Koh Phi Phi is the name given to a small archipelago of paradisiacal islands in the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea, between Krabi province on the mainland and the island of Phuket.
The unparalleled beauty of Koh Phi Phi Don, the largest island, has made it the backdrop of many a movie, but this heavenly island jewel is now on the cusp of overdevelopment thanks to the hordes of party-loving tourists that descend on it every year.
The smaller sister island of Koh Phi Phi Leh is uninhabited, and is truly a tropical Eden. Having said that, the island plays host to plenty of boat tours being as it is home to Maya Bay — the famous beach from the 1999 Danny Boyle film The Beach.
But despite the tourists and the threat of overdevelopment, Koh Phi Phi is still a worthy destination for your travels, being as it caters so well to backpackers, adventurers, party goers, nature lovers and everything in between.
Let’s find out more….
- 1 Koh Phi Phi Weather
- 2 How to Get to Koh Phi Phi
- 3 Things to Do in Koh Phi Phi
- 4 Koh Phi Phi Hotels
Koh Phi Phi Weather
Koh Phi Phi enjoys blissful average year round temperatures from between 24°C and 32°C.
This is a tropical island with a monsoon climate, however, and the monsoon rains start in May and continue into November.
But don’t let that put you off, as the rain storms are mostly short and sharp, and offer a welcome respite from the scorching temperatures.
September and October are the rainiest months, and during this time you should expect more frequent heavy downpours.
The hottest and most humid time of the year to visit Koh Phi Phi is from April to May, when temperatures reach high into the 30s.
June through to August is a popular time to visit, as the weather is good with only a little rain and there are fewer tourists, but the best time to visit Koh Phi Phi is from November to March, when the humidity drops and temperatures average a balmy average of 28°C.
How to Get to Koh Phi Phi
Phuket to Koh Phi Phi
The route from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi is one well travelled by tourists, and requires a pleasant boat trip out across the ocean.
Ferries and speedboats leave from Rassada Pier in Phuket Town.
The most popular choice is to take the ferry from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi — they’re comfortable, with air conditioning and an open deck, and they arrive at Tonsai Pier on Koh Phi Phi after a 1.5 to 2 hour journey.
There are 4 daily departures from Phuket, from 8:30 am to 3 pm, and tickets are well priced starting at 350 THB.
Making the journey by speedboat will set you back a lot more with tickets starting at 1000 THB, but there is the advantage of a faster journey time of only 1 hour and greater flexibility of drop off points.
Krabi to Koh Phi Phi
As with Phuket, the journey between Krabi and Koh Phi Phi is made by ferry, which departs from Klong Jirad Pier just south of Krabi Town.
The ferry journey is a little quicker than from Phuket, taking only an hour and a half to 1 hour 45 minutes, with prices starting at 350 THB.
There are 4 departures a day starting at 9 am, with the last departure at 3 pm.
Bangkok to Koh Phi Phi
If you’re making the journey to Koh Phi Phi from Bangkok, you’ll need to get to either Phuket or Krabi, and then take the ferry across to Koh Phi Phi as detailed above.
Both Phuket and Krabi have airports, and it’s possible to fly directly into both from Bangkok as there are multiple daily flights provided by Thai Airlines, Nok Air, Thai Airways and Air Asia amongst others.
Flight time is around an hour and 20 minutes, and low cost tickets are available for as little as 450 THB upwards.
From Krabi it takes approximately 35 minutes to get to Klong Jirad Pier by minibus or taxi, and you can get to Rassada Pier from Phuket airport in around 50 minutes, from where you can catch your ongoing ferry to Koh Phi Phi.
Things to Do in Koh Phi Phi
Made infamous thanks to Danny Boyle’s The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, being filmed here, Maya Bay occupies a magnificent position protected by towering limestone cliffs which shelter the bay’s several white sand beaches — the largest of which stretches 200 metres alongside the azure waters which harbour a glorious coral reef bursting with colourful marine life.
Situated on the west coast of Koh Phi Phi Leh, Koh Phi Phi Don’s smaller sibling island, there’s plenty to do in Maya Bay — relax, snorkel, swim, sea kayak, dive, or just enjoy the stunning scenery — but you won’t find much in the way of shops or other entertainments.
