Koh Phi Phi – The ultimate dream come true!
Koh Phi Phi might be THE main island to visit in Thailand for many travellers. I really loved this place as well, but in my opinion it has its positives and negatives. Still, it is a fascinating island, because of its unbelievable beauty. I have rarely seen something like that in my life and I promise, you will love it too…
After a couple days in Koh Lanta and visiting Koh Phangan and Koh Tao before that, I finally arrived in Koh Phi Phi. This was a dream of mine since I first heard about it in Australia. I stayed in Koh Phi Phi for about 5 days, which is a good time frame to explore the island, check out what’s around it and have some good nights out. You can stay longer, but, because Koh Phi Phi is not that big, you will be done with all the highlights in 2-3 days. But taking a little more time is always good.
Koh Phi Phi is the island where the movie “The Beach” was filmed and it is completely understandable why the producers chose this unique scenery for their movie.
Koh Phi Phi – General information
The small islands of Koh Phi Phi lie in the Andaman Sea, which is in the south of Thailand. Koh Phi Phi is divided into two parts, just like Koh Lanta. One part is called Koh Phi Phi Don and the other part is called Koh Phi Phi Lee. Koh Phi Phi Don is the island where the locals and tourists stay at. You find everything you need there. Koh Phi Phi Lee is the other island, which is very special, because of its magnificant sits and attractions (see below).
The locals on Koh Phi Phi mainly earn their income from tourism. There is no opportunity for farm work or any other econimical sector. The islands just don’t have enough space. Koh Phi Phi got famous after the tsunami back in 2006. Before that it was an absolute paradise, which it still is, but nowerdays tourism took over completely. Before 2006 you could only find a few people on the island. I got told by other travellers, who have been there before 2006, that Koh Phi Phi was like a lost paradise, that not many people knew of and that’s what made it so special to them.
History and weather
Koh Phi Phi was found a long time ago. The first inhabitants suppose to be one of the oldest communities in Thailand. In the past it has mainly been used for the fishing industry. Nowerdays it is only used for tourism.
The weather in Koh Phi Phi is usually pretty good. It just depends on whether it’s wet or dry season. The wet season runs from April till October. I would recommend you not to come to Koh Phi Phi or any other island in the south during that period. Not, because it is dangerous, but, because you won’t have that much fun. It will rain a lot!
The dry season is from November to March . This is the perfect time to come to the south of Thailand. It’s sunny all the time, it’s warm (20°C – 37°C) and the air is not excessively humid. So, the whole weather conditions are just perfect. Even the water temperature in the area is so pleasent (28°C – 31°C).
How to get there
Getting to Koh Phi Phi is as easy as reaching all the other islands in the south of Thailand. You only get there by taking the ferry. You either start from Krabi or Phuket. The journey takes about 2 hours, depending on the weather conditions and it only costs about 250 – 300 Baht (8 – 10 $). There is no other way to get to Koh Phi Phi, because the islands are to small. There would be no space for an airport.
Most people come from Bangkok or Phuket. Either they fly in or they take the bus. If you take the bus, then you will drive during night time to Phuket or Krabi and it will cost you about 650 Baht (22,5 $). The journey takes about 10 hours to get to the starting point of the ferry.
Taking the plane to Phuket is obviously way more convenient, but also more expensive, even though I have to admit, that domestic flights in Southeast Asia are quite cheap in general. Sometimes you get flights for less than 40 $ and the flight only takes about 45 minutes.
Short tip: If you get sea sick, then prepare for that, because the boat ride can get rough, if the weather is bad. Other than that, enjoy the beautiful ride.
Short tip 2: Never plan with the estimated duration for the journey. In Southeast Asia you always get told less than it actually will be.
How to get around
On Koh Phi Phi you have two main options to get around.
