Sitting right between the Strait of Malacca Coast of Thailand and Phuket is Koh Phi Phi. To be precise, Koh Phi Phi is a group of islands that can be rightly called Paradise on Earth.
Bestowed with extraordinary beauty, Phi Phi Island, Thailand, is home to clear turquoise water, lofty mountains, lush greenery, serene white sand beaches, and eerie caves.
This small archipelago of six islands namely Koh Phi Phi Don, Koh Phi Phi Leh, Koh Bida Nai, Koh Bida Nok, Koh Young (Mosquito Island), and Koh Phai (Bamboo Island) is replete with postcard-worthy beaches and adventure opportunities that any digital nomad will yearn for.
If you’re planning a trip to Koh Phi Phi, this list of the best things to do in Phi Phi Island, Thailand, will give you the head start you are looking for.
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- Koh Phi Phi Leh and Maya Bay
- Pileh Lagoon
- Viking Cave
- Koh Phi Phi Don
- Phi Phi Viewpoint
- Monkey Beach
- Tonsai Village
- Bamboo Beach
- Koh Phi Phi Don Nightlife
- Go Scuba Diving
The uninhabited island Koh Phi Phi Leh is the second largest island of the Phi Phi archipelago and this is where you will find the famed Maya Bay which is home to the island’s solitary beach.
Maya Bay became famous because of the Hollywood flick ‘The Beach.’ However, because of over-tourism, the marine ecosystem of Koh Phi Phi Leh and Maya Bay took a beating, forcing the Thai government to shut down Maya Bay tourism in 2018.
The good news is that Maya Bay reopened in 2022 but Thai authorities may shut down tourism temporarily for inspections. So, make sure that you check with local authorities before planning a visit.
If you are lucky enough to set foot there, the famous Maya Bay will impress you with its enchanting beauty. It has all the postcard clichés in a single place.
Tall limestone cliffs, a white sand beach, turquoise water, and lush tropical vegetation – Maya Bay will give you ample photo opportunities.
Pro Tip: Take a boat from Koh Phi Phi Don and reach Maya Bay before 10 AM to avoid the crowd from organized tours. Also, carry cash because Maya Bay has an entry fee of 400 Baht.
Head straight to the Pileh Lagoon if you are already at Maya Bay. A spectacular cove, the Pileh Lagoon is surrounded by lofty limestone karsts jutting out of the most emerald water you will see.
The cliffs are covered with lush vegetation creating a cinematic setting. The crystal clear water gives glimpses of colorful fish even if you are on your boat.
If you are a good swimmer, the shallow water of this inlet makes it a perfect spot for a refreshing swim.
Coral life is scant, but if you are lucky, you can spot colorful fish and swim along while snorkeling.
Pro Tip: Hire a private longboat to spend as long as you want there. Also, be careful and watch out for sea urchins. They are extremely painful to step on, believe me I know!
On the northeastern side of Koh Phi Phi Leh is the Viking Cave – an impressive natural cavern.
On the eastern and southern walls of the cave are paintings of different types of boats including one resembling a Scandinavian Drakkar or Viking ship. This explains the name.
Unfortunately, you cannot enter the cave because inside is a thriving industry of harvesting Swiftlet birds’ nests. These nests are edible and particularly prized in Chinese cuisine.
Your boat operator will take you close enough so that you can peek inside and click a few photos.
Pro Tip: Take a longtail boat from Tonsai Bay – the main pier of the Phi Phi Islands, and you’ll get there in 30 minutes.
Koh Phi Phi Don is the largest and the only inhabited island of the Phi Phi archipelago. It is also home to some of Phi Phi’s best beaches including the Tonsai Bay or the Ton Sai Bay and the Loh Dalum Beach.
Tonsai Bay or Ton Sai Beach leaves no room for a refreshing swim because of the longtail boats lining the shoreline. Instead, Loh Dalum Bay is a better choice, which is the main beach.
Only a short walk from the Tonsai Pier, the Loh Dalum Beach offers soft sand and turquoise waters perfect for kayaking, snorkeling, and swimming.
There are a few beach bars that serve awesome cocktails and ice-cold Singha or Chang beer.
Pro Tip: For more secluded beautiful beaches, consider Laem Tong Beach (longtail boats will take you there) or Long Beach, which is a 3-kilometer walk from Tonsai Village.
The Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint gives sweeping and of course, breathtaking views of the Koh Phi Phi Don island. The island has a dumbbell shape.