The bay can get very crowded with tour boats in high season, so it’s worth coming early in the morning or later in the day if you prefer a more peaceful visit.
Although it might be another seriously good snorkelling spot, Monkey Beach in Yong Kasem Bay just south west of Tonsai Bay on Koh Phi Phi Don is more famous for its cheeky primate inhabitants.
This stunning hidden jungle fringed bay with sugary sand beach is where the wild macaques from the forest come to play, swim in the sea, and be fed by tourists.
The monkeys may be wild, but they are tame enough to take food from your hand and clamber all over you – making for some great photo ops.
Hire a sea kayak to reach the bay, or take a long-tail boat from near Tonsai Pier.
Roughly 3 miles boat ride from the northern tip of Koh Phi Phi Don (approximately 40 to 60 minutes by longtail boat from Tonsai village), Bamboo Island is a tiny, flat island making up part of the Phi Phi archipelago.
Flat and covered with pristine white sand and lush vegetation, Bamboo Island is a pretty place to come and escape the crowds.
Camping tents can be rented on the beach, and there is a small bar serving drinks and snacks — but other than that Bamboo Beach is truly peaceful.
The island boasts some great snorkelling opportunities, with a coral just just 50 metres out to sea.
Ao Lo Dalam
A big hit with backpackers, scenic Ao Lo Dalam Beach is hugely popular and can get very crowded during high season.
One of the reasons for its popularity is its proximity to Tonsai town, as well as the incredible snow white beaches and sensational limestone formations.
What this beach is most famous for however is its nightlife. As soon as 7 pm rolls around Ao Lo Dalam turns into party central, with beach bars blasting out tunes, uber impressive fire shows, buckets of booze and dancing on the sand way into the night.
A curious treasure hidden away on the north east side of Koh Phi Phi Leh, the mysterious Viking Caves are decorated with 400 year old paintings by ships crews seeking shelter from storms.
What makes these caves even more compelling is the immense swift population that nest here.
Local workers risk their lives by clambering up precarious bamboo scaffolding to reach the swifts’ nests which are the primary ingredient for the Chinese delicacy Bird’s Nest Soup.
It takes about it takes 30 minutes to get to the caves by long-tail boat from Tonsai Bay, and many tour operators offer island hopping trips that include a visit here as part of the tour.
These tiny islands a mile south of Koh Phi Phi Leh are rocky limestone towers jutting out of the sea toward the heavens.
But a visit here is not so much about the islands themselves, but the amazing diving experiences the waters surrounding them have to offer.
Fantastic walls and reefs descend down to 28 meters deep, and they are teeming with all manner of marine life including octopus, sting rays, nudibranchs, turtles, barracudas, colourful corals, and several shark species such as leopard shark and black fin shark.
Whatever your level of diving experience, the Bida Islands have something memorable to offer.
Just 3 miles off the northern tip of Koh Phi Phi Don lies the remote Mosquito Island.
This uninhabited island boasts two peaceful beaches, but due to the swarms of mosquitoes that descend on the island as the sun goes down they’re not so popular with sun seekers.
What makes Mosquito Island so famous are the magnificent soft coral reefs surrounding it which swarm with numerous vibrantly coloured fish, giant clams, and even black tip reef sharks.
Approximately 45 to 60 minutes by longtail boat from Tonsai Pier, a snorkelling stop on the reef bordering the island is included in several day tours from Ko Phi Phi.
The buzzing hub of Koh Phi Phi, Tonsai Village has a bohemian vibe.
Here you’ll find everything you need, ATMs, shops selling clothes, food, trinkets and souvenirs, artists’ workshops, pharmacies, tattoo parlours, coffee shops, hotels and guesthouses, and a plethora of bars and restaurants.
Tonsai Village can get super crowded during the late morning to early afternoon due to the hordes of day trippers pitching up here from nearby Phuket and Krabi, but later in the day things tend to calm down – only to burst into life again in the evening as the shops and nightlife areas heat up.
