Phi Phi Island Thailand Travel Guide (Koh Phi Phi Islands)
Koh Phi Phi island is a beautiful spot in Thailand with limestone hills, turquoise lagoons, and the world famous beach at Maya Bay.
There are two main islands — Phi Phi Leh and Phi Phi Don — and both have amazing scenery. Leh is completely uninhabited, while Don has hotels, restaurants, and more.
It’s easy to visit the Phi Phi islands on a day trip (by boat) from Phuket or Krabi, and that gives you enough time to see Maya Bay and the other main sights, or you can stay a few days on Phi Phi Don and do even more exploring.
This Phi Phi travel guide will explain how to get there from Phuket or Krabi, which things to see and do, which tour packages to use, where to stay, and everything else you need to know before you go!
Phi Phi Island Thailand Day Tour Packages
First of all, if you’re on a tight schedule or want to skip the extra steps involved in arranging your own trip to Phi Phi island, GetYourGuide has prearranged day trips to Phi Phi from Phuket or similar day trips from Krabi, complete with hotel transfers, boat tickets, island tour, lunch, and same day return.
These day tours visit all of the top sights in the Koh Phi Phi islands, including Maya Bay, Pileh Lagoon, and Monkey Bay.
We’ve used GetYourGuide for lots of day tours and activities around the world, and they’re great! Highly recommended.
Where Is Phi Phi Island?
The Phi Phi islands (pronounced ‘Pee-Pee’) are located in the Andaman Sea of Thailand, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of Phuket, and about the same distance from Krabi.
There are six islands in total, with the two main islands being Phi Phi Leh and Phi Phi Don, and they’re all considered part of the Krabi province of Thailand.
The only inhabited island is Phi Phi Don, which has hotels, restaurants, and everything else you might want for a short stay.
How To Get To Phi Phi Island
The only way to reach the Phi Phi islands is by boat from Phuket or Krabi, and you can use either a ferry or a speedboat to get there.
There’s no airport in Koh Phi Phi, so the closest place to fly is the international airport in Phuket (HKT) or the one in Krabi (KBV). You can shop for flights to Thailand on Skyscanner.
There are a bunch of boat companies making the trip to Phi Phi daily from either Phuket or Krabi, and they usually include free hotel pickup and drop-off.
The slow ferry from Phuket to Phi Phi Don takes about 2 hours, while the fast ferry (speedboat) takes half as long. If you’re starting from Krabi instead of Phuket, the boat travel times to Phi Phi are about 30 minutes shorter.
Keep in mind these are just transfers to the main island of Phi Phi Don. Once you arrive, you’ll need to arrange a longtail boat trip if you want to go touring Phi Phi Leh and the rest of the islands. You can arrange this on the spot at Ton Sai Beach in Phi Phi Don, and the prices are very reasonable.
The other option is booking a day tour to Phi Phi by speedboat with a Phuket or Krabi-based tour company. There are shared or private tours, and they visit most of the main sights in one full day. This can be a great option if you’re on a tight schedule or want to skip the hassle.
Visiting Phi Phi Island – Tourist Fees
There are two tourist fees you have to pay when you arrive in the Phi Phi islands.
At Phi Phi Don island, there’s a cash fee of 20 baht per person, which is paid when you first land at the harbor. They collect this from everyone, and it helps pay for daily rubbish removal from the islands. This fee is one time only (not a daily fee).
At the national park areas, there’s a cash fee of 200 baht per person (~$6 USD), which is collected when you disembark at either Maya Bay or Bamboo Island (Koh Phai). This fee is charged every day you visit either of these two locations.
Some Phi Phi tours may already include these fees in the price, but usually you pay them separately in cash when you get off the boat.
Transport: How To Get Around The Phi Phi Islands
There are no cars or motorbike rentals in the Phi Phi islands, and they’re not needed at all — if you’re staying on Phi Phi Don island, the whole town is small enough to be easily walkable on foot. Bicycles can also be rented.
You can hire a longtail boat in Phi Phi Don to take you to nearby islands like Phi Phi Leh and Bamboo Island. The longtails are smaller boats, but they have room for up to 8 passengers, so you can share a boat with friends or other travelers to make it more cost effective.
Another option is kayaking at Ko Phi Phi Don. This is cheaper than a boat rental, and you can use kayaks to reach some of the hidden beaches on Phi Phi Don, like Nui Bay and Monkey Beach.
