Phi Phi Islands are some of the most beautiful islands of Thailand, six exotic islands of fine white sand and turquoise waters. They became famous for their natural beauty when Maya Bay, one of its most beautiful bays, starred in the movie The Beach.
Although there’s some misinformation regarding the current status of the island due to the massive increase in tourism and the effort of the government to preserve their natural wonders, Phi Phi island is still one of the best places to visit in Thailand. I mean, check it out!
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Koh Phi Phi, this article will provide you with all the essential tips on what to do in Phi Phi island + where to stay on Koh Phi Phi.
Table of Contents
How to Get to Phi Phi Island
There are two main locations where you can get to Phi Phi Island, from Phuket and from Krabi, both of them with international airports where you can get to from most countries or other locations in Thailand.
You’ll probably fly in from Bangkok. Domestic flights in Thailand are usually very affordable, with prices starting at less than $20.
Getting to Phi Phi Island from Phuket Island
It’s very simple to get to Phi Phi island from Phuket, all you need is to board a ferry or one of the speedboats available in Rassada Pier. Once in the pier, the choice between ferry or speedboat depends on your budget and whether you wish to wait for the schedule of the ship.
In Southeast Asia I usually use Bookaway to book transportation tickets in advance.
➤ Book your ferry ticket from Rassada Pier in Phuket to Koh Phi Phi HERE.
If you’re going directly to Phi Phi island from the Phuket international airport, you can get to Rassada Pier in about one hour by bus. In this case, I recommend buying a joint ticket that includes both the bus and the ferry ticket to save money and time.
➤ BOOK HERE your ticket from Phuket Airport to Koh Phi Phi
Be careful that when you buy a ticket at the pier, sometimes they will want to add additional charges to the price of the ticket by including a stay in a resort, or a meal in Phi Phi island. If you’re only looking for transportation make sure you only pay for the trip.
Getting to Phi Phi Island from Krabi Town
Just like Phuket Island, Krabi town has several ferries and speedboats that can get you to Phi Phi island quickly and safely.
Head to Klong Jirad Pier and look for your boat to the island. There are plenty of ferries and speedboats waiting to take you to the island for a reasonable price. However, recommend you to book the ticket in advance online as boats can get filled.
➤ BOOK HERE your ticket from Krabi to Phi Phi
If you’re coming directly from Krabi International Airport, you can get to Klong Jirad Pier in about one hour by bus. BOOK HERE transportation from Krabi airport to Klong Jirad Pier.
➤ Otherwise, you can buy a ticket that combines the bus ride with the ferry ticket (BOOK IT HERE).
READ ALSO: What to Pack for Thailand
Let’s Talk about Maya Bay
Ask anyone about Phi Phi and they’ll immediately associate it with Maya Bay.
Maya Bay won fame through the filming of The Beach, where it provided the breathtaking backdrop for Leonardo DiCaprio to explore the island. It’s easy to understand why this bay became so popular: craggy cliffs plunging dramatically into the turquoise water, and with no accommodation anywhere in the area, a serene and peaceful atmosphere all around.
Well, that’s how it used to be, before thousands of tourists every day came and ruined it, leaving all kind of trash behind and creating severe environmental damage, with multiple species of marine wildlife leaving the area.
At first the Thai government shut down Maya Bay from June to September 2018, then realized that it would take more time for the bay to get better, and shut it down indefinitely.
Over-tourism unfortunately is a big issue, that doesn’t only affect Thai islands, but also some of the most famous cities in the world such as Barcelona, Venice or Dubrovnik. This is a tricky subject.
On one side, governments obviously want to attract as many tourists as possible, but once places become too famous, cities and islands get ruined like the case of Maya Bay, or become unlivable for their own citizens, who often end up moving away. So, kudos to the Thai government for doing what they needed to do to protect their land and wildlife. No tourist is more important than our Earth.
If you join a day trip by boat to discover the island, the tour most likely will still bring you at the entrance of Maya Bay for a photo opportunity (obviously without disembarking or swimming in the area).
⇒ BOOK HERE the Phi Phi Snorkeling Tour by Speedboat which also includes Maya Bay.
But can I be completely honest with you? I thought Maya Bay was overrated. I mean, obviously it’s a nice spot, the water is turquoise, and I can see why it became popular, but in my opinion there are many other incredible places in Thailand, for example Pileh Bay Lagoon without leaving Phi Phi (keep scrolling down!) or Ang Thong National Park and Khao Sok National Park in other areas of Thailand.
Although Maya Bay is currently closed due to the Government’s effort to preserve this magnificent natural wonder, there are still plenty of things to do in Phi Phi.
The Best Things to do in Phi Phi
You’ll find that between the beautiful beaches, the activities beneath the sea, and the stunning views, Phi Phi is a paradise. Check out what to do in Koh Phi Phi!
Swim at the Stunning Pileh Bay Lagoon
This was my favorite spot in all of Phi Phi. You know those pictures of Thailand that look unreal? Imagine a magnificent bay surrounded by pristine emerald waters, steep limestone cliffs, and a gorgeous lagoon; the Pi Leh Bay is one of the best places to to swim in the Phi Phi Leh island.
You can get to Pi Leh Bay, one of the most exotic and stunning bays of the Phi Phi islands, in 30 minutes from the center of Koh Phi Phi Don, but if you’re going on a one-day trip to the best spots in Koh Phi Phi like we did, I’m sure your trip will include this bay.
Hire a Longtail Boat and Visit Bamboo Island and Mosquito Island
If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway and enjoying this tropical paradise with fewer people, hire a longtail boat and visit Bamboo Island and Mosquito Island.
Ko Mai Phai, known also as the Bamboo Island, doesn’t have steep limestone cliffs, and the views might not be as captivating, but the beach is stunning, a spectacle of pure white sand and perfect turquoise waters. The sunsets are incredible here!
You can go for a day trip to Bamboo Island and spend the day basking in the sun and enjoying the beauty of the beach, or if you like snorkeling, you can book a tour to the Hin Klang coral reef. Located between Bamboo Island and Laem Tong Beach in the north of Phi Phi Don, the Hin Klang coral reef is an excellent place to dive in and appreciate the submarine beauty of Thailand.
On the same day, go explore explore the wonders of the sea and enjoy the beautiful marine environment of Ko Yung island, also known as Mosquito Island, one of the best places for diving in Koh Phi Phi.
The abundance and diversity of marine life in the coral reefs surrounding the island are one of the main attractions of Ko Yung. However, the downside of Ko Yung is that the locals know it as Mosquito Island since every sunset the mosquito concentration can get quite uncomfortable (however ou won’t have any trouble if you visit during the day or if you stick to diving).
From Laem Tong Beach you can rent a longtail boat for around 3000 baht for 4/6 hours, or 1500 for 2 hours. You can also BOOK a private longtail boat charter in advance, which includes hotel pick up and drop off from the Tonsai area.
You can also join a tour by boat. Tours usually make stops at Bamboo Island, Mosquito Island, Monkey Bay, Maya Bay and Tonsai Village, and snorkeling gear is provided. Set sail at sunset if you can, as a view of the orange sun hitting the water, viewed from a long-tailed boat, is spectacular.
⇒ BOOK HERE the Phi Phi Snorkeling Tour by Longtail Boat. At around $20 per person for the full-day tour that includes time at Bamboo and Mosquito Islands, it’s a steal!
Hike to the Viewpoint
If there’s one thing you can’t miss about Ko Phi Phi Don, is the Phi Phi Viewpoint, the highest point of the island (186 meters), and one of the most stunning sights of the region. Start from Reggae Bar, where you’ll find signs pointing to the viewpoint.
It’s a 30-minute walk to climb to the viewpoint at the southern tip 0f Ao La Dalam , and it’s a straightforward and non-demanding trek to the top. Here you’ll find a view of the Loh Dalum Bay with its turquoise waters and the white sand beach. Moreover, there are snacks and drinks available at the top, and it makes for the perfect place to sit down and relax.
Go Snorkeling in this Natural Paradise
One of the most popular activities that you can’t miss when visiting the Phi Phi islands is submerging in the transparent waters and watching the hypnotic marine ecosystem that lies beneath. The water is warm, the fish abundant – there really aren’t any excuses not to go snorkeling in Phi Phi!
Whether it’s on the Pileh Bay Lagoon, the Bamboo or Mosquito islands, or the other various sites at Ko Phi Phi Don, snorkeling is a unique experience that you must experience at least once.
In Hat Yao, a beach in the south coast of Phi Phi Don, you can spot clown fish and black tipped sharks. It’s a 30-minute walk from Ton Sai, or you can take a long-tail boat for around 100 baht from Ton Sai pier.
At Loh Samah Bay you’ll be able to see plenty of coral and reef fish such as the angel fish, while in Ao Toh Koh if you’re lucky you might even be able to swim with dolphins!
And for the experience of a lifetime, you can join a tour that will bring you to snorkel at night so you can experience the beautiful bio-luminescent plankton, a real underwater light show.
⇒ BOOK IT HERE
Most resorts and hotels offer plenty of packages with snorkeling activities included (we went snorkeling through Zeavola Resort where we were staying), but you can also book a tour in advance to explore the underwater wonders of Phi Phi. For a special experience, check out the Reef Shark Snorkeling Eco Tour where if you are lucky you’ll be able to spot Blacktip Reef Sharks. It’s totally safe!
If you’re planning to do a lot of snorkeling while in Thailand (why wouldn’t you?), consider getting your own basic snorkeling kit before your departure. It’s more hygienic and basic sets are affordable.
Check out this bestseller snorkeling set with anti-fog mask, or check out this full-face snorkel mask for an 180º panoramic view, which makes it even easier to snorkel – you don’t even have to think about breathing through the tube!
Go Diving in Phi Phi
Ready to take it up a notch? Diving in Phi Phi is very popular among divers, and it’s one of the best locations for diving in Thailand (it’s also one of the best things to do in Koh Tao, so if you like diving head to this island after Phi Phi!).
One of the most popular diving spots is the 85-meter long King Cruiser wreck located between Phuket and Phi Phi, where advanced divers can dive for hours to explore its underwater world.
Shark Point is another famous diving spot in Phi Phi. Here you can spot and swim with leopard sharks. Sounds scary, but these sharks are totally harmless!
The smallest islands of the Phi Phi group are Bida Nok and Bida Nai. They are two islets made of two enormous limestone rocks, with no beaches or places to land. However, Bida Nok and Bida Nai are very popular amongst diving enthusiasts who are looking for a place with less traffic to enjoy the marine environment. Divers can see here various varieties of coral. Bida Nok is perfect for beginners, while Bida Nai is famous among more advanced divers.
Multiple diving centers on the island offer guided dives, excursions and PADI courses. Check out Zeavola Dive Center or the centers around Tonsai Bay, but make sure to ask questions about safety standards before you go.
⇒ You can also book here a Discover Scuba Diving Course for beginners at Blue View Divers. In one day you’ll learn how to properly dive and you’ll go on two dives to a maximum depth of 12 meters.
⇒ If you’re ready to dive like a pro, book here your PADI Scuba Diver Course, PADI Open Water Diver Course, or PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Course at Blue View Divers. These courses last 2 to 4 days and you’ll receive the official certification.
Chill Out with Monkeys at Monkey Beach
Monkey Beach is a 150-meter beach of white sand in the southwestern side of Tonsai Bay.
Besides being an excellent place for snorkeling, the beach gets its name from the monkeys that live in the cliffs nearby the beach and come down to greet the visitors in search of food.
Please don’t feed the monkeys though (or any other animals). Not only you will possibly get fined , but more than anything this is a National Park and you’re disrupting the animal’s natural environment by feeding them.
Keep in mind that in breeding season the monkeys can get quite aggressive, and it’s not recommended to visit the beach at this time.
You can also decide to kayak to Monkey Beach. I’ve been told that it takes about 45 minutes from Loh Dalam Bay and it’s a great workout.
Join a Cooking Class
Thai cuisine is delicious, and you might want to learn a few recipes to bring home with you. Why not joining a cooking class then? This is also a great option for those rainy days. You can take a shorter 1,5-hour class or learn more dishes in 3 hours.
⇒ BOOK HERE your cooking class in Koh Phi Phi.
Kayak in Phi Phi
If you’re up for some exercising, kayaking in Phi Phi is a great idea to visit some of the best beaches and bays at your own pace, and reach places unreachable by land without having to join any tour. I love, love kayaking, and always have a great time exploring places this way. Lately, I loved kayaking during our cruise in Halong Bay, Vietnam, for example.
You can rent kayaks both in Tonsai Beach and Loh Dalam Bay, and at Zeavola Resort on Laem Tong Beach, where we stayed, you can take advantage of complimentary kayak rentals.
You can rent kayaks by the hour, but probably you’re better off renting a kayak for the day, which will cost you 700-800 baht. You can also rent paddle boats in the same places.
Check out here a couple of itineraries to visit the island by kayaking. Make sure you bring plenty of water with you and protect yourself with sunscreen and a hat. Also, make sure your phone or camera are protected in a waterproof bag.
Wander Around Tonsai Village
Tonsai Village is where you want to look for souvenirs – clothes, handcrafts, hippie jewelry and items. However, prices might be higher than in Phuket or Krabi because the island is smaller.
Here you also find plenty of restaurants and cafes, tatto parlors, and artists working on their projects. Please don’t walk around the village in your bikini – this is a conservative country and it’s disrespectful towards the locals.
If you can, avoid visiting Ton Sai Village in the morning and early afternoon, when thousands of tourists who come for day trips from Phuket and Krabi invade the town.
Party in Phi Phi
Ko Phi Phi Don is the island where you’re going to be staying, the largest island in the group, and where all the fun begins. Evenings in Ko Phi Phi are moments of partying, with plenty of bars, restaurants, and open-air discos available.
The best places to party in Phi Phi are Slinky Bar (an open-air disco right on the beach where some of the wilder parties go on), Stockholm Syndrome (which features beer pong tables and a small dance floor), and Apache Beach Bar on Loh Dalum beach (another open-air disco venue with fire dancers’ shows as well).
If you prefer a pool party, check out the infamous Ibiza Pool Party which takes place every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday at Ibiza House. They say it’s the biggest pool party in Thailand, so get ready for some crazy fun! The entrance is free from 1pm to 9pm.
Discover the Best Beaches in Koh Phi Phi
Beach hopping in Phi Phi is #1 activity. There are multiple beaches in Phi Phi, it all depends on what you’re looking for.
Long Beach is one of the most popular and best beaches in Koh Phi Phi. From here you’ll have stunning views of Phi Phi Leh, and fine white sand. You can get here by walking from Tonsai in daylight, but in the evening it’s not recommended. Take a longtail boat and you can get here in just a few minutes.
Laem Tong Bay is a tranquil stretch of sand on the northern end of Phi Phi. From Tonsai, you’ll need a longtail boat to get here, as there are no roads.
Moo Dee Bay, or Loh Moo Dee, is a long white sand beach with turquoise waters. It’s on the east coast of Phi Phi, and a great option if you want to get away from it all.
Watch a Muay Thai Fight
Watching Muay Thai is very popular all around Thailand (it’s also one of the best things to do in Bangkok!), so why not go enjoy this martial art while in Koh Phi Phi? In Reggae Bar, in the middle of Tonsai Village, you’ll find a boxing ring, and nightly fights from around 9 pm on.
The bar organizes fights between famous and not-so famous fighters, but you can also participate in a fight if you feel like it. The bar entices people to participate with various prizes, but at your own risk. Multiple accidents have happened here, and mixing alcohol with boxing is never a good idea!
Where to Stay in Ko Phi Phi
Book your accommodation by using the map below ⬇
Luxury & Boutique Hotels
OUR TOP CHOICE – Zeavola Resort: The most luxury hotel in Phi Phi Island, in a secluded location, this barefoot resort combines luxury and beautiful accommodation with a special attention to sustainability. Trust me, you’ll never want to leave. Read a full review below.
Check out rates and availability for Zeavola Resort.
Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort: A 5-star resort with an incredible infinity pool on the beach. Featuring a private beach on Loh Bagao Bay, it’s a perfect place for couples and families to relax.
Check out rates and availability for Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort
Luxury For Less: <$100 a night
Phi Phi Cliff Beach Resort: 4-star resort with a beautiful infinity pool over the bay and breathtaking sea views. Huge rooms with a kitchenette and balcony, great value for money.
Check out rates and availability for Phi Phi Cliff Beach Resort.
U Rip Resort: New, boutique rooms and nice pool near Long Beach Resort. Far from the chaos, yet walking distance to the nightlife of Ton Sai Village.
Check out rates and availability for U Rip Resort.
Sunwaree Phi Phi Resort: Don’t expect any luxury, but the bungalows of Sunwaree Resort are clean and located on a cliff, with incredible sea views, and just a 15 minutes walk to Ton Sai.
Check out rates and availability for Sunwaree Phi Phi Resort.
The Pier 519 Hostel: The hostel with the best reviews on the island. Right next to Ton Sai Pier and Ton Sai Beach, this hostel features dorms with curtains for extra privacy.
Check out rates and availability for The Pier 519 Hostel.