Dalum Bay is on the north and Tonsai Bay is on the south. In the middle is the 100-meter flat sand strip where the Tonsai Village sits.
From the top, you can catch an incredible view of the light teal waters of Loh Dalum Bay and the deep blue waters of Tonsai Bay.
There are three viewpoints – 1, 2, and 3. Viewpoint 3 gives the most breathtaking views. Carry some cash because you can access viewpoints 1 & 2 for 30 baht and another 20 baht will give you access to the third viewpoint.
Pro Tip: Be there at sunset to watch the sun dwindle beneath the waves.
On the southwestern side of Tonsai Bay is the famous Monkey Beach. The beach gets its name from the monkeys that live on the nearby cliffs.
They often come down to greet the tourists in the hopes of getting some food. Feeding the monkeys is prohibited and you can be fined if caught.
Monkey Beach is a National Park and it’s better not to disrupt the environment by feeding them.
The beach is 150-meter wide with soft white sand and offers excellent snorkeling opportunities.
Also, if you want some exercise, kayak to the beach from Loh Dalum Beach (aka Loh Dalum Bay). It takes about 45 minutes to reach Monkey Beach.
Pro Tip: Avoid Monkey Beach during the breeding season because the monkeys can get quite aggressive.
The Tonsai Village Market is teeming with shops and food stalls. So, if you’re itching for some souvenir shopping or if you are feeling hungry and want to eat incredible Thai food, this is the place where you should be.
Most of the shops are on the main street running along Tonsai Beach but don’t stop yourself from visiting the ones in the alleyways.
For foodies, the market offers fresh seafood, fruit smoothies, and local desserts.
Pro Tip: If you hate heavy crowds, avoid the market between 11 AM and 1 PM because that’s when tourists from Krabi and Phuket arrive there.
Located nearly 5 kilometers northeast of Koh Phi Phi Don, Bamboo Island is a picturesque small island spanning 600 meters in width and 700 meters in length.
Surrounded entirely by a white strip of sand, the Bamboo Island has ample snorkeling opportunities because of the beautiful coral reefs at a short distance off the shore.
There is a small bar there to offer some drinks and snacks, and the best part is that you can stay overnight on Bamboo Island and sleep in a tent.
Pro Tip: From Bamboo Island, visit Mosquito Island on a long tail boat and marvel at its beauty from a distance because tourist visits are strictly prohibited now due to the damage caused by over-tourism.
Image Credit: Phi Phi Ibiza Bar Fire Show
Koh Phi Phi Don is the only inhabited island, and so that’s where you will be staying. If you are a party animal, the open-air discos, restaurants serving delectable Thai food, and plenty of bars will keep you busy.
The Slinky Beach Bar is where you can enjoy open-air discos. Another open-air disco is at Apache Beach Bar on Loh Dalum Bay.
Visit Stockholm Syndrome to participate in drinking games just outside the bar.
Pro Tip: For a crazy pool party, head to the Ibiza House where you can enjoy the Ibiza Pool Party every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday.
Located between Phi Phi and Phuket is the King Cruiser Wreck – one of the most popular scuba diving spots. You can spend hours here!
For more fun, consider diving at the Shark Point off the west coast of Phi Phi Don where you get to swim along the totally harmless leopard sharks.
To avoid high traffic, consider diving at Bida Nok or Bida Nai, which are the smallest islands of the Phi Phi archipelago. Anemone Reef is yet another popular diving site you can consider.
Pro Tip: Choose Bida Nok if you are a beginner and Bida Nai if you are an advanced diver. Both places will give you access to exotic marine life!
On the east coast of Koh Phi Phi Don is Moo Dee Bay which offers a serene white sandy beach stretching 500 meters, beautiful scenery, and a pleasant snorkeling experience.
Take a long tail boat from the Tonsai Pier. It takes 20 minutes to reach there.
Image Credit: Cliff Jumping in Phi Phi
If you need some adrenaline rush, enjoy cliff jumping from the towering limestone cliffs.
There are island boat tours that offer cliff jumping, but you can find a few spots if you are not on a boat tour. Ensure that you hire a guide so you don’t start jumping off the wrong cliffs and hurt yourself!
Captain Bob’s Sailing Booze Cruise is a great choice for partygoers who want to enjoy a boozy boat tour while exploring several beaches and participating in activities like kayaking, fishing, snorkeling, etc.
On the Tonsai main street is the Physician Fish where you can enjoy a 15-minute to a 30-minute fish pedicure. Dip your legs in the fish tank and hundreds of red Garra fish will nibble away the dead skin.
