The six islands that make up the Koh Phi Phi Islands are located 50kms south-east of Phuket in western Thailand in the Andamen Sea. One of the most strikingly beautiful islands in the whole of Thailand, Koh Phi Phi has become a popular destination for tropical beach holiday makers and has grown in population since it’s discovery in the early eighties as a backpackers destination. The islands came to the full attention of the world when Ko Phi Phi Leh (the second Largest island in the group) was used as the location for the 2000 film featuring Leonardo Di Caprio, The Beach. With such majestic limestone mountains rising high out of the tropical turquoise waters and beautiful white sandy beaches it has not taken long for Koh Phi Phi to become a tropical paridise that attracts all kinds of travellers to revel in it’s beauty.
Ko Phi Phi Don is the largest island of the group, and has all the essential amenities a traveler would be searching for. Full of accommodation ranging from backpackers bungalows to high end resorts, countless restaurants from traditional Thai, Italian and even a kosher restaurant and numerous clubs and beach bars you can drink into the early hours of the morning, Koh Phi Phi Don has it all.
In Dec 2004, Ko Phi Phi was devastated by the Indian Ocean Tsunami, where nearly all of the island’s infrastructure was destroyed. As of 2011 you will find that nearly all the islands resorts and services have be rebuilt and restored in most cases better than before the destruction.
The islands main feature is it’s natural limestone mountains covered in tropical rain forests that rise out of the sublime tropical waters which surround the beautiful white sandy beaches. You really are in heaven when you are on Koh Phi Phi or it’s surrounding sister islands. Ko Phi Phi is also renowned for a wonderful place for diving and snorkeling, kayaking and other marine recreational activities.
The islands which make up Koh Phi Phi are:
Ko Phi Phi Don: the largest and only island which is populated with facilities to stay eat and party.
Ko Phi Phi Leh: You will know this island if you have seen the film the beach and it is definitely a beautiful sight when it is not crowded with tourists. There is a campsite where you can stay in tents but generally speaking the only habitants are bird nest harvesters and a few Maya Bay wardens.
Ko Phai (‘Bamboo Island’): a small low-lying islet to the north of Phi Phi Don with several good beaches.
Ko Yung (Yung Island): is north of Ko Phi Phi Don and wonderful snorkeling where you have a great array of marine life and an abundance of colorful coral reefs.
Bida Nok and Bida Nai are two small limestone un-inhabitable islands to the south of Phi Phi Leh, with near-vertical cliff walls rising from the sea.
One of the most alluring features of Koh Phi Phi is that it is officially an island with no motorised transport. Other than few motorcycles with side cars used in transporting goods and luggage most get around the island using bicycles or by foot. Most of all the populated areas of Koh phi Phi are situated in Tonsai, so you will never need to walk more than 15 minutes to anywhere. If you would prefer a more scenic route you are able to hire a longtail taxi which will take you to most beaches.
THINGS TO DO
Diving and Snorkeling- Koh Phi Phi and the surrounding waters are rich in abundance of marine life and soft corals. The diving and snorkeling here is considered some of the best in Thailand. It has to be said that in peak season you do have difficulty finding dive sites which are not full of divers, but nether the less it is still worth doing. There are some great coral gardens to dive just off the shore of some of the beaches so make sure to take a pair of snorkels or hire them from most beaches.
Yoga Classes – Koh Phi Phi offers excellent yoga classes on a daily basis for people of all levels and experience.
Rock Climbing – Koh Phi Phi offers opportunities for rock climbing, however, not as renowned as Rai Leh beach or as many routes to climb the backdrops are just as beautiful as climbing can get in Thailand.
Kayaking- Koh Phi Phi is the ideal location for kayaking with such a beautiful and dramatic scenery you will stroke your way around the island in awe of how much a paradise Koh Phi Phi really is. Kayaks can be hired either per hour or per day.
Sailing & Cruising- Koh Phi Phi offers a variety of ways for sailing and crusing. Longtails can be hired for sunset tours and island excursions, they can be found on any beach.
Fishing- Game fishing trips can be organised where you can catch the likes of marlin, sailfish barracuda and tuna.
HOW TO GET THERE
The nearest airports are at Krabi, Trang and Phuket. All three airports have direct road and boat connections to Koh Phi Phi.
There are frequent ferry boats to Ko Phi Phi from Phuket, Ko Lanta and Krabi Town.
Main Ferry Pier
There is a large modern deep water Government Pier on Tonsai Bay, Phi Phi Don Village completed late 2009. It takes in the main ferry boats from Phuket, Krabi and Koh Lanta. Visitors to Phi Phi Island must pay 20 Thai Baht on arrival and pay on the pier. Dive boats, longtail boats and supply boats have their own drop off points along the piers, so making the pier highly efficient in the peak seasons.