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Everything You Need to Know About Phi Phi Islands

Phuket To Phi Phi Island ToursAbout Phi Phi Islands

What is the Phi Phi Island?

The Phi Phi Islands, or Koh Phi Phi, is an archipelago in the Andaman Sea, boasting six islands between mainland Krabi and the ever-popular Phuket in Thailand. Interestingly, the name "Phi Phi" (pronounced "pi-pi") has Malay roots, stemming from "Pulau Api-Api," which translates to "the fiery isle." This name likely comes from the Pokok Api-Api, a type of mangrove tree found on the islands. You’ll also recognize Phi Phi Islands from the dazzling beach paradise in the Leonardo DiCaprio starrer, “The Beach”

All six Phi Phi Islands are embraced by Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, encompassing over 38,000 hectares. This protected area is a haven for marine life and boasts stunning limestone formations with towering cliffs, intriguing caves, and long stretches of idyllic white sand beaches.

Quick facts about Phi Phi Island

Aerial view of Phi Phi island
  • Official name: Ko Phi Phi or Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park
  • Landscape type: Island archipelago 
  • Total number of islands: 6
  • Famous for: Maya Bay (beach featured in 'The Beach' movie), limestone cliffs, vibrant nightlife (on Phi Phi Don), natural beauty, snorkeling and diving.
  • Official language: Thai
  • Distance from Phuket: 46 kilometers (29 miles) southeast
  • National park area: 38,789.9 hectares (95,852 acres)
  • Activities: Boat tours, snorkeling, diving, rock climbing, kayaking, hiking (viewpoints on Phi Phi Don)
  • Marine Life: Coral reefs, butterfly and angelfish, blacktip reef sharks, sea turtles (especially hawksbill turtles)
  • Function: National park and tourist destination.
  • Number of visitors per year: 14 million + visitors

Plan your visit to Phi Phi Island

Tour timings
Best time to visit
Location
Tour timings - Phi Phi Islands

Most Phi Phi Island tours start between 7am to 7:30am with some starting at 9am and 10:30am. 

Sunrise tours have an early start so be prepared for an early departure.

Best time to visit - Phi Phi Islands
  • Sunny escape (Nov-April): This peak season delivers the best weather for swimming, diving, and soaking up the sun. Expect clear skies, cool nights, and calm seas - perfect for exploring the islands. However, you'll also encounter larger crowds and potentially higher prices.
  • Shoulder season (May & Oct): Seeking a balance? May and October offer decent weather with fewer crowds. May might see occasional rain showers, while October experiences the tail-end of the monsoon with rising humidity. It's perfect if you don't mind the possibility of some passing showers.

Nestled amidst the emerald waters of the Andaman Sea, Phi Phi Island lies off the coast of southern Thailand. Mainland Krabi embraces this captivating archipelago to the east and the ever-popular island paradise of Phuket to the north. As Phi Phi Island is an island chain, the only way to reach its shores is by boat. Travel time and distance vary depending on the departure point:

  • From Phuket, a speedboat whisks you away to Phi Phi Island in about 45 minutes, while a ferry takes roughly 1.5 hours, covering a distance of approximately 46 kilometers (29 miles).
  • Krabi offers a closer starting point, with a boat trip to Phi Phi Island ranging from 1 hour to 1.5 hours, depending on the specific departure location within Krabi. The distance is roughly 40 kilometers (25 miles).

Top things to do at Phi Phi Island

Aerial view of Long Beach, Phi Phi Islands

Relax on white sand beaches

See Long Beach which boasts powdery white sand, calm waters, and a relaxed atmosphere. Perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding. Or, dine at Tonsai Bay offering a vibrant scene lined with restaurants, bars, and shops.

Coral reef of the Phi Phi islands

Spot vibrant coral reefs

Hin Daeng & Hin Muang are renowned dive sites for deep underwater pinnacles, strong currents, and diverse marine life. Expect to encounter colorful fish species, playful turtles, and majestic manta rays. Aow Leuk Bay & Shark Point are shallower snorkeling spots that boast abundant coral formations as well.