(Not my cup of tea personally, but when in Rome….)
In central Tonsai Village is the famed Pum’s Thai Cooking School where you can learn the secrets of Thai cooking. You can select from 30-minute to 3-hour lessons and learn about herbs, sauces, and vegetables used in Thai cuisine.
The dry season that starts in November and lasts till March and sometimes till May is ideal for visiting this country in Southeast Asia, and the best time to explore the Phi Phi Islands.
November through February is the High season or Peak season with cool weather and lush green scenery. This is the most amazing time to explore the islands and beaches.
March and April get a little hotter, but this is when the crowd gradually thins out and prices drop. Unless you can handle heat well, avoid this time. Avoid the rainy season between May and October.
There is no shortage of hotels, hostels, or Airbnb in Koh Phi Phi Don, so it completely depends on your requirements and budget.
I use booking.com as my preferred hotel booking app. I have tried many over the years and booking.com consistently offers me the best deals.
If however, you’re looking for super budget accommodation try hostelworld.com.
Here are the best budget and mid-range accommodation options in Koh Phi Phi Island, Thailand include:
Blue View House Phi Phi: Starting $40/night [For budget accommodation]
Only 100 meters from Long Beach, this hotel offers sea-view rooms with private bathrooms, air conditioning, and free Wi-Fi.
PP Erawan Palms Resort: Starting $97/night [For mid-range accommodation]
With an outdoor pool, great ocean views, wooden furnishings, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and ensuite bathrooms, it is a great choice if you are looking for peaceful accommodation along Laem Tong beach.
SAii Phi Phi Island Village: Starting at 238/night [For luxury accommodation]
Equipped with an infinity pool, a fitness center, a spa, and air-conditioned rooms, this hotel along Lo Ba Gao Bay is a perfect choice if you have deep pockets.
There is no shortage of trips and tours to make the best use of your time in this beautiful country. However, here are some suggested trips I recommend you explore further.
- The best way to get around the Phi Phi Islands is by long boat, kayak, and walking. However, you can hire bicycles from some resorts and hotels in the main town at reasonable prices, but there aren’t really enough roads for cycling. Your best bet is to hire a long tail boat for 3/4 hours and see the main island and surrounding areas by boat. A good long tail boat guide will take you to all the best places to snorkel, head over to Maya Bay and take a tour through Pileh, etc.
- Wi-Fi connection is pretty good almost everywhere in and around Phi Phi. Just remember if you head off to more remote surrounding islands, you may experience connectivity issues.
- Thailand’s currency is the Thai Baht and for the best exchange rates its best to pay in their local currency. Always carry some cash, as street vendors, markets (and long boats) will expect cash (although many now accept payment via QR code if you have a local bank account or apple pay etc.) Technologically, Thailand is pretty savvy.
- Depending on how long you’re staying and the kind of phone contract you’re on, it might be worth getting a local SIM when you get there. Most times when I travel, a local sim is the cheapest option. A travel SIM from TrueMove will cost 599 Baht with 8GB of internet and approximately 50 minutes of talk time. You will have to top up in 15 days. It’s worth checking roaming fees with your phone company before traveling.
- If taking money out of an ATM, always choose the ‘convert from your own bank’ option, rather than the convert from the ATM option. This is a golden rule worldwide. I have tried multiple ATM’s in multiple countries and the bank conversion is always without fail cheaper than a local ATM conversion.
- Also when paying with your travel credit or debit card, always choose local currency. If you choose your own currency, the conversion will be done then and there by their bank. When choosing local currency, the conversion is done by your bank and will be cheaper. Not by much, but every little helps!
It’s tough when organizing your travels to know which companies offer the best deals and can be trusted with your credit card details!
The following resources are companies I have consistently used over my 11 years of travels and who I believe are the best in the business. I’m constantly updating this list as I find new and improved services.
Rome2Rio – a fantastic app which will show you the best routes to get from city to city or country to country. Simply enter where you’re traveling from and too, and they’ll show you how to get there via planes, trains and automobiles!
Skyscanner.net – always my first port of call when looking for the best flights. Easy to use and consistently highlights flights I can’t find anywhere else, they’re the best flight resource there is. Plus an easy to use app.
Flight Aware – a free, handy app showing flights around the world. I use this to track family or friends when they’re flying, to check whether my flight has left on time on previous days so I can be prepared for delays etc, and just to double check my own flight details as and when I’m traveling.
