Phi Phi Island


Location: Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand

Reason to visit: soft white sands, tranquil blue waters, natural rock caves, unspoiled nature

Our ratings: ★★★★★


Phi Phi Island is composed of two main islands which are Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh. It is located about 20 kilometers southeast of Phuket, Thailand, and it has been recognized as the National Park of Thailand in 1983. This is a place that is deeply loved by the sun and is rich in Pippi shrimp. The soft white sands, the tranquil blue waters, the natural rock caves, and the unspoiled nature make Phi Phi Island stand out from more than 30 islands around Phuket and become one of the most popular resorts in recent years. Due to the deep sea area and many corals, it is also a diving destination.

Phi Phi is a group of six islands. The two main islands are Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh. The larger and inhabited Phi Phi Don attracts hundreds of visitors to stay on its lovely shores while the smaller uninhabited Phi Phi Leh hosts stunningly beautiful bays and beaches, including the world-famous Maya Bay, which was the set where The Beach (with Leonardo Di Caprio) was filmed.


History of Phi Phi Islands 

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 from Krabi, which means 'sword'. This may come 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 Pulau Api-Api ('the fiery isle'). The name refers to the Pokok Api-Api, or "fiery tree" (grey mangrove) which is found on the islands.

There are 4 main attractions in Phi Phi Islands which are Maya Bay, Tonsai Bay, Viking Cave, and Laem Tong Beach. Pick your favorites!


Maya Bay in Phi Phi Island

Maya Bay is located in the southwest of Phi Phi Leh. There are few beaches in Phi Phi Leh, so the beaches of Maya Bay are particularly rare and unique. Maya Bay is surrounded by mountains on three sides, and the beach is white and famous for the movie 'Beach'. The beach is small, and the 100-meter-high cliff is extraordinary, like a huge hand protecting the Maya Bay. The sea is blue and the shore is dotted with delicate coconut trees. There is a typical tropical island atmosphere for viewing and diving.

Tips: the beach of Maya Bay are mixed with some corals and shells, please don’t step on the sand bare feet in case you get scratched. It is best for visitors to wear soft-soled slippers for fun and safety.


Tonsai Bay in Phi Phi Island

Tonsai Bay is the 'transport hub' of the Phi Phi Islands where the main pier of the island is here. Tonsai Bay is also the most prosperous commercial center. There are many shops in the small alleys, from travel agencies to Internet cafes, and from 7-11 to souvenir shops.

Also, there is no shortage of sparkling white sand beaches, tropical coconut palms, and breathtaking turquoise waters. Those who like the lively atmosphere can find everything they need in Tonsai Bay, and those who like quiet should consider a more remote area like Laem Tong Beach which will be mentioned in the last attraction. From high-end sea-view restaurants to roadside stalls and food stalls, the options are various. The taste of the locals is super hot and spicy. If you don't like spicy food, you need to make a special mention before ordering. The first stop to Phi Phi Island is Tonsai Bay. Plus, it is the main pier in Phi Phi Islands, so there is no need to worry about traffic.


Viking Cave in Phi Phi Island 

Viking Cave is one of the most notable sites on 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). There are several huge limestone caves on Phi Phi Leh. To protect the ecological environment of Phi Phi Leh, Thai government is currently only open Viking Cave for visitors.

Visiting Viking Cave 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.

The cave wall is engraved with prehistoric humans, elephants, boats, and so on, especially various ships, including various types of ancient ships which are from Europe, Arabia, China, and so on, which are like world sea boat exhibitions.


Laem Tong Beach in Phi Phi Island

Laem Tong Beach (also spelled Laem Thong, Golden Bay in Thai) is located on the northeastern side of Koh Phi Phi Don. It is an ideal spot for a relaxing and quiet holiday which is only accessible by boat. Compared with the bustling Tonsai Bay, here is really quite. Few people stay here, so the beach in this area is very clean and almost private. The sea here is pure and the underwater world is multicolor which is suitable for diving. Due to the lack of roads on the island, it is necessary to take a boat from Tonsai Bay to Laem Tong Beach. The charter price is around 600 baht. If you are not staying at a nearby hotel, it is best to travel it as a stop in the round-the-island package.

Accommodation: several hotels near Laem Tong Beach have a good reputation. The only disadvantage is the inconvenience. Catering: There is only one small restaurant near the beach, but the price is reasonable and the taste is good. Besides, there are only restaurants in the hotels which are expensive.


How to get to Phi Phi Island

To get to Phi Phi, there are basically two options: ferries and speedboats. The ferry is by far the most popular method of reaching the islands. Ferries take about two hours from Phuket and 90 minutes from Krabi or Koh Lanta. The main departure/arrival port in Phuket is Rassada Pier, located in Phuket Town.


To find out more, please visit our Phuket section.

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