With its crystal clear waters, dreamy beaches, amazing natural scenery, and a plethora of things to do, Koh Phi Phi is literally paradise on earth.
If you’ve browsed a bit online, you’ve probably noticed that most blog posts give Koh Phi Phi a bad rap. That’s a total shame because Koh Phi Phi is arguably one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand. While it might be true that Koh Phi Phi attracts a wild crowd thanks to its cheap booze and vibrant nightlife scene, there are many quiet corners where you can escape the crazy partygoers and fun things to do- you just need to know where to look.
I’ve been to Koh Phi twice, and each time I had an amazing time, mostly sans the crowds. So in this guide, I’m going to share my absolute favorite things to do on Phi Phi island and everything you need to know about visiting Koh Phi Phi for the first time!
Grab a coconut smoothie, and let’s dive right into this Phi Phi island guide!
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Before you visit Phi Phi Island
Before heading out to idyllic Koh Phi Phi, here are a few tips and things you need to know.
- A 20 baht entrance fee is payable on arrival at Ko Phi Phi Don. These fees go towards waste management and help keep the island clean.
- Koh Phi Phi is popular year-round. Find the best hotel deals here in advance.
- Phi Phi Island is only accessible by boat from Krabi or Phuket. Don’t assume you can just rock up at the pier and get a ticket as boats fill up quickly. Book tickets in advance online or via a local travel agency at least a few days before your trip.
- Things can go south quickly if you join the wild party scrum or partake in more adventurous activities in Koh Phi Phi. Make sure you have travel insurance that keeps you and your belongings safe. Check prices here on SafetyWing or World Nomads.
- There are no vehicles on Koh Phi Phi except the odd scooter and 4×4 used by locals to transport goods. So the only way to get around is on foot or by water taxi. Check your ferry/speedboat’s luggage limits and travel light.
- I always travel with a guidebook because it’s a great way to learn a little more about the country’s customs, traditions, and history. Here’s a great one focusing on Thailand’s best beaches & islands, but you can never go wrong with a good countywide guidebook.
- Check if you need a tourist visa for Thailand and apply online via iVisa.
Getting to Phi Phi
Despite being a tiny oasis floating in the middle of the Andaman Sea, getting to Koh Phi Phi is actually surprisingly easy. There’s no direct route from Bangkok, so you’ll first need to get to Phuket (Thailand’s biggest island) or Krabi (part of the mainland). Both are absolutely stunning and deserve a spot on any Thailand itinerary.
Domestic flights from Bangkok to either landmass are cheap and plentiful. Find the best flight deals here on Skyscanner.
Sailing from Phuket
I’ve written a complete guide on exactly how to go from Phuket to Phi Phi, but if you’re in a rush, here’s a quick summary.
The speedboat is the most straightforward way to get to Phi Phi island. It takes just under one hour and costs 750 baht one way. Take sea sickness medication before departing, as the ride can be bumpy.
If you don’t mind a slightly longer journey, ferries are also ready to transport you to paradise. The ferry takes roughly 2 hours, and it’s a tad cheaper than the speedboat costing 600 baht per way.
The main sailing port in Phuket is Rassada Pier, with several departures daily to Koh Phi Phi (weather permitting, of course). For the least hassle, booking a combo ticket with a pick-up and drop-off at your hotel in Phuket is best. That way, you won’t need to worry about getting to the pier and back.
It’s also important to know that while the main port on Ko Phi Phi Don is Tonsai Pier, some speedboats and ferries from Phuket also go to Laem Tong Pier in the north of the island. Book your accommodation first so that you know where to sail. Otherwise, you might need to charter an additional water taxi.
Sailing from Krabi
Getting from Krabi to Koh Phi Phi is just as easy. While there are speedboats to Phi Phi, the ferry is the most common mode of transport between these two gems.
The ferry leaves from Nopparat Thara Pier once a day and from Klong Jilard Pier twice a day. The journey takes 1.5-2 hours, depending on where you sail from.
If you want to take a speedboat (roughly 1 hour), you can do so from Krabi River Marina.