Trainline (for Europe) – I used to use this just for UK trains, but nowadays you can book trains all over Europe using their services. Cheap, reliable and with a great refund policy for canceled or delayed trains, they’re highly recommended.
Booking.com – I have tried all the other hotel booking sites and without doubt booking.com has consistently offered the best deals. One caveat to this, is always to just check the hotel website directly before finalizing your booking as sometimes they’ll have specialized deals.
Getyourguide.com – the easiest and most reliable activity booking agent. I haven’t had a bad trip to date with them. Plus an easy to use app which tracks all your bookings and includes the meeting point, trip details and everything else you need to ensure your activity goes smoothly.
Discovercars.com – Easy to use website to find rental cars in over 145 countries around the world. Pick up from one location, drop off in another. Find the best deals with the best reviews.
Safetywing – quite simply the best insurance for digital nomads and long term travelers. See my Safetywing insurance review for more details, but with cheap monthly plans and an easy to use claims process, you won’t find better on the market.
Light Packing Guide
I’m generally a very light packer so for a summer trip here is what I would usually pack, with a maximum weight of 7 KG;
Swimming costume or bikini
Light Beach dress
2 x pairs of shorts
2 x summer skirts
3 x t-shirts
1 x ‘going out’ dress
2 x night shorts & tee
14 x underwear (I always take a lot as I hate washing underwear in hotel sinks)
1 skin color plunge bra (can wear under black or white, and with posh dress or t-shirts)
1 x flip flops or thongs or sandals (depending where you’re from in the world)
1 x trainers/sneakers (which I generally wear when traveling from place to place or hang off the back of my bag
3 x trainer socks
1 x leggings
1 x light cardigan
Travel size all in one Shampoo/Conditioner (sacrilege to some women, but hey I want to travel light)
Travel size shower gel
Small battery powered toothbrush (with cap)
Travel size sun lotion
50SPF lip balm
Travel size body moisturiser
Ziplock bags – for anything and everything!
Travel Bags – for separating tops/shorts/underwear etc, and also great for laundry
My husbands bag usually weighs less than mine and he takes;
2 x shorts (Both double as swim shorts)
2 x tees
7 x socks
7 x boxers
1 x ‘going out’ shorts & tee
1 x croc flip flops
1 x trainers/sneakers
Travel size shampoo
1 x razor
Phi Phi Islands are located in the middle of the Andaman Sea between the Strait of Malacca Coast of Thailand and Phuket. Travel distance from Krabi town and Phi Phi Islands is 45 kilometers by boat or ferry.
Phi Phi Islands is very safe even for solo female travelers.
As with all popular tourist destinations you’ll need to watch out for pickpockets and keep your valuables hidden, plus for females, use your common sense and don’t go wandering on your own in the middle of the night plus be careful when drinking in bars/clubs. (Sad but true across the globe).
But on a general scale compared to the rest of the world, for tourists visiting Thailand it would be considered a very safe city, for solos, couples & families alike.
Nevertheless, always ensure you have travel insurance wherever you go as it will protect you against theft, injury, illness, or cancelations. Use the form below to get your personalized quote.
The official currency of Thailand is the Thai Baht (THB) and you must pay in their local currency. Though you can use international travel credit and debit cards that will allow paying in Thai Baht, I suggest that you carry local currency, because certain remote places and local shops do not accept cards or app payments.
The Thai language is the official language, however, many people speak English, especially in major tourist destinations.
Throughout the year Phi Phi Islands follows Indochina Time (ICT), which is seven hours ahead of the UTC or the Coordinated Universal Time. Daylight Saving Time clock changes are not followed in Thailand.
Phi Phi Islands is an archipelago of breathtaking islands and beautiful beaches. Koh Phi Phi Don is the only island you can stay on, but it is easy to access the nearby islands with a long tail boat.
The islands offer ample photo opportunities and adventure activities like scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, cliff jumping, etc., making it a great destination for both nature and adventure lovers.
Phi Phi Island Thailand has much to offer.
This archipelago in Southern Thailand has postcard-worthy islands and beaches.
The best places include Loh Dalum Beach, Long Beach, Tonsai Beach, Maya Bay, Bamboo Beach, etc. Koh Phi Phi Island is definitely worth exploring and spending at least a couple of days here to take in everything that this archipelago has to offer.
I hope you’ve found this list of things to do in Koh Phi Phi Islands useful for your travels. Now its time to book your trip and get exploring!
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