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THAILAND: KOH PHI PHI 
Things to Do in Koh Phi Phi

Travel Guides & Information 

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The Phi Phi islands

The Phi Phi islands are an archipelago of 6 islands, with the 2 main islands being Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh. Just a 45-minute speedboat trip or a 90-minute ferryboat ride from either Phuket or Krabi, these picture postcard islands are excellent tropical getaways in Southeast Asia. 

Phi Phi has pristine beaches, stunning rock formations, and vivid turquoise waters teeming with colourful marine life. The larger and inhabited Phi Phi Don attracts hundreds of travellers to its lovely shores, while the smaller uninhabited Phi Phi Leh has beautiful bays and beaches, including the iconic Maya Bay.

There’s quite a selection of things to do in Phi Phi, even on the archipelago's tiniest islands. The larger of the Phi Phi islands are ringed by beautiful beaches and private bays. Above the azure seas, you have striking limestone cliffs, white sands and nodding palms. Below, there’s colourful coral reefs and vibrant sea life.

There are very few manmade attractions on Phi Phi. It’s mostly all about the natural beauty of this amazing part of Thailand. 

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Koh Phi Phi Leh & Maya Bay

Koh Phi Phi Leh is the second-largest island in the Phi Phi archipelago. The uninhabited island (apart from rangers stationed in Hat Nopharat Thara-Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park) has only 1 beach that's located in Maya Bay.

With clear-crystal waters, white sand, and lush tropical vegetation, Maya Bay gathers all the postcard clichés in one place. During high season (November to April), its international fame attracts visitors from around the world. Another beauty spot on the northeastern side of Koh Phi Phi Leh is the Viking Cave, which has rock paintings of what look like Viking ships. 

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Phi Phi Leh 

Phi Phi Leh is an uninhabited island that lies 1.5 km off the southernmost tip of Phi Phi Don. The island features stunning vertical cliffs capped with green foliage that give way to small sandy beaches and tropical coral seas. Most visitors find their way around Phi Phi Leh on an organized Phi Phi boat tour. However, you can rent a longtail boat if you prefer a customized trip.

Loh Sama

Loh Sama lies on the southern side of Koh Phi Phi Leh. Most come to this bay for snorkelling as it has many beautiful corals and tropical fish. Boats drop anchor in the shallow waters, allowing you to swim, snorkel, and even feed the fish.

Maya Bay

Maya Bay is sheltered by 100-metre-high cliffs on 3 sides. There are several beaches within the bay, most of which are small while some only exist at low tide. Maya Bay has become one of the main tourist attractions of Phi Phi since The Beach was filmed here in 1999. is sheltered by 100-metre-high cliffs on 3 sides. There are several beaches within the bay, most of which are small while some only exist at low tide. Maya Bay has become one of the main tourist attractions of Phi Phi since The Beach was filmed here in 1999.

Maya Bay's main beach is around 200 meters long, with soft white sand, colorful coral and exotic fish in exceptionally clear water.

Palong Bay

Palong Bay, just outside Maya Bay to the north, is more of a dive site than a bay in Koh Phi Phi Leh. You can see many blacktip reef sharks and coral formations at depths of 12 meters. Strong currents are common, so it's best to join an organized tour if you want to snorkel and dive in Palong Bay. 

Pi Leh Bay

Pi Leh Bay lies on the west coast of Koh Phi Phi Leh, with 100-metre-high vertical cliffs rising from the water. Most of the bay has shade, except at midday.

Pi Leh Bay is very beautiful and excellent for swimming, with excellent snorkelling opportunities at its entrance. This long thin bay is pretty shallow and only accessible to speedboats and longtail boats. 

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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 north-eastern 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 or Viking ship. These paintings were possibly done by sailors taking shelter in the cave during a storm.

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Phi Phi Viewpoint

Phi Phi Viewpoint is one of the most popular landmarks on Koh Phi Phi Don. This large island has an unusual shape – like an ‘H’ – with its main village built on the horizontal bar, a 100-metre flat strip of sand between Dalum Bay to the north and Tonsai Bay to the south. You can find the viewpoint to the east of the flat strip of sand and overlooks the village and the 2 bays. 

At an altitude of 186 metres, it roughly takes between 20 and 40 minutes to get there on a well-trodden and paved path. Photographers should consider climbing up there right before lunchtime to benefit from the best lighting (the viewpoint faces the sun in the afternoons). There’s a small store selling drinks and snacks at the top of Phi Phi Viewpoint.