Whether you’re taking the ferry or speedboat, make sure you book a ticket that includes a hotel transfer so that you don’t need to worry about the logistics. Combo tickets are also available from Railay Bay or Krabi Airport.
One more thing to know is that all boats from Krabi disembark at Tonsai Pier. If you’re staying in the eastern or northern corners of Koh Phi Phi, your hotel should be able to arrange a water taxi pick-up service for you.
When to Visit Koh Phi Phi
Like the rest of southern Thailand, Koh Phi Phi has a tropical climate with hot and humid weather throughout the year.
Koh Phi Phi has two seasons; a dry season from December to April and a wet season from May to November. Average high temperatures usually hover around the low 30s, meaning the water temperatures are always ideal for swimming. It will feel much hotter, thanks to the humidity, so book a hotel with a pool and stay hydrated.
The best time to visit Koh Phi Phi is from late November to March. During these months, you can enjoy plenty of sunshine and little to no rain while the humidity will be at its lowest. This is also the busiest time to visit Koh Phi Phi, so book accommodation well in advance.
November is the coolest month, with temperatures ranging between 22ºC and 30ºC. But for the least rain, you’ll want to visit from January to March.
April and May (the first month of the monsoon season) are the hottest months, with temperatures rising above 33ºC, but frequent downpours offer some relief.
Although monsoon season is not the most ideal time to visit Koh Phi Phi, you can still enjoy beautiful sunny days. The best part? You can get some really great hotel deals. June to August offer fairly good weather sans the throngs of tourists and partygoers, but you should know it could rain during your trip. It rarely rains all day, though. You do, however, want to avoid Phi Phi during May and from September to October as these months see the most rainfall reaching well over 320mm of precipitation.
Travel tip: Ferries and boats won’t run in unpredictable weather. Always check the weather schedule before your trip or consult an up-to-date boat schedule first.
Where to Stay on Phi Phi Island
Ko Phi Phi Don is the largest island in the Phi Phi archipelago and the only inhabited one.
Even though the island covers an area of just under 10 km2, huge parts of the island are not flat. The majority of the hotels, shops, and restaurants are located in the main area known as Tonsai Village. And as a result, Tonsai is the most convenient place to stay. ChaoKoh Phi Phi is a great 4-star resort with spacious rooms and a lovely outdoor pool. Another good option is Mama Beach Residence which lies in the western corners of Tonsai Village.
That said, Loh Dalum is still within walking distance from the Tonsai Pier and all the shops and restaurants. It’s a bit of a party area, but there is still a good mix of higher-end accommodation. PP Princess Resort is a fantastic mid-range option, while Phi Phi Coco Beach Resort is an excellent choice if you’re looking for something a bit more upscale.
If you want a more chilled experience or looking for a family-friendly area, base yourself around Long Beach. Phi Phi The Beach Resort is a good mid-range hotel offering ocean view rooms and is minutes from the beach.
And for the ultimate secluded luxury holiday, consider staying in Laem Tong in the north of the island. Just know that you’ll need to charter a water taxi if you want to go to the main town or get to the pier. Zeavola Resort is a stunning 5-star resort, while Phi Phi Holiday Resort is a good mid-range option.
Travel tip: Book accommodation well in advance if you’re visiting during peak season as rooms fill up quickly.
15 Best Things to do in Koh Phi Phi
Great! Now that you know the basics, here are the best Phi Phi island activities!
Hang Out at the Beach
While there are loads of amazing things to do in Koh Phi Phi, you simply can’t visit paradise without spending some time at the beach. The best part? Koh Phi Phi Don has not one but several incredible beaches where you can kick back in the sand, work on your tan, swim in warm waters, or enjoy a cocktail beachside.
The most well-known beach on the island is Tonsai Bay, but since it’s usually lined with long-tail boats, there’s not much room for swimming. Instead, head to Loh Dalum Beach, just a short stroll from Tonsai Pier. You’ll find a stunning long stretch of soft sand and turquoise waters ideal for swimming, kayaking, and snorkeling. There’s also a small cluster of beach bars where you can sip on a boozy cocktail or enjoy an ice-cold Singha. My favorite is the small bar beside the hut that rents kayaks and snorkeling gear. The bar has an amazingly laidback vibe, and you can sit with your feet in the sand.
If you prefer a more secluded beach experience, try Long Beach (roughly a 3km walk from Tonsai Village) or Laem Tong Beach (accessible by long-tail boat).
Hire a Private Long-Tail Boat
If you want to enjoy the very best of the Phi Phi islands without rushing from one place to the next, you’ll definitely want to hire a long-tail boat to explore the surroundings at your own pace.
Besides not being cropped up on a speedboat with 30 other people, you’ll get to plan your own itinerary and spend as much or as little time in one place as you wish. Some unmissable stops include Maya Bay, Loh Samah Bay, Pileh Lagoon, Monkey Bay, Viking Cave, Shark Point, and Loh Moo Dee Beach. And if you want to make a whole day of it, you can even visit some of the smaller islands.
The only downside of renting a long-tail boat is that it’s only affordable if you have two or more people. If you’re visiting Koh Phi Phi solo, you’re probably better off joining a day tour as it will work out cheaper.
That said, though, it really is a great way to see the surrounding islands. Generally, a long-tail boat for 2-3 people costs around 2500 baht for 4 hours, but you can always try to haggle a bit. We managed to arrange a boat for 2000 baht.
You can find a water taxi simply by walking along Tonsai Beach, organizing one through your hotel, or by booking online in advance. Double-check that the boat has gear onboard if you want to snorkel.
Visit Maya Bay
If you’ve ever watched the Hollywood blockbuster “The Beach,” you probably already know that if there is one thing you must do in Koh Phi Phi, it is visit Maya Bay.
Located on Ko Phi Phi Leh, Maya Bay is home to the most incredible scenery imaginable. With soft white sand, dreamy turquoise water, and towering limestone karst cliffs, Maya Bay is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Sadly much of the marine ecosystem has suffered greatly from over-tourism, and after being closed for several years for rehabilitation, the bay opened up again to tourists in 2022. Only a few hundred tourists can visit here daily, and you’ll need to pay a national park fee of 200 baht to gain access. Another thing to know is that you can no longer swim here, but the stunning scenery is more than enough reward!
Maya Bay is easily accessed via boat from Koh Phi Phi Don, but it’s also possible to join an organized day tour from Phuket or Krabi. For the best experience, plan to visit before 10 am when most tour boats arrive. That way, you’ll enjoy a slice of paradise with minimal crowds.
Note: Maya Bay and Loh Samah Bay are currently closed for visitors from August 1st to September 30th, 2022, but you can still visit Pi Leh Lagoon. The entrance fee for Maya Bay is 200 baht, but don’t be surprised if the park guards show up at Pi Leh Lagoon during peak hours to collect the fees. Bring cash and make sure they give you an actual ticket.
Swim at Pileh Lagoon
If you’ve taken the trouble to get to Maya Bay, you definitely also need to visit Pileh Lagoon (also spelled Pi Leh).
Pileh Bay is a stunning cove surrounded by limestone karsts and lush vegetation. The water is as emerald as you can get, and since it’s quite shallow, it’s the perfect spot for a swim. Unfortunately, there’s not much coral life here anymore, but you can still spot colorful fish – sometimes even right from the boat!
Many boat tours include a stop at Pileh Lagoon, and if you’ve opted to hire a private boat you definitely have to come here!
Stop by Viking Cave
Viking Cave is a massive grotto measuring just over 3 square kilometers in width and more than 10 meters in height. The cave lies within an enormous limestone cliff and is well known as one of Koh Phi Phi’s most famous natural landmarks.
Viking Cave got its peculiar name from the ancient drawings resembling all kinds of boats and viking ships on its walls. And legend has it that these drawings were made by boatmen sheltering from storms. Besides the drawings, the cave is also home to thousands of birds (known as swifts). Swifts are some of the fastest flying birds in the world, but sadly they are more famous for their edible bird’s nests which are considered a Chinese delicacy.
Viking Cave is only a short boat ride from Tonsai Pier, and it’s a popular pitstop for visitors en route to Ko Phi Phi Lee. While you cannot enter the cave, most tour boats and long-tail boats stop by close enough so that you can have a quick glimpse inside.