Phi Phi Island Hotels
Best Things To Do In Phi Phi Island Thailand
• Maya Bay
The white sand beach at Maya Bay is one of the most famous and photogenic places in Thailand, and it was the main thing responsible for bringing tourism to the Koh Phi Phi islands. In fact, it’s now one of the most famous beaches in the world!
The entire beach is surrounded by tall limestone cliffs. The water is clear turquoise with baby sharks swimming around, and the sand is white as snow. Everything about it looks perfect. Yep, this is paradise!
Of course, the beauty of Maya Bay has attracted the tourist hordes, just like any of the amazing places in the world, but if you time your visit right you can still enjoy the beach without too many people.
Maya Bay is located on Phi Phi Leh island, where it’s accessed by landing a boat at Loh Samay Bay (on the back side of the island), and then doing a short and easy shaded walk through the jungle to get to the beach. The walk is flat and takes about 5 minutes.
In the past, boats could go inside of Maya Bay and land directly on the beach, but they don’t do that anymore. The Thai government has spent the last several years working on conservation, so the only way to get to the beach now is to walk to it from the back side of the island.
I think this change was a good idea because it keeps the bay clear of boats, although I do miss those perfect postcard photos of Thai longtail boats sitting on the beach at Maya Bay.
Another thing you should know is that Maya Bay is frequently closed for conservation nowadays. It was closed in June 2018, and stayed closed for almost 4 years, but finally reopened in January 2022.
In 2022, Maya Bay was closed to tourists for 2 months (August and September) during the low season, but it reopened for business on October 1, 2022. The bay is currently open for visitors again.
Maya Bay has a small shop with snacks and drinks, and there are restrooms by the path when you first disembark at Loh Sama Bay.
The main beach is about 250 meters long, and the end of the beach has a shallow cave that’s nice for photos.
If you want to escape the crowds, there are usually less people at the far end of the beach.
Most Koh Phi Phi tour packages give you one hour at Maya Bay, which is plenty of time to explore the beach, take pictures from every angle, and dip your feet in the water (swimming isn’t allowed at Maya Bay anymore).
I have to say the beach has been kept very clean, and we didn’t notice hardly any trash, even though as many as 5,000 tourists come to this beach sometimes in a single day! The park rangers have done a good job with cleanup.
Overall, Maya Bay is an amazing experience, and it’s one of our favorite beaches in the world!
Read More: Maya Bay Thailand
• Pileh Lagoon
This surreal turquoise lagoon surrounded by giant rock walls is one of the best things to see on Phi Phi island in Thailand.
The lagoon is only accessible by boat. Most Koh Phi Phi tours include a stop here, and the smaller boats can float into the lagoon and circle it, giving you up-close views of the impressive limestone karsts.
It’s more amazing than it looks in photos, and we may have enjoyed this spot even more than Maya Bay!
When you reach the back of Pileh Lagoon, the boat drivers will usually turn their motors off and let you enjoy the lagoon for awhile.
This is a popular swimming and snorkeling spot on Koh Phi Phi Leh because the water is very clean and relatively shallow, and you might even see some nice fish, although there’s no coral in this spot.
If you get to Pileh early in the morning, you might have it all to yourself. It gets busier in the late morning and early afternoon, but the lighting is better for photos at that time since the lagoon isn’t hidden in shadows.
Either way, you have to visit this place when you go to Phi Phi island!
• Phi Phi Viewpoint
The Phi Phi viewpoint is a short hike on the island of Phi Phi Don, with epic views of the town and most of the island, and Phi Phi Leh visible in the distance.
There are actually three different viewpoints at various levels on the hill, but viewpoints #2 and #3 are the ones you really want to see because they’re higher and have the best views of the island without being blocked by any trees.
Phi Phi viewpoint #2 has broad panoramic views of the island and the entire town, with a nice wooden platform and some flat rocks where you can take photos. This was probably our favorite spot.
Viewpoint #3 has even higher views because it’s located at the top of the hill and you’re basically sitting in a tree house, with picnic tables and a hammock.
It’s very quiet and I’m sure it would be a great spot for sunset.
Phi Phi viewpoint #2 can be reached in about 20 minutes of uphill walking (mostly on stairs) if you start from the town center of Phi Phi Don island, and then it’s another 10-15 minutes to walk from there to viewpoint #3.