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Bamboo Island

Bamboo Island ('Koh Phai' in Thai) is one of the 6 islands belonging to the Phi Phi archipelago in the southern Thai province of Krabi. Approximately 5 km northeast of Koh Phi Phi Don, it's a tropical dream come true. The island measures around 600 metres wide by 700 metres long, and is entirely surrounded by a strip of white sand.

Bamboo Island hosts great snorkelling opportunities with the presence of superb coral reefs lying at a short distance off its shore, mostly on its western side. A small bar serves drinks and snacks. 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 Phuket.

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Diving in Phi Phi

Diving is one of the prime activities in Phi Phi. The island counts a large number of serious and professional PADI dive centres dispensing courses – from Discover Scuba Diving to Divemaster – and day trips to the many world class dive sites available in and around Phi Phi's waters.

Amongst the most notable dive sites of the area, Shark Point, Anemone Reef and the King Cruiser Wreck are located to the west between Phi Phi Islands and Phuket. Maya Bay, Koh Bida Nok and Nai are located on and near Koh Phi Phi Leh – all of these sites can be reached in less than 40 minutes from Koh Phi Phi Don. 

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Shark watching tours 

Shark watching is a popular activity for nature-loving visitors to Phi Phi Island. The most popular spot for this tour is off the eastern end of Long Beach, a few hundred metres from the shore. It's known as Phi Phi Small Shark Point (there’s another Shark Point off the west coast of Phi Phi Don Island, which is only accessible by scuba diving). This unique encounter allows you to swim with one of the ocean’s most misunderstood creatures and such tours are usually fascinating and dramatic experiences.

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All shark tours include safety precautions and proper equipment. Blacktip reef sharks are the most common species in the shallow waters around Koh Phi Phi, measuring around 1 metre in length. Some people might feel scared as they dip their feet into the water, which is a perfectly natural reaction. However, as you overcome your fear and try to calm yourself, you'll notice that these blacktip sharks aren't agressive or harmful. Rather, they're quite timid. 

The activity is typically done in the morning, depending on the flow of the tides. Each tour only accepts a small group per batch as to not disrupt and scare the sharks. 

Shark watching tours are definitely an opportunity you should not miss when you're on Phi Phi Island.

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Rock climbing

Krabi is a prominent rock-climbing spot in southern Thailand, thanks to its tall limestone cliffs which are also natural landmarks of the province. It offers world-class sites such as Tonsai Beach and Diamond Cave in Railay, and all along its coast. Phi Phi Don may lie 42 km off the Krabi coast, but it has the same topography. 

Tonsai Tower, located at the western end of Tonsai Bay, is the rock climbers’ paradise in Phi Phi. This 200-metre-tall limestone tower hosts 48 different bolted routes featuring all levels of difficulty, from beginner to experienced climber.

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Shipwrecked Boat Trip in Phi Phi

Shipwrecked Boat Trip travels off the coast of Phi Phi Island, combining exotic seascapes with a party atmosphere. You get to sail to some stunning spots in the Andaman Sea while sipping excellent cocktails. It's a party on a yacht, attracting a younger set of travellers, but everyone is welcome to join the fun.

Shipwrecked Boat Trip is excellent if you're craving for a unique adventure. The boat visits 7 famous destinations in Phi Phi, including the famous Maya Bay, Monkey Beach, Viking Cave, Table Coral City Reefs, Pi Leh Lagoon, Snake Cave, and a secret location to watch the sunset from.

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Monkey Bay

Monkey Bay (known as Ao Ling in Thai) is a popular spot on Phi Phi Don Island. Situated near the entrance of Dalum Bay (Loh Dalum), it's a small cove, very similar to Monkey Beach apart from the sand, which is thicker and bright yellow. A superb coral reef lies some 50 metres from the beach, offering memorable snorkelling opportunities.

The best way to reach Monkey Bay is by hiring a long-tail boat or by paddling your own sea kayak, which will take you a good 30 minutes.

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The bay is only inhabited by the colony of crab-eating macaques which gave it its name. Many people visiting Monkey Bay brought the bad habit of feeding the monkeys, so now they expect to get something to eat when they see visitors coming. Beware of these wild animals’ behaviour and do not go too close to them. Biting and scratching are common and painful issues. 
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Moo Dee Bay 

Moo Dee Bay ('Loh Moo Dee' in Thai) is best known for its 300-metre-long white sand beach bordered by emerald waters. Situated on the east coast of Koh Phi Phi Don, it's an excellent escape from the crowd (at least until lunchtime). You can reach Moo Dee Beach on foot from Tonsai East along a 1-km-long path starting behind Bayview Resort, and from the path starting at the bottom of Phi Phi Viewpoint. 

