About Phi Phi Island, Thailand
With their enduring natural beauty of tropical rainforest and towering limestone cliffs fringed by powdery white-sand beaches and surrounded by coral reefs teeming with colourful tropical fish, the islands of Phi Phi offer the perfect destination for a beach holiday or romantic getaway in Thailand.
Rebuilt since the tragic 2004 tsunami, Phi Phi Don is the largest and only inhabited island in the six-islands group. Here you can choose accommodation ranging from budget bungalows to 4- to 5-star luxury beachfront resorts that dot several white-sand beaches.
The island’s jungle-clad limestone mountains are bisected by a narrow, 2km-long isthmus, with a sandy beach on either side and the bustling main village of Ton Sai, which is crowded with mostly budget chalets, restaurants, bars, dive shops and minimarkets.
To the south, an easy day trip away, lies idyllic Phi Phi Lei and its marine preserve; the island was made famous as the setting for the Hollywood film The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Things to do and see
Both islands offer opportunities for rock climbing and cliff jumping from 18m-high limestone cliffs, as well as scuba diving, snorkelling and kayaking in the surrounding bays. Hike through the pristine rainforest to spot several species of birds including gurneys, finfoots, kingfishers, egrets and herons. Keen fishermen can hook up a charter to chase marlin, sailfish, barracuda and tuna.
Phi Phi Leh
This rugged and picturesque island is home to the sea swift bird, sheltered bays, gorgeous beaches and a rich underwater marine environment that is perfect for snorkelling and diving.
Kayak the idyllic Ao Maya Bay on the southwest coast, aka ‘The Beach’, which is also perfect for snorkelling in the calm and clear waters. Look for 400-year-old graffiti on the walls of Viking Cave and watch local chao ley men climb flimsy bamboo scaffolds to collect swifts’ nests from the cavern walls – destined for bird’s nest soup in Chinese restaurants all over the world.
Note: Not all nests – which are held together by the birds’ spit, prized for its aphrodisiac qualities – are removed. The harvest occurs from February to May and is regulated by the government. Tip: Arrive early morning before the tour boats arrive.
Best time to visit
Phi Phi Island?
The best time to visit Phi Phi Island is during the dry season from December to April when the skies are sunny and the sea warm and calm. The average temperature throughout the year remains a consistent 30˚C.
The southwest monsoon lasts from the end of May until the middle of October; this off-season period brings less crowds, cheaper accommodation and, as the locals are quick to point out, it does not rain all day, averaging about 10 rainy days a month.
Location – The Phi Phi islands are located south of Phuket on the west coast of Thailand.
Getting there – The car- and road-free Phi Phi islands can be reached by regular ferry service or sea plane from Phuket, Koh Lanta or Krabi, all of which are less than 48km away. Thai Airways has daily flights to Phuket from Bangkok.