Zeavola Resort: A Full Review
If you’re looking for a luxurious getaway to paradise, yet you care about the trace you leave behind, then you need to stay at Zeavola Resort. This is hands down the most luxurious resort in Ko Phi Phi, and of the most sustainable hotels in all of Thailand.
Don’t come here expecting butlers and red carpets though. Here you’ll find barefoot luxury – the resort is designed for you to take off your shoes when you arrive and relax until the minute you leave the island.
Zeavola is on Laem Tong Beach, in the north end of the island. There are no road that connect this beach to Tonsai Bay, but you can easily rent a longtail boat to get there.The resort mostly caters to couples and families – if you want to party or visit Tonsai Village every day, this resort is probably not for you.
Zeavola offers a speedboat transfer directly to the resort from Phuket, which is how we got to the island. If you get seasick, make sure you take some Dramamine – the sea can be very rough!
We were welcomed personally by the general manager and the staff that brought us wet towels and a glass of butterfly pea flower tea.
Zeavola features 4 categories of rooms, with most of the rooms being 60-meters Garden Suites.
Our Garden Suite was beautifully simple and luxurious. We had a king size bed with full length windows with stunning garden views.
But the magic was outside. There was a large outdoor living space to relax and unwind while feeling in the middle of the jungle. You want privacy? Just roll down the bamboo blinds, the feeling won’t change since you’re still gonna listen to nature sounds all around you.
Don’t forget to wash your feet before entering the living area, you don’t want it to get full of sand!
The room features a spacious indoor bathroom, but most of the time we chose to use the outdoor shower to feel closer to nature.
First class sustainable products, fresh coffee and refreshments complete the perfect stay.
If you’re looking for something even more special, you can stay in one of the 4 pool villas with incredible views over the bay and your own private infinity pool.
The breakfast was great, beachfront, and with a combination of buffet delights and made to order hot dishes. Asian, European, American, you got it all.
We also had the chance to have an all you can eat barbecue at Zeavola restaurant that was great. But don’t worry, you won’t be stuck in the middle of nowhere and with the resort restaurant as the only option, it will take you 5 minutes to reach other local restaurants at the beach if you’d like to go for a change.
Another good thing about Zeavola Resort is that you won’t need anything else besides the services provided by the resort. You’ll have access to plenty of activities, ranging from excursions in the islands to a wonderful and relaxing day at the spa and PADI certification courses.
Sustainability at Zeavola Resort
We first heard of Zeavola Resort from Green Pearls, which is the leading source for sustainable hotels in the world. They are a communication and information platform for green, hand-picked and truly unique places around the world.
With ecotourism becoming somewhat of a trendy concept, lots of hotels have started promoting themselves as sustainable, where in reality all they do is not change towels every day.
This is not the case with Zeavola, which as one of the most sustainable hotels in Thailand and Southeast Asia, has all sorts of sustainable business practices in place.
We had the pleasure to have a meeting with Florian Hallermann, the general manager of Zeavola, who showed us around the resort and explained us about their Corporate Social Responsibility.
At Zeavola, they have guidelines for sustainability in 3 areas, regarding their impact with the local community, with the environment, and within themselves – and for each of them a bunch of initiatives in place. Let’ take a look at some of the main ones.
Zeavola fosters the local community and respects the way of life of the Sea Gypsies who live in the area, chooses to buy local products like fish from the local fishermen , and organizes activities in schools, festivals, etc for the community.
The also have a very cool project to support Laem Tong School with Friday lunch sessions.
When it comes to being green, Zeavola has systems in place to reduce energy and water consumption, biodegradable practices to give back to nature, and the recycling process is handled by the staff that then sells the recyclable items and keep the profits in the staff’s fund.
Other initiatives include the daily cleaning of Laem Tong Beach (not just in front of the resort), a complicated laundry system designed to save chemicals and energy, a rainwater collection system, and a reverse osmosis treatment that treats used water which is then utilized to watering the garden.
There are also guidelines regarding the staff. Zeavola celebrates the diversity of their workforce, has initiatives to improve the staff member’s safety, and promotes fairness in compensation and during the hiring process.
Rates at Zeavola start at $225 for a Village Suite and $248 for a Garden Suite.
⇒ Check out RATES AND AVAILABILITY at Zeavola Resort
Disclaimer. We were kindly hosted by Zeavola Resort through Green Pearls in Phi Phi. All opinions are my own and cannot be influenced – I truly had a fantastic time at Zeavola!