Ao Pileh Bay
Lush jungle covered limestone cliffs loom majestically up from the emerald waters of Pi leh Bay lagoon — a jaw dropping natural marvel that looks like something straight out of Avatar.
It can be found in the dip on Koh Phi Phi Leh’s eastern coastline, and the luminous waters are perfect for swimming or sea kayaking and outstanding for snorkelling.
Roughly 30 minutes by long-tail boat from Tonsai Bay, Ao Pi Leh features as a stop off on many island tours.
One of the most beautiful and luxurious beaches of Koh Phi Phi Don, Hat Yao — aka Long Beach — is situated just 30 minutes walk or a 5 minute boat ride from Tonsai Village.
The views out across the turquoise sea to Koh Phi Phi Leh are simply stunning, and the light coloured sand is some of the softest on the island.
This is a lively and popular family friendly beach, with a good selection of beach restaurants and bars with music and fire shows, as well as some beachfront accommodations.
The warm waters are safe for swimming and snorkelling, and some species of (non man eating) shark can often be spotted.
Koh Phi Phi Hotels
Where better to stay on this island paradise than in an equally heavenly hotel?
Here is our round up of the best Koh Phi Phi hotels to suit all tastes and budgets…
Just a short walk from lovely Loh Dalum Bay, the 3 star PP Charlie Beach Resort offers affordable and comfortable, air conditioned accommodations with en suite bathrooms and cable TV.
The resort’s amazing outdoor pool looks out over the mountains and ocean, and the PP Charlie Restaurant serves both delicious Thai and International cuisines, and an excellent buffet breakfast — as well as Mediterranean dishes and barbecue delights — can be enjoyed right next to the beach at the nearby The Media and Rom Mai deli.
PP Charlie Beach Resort can be reached from both Ratchada Pier in Phuket and Klong Ji Rad Pier in Krabi in just 1 and a half hours.
- Outdoor pool
- Restaurant and bar
- Close to nightlife and entertainments
The exclusive beachfront 5 star Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort offers seclusion and tranquillity in 70 acres of coconut palms and tropical gardens for an enchanting island getaway.
The resort’s spacious and secluded tradition Thai style bungalows and 12 private Hillside Pool Villas are stylishly furnished and feature air conditioning, satellite TV, en suite bathrooms, and private balconies.
The Api Restaurant and Bar serves authentic Asian and International cuisine surrounded by spectacular views of Loh Ba Gao Bay, and the Ruan Thai Restaurant offers exceptional authentic Thai cuisine with marvelous views from a lush hillside setting.
If you wish to dine on the beach, the Beach House Grill & Chill features grilled fresh seafood, speciality cocktails and live entertainment.
The resort spa offers a range of treatments to purify your body, calm your mind and re-energise your spirit.
- Private beach
- 5 dining options
- Outdoor infinity pool with bar
- Spa and wellness centre
- Fitness centre
Designed for ultimate peace and relaxation, the contemporary 4 star Phi Phi Cliff Beach Resort just off Tonsai Beach features elegant rooms and suites with wooden floors, air conditioning, balconies with dramatic mountain or sea views, satellite TV, and en suite bathrooms.
Some rooms feature direct access to the resort’s swimming pool from the terrace. Guests at the Phi Phi Cliff Beach Resort benefit from a delectable buffet breakfast.
- Close to nearby amenities and entertainments
- Beachfront location
- Outdoor swimming pool
- Great views
Within a 5 minute stroll of Tonsai Pier and Loh Dalum Beach, this superior 4 star hotel boasts incredible panoramic beach views and pretty gardens.
ChaoKoh Phi Phi Hotel & Resort offers impeccable service, and accommodations are modern, decorated with natural wood, and feature spacious en suite bathrooms, private balconies with splendid views, flat screen TV, and air conditioning.
The hotel restaurant dishes up tasty menus throughout the day, as well as a fresh buffet breakfast.
The pleasant outdoor pool is set in lush green gardens.
- Very convenient location
- Private beach
- Heated outdoor swimming pool
Have you visited Koh Phi Phi yet?