Koh Phi Phi Le viewpoint

Unlock Phi Phi viewpoints

Hike through lush vegetation and ascend a series of steps to reach this viewpoint offering views of the island's bays, turquoise waters, and the vast Andaman Sea. The Koh Phi Phi Le viewpoint is a more challenging hike rewarded with stunning views of Maya Bay and the surrounding limestone cliffs.

Lady on a catamaran enjoying the view at Maya Bay

The famous Maya Bay

Accessible by boat, Maya Bay, made famous by the movie "The Beach," boasts a picturesque horseshoe-shaped cove with soft white sand, turquoise waters, and towering limestone cliffs.

Viking Cave in Phuket

Delve into Viking Cave's history

Located on Phi Phi Le, Viking Cave features ancient paintings depicting boats, some believed to be Viking vessels. Glide by the cave chambers and discover the swallows' nests clinging to the walls, a historical source of income for local communities.

Uncover hidden gems by Kayak - Phi Phi Islands

Uncover hidden gems by Kayak

Go on a kayaking adventure and explore the hidden coves and lagoons dotting Phi Phi Island's coastline. Witness the bioluminescent plankton illuminate the water at night for a magical experience. Or paddle through Pileh Lagoon on Phi Phi Le, a stunning emerald lagoon enclosed by towering limestone cliffs, accessible only by boat.




Book Phi Phi Island tours

From Phuket: PhiPhi, Maya, Monkey Beach & Khai Island Speedboat Day Tour with Lunch
Free cancellation
Instant confirmation
Mobile ticket
12 hr.
Guided tour
More details
from
฿1,649
From Phuket: Phi Phi, Maya Bay & Monkey Beach Day Tour by Speed Catamaran
Free cancellation
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Mobile ticket
8 hr. 30 min. - 10 hr.
Guided tour
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from
฿2,000
From Phuket: Phi Phi, Maya, Pileh, Monkey Beach, and Khai Island Speedboat Tour
Free cancellation
Instant confirmation
Mobile ticket
10 hr.
Guided tour
Transfers included
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from
฿1,740
From Phuket: Phi Phi, Maya Bay, Pi Leh, & Bamboo Island Speedboat Tour
Free cancellation
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Mobile ticket
10 hr.
Guided tour
More details
from
฿2,580
From Phuket: Phi Phi & Maithon Island Day Tour by Power Catamaran
Free cancellation
Instant confirmation
Mobile ticket
12 hr.
Guided tour
Transfers included
More details
from
฿4,750.01
From Phuket: Phi Phi, Bamboo, and Maiton Islands Day Tour by Speed Catamaran
Free cancellation
Instant confirmation
Mobile ticket
8 hr. 30 min.
Transfers included
More details
from
฿3,700
From Phuket: Phi Phi Island & Maya Bay Speedboat Tour with Lunch & Drinks
Free cancellation
Instant confirmation
Mobile ticket
8 hr.
Guided tour
More details
from
฿4,335.75
Sunrise Tour of Phi Phi Islands
Free cancellation
Instant confirmation
Mobile ticket
8 hr.
Guided tour
More details
from
฿4,900
From Phuket: Phi Phi, Maya, Koh Khai Day Tour by Speed Catamaran
Free cancellation
Instant confirmation
Mobile ticket
10 hr. 30 min.
Audio guide
Guided tour
More details
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฿2,270
Combo (Save 28%): Carnival Magic + PhiPhi, Maya & Khai Island Speedboat Day Tour with Lunch
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Mobile ticket
Flexible duration
Guided tour
Transfers included
More details
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฿3,319.98

Conservation efforts at Phi Phi Island

Phi Phi Island's booming tourism industry has necessitated conservation efforts to protect its delicate ecosystem. Marine conservation is a key focus, with the Maya Bay Rehabilitation Project utilizing coral propagation to restore damaged reefs. 

