Koh Phi Phi

Moo Koh Phi Phi

Moo Koh Phi Phi

Moo Koh Phi Phi or Phi Phi Islands towering of green cliffs, rising up from a glittering turquoise sea, and endless white sandy bays dotted along the shore, and you begin to have some idea of what awaits you. Add crystal clear water, no roads and a tropical laid back lifestyle, and it's easy to see why Phi Phi is one of southern Thailand's most popular destinations.

 

Approximately for 40 km offshore from Krabi are the scenic two limestone islands of Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh. Phi Phi Don, the larger island, has all the tourist infrastructure, including resorts, restaurants, bars, tour agencies and dive schools. About 6km south, Ko Phi Phi Leh is completely undeveloped and hemmed in by towering limestone cliffs.

Moo Koh Phi Phi are well known as the 'jewels of the Andaman Sea', the six islands in the Ko Phi Phi group are Phi Phi Don, Phi Phi Leh, Bamboo Island, Yung Island, Bida Nok and Bida Nai.

As most of the world knows, in December 2004 Phi-Phi Don's fortunes were tragically reversed by tsunami waves that destroyed virtually every standing structure on the twin bays of Ao Ton Sai and Ao Lo Dalam. Most things are back to normal and Phi Phi still has that laidback charm as before.

Phi Phi Islands can be reached by boat either from Krabi or Phuket. In downtown Krabi tourists can take a boat at Chaofa pier. The boat leaves daily for Phi Phi Islands. It takes about 2 and 1/2 hours for the journey. Regular boats from Ao Nang to Ko Phi Phi are also available during high season. Ferry services make return trips twice daily departing from Phuket, the journey taking about one hour forty five minutes. A regular ferry service from Koh Lanta direct to Phi Phi also operates in high season.

Moo Koh Phi Phi including of

Phi Phi Don Island

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The largest island of the group offers a backdrop of sheer limestone cliffs and a stage of sandy beaches dotted all around the island. There are no roads on the island so to get around you simply take a long tail boat, or walk along the pathway that criss-crosses Tonsai Bay. In the centre of Tonsai Bay, you'll find most of the accommodation as well as some resorts on the more secluded beaches around the island. Phi Phi Don has an abundance of fine tropical beaches along its southern and eastern shores, with plenty of limestone karsts offering spectacular views of the islands. Boats generally unload their passengers at a fishing village on Ton Sai Bay, protected on one side by steep, jungle limestone cliffs, and the other by low hills.


 

Phi Phi Ley Island

In terms of scenery, the smaller Koh Phi Phi Leh is by far the most spectacular, with limestone cliffs that plunge hundreds of feet down to the sea and numerous secret coves with small crescents of white sand and crystal-clear water. A particularly beautiful spot is Maya Bay, surrounded by soaring cliffs and harbouring three largely unspoiled beaches with good snorkelling. Unlike its larger sister, Phi Phi Ley is uninhabited. On the northeast side is the famous Viking Cave.

Of course there have never been Vikings, but the cave has numerous cave paintings of vessels, resembling Viking longboats. The local people revere the cave. They collect the swift's nests, used to make Bird's Nest Soup, a Chinese delicacy.

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Neighbouring Islands
Koh Yung Island (Mosquito Island) lies to the north of Phi Phi Don Island. There is a rocky beach on the east side and a smaller patch of sand in a fold of the hill. Beautiful and various coral are found there. The island gets its name from the black clouds of mosquitoes at sunset.

Koh Phai Nok Island - (Bamboo Island) - is a tiny island surrounded by coral reef and small beaches on the north and east side. Broad coral reefs stretch away into the south.

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Koh Bida Nai and Koh Bida Nok are a small islands visited mainly by divers for their underwater scenery.
Ko Pida Nok is very good for both advanced and beginners with both shallow and deep dive sites.

 

Activities on Phi Phi Island you can do


Snorkelling
The Phi Phi Islands, which probably have the best snorkelling anywhere in Thailand, also have wonderful coral gardens, unusual cavefish, exotic tropical fish and sharks. The depths of the different snorkelling spots vary from 2-7 meters and visibility is crystal clear. The best snorkelling sites of Phi Phi Island are Maya Bay, Hin Klang Coral Reef, Bamboo Island and Yung Island.

