Phi Phi Islands – The Andaman Sea Emerald
Welcome to the Emerald of Asia – Phi Phi Islands
Scuba Diving Phuket – Phi Phi Islands (a.k.a. Ko Phi Phi) are one of Southeast Asia’s most striking destinations. Verdant limestone hills rising out of turquoise waters are the first impression that Tonsai Bay in Phi Phi Don, the main island, gives to newly-arrived travelers. The craggy majesty of Phi Phi Leh provides a marked contrast while peripheral islands offer a heady cocktail of white-sand beaches, nodding palms, gin-clear water and superb diving or snorkeling spots. On the main island the nightlife is legendary and includes fire dancing, Muay Thai boxing and international DJs. Although Phi Phi is not a stellar shopping destination per excellence, a few quirky knick knacks and fashion statements can be found along its labyrinth of alleyways.
Blessed by nature and the smiling hospitality of its people, and supported by superb tourism facilities, Ko Phi Phi is today one of the world’s premier tropical resorts. Palm-fringed beaches, an island-studded sea, superb accommodation, delicious seafood, numerous sporting and leisure opportunities to conclude the perfect recipe for a memorable holiday.
Phi Phi Islands Climate and Seasons
Ko Phi Phi has a tropical monsoon climate and, located close to the equator, is both hot and humid in equal measure and doesn’t cool significantly at night. The period between April and May is the hottest with average of 30-35°C (86-95°F). The Southwest monsoons arrive between May and October, and with them pouring rain and thunderstorms for many, though, this is a welcome respite. Be careful during the this period as wind is strong and waves high.
How to get to Phi Phi Islands
The nearest airport to Phi Phi Island is at Phuket. From the Airport you will need to reach Phuket Town pier, If cost is not your main concern at Phuket Airport, then you can use the airport limousine service.
The main pier in Phuket to get to Phi Phi is in Phuket Town at Rassada Pier. It takes about 45 minutes to get there from the airport and Patong or Kamala areas, depending on traffic and weather. The only option you have to reach Ko Phi Phi Islands is by ferry boat or by speed boat.
Getting around Phi Phi Islands
In the case of Phi Phi it’s ‘two legs good, four wheels bad’. In other words, there are no cars, tuk tuks or any motorized land transport on the island. Getting around is all done by walking and, except for the occasional bicycle, it’s all peace and quiet. Visitors can charter a long-tail boat to visit neighboring islands.
Phi Phi Islands Major Sights & Attractions
The first impression visitors get of Ko Phi Phi is that someone must have turned the “colour-meter” up of this heavenly island. Deep verdant hillsides complement the bright-turquoise sea while vividly painted boats bob up and down by white-sand beaches. Heading out and about, northeast Phi Phi Leh rises majestically gaunt out of the sea while on its west side stunning Maya Bay wows visitors on a daily basis with its teeming shoals of fish and idyllic setting.
Famous Maya Bay
It was pointed out hundreds of times Maya Bay was the backdrop for the movie The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio but, as familiar as the scenario might be in the mind’s eye, nothing prepares you for the real thing.
With limestone cliffs rising vertically 100m out of the rich-blue sea and thousands of fish milling around underwater, the familiar strand in the distance and the boat’s motor cut, taking in the scene is almost magical. Sure, the place is overcrowded but it’s still an impressive experience and one you’ll be glad you took the time for.
Open: 08:00 – 18:00
Location: Phi Phi Leh
How to get there: Take a day tour from Phuket or charter a longtail boat in Ton Sai Bay
Phi Phi Island’s viewpoint is 186m, which isn’t really that high. If you’re feeling energetic, it’s a brisk 20-minute walk and a 30-minute stroll to the top. The journey up isn’t difficult; the path is well trodden and paved most of the way and there are plenty of places to rest. The best time to come from a photographic point of view is before 10:00 as the sun will be behind you, bringing out the colour of the sea.
The view is, of course, magnificent. You can see Phi Phi Leh and all of both Tonsai Village and Loh Dalum bays. From here you will be able to appreciate the ‘dumbbell’ shape of the island and marvel its beauty. How to get there – Follow the signs from the Reggae Bar towards Loh Dalum Bay
Monkey Bay a.k.a. Monkey Beach
Located just outside Loh Dalum Bay to the west, Monkey Bay is a deserted tranquil beach with good coral. Some day trips stop here to see the monkeys, but watch out – they can be very cheeky. This is a nice place to explore by kayak from Loh Dalum Beach. Monkey Beach is located on the west side of Tonsai Bay about 700m from the beach. At very high tide there’s not much beach but at other times there’s plenty of sand. The monkeys here eat bananas and other fruit given to them, you can take photos at a very short distance, don’t get too close though. The snorkeling at the drop off around 50m from the beach is excellent. How to get there – Rent a kayak.
Loh Sama (Sama Bay)
Located on the south side of the island the only activity here is snorkeling which is excellent for discovering beautiful coral and tropical fish. Boats anchor in the shallow waters, swimmers feed fish and snorkel. You can get to Maya Bay from here at low tide via a small hole through a cliff about one metre high and sometimes when the sea is rough from May to October this is the only way to get into Maya Bay.
What to do in Phi Phi Islands
Ko Phi Phi is most definitely an outdoors place. About the only time you’re going to be indoors is when you close the hotel door behind you. Therefore a lot of activities on the island require large dollops of suntan lotion, a hat and generous amounts of water to keep you properly hydrated. Obviously, a lot of activities are water-based and involve traveling a fair bit but rock climbing in west Tonsai is a mere 10-minute stroll away.
All 4 Diving offer a wide selection of Phi Phi Islands dive trips and PADI courses. Scuba diving at Ko Phi Phi is sensational with a head-spinning variety of marine life living in the waters surrounding the island. Ko Phi Phi has long been a well-known place to do your PADI courses and local sites include Maya Bay, Wang Long, Palong Bay, Bida Noi and the ever popular Bida Nai. You can also take a liveaboard to more distant destinations including the Similan Islands and Richelieu Rock.
When the tide is right, places like Monkey Bay are just about as accessible as physics allows. The coral is just below the surface and brightly colored fish dart here and there, inches from your mask.
Hin Klang is in the middle of the sea, though it isn’t nearly as deep as expected; you don’t have to impersonate an island native on the hunt to enjoy the views – floating on the surface is fine. Phi Phi Leh has a few more snorkeling locations, as does Phi Phi Don, Bamboo Island, the list goes on.
This afternoon-to-sunset cruise tour features visits to Monkey Beach, cliff jumping, Viking Cave, Loh Samah, Maya Bay and, presuming participants are still conscious, takes in the sunset. Of course the booze is not actually ‘free’ – it’s included in the price of the ticket and the fun factor potential is way up there. It should be noted that this is not a mindless blowout and that the cliff jumping precedes the boozing – for fairly obvious reasons. Location: You can find most of the offices at the pier.
For a sport that combine physical challenge with great views it’s hard to beat rock climbing, especially on picturesque Ko Phi Phi.
For beginners and intermediate climbers Ko Phi Phi offers far more concentration of climbs in the range of 5cs to 6cs. Tonsai Tower in west Tonsai Beach has close to 25 routes in that range, single and multi-pitch alike.
There is plenty to tackle on Phi Phi Islands, even if you’re a novice climber. Rental equipment is available, as are guides and instructors.
Phi Phi Islands useful telephone numbers
- Police 191
- Tourist Police 1155
- Phi Phi Islands Hospital 075 622151
- Krabi Town Hospital 075 611226