are a few shops that manufacture their goods on the island. Prices for commodities can vary widely between shops.
D’s Books has a location on Ko Phi Phi and many others throughout southern Thailand. It is a well-respected book store.
Most of the items sold here are either made by local fishermen or they are brought to the island from Phuket. Rising commercialization and inflow of tourists throughout the year seems to be a big bonus for these locals. Prices told may exactly not be worth the item, but if you are a good talker you can bargain for a good price.
Rock Climbing Krabi region with its specific landscape is ideal for learning rock climbing, there are lots of different courses for beginners – advanced. The courses available range from just half a day to three whole days in length. All instructors are properly qualified and well-experienced. There are at least ten rock climbing schools in Rai Leh and Ton Sai, and several more on Ko Phi Phi (As of June 2016, all climbing shops/schools on Ko Phi Phi are closed or out of business. Please update this last note if you can verify that any new shops open).
Diving With its crystal clear water, colourful coral and huge diversity of marine life, Phi Phi is a must-go for all those interested in diving. There are courses for anyone, regardless to whether they are near-on experts or complete beginners. Beginner courses are on offer from a range of dive centres, with more advance PADI Open Water courses taking up to three to four days to complete. Koh Phi Phi has excellent visibility with average underwater visibility ranging from 10m to 15m. Local weather, currents and tides can impact visibility.
Kiteboarding Phi Phi island offers excellent conditions for learning kiteboarding. There are beaches on all sides of the island so any wind direction is suitable. There is only one school on the island and they provide IKO beginner courses as well as advanced lessons. Tours are also provided to nearby islands.
Thai Cooking There are a number of places around the island offering Thai Cooking Classes.
In general, Southern Thai food is renowned for its spiciness. Much of the cuisine has its origins in Malay, Indonesian and Indian food. Favourite dishes from the south include Indian-style Muslim curry (massaman), rice noodles in fish curry sauce (Khanom Jeen) and chicken with yellow rice.
Food on Ko Phi Phi is extremely varied, given the diminutive size of the island, but is not as spectacular as it generally is in Thailand, because most ingredients have to be brought in by boat from the mainland. Reasonably priced and tasty seafood is obviously what most tourists long for when visiting a coastal province like Krabi. In this connection, the wing shell (หอยชักตีน) is Krabi’s famous dish and is eaten with a spicy dip. In addition, stirred fried Spotted Babylon (หอยหวาน), which is found in mangrove forests, with chillies and basil, is also famous. This dish is common in Krabi’s restaurants.
- Calamero Resto – The usual suspects are served in this simple yet quality restaurant. A wide selection of breakfast, fresh pasta, pizza, Thai food, sandwiches and more is complemented by fruit shakes, liqueurs and evening cocktails. And the best “fried ice-cream”. All food is clean, good, and reasonably priced.
- Cosmic – Italian restaurant – has two outlets on the island and serves pizza. All pizzas cost 150 baht, all Thai dishes with rice cost 80 baht.
- Little Britain – serves traditional English breakfast with eggs, Heinz baked beans, sausage, bacon, potatoes, mushrooms, black pudding, and English tea.
- Mr. Tee’s – When you come off the ferry, veer slightly left and you find yourself on an alley covered by tarps, with small Thai restaurants. You’ll notice a lot of locals eating in this alley. The second booth on your left is Mr. Tee’s. There’s a signboard showing “Mr. Tee’s” but its facing the other direction. They tend to be forgetful but the food is good, cheap, and spicy. There’s a shop just opposite “Mr. Tee’s”, their food is just as good.
- Only Noodles Pad Thai – Small shack at the end of the lane between Irish Pub and Harmony Travel. Run alone by a friendly lady, and serves only pad Thai, with rice noodles, glass noodles, yellow noodles. 80-90 baht for chicken/shrimp pad Thai.