A less tiring way to get there is by hiring long-tail boat near Tonsai Pier, which will take you to Moo Dee Bay in about 15 minutes. 

Moo Dee Beach is a real beauty spot that's very quiet and relaxing in the morning. It's often visited by those on day trips from Phuket and Krabi, which can perturb its peacefulness in the afternoon until about 3.30pm. The beach offers pleasant snorkelling opportunities, mostly at both ends of the bay. 

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Loh Dalum

Loh Dalum is a breathtakingly beautiful, and almost totally enclosed, bay on Phi Phi Island. It has very shallow water that gets warmed by the sun so it can be the temperature of a warm bath at times! Loh Dalum has silky, soft, white sand and turquoise water with a chorus of birdsong – and all year round there are no waves. You can walk out hundreds of metres and still be only waist-deep in water, making this beach a great place for basking in the sun. 

Those who enjoy motorised watersports can choose from wakeboarding, banana boat rides, and parasailing which is particularly popular due to the amazing views in Loh Dalum Bay. 

The flat water in Loh Dalum Bay is ideal for kayaking, and there's plenty to explore in the bay. Good snorkelling can also be found along the sides of the bay towards the entrance. Just around the corner is Monkey Bay, a small sandy bay with great snorkelling which is inaccessible by land.

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Tonsai Bay

Tonsai Bay is a hive of activity from morning to mid-afternoon. When the last ferry boat leaves, calm descends on the place and it returns to its sleepy village feel. With ATMs, convenience stores, and a host of cheap and cheerful Thai restaurants and food stands, it's got just about the essentials you need in its compact area.

Getting around Tonsai Village

In Phi Phi there are really only 3 modes of transport: walking, long-tail boats to more remote areas and bicycles around Tonsai Village. People who work here use bicycles and the soft 'tring tring' sound when they want to overtake you is quite a pleasant background to walks around the village. Unfortunately, things are a little disorganised and accidents sometimes occur.

You can walk to most places in Tonsai Village within 10 minutes. Long Beach can be reached in about 30 minutes. Long-tails ferry passengers to and from Long Beach day and night, and can be rented for half- or full-day trips around the other Phi Phi Islands.

Stunning Tonsai Bay has turquoise waters and is a hive of boating activity. Ferries come and go, yachts anchor, dive and tour boats pick up their customers and long-tails whiz back and forth carrying passengers or goods.

The bay is nearly 2 km long from the outer points, with tall cliffs giving way to small beaches inhabited by monkeys and with coral reefs fringing the west side. The east side of the bay is shallower, with large areas of coral and a series of beaches and hotels occupying the shore. At the mouth of the bay, on the east side, is Long Beach and Shark Point, which face Phi Phi Leh.

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Tonsai Pier

The pier is Phi Phi's lifeline to the outside world and acts as a hub. The atmosphere changes throughout the day, with the focus on the ferryboat schedule. At certain times, the area around the pier is as busy as any city railway station in rush hour, with passengers milling around while waiting for their boat.

New arrivals and daytrippers hover and look bemused at the hustle and bustle of this island paradise while touts try to sell accommodation. In general, time in Phi Phi is measured in boats… ferryboats. After 2.30pm, when the last boat leaves, the atmosphere becomes much calmer, and the streets less crowded.

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Tonsai East in Phi Phi

Tonsai East is a laidback beach area past Chukit Resort, leading to Long Beach on Phi Phi Island. Although it's not as busy as Tonsai Village, you can still find a fair selection of budget and mid-range bungalow resorts.

Tonsai East is famous for large restaurants and bars that offer live entertainment in the late evenings. Venues like Carpe Diem and Hippies Bar are long-established places to dine and party at night.

Tonsai East has a 500-metre-long beach with a convenient walkway running parallel to the white sands. Enjoy wonderful views out over Tonsai Bay and Koh Phi Phi Leh in the distance. If you don’t feel up to the 15-minute walk into Tonsai Village, you can catch a water taxi to the pier. There’s also a path that leads to Phi Phi Viewpoint and Loh Dalum at the foot of a hill, which separates Tonsai Village from Tonsai East.

Tonsai West in Phi Phi 

Tonsai West is the quieter and more contemplative sister of brash and bold Tonsai East and the village itself. If you pass the pier and keep walking past the hospital and towards the limestone hills, you’ll notice that things get a lot quieter and more peaceful in this section of the island.

