The Phi Phi group of islands consist of four islands: Phi Phi Don (the only inhabited / developed one of the group); Phi Phi Leh; Bamboo Island (Koh Pai); and Mosquito Island (Koh Yung); and two rocky outcrops frequented by divers: Koh Bida Nok and Bida Nai.
Despite the crowds, the Phi Phi Islands remain a Krabi ‘must-see’ and richly deserve their reputation as ‘the jewels of the Andaman Sea’. Though the main sites visited can be clogged with boats (Phi Phi is also accessible by day trip from Phuket, from where the majority of the boats come), they are still, in our opinion, worth visiting for the incredible shifting landscapes and myriad hues of the water as you pass by.
The vast majority of people choose to visit Phi Phi on a day trip from Krabi or Phuket. The standard speedboat tours to Phi Phi departing from the Krabi mainland will take you to world-famous beaches
such as Maya Bay, where the movie ‘The Beach’ was set [update: Maya Bay is now closed indefinitely], the pristine white sand and turquoise water of Bamboo Island, and the twin bays of Phi Phi Don.
The “10 stops” advertised in most programs really consist of these 3 – 4 beaches and 2 snorkeling stops in open water – usually around Hin Klang and Monkey Bay, which are sadly now a poor shade of the colourful coral gardens they once were, though there are still fish to be seen. The other “stops” are a mere slowing down of the boat at certain spots on the cruise to take pictures, such as at Viking Cave or in some pretty coves around Phi Phi Leh (Losamah, Lao Bileh).
At around midday, all the tours stop for a mediocre but edible buffet lunch on the only inhabited island in the group, Phi Phi Don. Day tour operators unfortunately have no choice but to use the services of this restaurant; if you object to the canteen-style food and location (note: the restaurant itself is clean and otherwise perfectly ok), you are free to eat independently elsewhere – we would recommend any of the beachfront cafes a short walk across the island on Lohdalum Bay, or the eateries in the village. Do inform your guide, and check the departure time of your boat before you go, however!
Note that speed boat travel is not recommended for infants under 1 year old, pregnant women, or anyone with back problems, or prone to seasickness, due to the bumpy ride. In these cases, or for any other reasons you may have for not joining a speedboat tour, your options would be:
- to visit the islands with a dive boat tour from Ao Nang or Krabi (there is no stop on Maya Bay, but it is comfortable and excellent for keen snorkelers)
- to visit only the main island, Phi Phi Don, with the daily passenger ferry from Ao Nang or Krabi Town (which would give you 3 -4 hours on the island, enough to climb to the viewpoint, or take a short longtail trip to Phi Phi Leh)
- to visit the islands departing from Phi Phi Don, by staying overnight there – a cruise of the neighbouring islands can then be done in any number of ways, e.g. by longtail boat, glass bottomed boat, yacht, sleep aboard cruise, dive boat etc.
For those who don’t mind speedboats, but object to group tours, boat charters to Phi Phi are available as well.
We list all of the group tour options available for the Phi Phi Island with departure from Krabi below. The order of places visited on the Phi Phi Island tour varies year round according to the tides and weather, so it is not practical to post an hour-by-hour itinerary. There is a 400 baht entry fee payable by all non-Thai visitors to “The Beach” (Ao Maya) on Phi Phi Leh.
For more information about the Phi Phi Islands, visit our dedicated site: The Phi Phi Islands Guide.
PHI PHI TOURS
Want to visit Phi Phi with a group tour? The available itineraries are listed below; click on the links to see full details. Booking can be done on site at your hotel, or any agent in the street.
Please note: speedboat travel is not recommended for infants under 1 year old, pregnant women, or anyone with back problems or prone to seasickness, due to the bumpy ride.