- Pad Thai Restaurant – Friendly and fun, Pad Thai Restaurant serves great tourist-friendly Thai food behind PP Island Village Resort. Many hotel guests eat better food there each night for 1/3 the price. Hand made spring rolls are excellent as are the garlic pepper fish and fried squid, bought fresh daily from local fishermen. The restaurant is easily accessible from PP Island Village Resort. Exit the rear of the hotel, turn right and walk 50 m to Pad Thai on the left. The restaurant and PP Island Village are also accessible by walking 25 minutes from Laem Tong. The staff can provide for a free motorcycle ride back after dark You can also book diving and snorkelling trips here. Can be quite busy between 19:00-21:00.
- Papaya – one of the first restaurants rebuilt after the tsunami. A small green “shop” restaurant opposite the Reggae Bar and next door to Tiger Bar, run by the enthusiastic and friendly Mr Nod. Don’t let the unprepossessing looks of the restaurant put you off – the food here is incredibly good and very good value. Serves authentic Thai food, hot and spicy as it should be, but the staff gauge the spiciness as percentages, with 100% being “Thai spicy”. Among local expats living on the island, this place may be known as the place to get good cheap Thai food but it’s no longer the cheapest. If you are looking for a personal sized portion with rice at a cheaper price, ask for your food to be “On Rice”. Help yourself to the drinks in the fridge, which will be included on the bill, and check out the cat which lives in there. Note: Papaya opens around 17:00 and, in high season, is packed by 18:00-19:00. Go early if you’re not prepared to wait!
- The Pirate’s House – Great Indian and Western food, but the Thai food is not the greatest. A bit pricey, but nice and clean. Do not go during peak dinner times food will take up to an hour to reach your table. Be careful when you take a seat, it’s very easy to hurt your knees on their heavy and impractical wooden tables.
- Tuk’s BBQ – Located next to Reggae Bar, it’s a street vendor offering a good BBQ, with most items costing 30 baht.
- Pa-Noi Thai food – Located in the middle of Panmanee market. Its hard to miss it with all good rating and comments on their wall. Reasonable price, clean and tasty Tong Yam.
Ton Sai Bay has a variety of night life; something for everyone’s taste. Jazz, blues, and classics can be found playing at the leading hotels. Or, if it’s romance you are after, you and your loved one can relax in one of the beach bars and sip a cocktail under the stars.
If everything is cool, the police usually allow bars to open until about 01:00 in town and 04:00 on the beach.
- Beach Bar – located in the tsunami wastelands and a good choice for those looking to have a quiet drink.
- Breakers – American/Aussie-style pub with huge wide screen LCD screens. Great food, big portions, and an extensive selection of spirits as well as draught beer and cider.
- Blanco Beach Bar – Blanco Dorm room and beach bar. Western kitchen and fantastic views and party atmosphere.
- Carlitos Bar – relaxed drinks on the beach served by amiable staffers. During the winter months this place is full of Scandinavian party-goers. Most of the service staff this time of year is over on extended holiday from Sweden so expect a lot of beautiful tanned blonds to be walking around.
- Carpe Diem – Nice, relaxing beach chill out bar. Staff used to be notoriously bad, but these have recently been replaced with better staff.
- Deaf Gecko – Chilled beach bar on Nice Beach. Great music, fantastic staff, and quiet beach. Fresh fruit shakes, daiquiris, and loads of Leo beer. Open 17:00-01:00 nightly.
- Deco Bar – Excellent bar with chill music located above Phi Phi Scuba Dive Centre on the main road from the pier. Nightly specials & happy hour(s) with 100 baht mixed drinks, 50 baht beers and shisha/water pipes available. Try the spicy Thai mojito. Open 19:00-01:00 nightly.
- Hippies Bar – The original hippies has returned. Near the original location on the Tonsai Bay side, the same staff, great music, cocktails and nightly fire shows!
- Ibiza Bar – one of the best beach dance bars. A live music band, playing classic rock and roll hits, is a great feature as well. Don’t miss the fire shows every night and great dancing and fun games.
- Mojito Bar – great cocktail bar with fantastic views and the friendliest staff. At Viewpoint Resort.
- Reggae Bar – popular place that organizes mock muay Thai fights most nights. If you are there at the right time you can even join in. They invite tourists, usually drunk, to get into the ring geared up and to beat on each other for a few rounds for a couple of free buckets.
- Rolling Stoned Bar – Great rock music with a live band during high season and at other times of the year. They also have four pool tables and is a one of the more popular bars on the island.
- Sports Bar (สปอร์ตซ บาร์) – Small English-style bar with a pool table and good pub food. For some great English-style meat pies Sports Bar is the place.
- Stockhome Syndrome bar located in the centre of town is a popular spot for all tourists, hosting the best music, beer pong tables, pool table and great drink offers on TWO floors, a great way to start your nights!!
- Tia and Millie Sunflower Bar – on Lohdalum Bay, a nautically-themed beach bar with and “ark” and longtail-bar, pool table, and laid-back beach seating. A great place to watch the often spectacular sunsets.
- Woody’s Bar is just a liquor store, but they have a few tables out front. Its close to Apache. The staff are funny, and the Beatles music is often playing. Nice place to get a 180 baht bucket to walk around on the beach with.
Accommodation is relatively expensive. Doubles range from 400 baht (fan only, with AC it starts at 600 baht) up into the thousands the closer you get to the beach front. If you are on a budget expect to work hard to find a decent price for a private room. Dorm rooms can be found for around 250-300 baht (AC included, shared shower and washroom). If you get really desperate, a couple of places rent out tents for about 200–300 baht. One thing to note, prices are double during the high season which runs from Oct-Nov until May. Other times of year you can find relatively cheap accommodation in the 200-300 baht range.
To have the best choice of accommodation, arrive in Phi Phi just before the Full Moon Party, when most people will be on Ko Pha Ngan. Since a lot of people move from Pha Ngan to Phi Phi after the party, accommodation may be very hard to find on Phi Phi around this time. It is not uncommon to see people arrive on the morning ferry only to leave on the afternoon one because they have been unsuccessful in finding accommodation.
Backpackers need only to look further east on the main street for relatively cheap accommodation. Certain guest houses have dorms, and some have reputations for being good sources of camaraderie and parties. Compare all the dorms. All are different.
- Blanco Dorm Room, . Cheap and clean dorm rooms directly on the beach. 3 styles to choose from. Restaurant and beach bar edit
- Chaokoh Phi Phi Lodge Resort, situated on Ton Sai Bay just ten minutes by walking to the pier. Nice with both fan and air-conditioned rooms near the beach for 1,200-3,500 baht.
- Holiday Inn Resort, . A great place to get away for couples and families. It is expensive by Thai standards. There are no clubs or bars in the area, and to get to any clubs or bars is by a 45 minute longtail boat ride. There are 4 resorts clustered on one beach. The cost in 2009 was USD$60/night garden bungalows, 3,000 baht sea view, USD$140/night beach front. Food at the resort is expensive, but there are two independent restaurants nearby. On the long-tail boat journey back from visiting Ko Phi Phi Leh it’s recommended to stop at Ton Sai Bay for provisions as it’s 1/3rd the price. edit
- Kinnaree House, . Rooms with private bathroom, twin or double bed for 1,000-2,000 baht. At the centre of Ko Phi Phi.
- Long Beach Resort a hotel with backpacker dorms located within the resort.
- Oasis Guest house. Nice fan rooms with clean shared bathrooms for 500 baht. Close to bars/restaurants but the noise doesn’t make it to the rooms. Prices are simple, no negotiating, but good prices on rooms, tour packages, and travel to mainland. 500 baht. edit
- Phi Phi Andaman Legacy located on Ton Sai Bay and after guests get off the boat, about 7-10 minutes by walk straight on the beach side. Price ranges between 2,000-5,000 baht.
- PP Banyan Villa, situated on Ton Sai beach, 200 m from the main pier. Price: 2,000-5,200 baht including breakfast.
- PP Casita, situated in Loh Dalum 5 minutes by walking to the beach and 10 minutes from Ton Sai. Room rate are 1,500-4,000 baht.
- PP Charlie Beach Resort, situated on Loh Dalum Bay, Phi Phi Don. Price ranges between 1,500-2,500 baht. 100 m from the market, the Ton Sai pier, banks, and food shops.
- PP Erawan Palms Resort is a luxury beach resort with Thai island style accommodation, located on Leamtong Beach (cape of God), the northernmost beach on Phi Phi Don. Price ranges between 3,000-9,000 baht. Swimming pool overlooks the white powdery sand beach and emerald blue ocean.
- Phi Phi Hill Resort Long Beach (Had Yao) Great budget bungalows. As the name suggests, expect to take plenty of stairs to and from the beach (though there is a pulley system for your luggage). Sunrise bungalows 700-750 baht (fan) and Sunset bungalows 1,200-2,000 baht (fan or air-con, with breakfast). [email protected]
- PP Island Cabana, Luxury hotel in Tonsai Bay, prime location closest to the main pier with spacious and large swimming pool. Price ranges between 2,800-20,000 baht.
- PP Island Resort, . A good place for honeymooners. Expensive. Some staff don’t speak English. starting from 4,700 baht. edit
- Phi Phi Lagoon Resort, (15 min by longtail from Ton Sai Bay to Loh Bagao or Loh Lana Bay), ☎ +66 75 623239 +66 84 8898225([email protected]), . checkin: early; checkout: late. Remoteness personified. This is one of the best get-away family bungalow complexes on the island. It is not even easy to get there as you have to take a taxi boat after you arrive at the main pier. Amid coconut orchards, the resort offers comfortable but simple accommodation. No discos or loud music at night. The air conditioned bungalows will make your Robinson Crusoe on Pandora experience worthwhile. Daily fishing trips and BBQ parties with he owner of the resort is a special touch. Nearest hotel to the beautiful secluded beach at Nui Bay. 2,500 baht). edit
- Phi Phi Natural Resort situated in Laem Tong, the northernmost of Phi Phi islands. Price ranges between 2,500-8,500 baht. Public ferries from Krabi or Phuket to the resort are available. Accommodation is set amidst lush surroundings and the beach is just a short stroll from your cottage.
- PP Palm Tree situated at the heart of Phi Phi. Luxury, modern hotel with pool access. Price ranges between 4,000-8,500 baht including daily breakfast.
- Phi Phi Rimlay. Very nice air conditioned rooms near the beach for 800 baht. edit
- PP Viewpoint, . Wide variety of rooms from bungalows with fans to air-con with mini-bar, all with awesome views of the bay. Pool, full service dining, two bars, kayak rentals, diving lessons, and a private trail to the viewpoint. Poor food quality and the bill might be higher than listed on menu. edit
- Pongpan House a cheap guest house, located near Loh Dalum beach, the center of Ko Phi Phi. Prices range between 1,000-1,500 baht.
- The Rock Backpacker, ☎ +66 75 601021 ([email protected]). Clean and friendly place and excellent for meeting up with other tourists. Costs are 200 baht dorm beds, 300 baht really tiny singles and a few 500 baht doubles (prices double during high season). edit
- View Garden Resort. Rooms with bathroom, double bed, and shared balcony for 300 baht. edit
- Viking Natures Resort, Viking Beach (15 min walk from town or take a longtail between Maprao and Long Beach), ☎ +66 75 819399 +66 78 5819398, +66 81 9308866 ([email protected]), . Private and shared bungalows with good attention to detail. Safe, clean, and environmentally friendly with spectacular views. edit
At the beaches and some bars some people may offer you to take your photograph with animals, even baby animals, in exchange for money. Please remember that the most likely way (and many times the only way) these babies were acquired were by poachers killing the mothers, or the entire family. Endorsing this practice only leads to more demand, and more killing. Moreover, some of the species used are endangered and protected under Thai law, which makes the possession and abuse of many of these animals illegal.
The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project is a sanctuary for former photo prop and pet gibbons, based in Phuket Island, they often receive Gibbons and report of more gibbons coming from Phi Phi, they have been working hard for the last decade to rehabilitate and reintroduce them into the wild, in the National Park by Bang Pae Waterfall, should you be interested in learning loads of information about these issues, you may visit their Education Centre inside the park.