There’s a small fee to get into viewpoints #1 and #2, and then another small fee if you go to viewpoint #3. In total, we paid 50 baht per person (~$1.50). All of the viewpoints are very worthwhile!
• Bamboo Island (Koh Phai)
This is a small flat island located northeast of Phi Phi Don, with less people and a nice sandy beach covering most of the island.
Lots of Phi Phi island tours include this place in the itinerary, but it never feels too crowded, and if you walk around the side of the island for awhile you may have it all to yourself.
Just like Maya Bay, Bamboo Island is considered part of the Koh Phi Phi national park, so you have to pay the park entrance fee to land on the island and walk around the beach.
The center of the island has some trees, including the bamboo shoots that give the island its name, so you can escape the sun for awhile when you’re not in the water.
Overall, Bamboo Island is a great place to swim and soak up sun without the crowds of Maya Bay!
• Monkey Bay
This is a fun little beach where you can see wild monkeys on Phi Phi Don island. There are dozens of monkeys (long-tailed macaques) living on the beach, and you can usually see baby monkeys too.
The monkeys are fun for pictures, but they can be aggressive if they’re provoked, so don’t try to tease them or take their food. They’ve also been known to steal people’s glasses and other small items, so keep a close eye on them!
It’s best to go to this beach at low tide, when more monkeys come down to the beach. At high tide, the beach is mostly underwater and the monkeys retreat to the rocks, where they can’t be seen as well.
• Monkey Beach
Not to be confused with Monkey Bay, this is a different spot on the other side of Phi Phi Don island. This one also has monkeys, but they’re not seen as often, and it’s a bigger beach with more room to walk around.
The main reason to come to Monkey Beach is for the stunning scenery. It’s a really nice beach with soft sand and a backdrop of jungle covered limestone mountains.
This is one of the most beautiful spots in Koh Phi Phi Thailand, and you can reach it by boat or kayak from Loh Dalum Beach. Just remember to keep an eye on the monkeys, because they can be sneaky.
• Nui Bay
This is a small hidden bay on Phi Phi Don island with a nice beach and towering limestone rocks.
It’s possible to reach Nui Bay by sea or by land. From Loh Dalum Beach, you can rent a kayak or a boat to go there, which is how people usually get there. Kayaking to the bay will take about 45 minutes with a leisurely pace.
Otherwise, it’s also possible to reach Nui Bay by hiking from the Phi Phi viewpoint. It takes about 1 hour, and you’ll want to bring plenty of water and mosquito spray just in case.
If you get to Nui Bay in the morning (around 8 AM), it’s quiet and you may have it all to yourself for awhile until the tour boats start arriving later in the morning!
Phi Phi Island Map
Here’s a Phi Phi island map you can use to plan your trip. You can click the icons to get more info on each point of interest, but keep in mind some of the locations on this map may be approximate.
For more detailed information about some of the spots on this Koh Phi Phi map, you can check out my individual travel guides for each location.
Best Beaches In Phi Phi Thailand
There are a lot of beaches in the Phi Phi islands, but obviously the hands down winner for scenery is the one at Maya Bay.
Some other beaches with great sand and swimming are the ones at Bamboo Island, Monkey Beach, and Nui Bay.
What To Bring
Here are some packing suggestions for your trip to Koh Phi Phi Island Thailand.
Most of the items below can probably be found on Phi Phi Don in a pinch, but the quality of stuff you buy on the street won’t be guaranteed (personally, I’m not about to use a junky knockoff bag from a street vendor to protect my expensive camera gear).
It’s best to buy vetted products online!
- Waterproof Bag: Essential for keeping your electronics safe on the boats around PP island. I brought a 30 liter bag and was able to fit my drone, tablet, camera, phone, and a bunch of other stuff inside. Everything was kept dry, even when I took the bag swimming a few times!
- Waterproof Phone Pouch: Same as above, but these are for your phone only. Great if you don’t have other electronics and just need something small to protect your phone.
- Snorkeling Gear: Good for exploring the clear waters around Koh Phi Phi island. Snorkels and masks can be borrowed or rented from the boat companies too, but if you plan to stay on the island or do multiple tours then it’s better to bring your own gear.
- Water Shoes: These can come in handy sometimes while snorkeling in case you need to walk on rocks to get out of the water.
- Sunscreen: There is usually some shade in the speedboats and longtail boats, but you can still get roasted while swimming or walking on the beach, so you’ll want to bring a hat and sunscreen for the boat tours.