See the Monkeys at Monkey Bay
Monkey Bay, not to be confused with Monkey Beach, lies along the southwestern coast of Phi Phi Don Island and is another popular attraction in the Phi Phi archipelago.
Its crystal clear waters fringed by towering limestone cliffs make it a popular snorkeling and swimming spot. While the bay features stunning scenery, the star attraction here is the dozens of monkeys that live along the cliffs. And you won’t need to look far to spot them playing in the trees or climbing along the cliffs.
Monkey Bay is usually a quick pit stop on most boat tours around the Phi Phi National Park, so it can get crowded if you’re visiting during peak hours. Please don’t feed the monkeys when visiting here, as you could get a fine. Please also use some common sense; these are wild animals, and you are entering their natural habitat. I was very disappointed by the sheer amount of people who tried to taunt the monkeys so that they could get a selfie with them.
Relax at Loh Moo Dee
Loh Moo Dee or Moo Dee Bay is a stunning 500-meter white sand beach best accessed by a long-tail boat from Tonsai Bay.
Located on the eastern edges of Koh Phi Phi Don, Loh Mee Dee is a lovely gem home to a tiny informal fisherman settlement. There’s not much to do here, but it’s an extremely relaxing spot with almost no other tourists. Besides being off the main tourist track, this bay is special because of its calm emerald waters – perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
Despite reading online that some beach shacks sell drinks or snacks here, we didn’t see any. So bring some refreshments along if you want to spend more time here.
Go Island Hopping
Ko Phi Phi Don and Ko Phi Phi Lee are just two of the six islands that make up the Phi Phi archipelago.
While you must visit Phi Phi Leh, it’s worth checking out a few of the lesser-known islands that form part of the Hat Noppharat Thara–Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park.
Two of the best ones are Mosquito Island (Ko Yung) and Bamboo Island (Ko Mai Phai). Expect soft sandy beaches, crystal clear water, and colorful fish and corals underwater. Since both islands are uninhabited, it’s a great way to have a slice of paradise all to yourself! You can reach either island by long-tail boat or by joining an organized day tour.
Snorkeling is one of the most popular activities in Koh Phi Phi. The best part? You can literally explore the underwater world just a couple of meters from any of the beaches on the island!
That said, you can also access many more amazing snorkeling spots around the island by renting a private long-tail boat or joining an organized tour. On these excursions, you’ll have the best chance of spotting colorful coral and an array of marine life, including angel fish, barracudas, lionfish, and, if you’re lucky, even blacktip reef sharks.
For the best snorkeling, head to Nui Beach, Shark Point, or Loh Samah Bay. Just make sure you get an early start to skip the crowds.
The Phi Phi Islands is famous for being one of the best diving spots in Thailand.
Whether you’re already certified or want to get your PADI, there are many professional dive centers in the main village where you can arrange multi-day courses or join daily dive trips.
Some popular diving spots include the King Cruiser wreck, Shark Point, the Kled Gaeow wreck, and the Bida Islands (Bida Nok and Bida Nai) to the south of Ko Phi Phi Leh and Hin Daeng and Hin Muang.
If you’re looking for a more adventurous way to get closer to Koh Phi Phi’s stunning natural scenery, kayaking is another fun thing to do in Phi Phi island.
You can rent kayaks at Loh Dalum Bay for as little as 200 baht per hour, but longer rentals can also easily be arranged. If you opt to rent a kayak for the day, it’s worth also renting snorkeling gear so that you can experience the beauty of Koh Phi Phi both above and below the water at your own pace.
Check the tide schedule before you go, and avoid going in the middle of the day when you’re likely to end up with some serious sunburn. A hat, proper sunscreen, and a waterproof case for your phone are also recommended. See my recs below.
Hike to the Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint
If you want to catch the best views over the entire island, get yourself to the Phi Phi Viewpoint.
Three different lookout points, known as Viewpoints 1, 2, and 3, make up the Phi Phi Viewpoint, and if you enjoy hiking, it’s worth stopping by each one as the views are simply magical.
It takes about 30 minutes to get to Viewpoint 1 from Loh Dalum Beach, and if you have a bit of extra time, it’s worth continuing further to the other two viewpoints for even more incredible views.