Established in 1983, Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park implements regulations to minimize harm to marine life. Notably, Maya Bay itself was closed to visitors in 2018 due to environmental concerns. After extensive rehabilitation, it reopened in 2022 with strict limitations on visitor numbers and designated swimming areas.

Waste management is another crucial aspect of conservation. Initiatives like "Trash Hero Phi Phi" promote responsible waste disposal and plastic reduction. Encouraging sustainable tourism practices and fostering community involvement through beach cleanups and education programs are also essential. By supporting these ongoing efforts and choosing responsible travel options, you  can ensure Phi Phi Island's natural beauty thrives for generations to come.

Frequently asked questions about Phi Phi Island

What are the best things to do in Phi Phi Island?

Phi Phi Island offers something for everyone. Relax on pristine beaches, explore vibrant coral reefs, or hike to viewpoints for stunning vistas. Visit the famous Maya Bay, delve into Viking Cave's history, or kayak through hidden lagoons. Challenge yourself with rock climbing, or explore the islands by longtail boat tour.

When is the best time to visit Phi Phi Island?

The best time to visit Phi Phi Island depends on what you prefer. For perfect weather and clear water, visit between November and April, but expect crowds. Shoulder seasons (May & Oct) offer decent weather with fewer people, but some rain is possible. The most affordable option is the monsoon season (June-Sept), but expect occasional downpours.

Can I stay overnight on Phi Phi Island?

Yes, Phi Phi Don has various accommodations, from budget-friendly to luxurious. Phi Phi Le is a national park and doesn't allow overnight stays.

Is Maya Bay open to visitors?

Yes, Maya Bay reopened in 2022.

What is the currency used in Phi Phi Island?

The Thai Baht (THB, ฿) is used in Phi Phi Island.

What language is spoken in Phi Phi Island?

Thai is the primary language, but English is widely understood in tourist areas.

What are the 6 islands of Phi Phi Island?

The 6 islands of Phi Phi Island are: Phi Phi Don (the largest and most developed island), Phi Phi Le (home to Maya Bay), Bamboo Island, Koh Mai Phai, Monkey Island (Koh Phi Phi Leh), Ngai Island (Koh Yung).

Is Phi Phi Island suitable for families with young children?

Phi Phi Island is suitable for families, especially with its beautiful beaches.

What are some alternative activities or hidden gems to explore beyond the popular attractions?

While Phi Phi Island's famous beaches and Maya Bay are a must-see, venture beyond the crowds to discover hidden gems. Explore the vibrant Tonsai Village with its shops, restaurants, and lively atmosphere. Seek serenity on Ngai Island's secluded beaches with hidden coves and limestone cliffs. Immerse yourself in Thai culture with a cooking class, or challenge yourself with rock climbing adventures at Railay Beach, accessible by boat from Phi Phi Island. Browse the local markets for unique souvenirs and handicrafts to bring home a piece of Phi Phi Island's charm.

What are the best options for diving and snorkeling around Phi Phi Island?

The underwater world around Phi Phi Island is teeming with life, offering exciting options for divers and snorkelers of all levels. Experienced divers can explore the world-renowned Hin Daeng & Hin Muang dive sites, famous for deep underwater pinnacles, strong currents, and encounters with diverse marine life like manta rays and turtles. Aow Leuk Bay and Shark Point offer shallower snorkeling havens with abundant coral formations bursting with colorful fish, a perfect choice for beginners and families.

Is it possible to hike or explore viewpoints on Phi Phi Island?

Absolutely! Hiking and exploring viewpoints are fantastic ways to experience Phi Phi Island's natural beauty from a different perspective. Hike up to Phi Phi Viewpoint and be rewarded with panoramic vistas of the entire island chain, turquoise waters, and the vast Andaman Sea. The Koh Phi Phi Le Viewpoint offers a more challenging trek but stuns with breathtaking views of Maya Bay and the surrounding limestone cliffs. Several other trails lead to viewpoints with unique perspectives of the island, so lace up your shoes and get exploring!