- Snacks & Drinks: You’ll want to pack some snacks and drinks in the boat when touring the islands. You can bring these from Phuket or Krabi, or there are plenty of cheap snack and drink stands in Ko Phi Phi Don near the port.
Can You Fly A Drone At The Phi Phi Islands?
Yes and no. Thailand is pretty relaxed about drones, and you can fly them in most of the islands, but you aren’t allowed to fly in the national parks.
That includes Ko Phi Phi Leh and Bamboo Island, which are patrolled by park rangers who will fine you if you’re caught flying a drone. They’re especially strict at Maya Bay, and the rangers there are watching all areas of the beach constantly.
However, if you’re discreet it’s still possible to fly from other locations. For example, you can park your boat at Pileh Lagoon or Viking Cave and launch the drone from there, and usually no one is likely to notice or care unless a park ranger boat happens to drive by and see you do it.
The drone restrictions don’t apply to Phi Phi Don island at all. You can fly drones anywhere on Phi Phi Don without a problem, although you’ll still want to be considerate and only fly in places where it won’t bother people, of course.
Other Tips For Phi Phi Island Thailand
- Credit Cards: Some places accept cards, but many do not. Most restaurants are cash only, although a few higher end restaurants accept cards. Use your card for big things like hotels and tours, and save your cash for smaller things like the amazing Thai street food.
- ATM: On Phi Phi Don island, there are ATMs all over town. We used Krungsri in several locations and never had any issues. The pull fee was like 220 baht and they let you withdraw large amounts of cash at a time.
- Cell Service: Phone reception is strong on Phi Phi Don, but you may lose signal while touring around Phi Phi Leh island (including Maya Bay) because of the steep mountains that cover the island.
- WiFi: The internet situation is improving, and a fair number of hotels and restaurants in Phi Phi Don have good WiFi now. The internet quality is not as good as Phuket, but it’s generally good enough for emails, browsing, and streaming.
- Electricity: The power is almost always on. We lost it a few times after storms, but it came back quickly.
- Convenience Stores: There are plenty of small mini marts on Phi Phi Don where you can buy cheap snacks, drinks, toiletries, sunscreen, and other such things. Just remember their selection is smaller than what you’ll find shopping in Phuket.
- Hygiene: We ate tons of the cheapest Thai street food and never had any stomach issues, but remember not to drink the tap water. Only use bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth.
- Language: Just like in Phuket, the locals in the Koh Phi Phi islands don’t speak a lot of English, but it’s enough to communicate about hotels, restaurants, tours, etc.
- Religion: Most of the locals in Phi Phi Don are Muslim (more than 80 percent). One of the funny side effects of this is that there are lots of cats on the island, but no dogs. We enjoyed the cats. There’s only one mosque on Phi Phi island, and it’s not noisy, so you won’t be kept awake at night.
- Mosquitoes: We didn’t see any mosquitoes in the Ko Phi Phi islands except for a few at Monkey Bay. There have been some cases of Dengue Fever here, but it’s not really something to stress about. You can buy bug repellent in Phuket, Krabi, or Phi Phi Don if you need it. Malaria isn’t present here.
Best Restaurants In Phi Phi Don
Even though Phi Phi Don is a small island, there are lots of great restaurants to choose from, with different kinds of cuisine including Thai, European, and Asian food.
Here are just a few of our top restaurant recommendations:
- ACQUA: This is probably the single nicest restaurant in Phi Phi Don, although it’s a little on the pricey side. They have a good range of Thai and European dishes, with indoor and outdoor seating.
- Mango Garden: This air-conditioned cafe is one of the first places we ate in Phi Phi island. They have a whole menu dedicated to mango sticky rice. Great for breakfast or a snack while waiting for the ferry! They also have free WiFi and plenty of power outlets.
- JaJa Cafe & Spice: Awesome pancakes and acai fruit smoothie bowls!
- Anna’s Restaurant: European and Thai food in PP island with a good selection and reasonable prices. Try the pineapple fried rice.
- 23° Roasters Cafe: A relatively new cafe with great cakes and pastries. Indoor seating and super fast WiFi.
- Papaya Restaurant: Indian and Thai food outside of the main street on PP island.
- Garlic 1992: Good Thai food in a humble setting. As you can tell by the name, they’ve been in business since 1992.
Again, this is far from a complete list of every good restaurant in Phi Phi Don island. With a bit of exploring, you’re sure to find some other gems.
