When we talk about the amazing sea of Thailand, the first place which we think about is the Phi Phi Islands. They are situated 40 km south-east of Phuket and consist of six islands famous for their limestone cliffs rising sheer out of the emerald green waters, white powdery beaches and their many coral reefs offering great diving and snorkeling . The major Island, the only one inhabited and the base for all the tours is Phi Phi Don. Here, in Tonsai bay, the main arrival port of the island, you’ll find the main village (Tonsai village) with a wide range of accommodations, 2 long streets (and alleys) plenty of restaurants, bars, mini markets, shops and stalls selling clothes and souvenirs, diving centers and local agencies offering tours and tickets.
The most beautiful beach of Tonsai village is Loh Dalum , on the north-facing coast with its palm trees and clear water. This quiet beach, during the night turn into a cool night open disco with its many bars playing live disco music until late night. On the east side of Tonsai, walking south on the main road ( 15 minutes from the pier ), there is a long white sand beach ( Tonsai east beah) where are also located some good resorts. Only 10 minutes boat from the Pier and facing south-west, is located Long beach (here you’ll also find resorts), a 600 meter long quieter beach with soft and white sand (It is possible to walk to Long Beach from Tonsai Village, but you will need to dedicate at least an hour to hike an undulating roads and mini forests). Another pristine quiet beach, located on the northeastern side just reachable by boat (40min by longtail boat), is Laem Tong. Here there are some resorts where relaxing far aways from the chaotic and crowded Tonsai village.
On the est side of the Island is located Loh bagao, a peaceful and scenic bay with an 800 meters long pristine beach, turquoise water and some resorts . On the east coast are also located the beautiful Loh Moo Dee beach (it’s private), a 250 meters long of fine white sand caressed by the warm emerald water, then the small Phak Nam beach, that is home to a small fishing village, and Rantee bay beach, all reachable by foot from Tonsai with a quite long hike, but with no doubt better by longtail boat. Last but not least, if you like having a 30 minutes hike, you can climb up the hill from the center of Tonsai village (from the Reggae Bar, head towards Loh Dalum Bay and you’ll see signs for the viewpoint) and reach the Phi Phi Don viewpoint, with an amazing view on the 2 bays and the village.
I’ve been twice in this beautiful Island spending 3 days both times and doing the Islands hopping tour. You can locally book a tour with the agencies (they offer different daily trip) or haggle with one of the many guys next to the pier and rent a motorized long-tail wooden boat.
My Islands Hopping tour
The first time i visited Phi Phi islands I rented a longtail boat for half day to visit and enjoy just Phi Phi Leh whereas the second time i locally booked a full day Islands hopping tour .
Phi Phi Leh is the most known and famous Island of the six for the wonderful Maya Bay, a stunningly bay that is sheltered by 100 meters high cliffs on three sides. The main beach of the bay is around 200 meters long with silky soft white sand with an exceptional clear water. Here took place the movie ‘’The beach’’ with Leonardo DiCaprio. During the high season I suggest you to visit the bay and enjoy the beach early in the morning because after 9 am it turns into a super crowded place full of people and any kind of boat next to the shore. If you like having a short hike, from the beach it starts a path ( 15 min. walk) to reach the southern part of the island and its cliffs. Cruising around the Island, in the south side you’ll see the small Loh Samah bay with its high rocks, then the amazing Pileh lagoon (you must stop here and have a swim), a small inlet surrounded by limestone walls cliffs and a stunning turquoise water color, and the ‘’Viking Cave’’, a large opening slightly above water level where, after pulling up to the yet more rickety bamboo poles, you can climb onto the little wooden decking at the cave mouth. If you want to rent a long-tail boat to visit Maya Bay, the price for 3 hrs is around 30$ whereas a speed boat around 100$ for half day. The cheapest choice is to join a tour combined with other islands.
Snorkeling at shark Point: it’s a small shallow water area close to Phi phi Don where you have the chance to spot the black tip sharks. This rough reef poking through the waves allows you to see many corals, anemones and tropical fish so, even tough it’s nothing special, it’s worth stopping by. Shark Point is close to Long beach, so you can get it swimming from the beach as well but be careful because of the many boats crossing and stopping there. The best time for snorkeling is early in the morning to prevent the shark to be scared from the boats engine.
Bamboo Island: it’s a nice place for relaxing and swimming. The Island measures around 650 meters long and 600 meters wide and is entirely surrounded by a strip of white and pristine sand. Its central part (there is also a restaurant here) is covered with lush vegetation including Bamboo trees that gave its name to the Island. Between Phi Phi Don and Bamboo islands is situated coral reef called Hin Klang and known to be plenty of tropical fish.
Mosquito Island: this bent nail-like shape island owes its name to the myriad of mosquitos that show up around sunset. In front of Bamboo Island, with an approximate length of 900 meters and a width of just 150, it boasts two narrow beaches on its eastern side with clear sea. The waters near the southeastern tip of the island hosts a nice coral reefs as well as an abundance of marine life that make this place a good spot for snorkeling.
Monkey beach: It is a small piece of seashore in the north part of Phi Phi Don, reachable by boat or by kayaking. It’s nothing special but known because is home of some monkeys that once spotted the tourists, they climb down from the rocks and trees waiting for someone to give them food and water. The coral reef is in front of the small beach then you can also snorkeling.
How to get there: it’s plenty of boats from Phuket, Krabi and Ko Lantha island. You can buy your ticket online or locally. From Phi Phi buy a ticket in one of the many agencies along the main road. Check at https://www.directferries.com/koh_phi_phi_ferry.htm ; If you don’t want to spend more days here, there are daily tours from Phuket.
Where to sleep: there is a wide range of accommodations. If you want to enjoy the crowd and night life as well, the right place is Tonsai village, if you need a quieter place you can choose one of the other bays (the only issue could be that if you want to reach Tonsai you need a longtail boat). I slept next to Loh Dalum beach at Phi Phi Ton Sai Place ( around 40$ the double) and also next to Tonsai east beach at Andaman Resort.