While it’s not the hardest hike in the world, there are quite a few stairs to climb, so get ready to break a sweat! Also, if you suffer from mobility issues, this might not be the best Phi Phi activity for you.
Bring bug spray to keep the mozzies away and water so that you can stay hydrated. There’s also a small entrance fee (30 baht for viewpoints 1 & 2, and 20 baht for viewpoint 3) to access them. Come at sunset to watch the sun dwindle under the waves or early in the morning to beat the heat!
Get a Massage
Thailand is famous for its cheap and relaxing spa treatments, and Koh Phi Phi is no different.
There are loads of massage salons scattered around the main village, and if you’re staying at one of the luxury resorts, chances are good that there will be a spa on-site.
Packages range from the famous traditional Thai massage to more mellow experiences like foot and hand massages, coconut oil massages, and aloe vera messages. No matter which option you choose, it’s a great way to unwind after a day out exploring all of Koh Phi Phi’s best attractions.
Try the Ton Sai Salon near Chaokoh Phi Phi Resort for a quick pamper session, or head to Zeavola Resort if you’re looking for the crème de la crème of relaxation.
Join a cooking class
Unfortunately, Phi Phi’s most famous Thai cooking school, Pum’s, closed down due to the pandemic.
However, if you are really adamant about learning the ins and outs of Thai cuisine, book a stay at Zeavola Resort. The resort is currently the only place on Koh Phi Phi to offer cooking classes, but it’s only available for quests. If you’re only planning a short Koh Phi Phi itinerary, you should contact them a few days before check-in to book a spot or check availability.
Shop for Souvenirs in Tonsai Village
Tonsai Village has a maze of tiny streets jam-packed with shops selling everything from souvenirs and paintings to bags, clothing, and handmade jewelry.
You’ll find most shops along the main street that runs along Tonsai Bay, but make sure also to explore the alleyways jolting off from there.
Things can be a bit pricey in Koh Phi Phi, so it’s a good time to practice your haggling skills. A good rule of thumb is to browse several stores first to get an idea of prices. Then go back to the store you liked the most and pull out your bargaining tricks. While haggling is standard practice everywhere in Thailand, shop owners rarely drop their prices by more than 20% on the initial price.
Most shops open around 10 am and stay open quite late at night. If you don’t like crazy crowds, you’ll want to avoid browsing the streets from 11 am to 1 pm, when most tourists from Phuket and Krabi arrive.
What to pack for Koh Phi Phi
As mentioned, Koh Phi Phi has a tropical climate, so it’s hot and humid year-round. Pack light, breathable clothing that won’t make you feel uncomfortable in the heat. Along with all the usual items on any Thailand packing list, here are a few other essentials worth bringing along.
- Underwater Camera: Pack a decent waterproof camera like this GoPro Hero 10 to capture all the treasures beneath the water.
- Waterproof Phone Case: If you don’t want to damage your phone while on the water, don’t forget to pack a decent waterproof phone pouch.
- Reef Safe Sunscreen: Finding reef-safe sunscreen on Phi Phi island is not hard, but it costs an arm and a leg. I love this Sun Bum SPF 70 sunscreen spray. It’s oil-free, reef friendly, and vegan.
- Quick Drying Beach Towel: I love my Bay Laurel Turkish beach towel. It’s lightweight, comes with a cool carry-on pouch, and dries fast. The best part? Sand does not stick to it!
- Eco-Friendly Bug Spray: Mosquitoes can be a nuisance in Koh Phi Phi. Don’t forget to pack a good DEET-free bug spray to avoid any bites.
- Travel Adapter: You might need a travel adapter for your trip to Thailand. Invest in a worldwide adapter, so you never need to worry about keeping your devices charged.
What to do in Koh Phi Phi in Conclusion
Whether you’re into island hopping, exploring the underwater world, or just soaking up island vibes, there are loads to keep you busy in Koh Phi Phi for a few days!
There you have it – the best things to do in Koh Phi Phi! Got any other tips or must-do activities to add to this guide? Let me know in the comments below so I can check them out on my next Thailand adventure!