Don’t forget about the yum Thai street food stalls and small family owned restaurants, such as Only Noodles. These places are super cheap and the food is usually amazing. In fact, we ate at these places for almost all of our meals in Phi Phi island!
Last, but not least, if you’re craving western food then there’s even a McDonald’s and Burger King when you first step off the boat at Ton Sai beach.
Is Koh Phi Phi Safe?
Yes, Phi Phi island in Thailand is generally a very safe place to stay.
We’ve spent weeks staying in Phi Phi Don and exploring the whole town, and never felt unsafe. Just take normal precautions and you shouldn’t have any issues with crime.
If anything, we actually found the locals more friendly in Phi Phi than in Phuket or Krabi.
Best Time To Visit Phi Phi
The best time to visit the Phi Phi islands in Thailand depends on what you’re looking for.
The weather in the Andaman Sea of Thailand (including Phi Phi) is best from November to April, when it’s more dry and sunny, and the sea conditions are better for boat tours. However, this is also the peak tourist season, so it’s more crowded and hotels in Phi Phi Don are more likely to be fully booked.
The weather is not as good from May to October. There are more rainy days, and there are frequent storms in the evenings. However, there are less tourists in these months and it’s still possible to have a great trip if your time is a bit more flexible.
If you visit Phi Phi in the rainy season, it’s good to have a few extra days to spare in case there’s some junky weather leading to the boats being canceled for a day or two.
The Phi Phi ferries are very rarely canceled, even in the rainy season, but the small longtail boats may be grounded if there’s bad weather, so that’s something to keep in mind.
You can check wave size forecasts on Wisuki, and any current weather advisories on the website of the Thai Meteorological Department.
We witnessed some big storms in the rainy season, but these were usually in the evenings when we were back at our hotel, so it wasn’t a problem. Most of the pictures in this Phi Phi travel guide were actually taken in July, during the rainy season.
We’ve visited Phi Phi in the dry season and also in the rainy season, on separate trips. In both cases, we had an amazing time and the weather was mostly great for weeks!
Are The Phi Phi Islands Worth It?
Yes, the Phi Phi islands are absolutely worth a visit! The scenery is amazing and the prices for everything are very affordable.
I’d say it’s the single best place to go in Thailand, and also one of the best places in Southeast Asia. Sights like Maya Bay and Pileh Lagoon have very few equals on Earth.
How Long To Stay
You can see the highlights of the Koh Phi Phi islands in one full day tour, including Maya Bay, Pileh Lagoon, Bamboo Island, and more. This is true even if you’re starting from Phuket or Krabi.
However, staying a few days in the Phi Phi islands will give you more time to enjoy the scenery and see some extra things like the Phi Phi viewpoint, or the many hidden beaches on Phi Phi Don. It also gives you a buffer in case of junky weather.
We really enjoyed all of our days spent in Koh Phi Phi, and if you have enough time to spare then I think staying a few days is better than doing a one day trip from Phuket or Krabi.
Where To Stay In Phi Phi Island
3-Day Itinerary For Phi Phi Island Thailand
Here’s what a sample itinerary for the Phi Phi islands could look like, assuming you spend 3 days staying on Phi Phi Don and touring all of the islands:
- Day 1: Phi Phi Don. Arrive in the Phi Phi islands from Phuket or Krabi. Check in to your hotel and unpack your things. Hike to the Phi Phi viewpoint and enjoy the scenery for awhile, and then head over to Loh Dalum Beach, where you can take a boat or kayak to Nui Bay and Monkey Beach.
- Day 2: Phi Phi Leh. Take a longtail boat over to Phi Phi Leh island. Tour the famous beach at Maya Bay, and then go see Pileh Lagoon and Viking Cave. If you have time, stop and visit Monkey Bay on your way back to town.
- Day 3: Misc. Take a boat to Bamboo Island and spend a couple hours swimming and soaking up sun. Head back to Phi Phi Don and explore the town and miscellaneous beaches before going back to Phuket or Krabi.
I hope this sample itinerary gives you some ideas for your own trip to Phi Phi island! As always, feel free to ask any questions if you have them.
More Thailand Travel Guides
Thanks for looking! I hope you enjoyed this travel guide for Koh Phi Phi Island Thailand.
Don’t forget to check out my complete Thailand travel guide for more tips on Phuket, Krabi, Koh Tao, and the other Thai islands.