- You walk
- You take a carriage
Because the island is so small, I recommend you to walk and have a look at everything you can. You save a little bit of money and to get from one end to the other only takes about 15 minutes by foot anyway. If you want to go somewhere close to the island, you obviously have to take a boat. To rent a boat for the whole day is about 20 – 30 $. I would rather recommend you to do a guided tour, because they are cheaper and they bring you to every place you need to see.
Food on Koh Phi Phi is a little untypical for Thailand. Of course, you will find the typical Thai food on every corner, but, because Koh Phi Phi is really touristic these days, you will find various dishes like Italian, French and all kind of other stuff. My recommendation is to try out the Papaya restaurant, which is one of the best ones on the island. You get decent food for a fair price. Try the Massaman Currey! 😉
Short tip: For the best ice cream try out the “Ice Cream Master” of Thailand – Absolutely incredible. Believe me!
Koh Phi Phi has all different kind of accommodation. High, middle and lower class. I chose lower class while I was there, because I was backpacking by that time. But of course there is heaps of options to choose from.
The range sets from around 250 Baht (8 $) to a couple thousend Baht. When you arrive on the island, you will see some massive hotels straight away. You also find some decent ones on the hills. The remote high class ones are “at the back” of the island (in the east). You have to take another small boat to get there.
To give you some examples for high class accommodation:
The middle class accommodation is good for people, who want to enjoy a good stay for a longer term, but don’t want to pay to much. If you don’t want to spend more than 100 $ per night, then this is for you:
If you have to stick to a low budget, I recommend you to have a look in town. I will not recommend any hostel, because they are all pretty much the same. Just walk around for a couple minutes and you will find various different ones in between all the small alleys.
Short tip: Try to choose one, which is not to close to the bars. Otherwise it will get really loud at night. Rather pay a 2-3 $ more per night in order to get a good sleep.
Koh Phi Phi – Highlights and what to do
Guys, Koh Phi Phi is mostly known for parties and paradisaic hot spots. However, I want to say one thing first, that bothered me a little bit when I went to Koh Phi Phi. If you cut out all the hotels, restaurants, houses and what else is on the island, then this place would be a true dream. It still is , but in my opinion Koh Phi Phi is the perfect example how tourism destroys the most beautiful places on our planet. I am not saying, that Koh Phi Phi is completely destroyed now, but it could be even more beautiful than it is at the moment.
That said, I still think, that Koh Phi Phi is a wonderful place with heaps of amazing stuff to do!
Koh Phi Phi View Point
The view point of Koh Phi Phi is something you should definitely see. It lies on the eastside of Koh Phi Phi Don and it will take you about 15 – 20 minutes to get up there. There are two levels. The first view point is already really nice. That’s the one with the Koh Phi Phi view point sign. The second one, which is a little higher, is the one where you can see the whole island clearly. You will even see Koh Phi Phi Lee in the distance. So pretty!
You will have a wonderful view. I personally loved the different colours of the two bays. One is more light blue. The other one has more of a dark blue/ greenish kind of touch to it. Really beautiful to look at. Still, this was the moment where you could really see how tourism influences the island. Houses everywhere… But overall the view is still really beautiful with all the limestone rocks, the wonderful ocean colour and the beaches. Very scenic!
Make sure to check out both main beaches respectively the north and the south beach of Koh Phi Phi Don. You can see the whole beauty of them from the view point, which I just spoke about. But hanging out at them is even better 😉 The sand is so fine, the water temperature is so pleasent and the whole feeling you get watching what actually surrounds you is absolutely fantastic. Once you take the first step into the ocean, you gonna be surrounded by small beautiful fish in rainbow colours. So cool!
Koh Phi Phi is very known for its parties. It is not as popular for parties as Koh Phangan, but still many travelers like to go out at Koh Phi Phi. You have a couple good bars along the northern beach. They play all kind of music, set up different dance floors and you can watch the typical fire shows.
