The Phi Phi Islands

The Phi Phi Islands, are great to visit for a day on tour by speedboat or stay a while at this World famous destination.

There are two Phi Phi Islands.
Phi Phi Ley is uninhabited and protected by Thailand National Parks while Phi Phi Don has some luxurious beach resorts and a full range of accommodation in Tonsai Town.

Phi Phi Islands, tour by speedboat

Phi Phi Don

Tonsai Town on Phi Phi Don is situated on the largest area of flat ground found on the two islands. Slightly above sea level between the two great bays of Ao Tonsai and Ao Lod Talum. Here you will find shops, resorts, hotels, bars and restaurants.

Lod Talam bay is quieter and is better for swimming than Tonsai Bay. Tonsai Bay is deeper and this is where the jetty has been developed for the ferry boats linking Phi Phi to Phuket, Ao Nang and Koh Lanta.

At the Northern end of Lod Talum bay there’s often a night time party at one of the beach bars.

Water Sports

The Phi Phi Islands have some great locations for swimming, snorkelling and SCUBA diving.

See our page on SCUBA Diving and Snorkelling activities for more details.

Phi Phi Don, longtail boat in Tonsai Bay

Around Phi Phi Don

There are many features and attractions around Tonsai Town and also around the Island of Phi Phi Don.

There are no cars or motorcycles on Phi Phi. Even bicycles are not allowed now. So getting around is by foot or by boat.

Eating and Drinking

Known for its night life areas Tonsai Town has many bars, cafes and restaurants offering an entire range of international food and drinks. There’s coffee shops and bakeries for fresh bread and cakes and most cuisines you can think of on offer in Tonsai.

The Viewpoint

Follow signposts North of the town on the Tonsai Bay side and you will find a narrow and steepening path to the lookout. Certainly a worthwhile hike to see the views over Tonsai town and both the grand horseshoe bays. You’ll see Phi Phi Ley behind too.

Beaches of Tonsai Bay

At the beach front facing Tonsai Bay turn right (South), you’ll walk along the sea wall and begin to leave the town. There’s much less development at this side of the beach and it is much quieter.

Back in Tonsai town follow the path North long the sea wall you’ll follow a laneway up over a rocky outcrop and down again to another beach, backed by smart resorts. The beach along here is not so crowded and there’s plenty of options for refreshments.

Long Beach

Continue North East following the pathway close to the beach and you can make your way through to Long Beach. Here the atmosphere is quieter still. Much less activity than the main town and the resorts are low-key and relaxed. Swimming and snorkelling around here is safe.

It is possible to travel between Long Beach and Tonsai Town jetty by hiring a longtail boat. Agree on the price before you set out.

Phi Phi Don, Lod Talam Bay

Lod Talum Bay

From Tonsai Bay head straight through the laneways of the town between hotels and cafes and you will emerge on another beach – the great curving Lod Talum bay. The water here is very shallow so there’s only a few longtail boats in the water. It’s much quieter than Tonsai and the sandy beach is very long so you’ll be able to find a good place to relax on the sand.

You will enjoy beautiful sunsets from this beach, perhaps find a nice bar with seating on the sand…

Phi Phi Don by Boat

There’s always longtail boatmen offering boat tours of the Phi Phi islands. Phi Phi Ley is most often visited but there are some beautiful beaches and bays to explore on Phi Phi Don too.

East Coast

In Tonsai Bay you can take a boat ride across to Long Beach for a more tranquil beach experience. Heading out of Tonsai bay past Long Beach turn left (North) and travel up the East coast of the island. There’s a few small beaches mostly backed by native vegetation or coconut palms. There are some small bamboo bungalow resorts hidden away too.

About half way along this coast is the larger Loh Ba Kao Bay. The area behind this beach is now mostly developed with resorts and cafes. The beach of soft sand is still accessible.

Further North the beaches are narrow and the island rises steeply so there is no significant building. On this part of the coast snorkelling close to the island is quite good for experienced swimmers.

Just before the Northern tip of the island there’s another fine sandy beach fronted by shallow reef. This beach too has been developed with resorts.

West Coast

Travelling back South down the West side of the Phi Phi Don island there is the wide Lana Bay, a beautiful broad beach backed by a coconut tree plantation. There’s hardly any development on Lana Bay but there is a trail that runs across the island almost a kilometre to Loh Ba Kao.

Over a rocky headland from Lana Bay is Ao Nui. This bay is very secluded and sheltered. The beach has fine sand and there’s a large rock out in the bay. From this beach you can go snorkelling along the rocky edge of the island and you’re likely to see a variety of large tropical reef fish.

Further South is the wide entrance to Lod Talum Bay close again to Tonsai Town.

