Phi Phi Island is one of those places you don’t want to miss when traveling to Thailand. The island, or better saying, the islands, became very popular after incredible scenes of the movie ‘The Beach’ with Leonardo DiCaprio were shot there, but it remains a top destination in Thailand for many other reasons. Not only it’s located between amazing tourist hubs like Phuket and Krabi [Phi Phi actually belongs to Krabi Province], it’s got stunning features and activities to keep you busy, while it still remains as a tropical, laid back island where no cars or roads exist.
Of course that such a beautiful place will be full of travelers, but don’t let Koh Phi Phi too touristy label intimidate you. There is a reason why so many people visit Koh Phi Phi, the islands are stunning and unique. So instead of putting it off from your travel itinerary, discover how to get the most of it despite de crowd. Opting for sustainable or responsible activities, tours, and hotels will improve your experience and the island. Also, staying there for more than one day you can enjoy the island slowly and have the best experience ever.
So here goes a complete guide to the best things to do in Phi Phi Island from lively parties to stunning chilled beaches. Ready?
Unmissable things to do in Phi Phi Island
I personally consider Phi Phi Island a small piece of paradise surrounded by incredibly good-looking turquoise waters and gorgeous white sand beaches. Rather you are seeking for adventures or just looking forward for relaxing at the beach, there are many things to do in Phi Phi, so save a few days of your itinerary for this beautiful island. I would recommend you to stay for at least 3 days, so you have enough time to enjoy the top attractions in Phi Phi Island.
Only one of Phi Phi Islands is inhabited, Phi Phi Don, which means all the others will be reached by boat and that is something you don’t want to miss. So, a boat tour is one of the top things to do in Phi Phi island!
– Phi Phi Island Boat Tours are a must
Most boat tours in Phi Phi island will take you to the best spots as Pileh Lagoon, Bamboo Island, Maya Bay, Monkey Beach, Viking Cave, Loh Samah Bay, Nui Bay and Long Beach. You will be able to go snorkeling in Phi Phi, swimming, watching cute monkeys run around on white sands and lay back on unforgettable spots there.
It’s important to know that Maya Bay is finally open, after years of being closed for conservation purposes. Now you can step on ‘The Beach’, take some nice photos but you can’t swim.
There are many tour options available on the island, The Pirate Boat and The Gold Day Tour are great group options and you can ask for info at one of the many tour shops around the island. You can also choose to have your private speedboat or traditional longtail boat and go on a custom-made tour just for yourself. Check out this half-day Private Longtail Boat Tour here, it goes to all the stunning places. Another great option is joining this shared longtail boat tour.
– Diving in Phi Phi Islands
Well, for the ocean lovers, a boat tour in Phi Phi Island might not be satisfying enough, then you should take the adventure to the next level. How about diving in Koh Phi Phi? You will be amazed by what the underwater world has to offer there. So many colors, so much life, so many fish, Nemos, corals, turtles, friendly sharks and much more. It’s like swimming in an aquarium. You don’t even need to be a pro for this, you can simply go for a ‘Discover Scuba Dive’ experience to try it out. Believe me, there are many cool dive sites around the islands and my favorite one in Koh Bida Nok.
– Phi Phi Island Viewpoint
If you are willing to see the island from up above, Phi Phi viewpoint is what you are looking for. There are signs around the island to help you find the way, and it’s also on the maps online. It’s very easy to find the way to the viewpoint, the path is all concreted but get ready to sweat loads, as there will be many steps on your way. It might be tiring but this is one of the activities on the list of what to do in Phi Phi Island that you shouldn’t miss.
There are 3 viewpoints in the same complex and you will have to pay an entrance fee of 30 THB. The viewpoint is very busy at sunset, but another great option is to go there at high tide, that way the ocean will be nice and blue and it will make the perfect background for your photos. Keep in mind high tide happens at different times every day.
– What to do in Phi Phi Island for free [or low cost]
Looking for free things to do in Phi Phi Islands? Well, Phi Phi Island is very small and full of shops, cafes, restaurants and bars to check out. Besides strolling around the island you can also relax, go for a swim and enjoy Nice Beach and Loh Dalum Beach all day, or at least during high tide, as they are only a few minute’s walking distance from Tonsai pier.
Go hiking to Long Beach, instead of taking a taxi boat there. Let’s begin! Long Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on Phi Phi Island, worth spending a whole day there. It will take about 40 minutes from Tonsai pier there, if you are used to walking and don’t stop on the way. It’s quite easy to find and you will get to see some unknown empty beaches on the way, don’t be shy, jump in the water to recharge your energies and continue the hike. There are some restaurants and bars available there and don’t forget your snorkeling gear as there is a great spot for it at the end of the beach and it’s free.
A great, fun and almost free things to do in Phi Phi is renting a kayak at Loh Dalum Beach, the beach where the parties happen every night (don’t worry, we will get to this subject soon). From there, paddle to Nui Bay and then to Monkey Beach. That should keep you busy and excited for quite a while. Just keep in mind you won’t come across any shops or restaurants on the way, so bring a waterproof bag, snacks, enough drinking water, a hat, sunscreen, snorkeling gear and a camera! You will love these two spots, I promise.
It’s party time! Best parties in Phi Phi Island for you to choose from
If you are into partying, a pool party in Phi Phi Island isn’t a bad idea, right? Even if you are not a big party person, you can join the beginning of the parties, before it gets busier and leave when you are done. The two main ones happen at the hotels Ibiza House Phi Phi and PP Princess Resort, not every night though. Check out their websites before going, at the moment, they have been happening every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, from 2 pm to 7 pm, at Ibiza House Phi Phi and every Friday, from 1 pm to 8 pm, at PP Princess Resort. They best part is: no entrance fee… Cheers!
Searching for what to do in Phi Phi Island after sunset? Don’t worry, Phi Phi Island nightlife will not let you down. The fire shows are most people’s favorite, they start around 9 pm every day along Loh Dalum Beach, in front of a few bars, the main one is Slinky Bar and you will surely be able to spot them from afar. Most of them are free of charge and you will be able to dance, listen to music and play fire games for free, free drinks might end up in your hands as well.
Wanna laugh out loud? You gotta give the Reggae Muay Thai Bar a try, where professionals and tourists challenge each other to fight in the ring. It turns out to be a lot of fun. It happens every night, starting between 9:30 pm and 10 pm and as long as you are having some drinks there, you will not be charged any entrance fee. Oh, I almost forgot to mention the prize for the winners of the night: a bucket! That’s the most consumed cocktail in Thailand, which is literally a plastic little bucket filled with a mix of your choice, usually vodka or rum and coke.
I am more of a bar type of person, and there are many options in Phi Phi Island, from Irish pubs to Rock bars, or just a beer pong bar. You will find them all, just walk around and check them out. I personally love Kongsiam Bar, where there is a live band every night playing the best hits, those ones that everyone knows the lyrics and will happily sing along. Get ready to wake up voiceless the next day!
Where to stay in Phi Phi Island
Well, I will give you a quick summary of where to stay in Phi Phi Island, as it can get a bit tricky to choose a place. So, the first tip is: book your accommodation in Phi Phi Island in advance in case you are going during the high season. Second tip is: open your mind. I find it a bit hard to have all you wish for in a hotel in a single place in Phi Phi, but let me explain why.
Most of the hotels and businesses in general, as well as the main beaches (Nice Beach and Loh Dalum) are located around Tonsai pier, so it’s much easier to find accommodation around there. Also, it’s more practical to stay around there and be able to just walk to places and not rely on taxi boats every time you wish to leave your hotel and do something. But, there is a big chance of staying near a loud bar and not being able to fall asleep before 2 am. Most of the hotels in this area are small and don’t offer all the resort infrastructure you might be looking for, but a few do, you just need to do some research.
The further you get from the pier, the harder it becomes to arrive at your hotel. As Phi Phi is not all flat some hotels located far from the pier are nice looking, super quiet, offer great features and price, but are up some hill or somewhere hard to get to. Remember what I said at the beginning of this article? There are no cars on Phi Phi Island!
The nicest resorts in Koh Phi Phi are located in the north of the island, on secluded beaches, which is awesome, but if you want to stroll around the island, have dinner somewhere else, join the boat tours around the island or go diving, that means, chartering a boat.
I recommend staying around Tonsai pier, but read carefully the reviews about the place you are willing to book. Here are only a few options to help you choose a place according to your budget, if you want more options of accommodation in Koh Phi Phi read our guide here.
Are you traveling on a budget or love socializing? Here is a nice hostel in a quiet location: The Pier 519 Hostel.
Pool Party in Phi Phi Island? Ibiza House Phi Phi it is! They offer shared and private rooms and are located beachfront, but don’t mind the noise.
Looking for a simple, quiet and very well located hotel? Panmanee Hotel will do the job, perfect if you want to keep yourself busy in Phi Phi Island and have a good night of sleep after a busy day.
For fancier resorts, I will suggest one near Tonsai Pier and one in the north of the island, but there are many more options. ChaoKoh Phi Phi Hotel & Resort is a great and quiet option for those who want to stay near Tonsai Pier. And Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort is a great option in the North of the island, away from everything, located on a beautiful beach, check it out.
How to get to Phi Phi Island
After all this information, all you need to know is how to get to Phi Phi Island. So, let’s get moving? There is only one way to get to Phi Phi Island: by boat! You can go from Phuket to Phi Phi by ferry or catch a ferry from Krabi to Phi Phi. There are also speed boats and private boats available, so it’s up to you.
There are a few ferries leaving from both Krabi and Phuket along the day and most of the ferry companies will pick you up at your hotel, so no need to worry. Be prepared to spend about 2 hours on the ferry, but it will be worth it. You can check prices and timetables on 12GoAsia. You can purchase your tickets online as well as at any travel agency located in Krabi or Phuket, there is usually no need for booking them too in advance.
In short, rather you are coming from Bangkok, Chiang Mai or any other place in Thailand, you need to find your way to Krabi or Phuket by bus (read our guide to travel in Thailand by bus here), by plane (find the best flights here) or by boat. Good thing is that Phuket and Krabi have international airports. Then you will need to catch a boat to Phi Phi Island.
It’s also good to mention to those on a tight schedule that don’t have many days in Thailand, it’s also possible to visit Phi Phi Island on a day tour. Phi Phi Island Day Tours leave from Phuket and Krabi daily and they take travelers to enjoy the main and most beautiful spots in Phi Phi Island. You have the option of joining a group tour or chartering a private speed boat. If this is for you and you will be staying in Krabi, you may contact @VOATOUR on Instagram as they can help you make this happen, just send them a direct message.
The best time to visit Phi Phi Island
The weather in the South West coast of Thailand, where Phi Phi is located is quite pleasant all year round. The high season is the dry season, starting in November and ending in April, when the monsoon kicks in slowly, but it usually rains once a day, not for long, with some exceptions.
It gets very busy from mid-December until February which aren’t the hottest months of the year (still pretty warm though, an average of 28ºC). Then from February on it starts to get warmer and warmer until April, when the average is 33ºC. Great temperatures to swim all day, isn’t it?
Although many people are scared of the rain, there is no need for it! It hardly ever rains all day long. I would personally avoid July and August if I could, but if they were my only options, I would give it a try. It’s always a good time to visit Koh Phi Phi!
Wow, I think that’s all the information you need about traveling to Phi Phi Island, activities, where to stay in Phi Phi and most important, how to get there. I can’t wait to hear how your experience on Phi Phi Island was, enjoy!
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Author: Franci Kohler is a traveler stuck in Thailand. Founder of VOA TOUR, a travel consulting company specialized in weddings, tours and transportation for Brazilians in Krabi, Thailand. Fascinated by the body, mind and soul, whenever not working, you will find her doing some yoga, meditating, petting dogs, trekking, diving, beach bumming, or having some wine over good conversations. She will find beauty in pretty much anything! Check out her Instagram @francikohler