On northern beach of Koh Phi Phi you will also find some more relaxed bars, where you just hang out by the beach, drink some cocktails and enjoy the sound of the ocean 🙂 Additionally you can have a look at the very known reggae bar, where you’ll be able to have some drinks while watching random blokes stepping into a Thai boxing ring punching each other for one or two rounds. It’s good fun. If you want, you could also step up and show your skills 😉
Scuba diving at Koh Phi Phi is very, very nice. When I was there I went for 2 dives. Both of them have been really cool. I saw my first wild black tip reef shark there 😀 You will probably go for a dive near Koh Phi Phi Lee, because the best dives sides are around that area. Two dive spots suppose to be one of the world’s best dive sites (Hin Daeng & Hi Muang).
Of course that is hard to claim, but I have been to the “Pileh Wall” and “Loh Samah Bay”. That has been really good already. So, I guess, that Hin Daeng and Hi Muang must be one of a kind. You will probably see some grey reef sharks, leopard sharks and maybe even wild whale sharks, if you go there 🙂
Maya Bay boat tour
This is probably the main highlight of all the highlights. You can read way more about this wonderful experience in this post. This tour was one of the coolest things I have done in whole Thailand, because what you see there just seems surreal. During the day you gonna visit Monkey Beach, listen to the story of the Viking Cave, go snorkeling at Pileh Lagoon and the Pileh Wall, check out the world famous Maya Bay and maybe see an incredible sunset on the Andaman Sea (depending on when you start your tour).
You gonna get around with on the typical wooden Thai boats painted in rainbow colours. In our case, an eight year old kid was the captain of the boat – Thai rules right? 🙂
Food, drinks and snorkeling gear is indluded in the price (750 Baht – 25 $ + 400 Baht Maya Bay entrence fee). I got it a little cheaper, because I booked directly on the island and not upfront. Plus, I negotiated just like always 😉
Short tip: Make sure to book on the island and not through the internet. You will get a better price.
Short tip 2: Make sure to go early in the morning, so, that all the sights won’t be to crowded.
Short tip 3: Try to book with a small group. Otherwise it won’t be that much fun, because everything takes longer with more people and you will feel more comfortable
Of course you can do waaaay more than I mentioned during your visit on Koh Phi Phi. Here are a couple other options you have:
- Rock Climbing
- Pum Thai Cooking School
- Booze Cruises
- Jet Ski
I was not able to do all of the listed stuff. If you stay longer than the 5 days that I recommended, then it should be possible to try out everything, I guess.
Koh Phi Phi – What I have learned
Koh Phi Phi really opened my eyes for two things…
We are all responsible
I have been saying that before in other posts, but we all have a big responsibilty for our planet. Seeing what the tourism industry does in Koh Phi Phi and how it effects the whole area is quite sad to be honest. The view from the view point for example is incredibly beautiful, but it also shows you, that there need to be way more laws and regulations to save our enviroment. It took less than 10 years after the tsunami from 2006 to rebuild everything and massively overload the island with tourism.
The only thing you could do to help stopping this enviromental desruction is to watch out a little while you are there. Just don’t throw any rubbish around, keep the beaches clean and anything else, which is common sense. To give you a little inside: More than 25 tons of rubbish are produced on Koh Phi Phi every day…
The second thing, which Koh Phi Phi showed me is, that we need to make sure to travel as much as we can!
Guys, this is one of the main reasons why I write this blog. I want to inspire you to get out and travel more. You will not believe what a place like Koh Phi Phi does to you. It inspires you, it opens your eyes, it will broaden your horizon and much, much more.
Places like this one are the ones, which make you realise (made me realise too) that there is so much more out there in this world, that’s worth visiting. Maybe one of the destinations you gonna go to will be the one where you find the love of your life. Or it might be place where you want settle down for the rest of your life. Who knows…
It is hard to explain what Koh Phi Phi did to me, but it was one piece of the puzzle why I love traveling so much and the experiences I made at Koh Phi Phi started a procces, which led to a big personal change. A good change that I am very thankful for. And, because I wish you to have the same kind of good change/ progress, I just highly recommend you to get your ass up and explore the world!
Want to know more about the Maya Bay tour? Read here