Across Lod Talum bay on the Southern Side is Monkey Beach. Accessible only by boat it’s a popular beach for visitors to see the local monkeys. The snorkelling in this area of the bay is very good, though there can be a lot of boat traffic.

Further South on the West coast of Phi Phi Don Island there are no significant beaches but there are some spectacular tiny bays and inlets between the high cliffs.

For experienced swimmers only snorkelling from a boat in this area close to the island wall can be very rewarding.

Around the Southern tip of the island  and you’re heading back into Tonsai Bay.

Phi Phi Ley

The ‘other’ Phi Phi Island is Phi Phi Ley; this is protected by National Parks and there’s no permanent buildings on this island apart from a small refreshment kiosk and toilet facilities at the Ranger’s Station on the beach at Maya Bay.

Phi Phi Ley Island

Boat Tours of Phi Phi Ley

To see Phi Phi Ley you have to travel by boat. There’s no roads around this great high and mountainous limestone island.

Approaching the island from the North you’ll see the great headland rising straight up for many many metres.  There are just high sheer sided cliffs along this part of the island. Snorkelling here is good for strong swimmers. Currents can be strong so even if you are experienced please discuss with your boat Captain before getting into the water.

Phi Phi Ley Island, Maya Bay

Maya Bay

Eventually the massive cliffs break into the entrance of the World famous Maya Bay. This is a deep enclosed bay backed by a wide sandy beach. The views around the bay are inspiring. and the sandy beach continues back away from the water between the cliffs.

This bay was made especially famous by the film ‘The Beach” with Leonardo Di  Caprio, based on the book by Alex Garland.

Thousands of people now visit the bay every year. Each day there are boat tours arriving from Phuket, Krabi mainland, Koh Lanta and Phi Phi Don. The Park Rangers do a good job of keeping the beach clean and protecting the vegetation but the numbers of people can be significant.

Fortunately there’s other placed to visit around the island.

Phi Phi Ley East Coast

On the East Coast of the Island there are more bays and a large cave.

Losamah Bay

Losamah Bay actually backs the area behind Maya Bay and there’s a path from Maya Bay beach to a small view point over the rocks of Losamah Bay.

Phi Ley Bay

Phi Ley Bay is wide bay but the water is shallow and it cannot be entered at low tide. There are some very good snorkelling locations around here. Check with boat captains for the best places depending on the tide levels.

Phi Phi Ley Island, Viking Cave
Viking Cave

North of the entrance to Phi Ley bay is a wide opening in the cliff face just above the high tide mark. This opening is a deep cave which continues back and high in to the island. It is home to many swiflet birds (Aerodramus fuciphagus). It is the nests of these birds which makes ‘birds-nest soup’ an expensive delicacy especially in China.The nests are harvested here as well as other places around Krabi province.

Consequently no visitors are allowed into the cave but it is still impressive to see the large opening full of stalactites and stalagmites. There are a number of stories about how the cave got it’s name. One is that near the cave mouth there is a drawing of an old style  sailing boat which resembles a Viking long boat. If the drawing exists it’s more likely to be of a Chinese or Malay trading boat.

Just North of the cave opening there is a nice bay with a very small slip of a beach. Here at ‘Viking Cave’ the water is often calm and it is a good place for experienced snorkellers. The reef does drop ways quite quickly from the edge of the island but here is a good opportunity to see corals and larger reef fish. Good swimmers only.

Phi Phi Ley Island, bays & beaches

Transport

Getting To and From Phi Phi Don

Transport to Phi Phi Don is by boat.

There are regular ferry boats to Phi Phi Don from; Phuket, Ao Nang, Koh Lanta.

During ‘High Season’ (November – April) there may be a regular shared speed boat service from Koh Yao Noi – Koh Yao Yai – Phi Phi Don

Private Speed Boat Transfers are also available from all locations around the coastline of Krabi, Phang Nga and Phuket. See our page on private boat hire.

There are Day Tours to the Phi Phi Islands from most locations. See Phi Phi Islands Tour Details here.

Getting To and From Phi Phi Ley

Transport to Phi Phi Ley is by boat.

There is no accommodation on Phi Phi Ley so you can only visit on an organised tour or by private boat rental.

There are Day Tours to the Phi Phi Islands from most locations. See Phi Phi Islands Tour Details here.

Independent Boat Tours From Tonsai Town, Phi Phi Don

If you are staying on Phi Phi Don you will find many independent boat operators offering tours around Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Ley.

There will be varying degrees of standards, it’s wise to see the boat, check they have equipment like life jackets available and know what’s included in the price; food and drinks, which island destinations…as always agree the price before you set out.

We can arrange all boat tours around Phi Phi, contact us with your requirements.

Phi Phi Islands Gallery

Where are the Phi Phi Islands?

Contact Us

For independent travel advice and for all-inclusive private tour bookings.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply