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Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Island Acctractions

Discover the best things to see in Phi Phi Islands; known in Thailand as Koh Phi Phi, they are stunningly beautiful and surely rank as one of the best attractions in southern Thailand. Located 43km west from Krabi coast, this small archipelago consists of six islands: Koh Phi Phi Don, Koh Phi Phi Leh, Koh Bida Nok, Koh Bida Nai, Koh Phai (Bamboo Island), and Koh Young (Mosquito Island); the only inhabited island – and the largest – of the group is Koh Phi Phi Don. Our Top 10 Attractions in Phi Phi below features the most popular sites that Phi Phi has to offer to its visitors. The natural beauty of the area is second to none and provides a great choice of tours and activities to vacationers: it seems that there is always something to see or do in Phi Phi Islands.

1.Phi Phi Ley and Maya Bay

Maya Bay

Koh Phi Phi Leh is the second largest island in the small Phi Phi archipelago. Uninhabited apart by a few rangers established in a small camp belonging to the Hat Nopharat Thara-Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park, the island hosts only one beach situated in Maya Bay that became world-famous after the release in 2000 of a blockbuster movie with Leonardo Di Caprio: The Beach. With clear crystal waters, white sand powder, and lush tropical vegetation, Maya Bay gathers all the postcard clichés in one place; all along high season (from November to April), its international fame attracts a myriad of daily visitors. Despite the crowded feeling, Maya Bay remains a place to see. A small terrace has been built at the far backend of the beach, offering a superb view point to Loh Sama, a small bay renowned for snorkelling. Another cool spot on the northeastern side of Koh Phi Phi Leh is the Viking Cave; featuring ‘ancient’ (no trustable source has given a precise date of their making yet) paintings figuring what seems to be drakkars – hence the cave’s name; the cave is still used nowadays to show tourists how to capture bird’s nests (swifts live in the cave), a great source of income for local fishermen.

Loh Sama Bay in Phi Phi Island

Loh Sama (Sama Bay in Thai) is one of the most famous sites of Koh Phi Phi Leh which, we have to admit, hosts a fair deal of outstanding attractions. Located on the eastern side of the southern tip of the island, it features a small islet in the centre of the bay and a tiny beach at the backside of a small canyon on its northern part. Loh Sama is reputed for its snorkelling and diving opportunities. The famous Maya Bay is separated from it by a limestone cliff, which is pierced by a small hole allowing passage at low tide. A wooden staircase and terrace has been built on the Maya Bay side, offering visitors a great vista over Loh Sama and the islet. Snorkellers can enjoy the shallow crystal-clear waters of the channel formed between Koh Phi Phi Leh and the islet while scuba divers can appreciate wall diving down to 20 metres around the islet itself. Loh Sama is also famous for being a great night-diving spot, with a narrow canyon covered with soft coral and gorgonian sea fans offering spectacular scenery at night thanks to the light reflection in the eyes of hundreds of crustaceans crawling around.

Hire a long-tail boat from Tonsai Pier. It will cost you about 2,000 baht for the whole day and you can discover the most interesting sites around the Phi Phi group of islands.

Pi Leh Bay in Phi Phi Island

Pi Leh Bay is one of the most impressive sites on Koh Phi Phi Leh. Also known/spelled as Ao Pileh, Pileh Lagoon, Pileh Cove or Pi Ley Cove, it is like a canyon, almost cutting Koh Phi Phi Leh in two. Located on the eastern of the island, a few hundred metres south of Viking Cave, it takes about 40 minutes for a long-tail boat to get there from Tonsai Bay, the main arrival/departure pier on Koh Phi Phi Don. With a length of about 600m from its entrance to its end, this long, thin bay offers great snorkelling opportunities. Framed by 100m-tall limestone cliffs, it is in the shade most of the time, except between 11:00 and 13:00 – the best time to photograph the outstanding beauty of its emerald green water. At some spots, it even seems that the water is lighted from the bottom of the sea, making it a spectacular sight to see. The western side of Pi Leh Bay features a few small beaches at the foot of the cliff, but most of the boats visiting it stay in the centre of the lagoon while their guests go swimming and snorkelling.

Hire a long-tail boat from Tonsai Pier. It will cost you about 2,000 baht for the whole day and you can discover the most interesting sites around the Phi Phi group of islands.

Viking Cave

Viking Cave is one of the most notable sites on Koh Phi Phi Leh. Located at the bottom of a tall limestone cliff on the northeastern side of the island, it takes roughly 30 minutes to get there by long-tail boat from Tonsai Bay (the main pier in Phi Phi Islands). Known as Tham Phaya Nak in Thai, Viking Cave owes its name to the paintings found on the eastern southern walls of the cave: they represent various types of boats, including what resembles a Scandinavian drakkar. These paintings are certainly quite recent, and were possibly realised by sailors taking shelter in the cave during a storm. Visiting Viking Cave also allows you to discover one of the most profitable local industries: the hunting/harvesting of swiftlet birds’ nests. Particularly prized in Chinese culture, these edible nests are believed to promote good health and to be specifically good for the skin. A local legend says that long time ago, sailors lost their boat during a storm and got stuck without food on one of the limestone islands lying in the mouth of the Phang Nga Bay. A cave located on this island was home to a colony of swiftlet, and the men could survive by eating their nests which gave them enough power to wait for rescue. The harvest of bird’s nests is rather a risky job: scaffolds are built with bamboo on which the hunters climb in the darkness to collect these precious items. Bird’s nests are sold, on average, for US$2,500 per kilo!

Hire a long-tail boat from Tonsai Pier. It will cost you about 2,000 baht for the whole day and you can discover the most interesting sites around the Phi Phi group of islands.

2.Phi Phi Viewpoint

Phi Phi View Point

Phi Phi viewpoint is one of the highpoints (in more ways than one) of a visit to Phi Phi Don. From the Reggae Bar, head towards Loh Dalum Bay and you’ll see signs for the viewpoint. Don’t forget to buy water at the bottom!


The viewpoint is elevated to 186m, which isn’t really that high. If you’re feeling energetic, it’s a brisk 20 minute walk and if not you can have a leisurely 30 minute stroll to the top. The journey up isn’t difficult at all, the path is well trodden and paved most of the way. There’s plenty of places to rest if need be.
When you arrive at the top you’ll be pleased to find cold drinks, ice creams and other snacks on sale. The hammocks will be extremely welcome for some and the flat rocks make comfortable seats. The view is, of course, magnificent. You can see Phi Phi Leh and all of both Tonsai Village and Loh Dalum bays. From here you will be able to appreciate the ‘dumbbell’ shape of the island and marvel at the island’s beauty. The best time to come from a photography point of view is before 10am as the sun will be behind you which brings out the colour of the sea. If there’s a light shower while you’re at the top you might be lucky enough to see a rainbow over Tonsai Village. For those who want to go further there are three paths leading to bays on the other side. The middle path takes you to Rantee Beach, about a 20-minute walk, and the paths to the left and right lead to Pak Nam Beach and Ao Toh Koh respectively, both some 45 minutes away. These are not nature trails as such; just tracks used by locals to save on the cost of a longtail to and from Ton Sai. There are some tricky bits, but nothing that requires a mountaineering diploma.

3.Bamboo Island

Bamboo Island, known as Koh Pai in Thai, is the most north-easterly island of Phi Phi Archipelago in the southern Thai province of Krabi. Lying approximately five kilometres off the northern tip of Koh Phi Phi Don, Bamboo Island is a stunning tropical hotspot that offers the perfect getaway from the crowds as, despite the fact a few tours from Phuket make a stop here after lunch, the island is most of the time never too crowded. Measuring roughly 600m wide by 700m long, the island is almost shaped like a heart and is entirely surrounded by a strip of white sand. Its central part is covered with lush vegetation including Casuarinas trees and the Bamboo trees that gave its name to the island. On the north-eastern side of the island, under the shade of the trees, a small bar serves drinks and snacks. The perfect spot for a day trip, Bamboo Island hosts great snorkelling opportunities. Between Phi Phi Don and Bamboo islands stands a notable coral reef known as Hin Klang which provides its masked and finned visitors with the feeling of swimming in an aquarium. Closer to the beach, the island is almost entirely surrounded by a reef that spreads up to 500m from the shore. To get there, hire a long-tail boat in Tonsai Village or at the Sea Gypsies Village on Laem Thong Beach; the ride will roughly take 40mins from the former, and 15mins from the latter. Day and overnight trips (sleeping in tents) are available from Koh Phi Phi Don, or you could visit the island on a Phi Phi day trip by speedboat from Krabi or Phuket. Due to the fact Bamboo Island belongs to a national park; please note that you’ll to pay a 400/200 baht (adult/child) entrance fee to get there.

 

4.Moo Dee Bay

Moo Dee Bay

Moo Dee Bay (Loh Moo Dee in Thai) hosts a 300m-long white sand beach bordered by emerald waters. Situated on the east coast of Koh Phi Phi Don, it is the perfect escape from the crowd (at least until lunch time), Moo Dee Beach can be reached on foot from Tonsai East along a 1km path starting behind Bay View Resort; and from the path starting at the bottom of Phi Phi Viewpoint. A less tiring way to get there is to hire a long-tail boat near Tonsai jetty, which will take you to Moo Dee in about 15mn for a fee of 150/200 baht (you must test your bargaining skill). Moo Dee Beach is really a cool spot; very quiet and relaxing in the morning, it is unfortunately visited by passing by speedboat day trips from Phuket and Krabi that perturb its peacefulness in the afternoon until 15:30. The beach offers its visitors pleasant snorkelling opportunities, mostly at both ends of the bay. A Rasta-run shack sells food and drinks (note that taking advantage of their situation on this secluded beach, their price for water is steep, so better come with your own bottle).

5. Phi Phi Markets

Phi Phi Market

A visit to Phi Phi Market is the occasion to get a glimpse of the islanders’ genuine daily-life. Located in the central part of Tonsai Village, the market is held every day and features a great choice of local and exotic products – fruits, vegetables, seafood – that you could find later in your plate at most of Phi Phi restaurants. Apart from seafood and coconut, no food is produced in Phi Phi; everything is imported from Phuket and Krabi. Besides fresh products (and in the same vein as any market in Thailand), the main interest of Phi Phi Market is the ready-made snacks available here at rock-bottom prices: steamed or fried skewers, sautéed meat, fish, noodle, and vegetable, all favourites of Thai street food can be found and sampled at Phi Phi Market.

6.Tonsai East Shopping Alleyway

Tonsai East Shopping Alleyway

Tonsai East Shopping Alleyway is located on the main path right before to reach Phi Phi Andaman Legacy Resort; another landmark of the lane is the beautiful Phi Phi Mosque (the Muslim community has been settled all along the Andaman Sea coast of Thailand at least since the 16th century). Tonsai East Shopping Alleyway hosts a dozen stalls selling an eclectic choice of tee shirts, souvenirs, and other accessories. This type of shopping places are not really permanently hosting the same stalls so it is pretty difficult to make a precise description of all the items available here; a few of them remain the usual suspects of these bazaar-like plazas: beach wear, sunglasses, funny tee shirts, silly hats and bandanas can for sure be found here.

Opening Hours: 10:00 – late

Location: Past Rimlay Resort on the left

Sun Flower Beach Bar & Restaurant

Sun Flower Beach Bar & Restaurant

Sun Flower Beach Bar & Restaurant is a very relaxed venue to spend the evening. Located at the northern end of Loh Dalum bay, right on the beach, it features salas, hammocks, and mats set around a bamboo and thatch building in a pure hippie-era spirit. The view to the bay is splendid – great sundowner spot – and the ambience could not be more laid-back. Serving excellent curries, Thai and western dishes, Sun Flower is renowned amongst the expat community on the island for the quality of its food. In the evening, fire shows and acoustic live music are performed. Prices are affordable, and Sun Flower is the perfect place to escape from its noisy southern neighbours (Slinky and other Apache beach bars).

Opening Hours: 09:00 – 02:00

Location: Viewpoint end of Loh Dalum Beach (northern side) Tel: 080-0383374

 

Carlito’s Beach Bar and Nightclub

Carlito's Beach Bar & Nightclub

Carlito’s Beach Bar and Nightclub is a long-lasting, buzzing night spot enjoying a great location along the path leading to the eastern end of Tonsai Bay. Set in two buildings (one on each side of the path) it is just the right place to party like in an open-air disco to the beat (reggae, house, oldies) of Thai and international DJs. In the afternoon, the place is more relaxed and you can practice ‘poi’ (unlit-fire chain handling), yoga lessons, checking your mails (free Wi-Fi) or play a game of backgammon; at night the beat changes drastically with loud music and fire shows (at 22:00) on the beach. Expertly mixed cocktails and ‘buckets’ heat up the atmosphere until late.

Opening Hours: 12:00 – 02:00

Location: On the way out of Tonsai Village towards Tonsai East and Long Beach

Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem is another of these long-lasting venues in Phi Phi offering a great place to chill-out in the evening. Located on Tonsai east beach, it features a large open-air terrace partly shaded by a large tamarind tree, and a two-storey wooden building housing the bar and at the second floor, a cool terrace with Thai cushions and low tables overlooking Tonsai Bay and offering a great view to Koh Phi Phi Leh to the south. Thai and international delicacies – prepared at the neighbouring Phi Phi Villa Resort – are served to hungry punters (Carpe Diem is also one of the restaurants catering for Phi Phi day-trippers at lunch time), and every night Carpe Diem presents a fire show. With cool live music, beach dance parties, and relaxed ambience, Carpe Diem is the good choice for a great evening and for mingling if you travel alone.

Opening Hours: 08:00 – late

Location: Tonsai East

Tel: 084-8401219

 

 

 

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