Diving
Diving in Phi Phi is an experience not to be missed! From shallow sheltered bays to wall and drift dives, there's something for every level of diver and a multitude of diving sites. Around the Phi Phi Islands, you will see an amazing variety of fish life, beautiful soft coral, staghorn coral gardens and huge sea fans. A large number of species of large fish can be spotted. On the sandy bottom, leopard sharks can be found resting and between February and March the migratory giant Whale sharks can be spotted on occasion.

Fishing
Game fishing tours from Phi Phi Island is a good way to experience something different and exciting. Boats of varying sizes are available for half or whole day charters with all the equipment and bait provided. Game fish found around Phi Phi are Black Marlin, Giant Travelly, Sailfish and Tuna. Sharks of several species can also be found, including Tiger sharks, Bull sharks and Reef sharks.

 


Kayaking & Canoeing

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Kayaking, canoeing and paddling on the waters of Phi Phi Island is a must. The highlight of any sea canoe trip is to visit the hongs. A Hong is a lagoon enclosed within an island, accessible only by canoe through hidden tidal caves and passageways. It gives you a real feeling of getting back to nature, an indescribable experience! This is a great way to see the best of Phi Phi's limestone cliffs, mangrove inlets, caves, and varied marine and bird life. Famous destinations for kayaking around the Phi Phi Islands are Maya Bay on Phi Phi Ley, four kilometers away from Phi Phi Don.

Rock Climbing
Phi Phi offers some of the best steep limestone walls in Thailand, which plunge straight down into the mesmerizing blue sea. Most climbing revolves around sunlight. The lush vegetation provides the shade to make it cooler. Given that it is such a beautiful climbing destination and has great potential for climbers, the routes are surprisingly and often comparatively un-crowded on the rock face. A vast amount of routes that still exist, have been rebolted, and over the past five years many new routes have been developed.

Thai Massage
Try a traditional Thai massage. The ladies at Siamese massage are guaranteed to find and fix the places that ache.

Breakfast with the Sharks
The breakfast deal with the sharks is definitely the highlight of a trip to Ko Phi Phi. Don't be surprised if you find yourself being circled by up to six black tip sharks or leopard sharks, some of them two meters long, all hungry for their breakfast! Don't worry, you will return home with your body parts still intact, as the sharks are harmless.

Trekking
Most of the locals use longtail boats to get around, but there are a few paths. Walk up to the lookout point in Tonsai for a stunning panoramic view over the twin bays of Phi Phi, the jungle below and beyond. It's worth the modest 40 minutes climb and the 200 metre steeper section is paved and quite easy. Although refreshments are available at the top during high season, be prepared and take drinking water for the climb. To get there, walk along Loh Dalum Bay past Phi Phi Princess and Pavilion beach resorts. Follow the signs up the hill past Viewpoint Resort to the vantage point.

 

Local Tours-Island Hopping
Take a local longtail boat trip around the island. Each boat can take about 6-8 passengers and stops at all the snorkelling places and local beauty spots including the Viking Cave. You may need to take your own snorkel gear (you can also hire from local dive shops). Some companies provide a limited selection of equipment and a local lunch.

Beach Hopping
In Phi Phi, life is laid back, and despite the variety of activities available, there is very little pressure to participate. Sleep in until the sun rises high in the sky. Then wander from your room to the beach (perhaps 20 metres) and lie in the sun until you are bored. Make time for a 15 minute trip to some protected inlet and find a new little beach or place to eat. Owners of local long tail boats are happy to take you from beach to beach, including the famous one in the Leonardo Di Caprio film "The Beach".

 

Diving at Koh Phi Phi

Phi Phi island

Koh Phi Phi or Phi Phi island is a small archipelago in Krabi Province.

There are the named islands as following

* Koh Phi Phi Don, the largest and only populated island.
* Koh Phi Phi Leh (also known as Ko Phi Phi Lai), a smaller island to the south, popularised when parts of the movie "The Beach" were filmed there. Uninhabited apart from bird nest harvesters and a few Maya Bay wardens; expect plenty of tourists during daylight hours, especially in Maya Bay, the beach of the eponymous movie.
* Koh Phai ('Bamboo Island'), a small low-lying islet to the north of Phi Phi Don with several good beaches.
* Bida Nok and Bida Nai, two small adjacent limestone karsts to the south of Phi Phi Leh, with near-vertical cliff walls rising from the sea.

Although rapidly becoming less and less attractive due to the masses of tourists as well as the construction on the island, it's still a very beautiful place to visit, and is one of those places everybody should go at least once in their lifetime. Although the beaches are not the best in Thailand, the place has a good vibe and nightlife and there are dozens of dive shops to choose from.

Most of the (over)development of Phi Phi Don is situated in or around Tonsai village, which is on the low, sandy isthmus that joins the two hilly spurs that comprise the rest of the island. There are also other, quieter resorts on Long Beach, Laem Thong, and at other less accessible areas of the island.

Koh Phi Phi was devastated by the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, when nearly all of the island's infrastructure was wiped out. Redevelopment has, however, been swift, and services like electricity, water, Internet access and ATMs are up and running again, but waste handling has been slower to come back online.

It should be noted that, while very laid back, many of the local islanders are Muslim. You will lose considerable respect if you walk around town in your skimpies (this applies to Buddhist areas of Thailand too!). While many tourists do in fact parade down Main Street in their Speedos or thong bikinis, to avoid offending your hosts, it's usually best just to throw on a pair of shorts or a sarong; similarly, toplessness on the beaches, while grudgingly tolerated by most locals, is also probably best avoided.

Destination Air Shuttle - direct seaplane transfers from/to Phuket International Airport and other popular Andaman coast destinations. They often run a low season promotion for transfer from Phi Phi to Phuket Airport for only 2000 baht (high season is 6000 baht), and land at Laem Thong near the northern tip of the island - transport to Tonsai, if required, is about 30 minutes by longtail boat. This is a fairly good deal considering the ferry (400 baht) plus taxi (700 baht) to Phuket's airport will run you around 1200 baht.

Ferries leave from Phuket and Krabi daily (several times a day during the high season). Tickets are 350 baht to/from Phuket, Krabi (350 baht) or Ko Lanta (300 baht), and if bought in advance should include transport to the pier. They are much cheaper when bought in a package with a bus ticket at a travel agency in Bangkok. The nearer you get to Koh Phi Phi, the more expensive the ferry tickets get, peaking at 350 baht at the pier.

Not all ferries are created equally. You can often take your ticket from a travel agent and apply it to a nicer ferry. Talk to the locals and find out what is the best ferry to take. The ferries run by Chao Ko group, particularly the smallest "Pichamon IV" are often overcrowded and appear to be very poorly maintaned, which does not inspire confidence, particuarly in heavy seas. In April 2007, a ferry operated by Andaman Wave Master caught fire and sank, and all aboard were forced to jump into the sea. Fortunately, nearby vessels were quickly able to rescue all the passengers, and no casualties occurred. The ferries run by PP Family are larger and seem more suited to the task.

Other tour vessels visit the island from several Phuket-based resorts, usually on day trips, the price for a speadboat from Rawai Beach was quoted at 15,000 baht return(or one way) for up to 6 people(Dec 6 2007). There are many speedboats operating directly from the beach but it may be best to book the day before as most seem to be on away on trips during the day. Speedboats can also be chartered from other nearby locations, but at a very high price (in July 2007, the starting price for a speedboat to Phi Phi Don from Ko Yao was quoted at 20,000 baht).

 



 

Koh Phi Phi officially has no motorised transport, though there are a few motorcycles with truck sidecars, usually used for goods and construction material transport. Transport on land is by foot or bicycle, but in the populated areas of Tonsai, nowhere is more than about ten minutes' walk from anywhere else. Long-tail taxi-boats ply between all beaches; on Phi Phi Don, you can also walk to any beach. From Ton Sai to Long Beach, expect to pay 40 baht/person in the afternoon, at least 80 baht at night. To have a complete boat to yourself, expect to pay at least 100 baht.

Wheelbarrows are used to transport goods, including your luggage if you like. Expect free "transport" from the pier to your room, but not necessarily in the opposite direction.

* Viewpoint - walk up to the Viewpoint, 186 metres above sea level (a very steep walk of between 10-25 minutes, depending on fitness), to get a breathtaking view of the entire island - particularly at dawn or sunset (bring a flashlight). You will be surprised at how narrow the sand strip is between the two main parts of the island.

* Monkey Beach - accessible on foot or by renting a canoe, or be lazy and charter a longtail boat. Don't forget to take some bananas for the monkeys! Be careful as they can sometimes be aggressive.

* Fireshow - there are several highly skilled and entertaining fireshows held nightly in several venues on the island, including at Carlito's, Apache Bar, Hippies, Carpe Diem, and The Tia and Millie Sunflower Bar on Lohdalum.

* Tsunami Memorial Garden - by the Tia and Millie Sunflower Bar; a beautiful place for quiet contemplation and paying one's respects to the victims of the recent tragedy.


Koh Phi Phi Leh - take a longtail boat and visit Maya Bay - the "secret beach" where the movie "The Beach" was filmed. Water directly around the island is sometimes disappointingly murky and not so good for diving. The beach on the other side of the island, across from where the boats land, is slightly nicer. It is highly recommended to arrive at Maya Bay before 8am, when the place can still be enjoyed in solitude. As from 9am hoards of speedboats with tourists on package tours arrive from Phuket. Another thing to think about when coming to Maya Bay is the time of year. During the high season (October - May) you will feel like you are at Disneyland, but during the off season and you shouldn't be surprised if you are one of only two or three small groups on the beach, or even alone. NOTE: Park Rangers have begun enforcement of a National Park entry fee of 200 baht/person, though if you are traveling in a tour group, they will typically include it in the price of your trip.

* Snorkeling - there are two rocks within swimming distance of Long Beach known as 'Shark Point' where harmless blacktip reef sharks can be seen. The Adventure Club dive shop runs 'Shark Watch' snorkeling trips to Shark Point that 'guarantee' a sighting of sharks. Many dive schools take snorkelers on their dive boats, but expect to see only a hint of the underwater marvel visible to scuba divers. The snorkeling off Bamboo and Mosqito Islands is quite good although the reefs are a long way below you at high tide. For an excellent chance to see sharks, visit Paradise Diving on Longbeach who will point you in the right direction of the Black Tip Reef Shark's habitat metres from the sandy shore. Paradise Diving is located on The Paradise Resort in the middle of Longbeach.

* Scuba diving - there are many dive shops, and some very good dive locations. Prices are regulated, so expect to pay the same everywhere. Shops on the island do a few different trips. The typical trip offered is a two tank local dive within the Phi Phi Marine park which will run about 2200 baht. They also do 2 -3 tank trips to the King Cruiser wreck with your follow up dives at both Shark Point and Anemone Reef, this trip usually runs between 3200 -3900 depending on the number of dives you do. No diving trip to Phi Phi would be complete if you didn't head down to Hin Daeng. Hin Daeng has some of the stepest drops in Thailand (60m+) as well as being the place you are most likely to see Manta Rays and Whale Sharks. This trip usually runs around 4500 baht. The town centre is crammed with dive shops and is fiercly competitive (They cannot be competitive if prices are 'regulated', remind them the western world carries jail terms for price fixing!). For a more relaxed experience there are several dive shops also available on Longbeach. Check out DiveThailand.comfor more information. Dive Koh Phi Phi

* Rock Climbing - there are opportunities for rock climbing on Koh Phi Phi, and a few climbing shops to rent equipment, find a guide or take basic lessons. (Spider Monkey can be recommended). While not as famous as Rai Leh beach, nor with as many routes, the climbing is on similar limestone cliffs, and similarly beautiful. The climbing here also tends to be less crowded than at Rai leh. There are about four walls that are used with some frequency.