Just a short ferry ride from either Phuket or Krabi, the paradise islands of Koh Phi Phi are one of Thailand's most treasured and picturesque destinations.
Phi Phi Don is the largest island of the group and attracts hundreds of visitors with its impressive beaches, tropical landscape and late night parties. Phi Phi Leh remains undeveloped and hotel-free, boasting tropical coral reefs and towering cliffs whilst also being home to the famous Maya Bay.
As we arrived at Tonsai Pier, we were surprised to be greeted by a staff member from our hotel who kindly offered to cart our backpacks directly to our room! Speed walking through the town, we got a sense of the island's chilled out atmosphere - no cars, happy tourists and friendly locals.
On the island, you can either stay right amongst the bars and nightlife, or choose to stay a short walk away in a quieter area for those who like a good nights sleep. We stayed at P.P Casita which was less than a 10-minute walk to Loh Dalum Beach, but a good enough distance from the loud party atmosphere that booms into the early hours. We booked a private bungalow for our three night stay and our cosy little shack certainly did not leave us disappointed! All of the rooms are set in beautiful garden surroundings with wooden paths that connect to the large pool and restaurant area. As the hotel was quiet in early September, we got the pool to ourselves each day. At breakfast, we made friends with the cute resident cat who had a habit of meeting us in the morning and then following us back to our room!
The central area of Phi Phi Don has a wide range of resorts, hotels, guesthouses and hostels that will suit everyones budget. There are also a large variety of restaurants offering everything from Asian favourites to European and South American cuisines, making sure there is something to please everyone! We found the food and drink prices considerably lower here than in Phuket, so what's not to love?
Things to do in Phi Phi
Loh Dalum Beach - the closest beach to our hotel and the main tourist area on the island. It wasn't overly busy when we visited, making it a great place to chill for a few hours with a good selection of bars and shops close by. The beach was tidy and the sea was beautifully calm, although not the best for swimming in as there are quite a few boats around and the tide carries debris to shore. If you are planning a visit, try to get there as early as possible because the tide goes out really quickly in the afternoon!
Kayaking - there are a number of spots to paddle out to from Loh Dalum Beach, depending on how strong you're feeling! Just head to one of the many kayak rental places and decide how long you would like - we hired ours for four hours, costing us 400 baht. Be sure to take suncream and plenty of water as it can be hard work in the heat, especially if you are riding against the waves. We also recommend taking a dry bag to carry your valuable items as lots of water leaked into our boat. Once we found our rhythm, we loved the freedom of sailing in the sea - definitely one of our Phi Phi highlights!
Monkey Beach - be sure to add this to your list of places to see whilst exploring Phi Phi islands! Jump on a longtail boat or kayak and visit the little monkeys that patrol this beautiful hidden gem. Keep your belongings safe as they are not afraid to approach and steal from you! Read our full blog on Monkey Beach here.
Phi Phi Viewpoint - the perfect place to get a view of the island's curved beaches and surrounding jungle landscape from above. Read our full blog on the viewpoint here.
Maya Bay - famously known as the film setting for The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio, this beautiful beach cove is up there on places to visit whilst in Phi Phi Islands! Although the island cannot be directly accessed in low season as we discovered, there are still a number of boats that will take you on a tour around Phi Phi Leh and Maya Bay.
Bamboo Island - easily accessible by longtail boat, this small tropical island is surrounded by stunning white beaches and clear water, a great spot for snorkelling!
Beach Parties - head to Loh Dalum beach at night and enjoy the lively party scene that runs into the early hours! We recommend visiting Slinky Bar, as this is a great starting point for making your way up the row of disco bars along the beach front. Experience live DJs, dance music, cocktail buckets and impressive fire shows - this island definitely knows how to party!