Several large resorts line the path, with onsite restaurants serving late-afternoon meals and drinks to travellers on day tours who arrive en masse in the morning. Tonsai West lacks in original stand-alone restaurants – only a few sandwich vendors and snack peddlers that offer fruit shakes and pancakes.

You can rent kayaks to explore along the island’s western promontory. Several intrepid visitors have even paddled out to Phi Phi Leh. The area is also great for snorkelling as it's a lot less busy than Loh Dalum.

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Where to stay in Phi Phi Islands?

Despite the fact that only 1 island of the group of 6 offers accommodation, you can find a variety of things to enjoy throughout your stay. Koh Phi Phi Don offers a wide range of hotels and resorts scattered across several areas. 

There is a right place to stay for everyone, from the lively central village to the tranquil yet convenient Long Beach to the remote and secluded resorts of Phi Phi Don’s southeastern coast to the luxurious and peaceful Laem Thong.

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Laem Thong

Laem Thong (Golden Bay) is a long strip of sand towards the northeastern coast of Koh Phi Phi Don. Apart from a few classy resorts, the area has a small fisherman’s village and a couple of standalone bars and restaurants. Outside the resorts, all activities are dedicated to the beach and sea – sunbathing, snorkelling or scuba diving on the reefs off the coast, exploring Bamboo Island just 5 km off Laem Thong, and strolling along the coastal path. 

An excellent place to spend a relaxing holiday, Laem Thong is definitely for those looking for a break. If you miss the hustle and bustle of a beach party, a trip to Loh Dalum takes about 40 minutes by longtail boat.

Long Beach

Long Beach lies on the eastern end of Tonsai Bay. It's separated from the central area of Phi Phi Don Island by a rocky cape, which you can pass through via a narrow jungle path.

The main draws of Long Beach are its tranquillity and proximity to the village – a 5-minute trip by longtail boat – as well as dining, shopping, and nightlife opportunities. There are a few bungalow resorts with a hippie atmosphere, which you might not find in the central area of Phi Phi.

Koh Phi Phi Don central area

The central area of Koh Phi Phi Don is between Tonsai Bay (where the ferry pier is situated) to the south and Loh Dalum to the north. The area counts 4 sub-areas – Tonsai West, Tonsai Village, Loh Dalum, and Tonsai East. 

It is the liveliest place on Phi Phi Islands, with a great choice of hotels, restaurants, boutiques, and bars. Tonsai West is the quietest part of the area, while Loh Dalum, Tonsai Village and Tonsai East are excellent for those who want a lively area to stay on the island.

East coast of Koh Phi Phi Don

The east coast of Koh Phi Phi Don is a 4-km-long coast with several small bungalow resorts offering simple accommodation. This rather remote area is only accessible by boat unless you fancy 2 hours of trekking along steep jungle trails to get there. 

Water sports – kayaking, snorkelling, and scuba diving – are some of the best things to do Koh Phi Phi Don's east coast. Its southeastern area has narrow beaches lying at the foot of mountains. Loh Bagao is a large bay that has stylish hotels and a small village with local bars and restaurants.

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Nightlife in Koh Phi Phi

The best bars in Phi Phi Island are spread equally over Koh Phi Phi Don's 3 main areas: Tonsai Village (the main urban centre), Tonsai East, and Loh Dalum Bay. Most bars go for 1 of 2 contrasting approaches – a laidback vibe or a pumping party atmosphere. However, some bars, as you'll see below, succeed in wrapping both ambiences up in 1 venue.

A quiet night out in Phi Phi is usually spent on the cushions of a bamboo-and-thatch bar set right on the beach with chilled vibes and a few beers. Those who prefer their nights loud can enjoy pumping music, dance floors on the sand, and a plentiful supply of bucket cocktails (potent spirits with energy drinks). There really is an option for everyone on our list of the best places to go at night in Phi Phi.

Dining in Koh Phi Phi

When it comes to dining in Phi Phi, seafood is the island's star attraction, with many restaurants displaying the day's catch as an effective way to attract customers. You can also find plenty of Thai and Western options, from grab-and-go snacks to candlelit meals.

Tonsai Village is the centre of the Phi Phi dining scene. Whether indoors, outdoors, or places that blur the line between the 2, there are plenty of restaurants ready to serve quality dishes at reasonable prices. A short walk to the east of Koh Phi Phi Don, down a footpath that follows the sea, will result in even more eateries that overlook the Andaman.

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